Evidence That It Works
Research suggests that it’s possible to reduce tensions among groups of people when they establish a shared goal that requires some form of collaboration.
Studies also indicate that engaging in contemplative practices may reduce age and race biases by building moment-to-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and surroundings.
Why Does It Matter?
Schools are a slice of humanity, with students and staff alike bringing their personal histories into the classroom, which may vary widely and radically. It takes effort to foster a sense of unity despite these differences, but it can be done.
To cultivate a sense of connection, whether it be with students or staff or both, research suggests that all parties should feel like they’re of equal status, and groups members need to have common goals and a sense of interdependence that provides an incentive to cooperate.
Mindfulness and contemplation can also help us to bridge differences by helping us to be more deliberate about the intention for connection we’re setting when we start a class, participate in small group learning, or engage in an important conversation with a peer.
In this particular practice, a group comes together to share a reading about the ways humans are connected to each other. Both the process of contemplative choral reading and the content of the reading itself prompt readers to contemplate the value of community.