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Dr. Ashwani Kumar

Dr. Kumar is an international educator and Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at Mount Saint Vincent University, located in Mi’kma’ki (Nova Scotia), Canada. His teaching and research focus on meditative inquiry, a self-reflective and aesthetic approach that he has developed for teaching, learning, researching, creating, and living. Meditative inquiry urges educators to re-imagine the phenomenon of education in a new light through which the understanding of consciousness and its transformation forms the core of the educational experience. Over the course of his career, Dr. Kumar has conceptualized several key curricular and pedagogical concepts, namely, curriculum as meditative inquiry, teaching as meditative inquiry, and music as meditative inquiry. He has also developed a contemplative research methodology called dialogical meditative inquiry to conduct subjective and inter-subjective qualitative research.

Growing up in a single-parent working-class family in the rural outskirts of New Delhi, Dr. Kumar attended Hindi-language public schools. After graduating from high school, he completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honors), Master of Arts, and Master of Philosophy in Geography as well as a Bachelor of Education and Master of Education at respected schools (Kirori Mal College, Delhi School of Economics, and the Central Institute of Education) of the University of Delhi. After completing these degrees and working as a geography teacher for three years, he continued his studies when he was offered a seat in the doctoral program in the Department of Curriculum & Pedagogy at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver (Canada) in 2007.

Dr. Kumar’s doctoral dissertation became the basis of his first book, Curriculum As Meditative Inquiry (Palgrave MacMillan, 2013). This book received highly favourable reviews in academic journals, including one in Teachers College Record, and was selected as an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice magazine reviews in 2014. He is also the author of Curriculum in International Contexts: Understanding Colonial, Ideological, and Neoliberal Influences (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019) and the editor of Engaging with Meditative Inquiry in Teaching, Learning, and Research: Realizing Transformative Potentials in Diverse Contexts (Routledge, 2022). 

 

In his role at MSVU that he has held since 2011, Dr. Kumar teaches education courses in the bachelor, masters, and doctoral programs, and, over this time, he has developed a pedagogical approach called teaching as meditative inquiry. His co-authored paper, “Teaching as Meditative Inquiry: A Dialogical Exploration” received the Outstanding Publication in Curriculum Studies Award from The Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies in 2019. Another of his co-authored papers “Critiquing Instrumentalism in Higher Education” received Outstanding Publication Award Honourable Mention at the award ceremony of the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies. He is also the recipient of the Mount Saint Vincent University President and Vice President’s Advanced Career Teaching Award 2022 and University of British Columbia Faculty of Education's Alumni Educator of the Year Award 2022.   Contact: meditativeinquiry@gmail.com     ashwani.1979@gmail.com

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