Developing Practical/Analytical Skills Through Mindful Classroom Simulations for “Doing” Leadership

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Winter 2014


This article shows how certain practical/analytical skills are developed for “doing” leadership (Alvesson & Spicer, 2011) through what I call mindful classroom simulations in two upper-level social science courses. By drawing from various leadership definitions and Ellen J. Langer’s Mindfulness (1989) construct and through the use of an online open-ended questionnaire, participant-observation, and documentary/textual analysis, I demonstrate how well-designed and executed mindful classroom simulations afford individuals and groups the opportunity not only to gain discipline-specific knowledge and improve learning capabilities, but also to develop practical/ analytical skills for doing leadership. These mindful classroom simulations can be used in undergraduate and graduate public policy, political science, and public administration courses because simulations are effective pedagogical tools for teaching both course content and transportable practical/analytical skills that successful active leaders require today. Several lessons are drawn from the teacher’s perspective on the effective use of these learner-centered mindful classroom simulations.

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Journal of Public Affairs Education

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