A couple of months ago I decided to read a book written by the author Dr. Robert Siegel: The Mindfulness Solution with the purpose of finding a way to align all my thoughts and to gain the power of deciding whether I want to think in something or not and if its going to affect me. This book shows several ways or solutions on how a person can stop living in their routine life and start taking a moment to stop on the road and smell that flower that was never notice before. Dr. Siegel believes that nobody is alone in this life due to the difficulties that each one of us encounter everyday or as he might say, difficulties that we bring to ourselves. He sees Mindfulness as a solution or antidote that will help us reduce our suffering by living each experience in our lives. Although he does not concentrate his ideas and solutions in the learning process of a student, it can be apply as stated in the book Mindful learning by Ellen Langer.
Ellen Langer express in this book that it does not matter if we change the curriculum of the school, standard of the testing or even increasing the budget for education will make enough difference in the learning process unless students are given the opportunity to learn more mindfully. Each student should be allowed to leave the classroom environment and pursue their challenges by means of different approaches such as Connected Learning.
The author not only believes that learning more mindfully is a solution, but also that there are several myths that prevent people to achieve mindful learning. Before learning something, everybody has to go through the “basics” so that way they can continue learning. By achieving mindfulness, you will realize that this statement is completely wrong, due to the fact that you can not use the same approach on every student. Explaining math the same way to everything student will force them to think that this is the only way to do it and they will perform the calculation mindlessly. Why do you think students does not have the imagination or maybe the ability to go beyond what has been taught to them? When they taught you how to sum numbers you never though that multiplying them was even possible. Albert Einstein once said that if you judge a fish on it ability to climb a tree, the fish will live his life thinking that is a stupid thing to do, in other words teaching students the “basics” will force them to think that nothing else is possible besides what they were taught. Students need to start thinking What else can we do with this numbers? instead of asking themselves is it possible to do something else with this numbers?. Telling themselves “what else” instead of “is it possible”, will help them open their minds and believe that there is always a way; it will help them learn more mindfully.
Although the author presented seven myths, the last one that caught my attention was that people tend to think that intelligence is knowing what’s out there. Knowing what is already there will not allow you to open your mind and reflect on everything that you see because you will believe that nothing else can be done since is already “out there”. The way I see it is that Intelligence is having the ability to see everything in different perspectives and not in the way it is presented. Using the same example of the numbers, a student can know the entire multiplication table and knowing that does not mean that there is intelligence in that student, it means that he manage to memorize those results. Learning more mindfully will let the student deduct that there is more than multiplying the numbers and for me that is the real meaning of intelligence: knowing what is not out there.
Taking into account the two myth presented before, mindfulness will not only allow you to be aware of your daily experiences but also accept them. A student that is allowed to learn mindfully will achieve great things in life, will accept that there is more and that there is no basic or standard way that by knowing it will determine their intelligence.