The power of mindful learning
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Professor Ellen J Langer

In her 1997 book, Professor Langer argues that mindful learning takes place when a learner has an understanding of the context and  ever-changing nature of the information presented to them. Learning without this awareness, Langer shows, often sets a learner up for failure.

Mindfulness, according to Langer, is a flexible state of mind, when we are actively engaged in the present, noticing new things and sensitive to context. The process of mindful learning, of actively drawing distinctions and noticing new things helps to keep learners’ minds active. She advocates mindful learning as a way of avoiding the ‘seven pervasive myths’ that undermine the process of learning:

  1. That the basics must be learned so well that they become second nature.
  2. Paying attention means staying focused on one thing at a time.
  3. Delaying gratification is important.
  4. Rote memorisation is necessary in education.
  5. Forgetting is a problem.
  6. Intelligence is knowing ‘what is out there’.
  7. There are right and wrong answers.

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Professor Ellen J Langer

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Perseus Books Group

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With its focus on learning techniques, this book will be of interest to teachers and other professionals keen to develop new ways to help their pupils engage with their subjects. 


Record ID:
R009 / 323
Author(s) biog(s):
Professor Ellen J Langer

Associated coverage: - Review

Related reading:
Hawn Foundation-Langer

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