In teaching about wellbeing and mindfulness I often use the saying that a balanced life is about navigating difficulties as well as possible and leaning into positives and making the most of opportunities. In times of change and turmoil we can easily get bogged down with navigating the difficulties. Yet, we also know that in such times people often have a desire to develop and grow themselves. The 2+2 degree pathway at CLL not only offers a fantastic opportunity to do this, but it also allows the flexibility for you to shape your degree to make it as interesting and useful for you as possible.
As a teacher on the programme, the range of qualifications, areas to major in and option modules to choose creates a rich environment where we can explore many different perspectives about the topic under study. In this way, we can give deep consideration to the topic and see the links between different topics and even between very different modules. For example, in the Mindfulness for Lifelong Learning module I teach we explore a range of current issues and debates in mindfulness. This include topics such as secularisation, spirituality, religion, its historical foundations, the commodification of mindfulness, claims of dilution, its relationship with politics, and the scientific evidence for mindfulness. As I’m sure you’ll agree, this is a wide range of topics in which students can share and explore knowledge, experience and perspectives on them in a safe and scholarly environment. Such cross-curricular consideration and understanding is extremely valuable for students and provides deep foundations for the rest of the degree and also for career or study pathways beyond it.
Not only does the 2+2 degree provide a range of pathways, modules and topics, it also provides a rich and varied experience of learning activities and experiences. Many of the CLL modules involve a practical dimension, such as the live role-play skills development activities in the Counselling: Concepts and Skills and Introduction to Coaching and Mentoring modules. The Creativity: Myth, Madness and Play module involves the creation of an artefact for assessment. Discussions, presentations, self-discovery activities and research projects are some other ways in which the programme provides a rich learning experience. For my modules, I particularly enjoy providing the opportunity for students to choose the topics for their assessments. For example, in the Mindfulness for Lifelong Learning module we explore a range of application areas for mindfulness. These include education, the workplace, health and wellbeing, personal development, sport, etc. For one of the assignments for this module the students select an application of their choice to analyse. This has led to some fascinating presentations and valuable learning for the student, the rest of the group and me too.
Over my many years of teaching on the 2+2 programme, I have seen students grow and develop in ways that they never imagined were possible. Of course, there were difficulties to manage along the way and the CLL has many support systems in place to help with these. To have such a flexible programme provides a wonderful opportunity for personal development and growth, in whatever direction that might take. Add to that the many wonderful people you’ll meet along the way and I hope you’ll see it as a fantastic opportunity to lean into and make the most of.
This blog was written by Dr Dean Howes.
Dr Dean Howes is a Teaching Fellow at the University of Warwick’s Centre for Lifelong Learning.