Ahhhh….that darn mindfulness thing again in a room full of mindless…..


How I love me some Ellen Langer on a wintry Sunday morning.  She was the first woman to be tenured in the psychology department at Harvard.  Sipping coffee, watching the birds eat peanuts I left out on my balcony for them, and, just giggling to myself at how many VT professors would never put Langer as a required reading in their course syllabus.  I’ve blogged extensively regarding the topic of mindless teaching practices by top tier researchers who really don’t want to teach.  Let’s be honest, how do we as students benefit from them?  Feel free to look at my previous blogs on this topic and one of the most interesting was “Human decency in higher education might be missing at VT……“.

Being mindful is implicitly understood as having some degree of freedom to color outside the lines and the ability to say “Hey, maybe we can try something different in class?”   Being mindless is taking that same excitement and telling the student “No, that’s not how it’s been done in the past and it’s too much work to incorporate that idea!”  A very clear example of this is hearing some professors (journal editors) say they regularly desk reject articles simply on the basis that it doesn’t fit the “mold”.  Hahahaha…..and my favorite line which I think is absolutely clever:  “Follow the Golden Rule.  He who has the Gold makes the rules!”  Obviously, not all professors are mindless and I would never imply that.  But, I do think it is a pandemic we as researchers of the future are facing.  I support OpenAccess for this very reason.  Yeah, I also wrote a blog on that!  LOL!


Cheers, Lehi



Filed under GEDISP2018

2 Responses to Ahhhh….that darn mindfulness thing again in a room full of mindless…..

  1. Point(s) taken, Lehi! So, thinking about our roles as instructors, what can we do to encourage coloring outside the lines? How do we raise awareness around the essential tenets and benefits of mindful learning?

    • nordicgod

      Good afternoon Dr. Nelson,

      A primary concern is ensuring the basics are getting covered, right? As a professor I strongly believe in the principals of having a well structured syllabus to show class progression toward attaining goals set forth. The manner in which we attain the goals is wherein the problem lies. I will be a professor who uses multiple methods of facilitation such as flipped classroom, student hot topic presentations, and reflection papers to ensure understanding. Again, all of this depends on class size and the discipline being taught. However, as a professor it is my responsibility and obligation to ensure student engagement and comprehension. I think the graduate school is doing well and pushing the needle forward by having conversations about the topic and encouraging an environment of transformative learning and vowing to change the experience from “surviving to thriving”. The reality is R1 schools need to admit what a disadvantage they are giving the undergraduates by forcing disinterested professors to teach. I challenge some Deans to go sit in the classrooms around campus and see if they don’t get bored to tears……talk about raising awareness! LOL! Again, the more conversations we have about why open access is important and how it is okay to have differing opinions from professors the better we’ll be. Right now though it is a free for all and the professors who have the MOST to lose by change seem to have all the power.


      Cheers, Lehi

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