Upcoming Labyrinth Lecture Deepens Creativity and Reflection

Upcoming Labyrinth Lecture Deepens Creativity and Reflection

The Labyrinth at the University of Central Oklahoma sits on the southwest end of campus. Labyrinths are typically used to provoke thought and consideration within whomever is walking it. Photo by Ryan Naeve, The Vista. 

A recipient of the United Kingdom’s prestigious National Teaching fellowship, Jan Seller, will present a lecture based on a book she co-edited “Learning with the Labyrinth,” on Tuesday, Nov. 15 from 9:30- 11 a.m.

The book offers strategies through the use of the labyrinth to deepen reflection and creativity, providing stories with a range of disciplines including social work, design, health care and counseling, said Melissa Powers, certified labyrinth facilitator and professor at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Department of Kinesiology and Health.

“In the book there are chapters about different ways that labyrinth has been used on college campuses and classes for academic purposes… Dr. Seller brought together faculty and campus administrators from around the world, mostly in the US [and] in the UK, to write chapters about ways they are using the labyrinth in their classes and their campuses,” said Powers.

Powers read the book, and said that over 10 faculty and staff are reading the book as well. At this particular book club, they met twice to talk about “Learning with the Labyrinth,” and they said they are excited to meet with Dr. Seller’s next week, she said.

“I think the lecture has applications to many people. Dr. Seller often writes from a perspective to faculty, [for example] how we integrate this to our classroom. But I think it has applications to students, to help them understand why are we using this tool in our class, and how can this help them be a reflective and creative learner. I think it has applications in the community. I think we all, just in our personal lives and professional lives, could be more reflective and more creative and innovative and that’s what that labyrinth does,” said Powers.

At the educational lecture sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Transformative Teaching and Learning at UCO, another co-author will be present.

C. Diane Rudebook, UCO professor of the Department of Kinesiology and Health studies, contributed to a chapter in the book titled “Transformative learning: Introducing the Labyrinth Across Academic Disciplines.”

The lecture will take place in the Nigh University Center, Room 301. The event is free and open to the public.

“Anytime we take a pause to think about something, we tend to think about it differently… If you take a break and go for a short walk in the labyrinth to quiet your mind, that’s the time a new idea can come to you,” said Powers.

The labyrinth is a walking meditation, a space set aside for people to reflect, contemplate and look within. The rhythm of walking empties the mind and relaxes the body, said Powers.

UCO was the first public university to implement a labyrinth on campus.

The labyrinth path at UCO was put on display on September 2013, providing space to students, staff and faculty to pause in their day and spend moments in reflection. UCO campus labyrinth is an outdoor 11-circuit Chartres stone paver located at 100 N. University Dr, in Edmond, said Powers.

Currently there are approximately 4200 labyrinths in the world located in schools, hospitals, universities, parks, prisons and churches. Oklahoma now has 75 labyrinths throughout the state.

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