Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Series
How Physical Space, Sensation, and Movement Affect Learning
Starting from new research on the body—aptly summarized as “sitting is the new smoking”—Minding Bodies aims to help instructors improve their students’ knowledge and skills through physical movement, attention to the spatial environment, and sensitivity to humans as more than “brains on sticks.” It shifts the focus of adult learning from an exclusively mental effort toward an embodied, sensory-rich experience, offering new strategies to maximize the effectiveness of time spent learning together on campus as well as remotely.
Minding Bodies draws from a wide range of body/mind research in cognitive psychology, kinesiology, and phenomenology to bring a holistic perspective to teaching and learning. The embodied learning approaches described by Susan Hrach are inclusive, low-tech, low-cost strategies that deepen the development of disciplinary knowledge and skills. Campus change-makers will also find recommendations for supporting a transformational mission through an attention to students’ embodied learning experiences.
Preface: No More Brains on Sticks
Introduction: How Bodies Affect the Learning Process
Awaken the Senses
1. Optimize the Classroom
2. Take It Outside
Leverage the Body for Learning
3. Interrogate Sensory Perceptions
4. Learn to Move, Move to Learn
Break through Boundaries
5. Move around Together
6. Embrace Discomfort
Susan Hrach is director of the faculty center and professor of English at Columbus State University. Winner of the University System of Georgia Regents’ Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award, she is widely recognized for her innovations in teaching world literature.
“For too long, faculty have only focused on the education of the mind, ignoring the importance of the body in that process. Susan Hrach’s book conveys an authentic sense of wonder and excitement about the topic, and it is a timely and relevant text for higher education faculty.”
Kathryn Byrnes, Bowdoin College
“Beautifully written and packed full of ideas, Minding Bodies is a timely and necessary intervention that questions our long-held assumptions about sedentary teaching and learning. There is something that will enlighten any teacher on every page. This is a welcome book that is trying its best to get education back on its feet.”
Vybarr Cregan-Reid, author of Primate Change: How the World We Made Is Remaking Us