Meditation, mindfulness, and critical thinking: Individual characteristics in online higher education

Holland, A., Dooley, G., Fedock, B., Ferebee, S., & Bailey, L.
Presentation Date: 
Saturday, July 29, 2017
Event or Conference: 
Second Canadian International Conference on Advances in Education, Teaching, & Technology
Presentation Type: 
Paper Presentation
Boyer's Domain: 
Presentation Location: 
Abstract: Eighty-one percent of employers and 79% of college students believe that critical thinking is an important learning outcome related to obtaining a job and advancing in a career in the 21st century. However, improvement in critical thinking skills at higher education institutions was relatively small, suggesting that teaching methods for facilitating critical thinking at higher education might be ineffective. Meditation improves executive decision-making and might provide an effective pedagogical approach to improving critical thinking skills for online students. The problem was that the effectiveness of using meditation on improving higher education students’ critical thinking skills has not been examined yet. Thus, the challenge of improving critical thinking in online education demands creative approaches. This study examined the relationship of gender, ethnicity, age, and education to the influence of meditation and mindfulness on critical thinking. The critical thinking skills was measured by the California Critical Thinking Skills Test-Numeracy (CCTST-N) validated/reliable online instrument. The Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) was used to measure mindfulness. The location of the study was at the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts. Thirty respondents completed the survey instrument, 25 females (83%) and five males (17%). The respondents’ ages ranged from 18-70, with a mean of 29 to 39 age span categories. Most respondents were White/Caucasian (65%), followed by Multiple Ethnicities/Other (20%), and Black/African Americans (15%). To assess meditation, mindfulness, and critical thinking, two tests were performed. First, the relationship between the two measures meditation and mindfulness were examined. An analysis of variance was conducted on the measures of critical thinking after engaging in meditation and mindfulness. The analysis resulted in a significant main effect for meditation and mindfulness.