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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Mindfulness into action: Transformational learning through collaborative inquiry
by Vergara, Mariana Ines, Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University, 2016, 235; 10013911
Abstract (Summary)

This action research exploratory study sought to learn how to better develop my practice by using grounded theory. It explored the apparent cognitive transformational experience of nine participants over a period of four weeks after the implementation of an intervention called Mindfulness into Action. The informal intervention was used with the Kichwa community in the Amazon rainforest and three additional formal interventions were conducted in the United States, Ecuador, and Norway over six years, in each case supported by higher education institutions. Using grounded theory methodology, the researcher found that participants were in the initial “reactive” state in Phase 1, experiencing conflict, resistance, stress, and victim identity. These characteristics were unknown to participants who were just reacting to everyday life experiences. In Phase 2, participants became aware of their behaviors, but could not stop non-beneficial behaviors. In Phase 3, they could observe their unknown behaviors and then change their sabotaging behaviors. Other salient characteristics from Phase 3 were happiness, being at peace with themselves, tolerance, and effectiveness.

There is a tendency to believe that change does not come easily, especially for adults, because our mental models rule our lives (subconsciously). However, participants were all adults from distinct walks of life who observed their unknown assumptions and reported change in their lives and in perceptions of their world. Furthermore, this intervention helped participants manage dissonance in their lives and produce changes specific and relevant to each individual, i.e., adults in the Kichwa community changed their assumptions and got rid of the mining company without violence. Moreover, the students who conducted research in the Amazon rainforest changed their research approach from top-down (doing research on people) to human development co-creation (doing research with people). Lastly, students in the academic institutions changed their way of interacting with their environment and others, and most importantly observed and changed behaviors that were sabotaging their efforts to succeed in life. They overcame their assumption of “knowing” and became more open to others’ perspectives. Each change was specific to the individual, resulting in the betterment of their lives.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Yorks, Lyle, Klempe, Hroar S.
Commitee: Gordon, Edmund W., Hatch, Robert
School: Teachers College, Columbia University
Department: Organization and Leadership
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 77/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Behavioral psychology, Adult education, Cognitive psychology, Sustainability
Keywords: Collaborative inquiry, Indigenous knowledge, Transformational learning
Publication Number: 10013911
ISBN: 978-1-339-48220-0
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