Mindfulness, Learning, and Education

“Mindfulness is a flexible state of mind in which we are actively engaged in the present, noticing new things and sensitive to context.”

Mindfulness is not something that is a priority in the learning process. As someone who struggled through primary and secondary school I am against standardized testing. I am not attacking other disciplines and I am only speaking to my own experience. Math and science have never been easy to me. Once students entered middle school we were broken up into different math classes from 1-4. It does not take a genius to realize which class rank was the advanced math course and which was for the students that struggled with math concepts and needed more assistance. I was placed into “Math 4” with a variety of students, but the general assumption from classmates was that I was dumb, lazy, or “slow”. This was the only form of individualized learning I received, but the goal continued to be that each student passed the Standards of Learning (SOL) exams.

If my education had been different I may have chosen a different career path. I think mindfulness can take place outside of the classroom, but there just does not seem enough time to focus on mindfulness until students reach college. As a graduate student I feel like I have seen mindfulness play more of a role and take precedent over standardized learning. Every student is different and has different strengths therefore standardized testing does not make sense for younger students.

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3 Responses to Mindfulness, Learning, and Education

  1. Yousef Jalali says:

    As you mentioned there are some limitations regarding where mindfulness strategies can be applied; and it might be more challenging to be implemented for some subject matters. I can see it as a more general skills which can be applied in different contexts. And I think regardless of subject matter and complexities, teacher can play an important role in creating space for students in which they can question, welcome new perspectives and engage in dynamic process of inquiry.

  2. Matthew Cheatham says:

    It is very interesting because I had a very different experience in elementary and middle school related to standardized testing and didn’t understand everyone’s hatred of them until later in high school. As you said, every student is different and has different strengths, as mine were definitely not writing or success in english. I think there is a way to include mindfulness in the classroom, but only if the teacher works hard and changes their approach to education that mindfulness could happen. However, this would be extremely rare and hard to come by.

  3. Jyotsana Sharma says:

    I’ve had similar experience with grade school. When I see the word “Math” in my head I’m running like the roadrunner does. What did you think about Langer’s idea of mindful learning though. It would be good to hear your thoughts on that.

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