Using Lectio Divina as an in-class contemplative tool

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Lectio Divina, a contemplative reading exercise first codified in the 12th Century, offers a number of benefits when adapted for use in a secular classroom. Though limited discussion of Lectio Divina's pedagogical benefits has taken place in formal and informal literature, there has been no extended, formal discussion of the practice's history, its aims, and the practicalities of its use in a college classroom. The current essay aims to address this shortcoming by providing a brief overview of the history of Lectio Divina, a discussion of how the practice was modified for an introductory philosophy classroom, and an overview of benefits, challenges, and possible modifications associated with in-class use. Specifically, I suggest Lectio Divina offers at least four benefits: It allows students to attend to noncognitive aspects of their reactions to a text, allows students a space to express reactions like frustration or confusion, makes students more willing to offer novel interpretations of a text, and allows students to engage in rudimentary disciplinary practice independent of the instructor.
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