Thoughts about mindful learning

In this week’s class, we learned about mindful learning and anti-teaching. I also learned about Wordle which looks really cool,  even though it didn’t work on my computer. I liked the  articles we read in class.  Among those, I really like Langer (2000)’s article about mindful learning, as it makes me reflect on my own education history and teaching experiences.

As he stated in the article mindfulness is “a flexible state of mind in which we are actively engaged in the present, noticing new things and sensitive to context”, I realized that I have been mindless in learning for so long, even though I am in my third year of my PhD program, because I have treated my education as a rigid and structured process. I take it for granted or mindlessly that after primary school, I should go to high school, and then college and then graduate school, without even asking why. I also agreed with how the author discussed about the ways mindfulness come about: repetition and single exposure. When I was younger, I learned knowledge and skills by repetition and we were taught that repetition was the golden way to memorize information. So if we did something in the “wrong way”, the teachers would asked us to repeat in the “right way” multiple times until we memorized it.  In the end, we rely on our mind-set for how to accomplish the goals. We have been given information in certain ways that don’t encourage us to ask questions.

Mindful learning advocates for learning information from different perspectives and be aware of the uncertainty inherent in the facts. Like the author indicated when he talked about the first myths about learning: “the basics should be learned so well that they become second nature”. We have learned so many Basics even from primary school, and we were asked to learn about them instead of how to use them in creative ways. As educators in the future, we should encourage students to think about variation from different perceptions.

I also liked how the author discussed about the attention issue among children and adults, as it intrigued me to connect that with my research interest which is about older adults with dementia. I think mindful learning and training could be a good way to help  improve attention in older adults with memory problems.

 

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