Article I. Zen and the art of interdisciplinary team maintenance: insights for interdisciplinary pedagogy
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As the solutions to the complex problems we face globally are not bound by any one discipline or way of thinking, the need for creative, interdisciplinary, applied and collaborative approaches continues to grow. Interdisciplinary educational programs aim to prepare students to be successful interdisciplinarians professionally, by developing skills for complex systems thinking, higher order thinking, tolerance for ambiguity, epistemological development, metacognitive awareness, and collaboration. Although models for interdisciplinary teaching exist, there is still a need for pedagogical approaches specifically to develop these skills. Large bodies of evidence show that people who practice mindfulness develop these same skills desired among interdisciplinarians, although these bodies of literature rarely overlap. Moreover, improvisation exercises also provide a structure and process for practicing developing these same skills as a creative and collaborative team. In this chapter, I explain how insights from mindfulness and improvisation practices can inform the development of interdisciplinary pedagogy and maintenance of interdisciplinary teams. Connections between these areas of practice can inform a pedagogical strategy for developing interdisciplinary team science skills in higher education; however, this approach is applicable to a wide range of contexts including K-12 classrooms and formal and informal adult education settings.