Developing self-awareness through exploration.

Photo of Fallon Plunkett
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Photo of Margaret Powers

I'm excited to see the ideas on those stickies, especially meditation! Fallon Plunkett can you expand on this idea and share how self-awareness could impact and connect to STEM learning and why it's a need? 

Photo of Fallon Plunkett

I think STEM can facilitate self-awareness and self-awareness can improve STEM skills. If you think about we can learn about ourselves through exploration. In yoga one explores their body by making micro-movements and then being present with those changes. It allows your mind to slowly bring in new information and to sit with it. This way of thinking is a metaphor for STEM learning. In STEM (or human centered design) we are always looking at how various parts, people interact and react. Yoga can make this tangible and physical for students (just like putting thoughts on post-its does). In my design thinking course, City 2.0, we had a big conversation about being comfortable with being uncomfortable- going into a project and no one in the room knowing what was going to happen. To explore this idea I had the students do "mountain pose" - standing, but with very clear prompts about how your muscles and bones should be placed. Then I had them sit there with it, when done correctly this can be a more intense pose then one thinks. We stood there in mountain pose breathing calmly, then we discussed what we learned about ourselves and how that helped us cope with feelings of "uncomfort". The same can go for meditation.  I like making it physical first because it is so tangible. Then we can take that feeling, that we've practiced through yoga and meditation, to our project. We can become better at being present with the idea and more open to exploring and being uncomfortable. STEM and human centered design is all about empathizing with people and playing with ideas, first let's test it on ourselves through mindfulness practices.