Publication 6888

Morgan P. & Abrahamson D. (2016) Cultivating the ineffable: The role of contemplative practice in enactivist learning. For the Learning of Mathematics 36(3): 31–37. Fulltext at
Excerpt: Our focus, in this article, on the originary phenomenological sources of mathematical reasoning, moves beyond cognitivist approaches to examining mathematical incomprehension, such as focusing on issues of working memory, semiotic representations, and varied aspects of cognitive function and dysfunction (e.g., Geary, Hoard & Hamson, 1999). We propose to shift the investigative locus of research on mathematical learning to earlier phenomenological events in students’ subjective process of meaning making, just prior to engaging in formal mathematical representation and modeling of psychological content. Our proposition rests on the adoption of a contemplative orientation that promotes a deep focus on somatic and preconceptual realms. In our development of this approach, we introduce contemplative practice as a means to resolve the bottleneck introduced above. Contemplative practices can do this, we suggest, by providing a pre-conceptual or liminal space that bridges the nuanced apprehension of tacit sensorimotor activity and conscious configuring of this ineffable psychological content into expressive forms.

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