The Power of Mindful Learning By Ellen Langer
The very big idea in this book is how to implement mindfulness in educational setting. The 1st idea is that the student should learn the basic of a knowledge mindfully without overlearn it mindlessly so that they could adjust to whatever situations they face in real life. Openness in novelty rather than closeness in novelty (having fix single idea) about things may make students to have various problem solving alternatives in facing changes of situation so that they could mentally adapted.
Based on mindfulness perspective, being mindful is not being focus in one thing or having single-minded perspective just like the camera ability to focus to one single object when it takes a picture. Enhancing novelty, put different perspectives in perceiving the stimully which is related to the student personal, interest, or curiosity are some of the ways to achieve mindful state in learning. When the student actively create variation based on things that is related or interesting to them, they could learn easily without hardly memorizing it. It is because people tend to attract with things that is closely related with their own image. For example, a person who has weigh problem and loves eating hamburger, when given information that one hamburger contain 2200 calories, will remember the exact number of calories rather than a person who is underweigh and doesn’t like hamburger. Making the material fun and personal is one of the way that may make the learning and working as pleasure activities so that they could perceive work as their playground. Otherwise, memorizing the material unconditionally and repetitively without knowing the context or without putting other perspective like a parrot, traps us in a mindless state and makes us difficult to implement various problem solving alternatives when the situations are changed. This statement is equivalent with what Semiawan (2010), has stated in her book and lecture (2017), that often we are taught to ignore emotion aspect in teaching and learning. However, positive emotion that involves amygdala is important in learning situation. Positive emotion like pleasure in learning something may make the students more understand the context fastly especially when it is related to their own enjoyable personal experiences.
Langer (2016), then stated that based on multiple intelligences by Howard Gardner and evolutionary perspective, mindfulness could probably one of intelligence form, since it is an ability to retain and organize perceptions that enhance our chances for survival. Ellen Langer than concludes that flexible thinking is an essential way of thinking in mindful learning that allows student to define their own experiences, generate their own hypothesis, discover new ways of categorizing the world, so that they could understand the context, and adjust their learning in every dynamic situations in real world or become mentally adapt.
Creating various perspectives in mindful learning is similar to what Bloom’s model of creative thinking (Soussa, 2003), that concists of fluency or the ability to generate ideas, flexibility or generating a broad range of ideas, originality or unusual or unique response to situations, and elaboration or putting ideas or details to the reasoning. When the learner create some other possible novel perspectives to view single object, based on Semiawan (2010), their right hemisphere is active because it involves imagination. Moreover, when the learner could implement the various perspectives into the situations that changed, that is when the left hemisphere is also active so that those two hemispheres may work in between equally.
However, because Professor Langer lives in American society that tend to have individualistic culture, implementing one of mindful learning method like self definition may not facing problem there. Here in Indonesia which is communal society, especially in boarding school system like pesantren which put highly respect to the authoritative figures, self defining could probably seen as a sign of disrespect and rebellion. The possible way to implement mindul learning in this situasion is using “the personal interest relatedness to the material” method. Since the purpose of mindful learning is mentally adapt in various situations, the “self definition” I think is a subjective term and cannot be used in some specific educational institutions and or societies.
Langer, E. J. (2016). The power of mindful learning. MA: Dacapo Press
Semiawan, C. R. (2010). Kreativitas keberbakatan: Mengapa, apa, dan bagaimana. Jakarta: PT Indeks.
Semiawan, C, R. (2017). Creativity and giftedness lecture. Depok: Universitas Indonesia.
Soussa, D. How the gifted brain learns. (2002). CA: Corwin Press, Inc.