While completing the readings for this week regarding mindful learning, there were several things that came to mind. As someone who has practiced mindfulness outside of the classroom, the thought of bringing it into an academic setting seemed a bit strange at first. However, this thought was followed by a question regarding why learning is not something that we consider to be a mindful act in the first place. The mind is essentially the storage unit for everything that we learn, so why do we approach it in such a strict, repetitious manner rather than with a more fluid, individualized approach?
When I think of hour mindfulness could be incorporated into higher education, I realize that I consider graduate studies to utilize much more of a mindful approach to than undergraduate courses. I feel like this might be due to the seminar style of our classes and the fact that we are always encouraged to share our thoughts on the information which creates an elevated sense of cognition. Most lower level, undergraduate courses take place in large lecture form, with potentially hundreds of students. Therefore, even if the professors try to engage the students and encourage the sharing of opinions, it poses a real challenge for everyone in the class to approach the material mindfully.
I feel as if the mindless approach to education from grade school through undergraduate studies has hindered me in a way because even now in graduate studies, I’m hesitant to share my personal opinions and challenge the status quo. I try to make sure that I do not sound too assertive when I do share, so that I don’t come off as thinking I know it all or encourage people to challenge my views. After going through the readings, I now realize that there is nothing wrong with having an opinion on or dissecting the material we learn; and in fact, it actually helps us with comprehension.
The readings this week have highlighted how much mindlessness is hindering not only my learning, but potentially the way I teach as well. I often approach teaching the way it was presented to me throughout my educational journey, in lecture based format where there is limited interaction and dialogue with the instructor, aside for one on one meetings often outside class time. The mindful approach to learning has shown me that for my students to better comprehend the information, I need to present it in a way that encourages higher cognition through making them see that there can always be an alternative perspective or approach to the material, and to explore those possibilities.