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The Power of Mindful Learning Paperback – March 17, 1998
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Professor Langer espouses a more holistic approach to teaching than is generally in vogue today. For example, she believes that forgetting can be an essential component to learning: just as smokers who have attempted to quit before have a better chance of succeeding in future attempts, so people who have forgotten information and skills and then relearn them may remember better the second time. The Power of Mindful Learning is sure to raise a great deal of debate among educators, and this is a good thing; after all, what old dog couldn't stand to learn a new trick or two? --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
It is over a year since I first read this book. In that time I have found endless applications for Langer's concept of mindfulness. My training designs have been completely transformed by the idea, backed up by empirical evidence, that teaching people 'steps in a process' is essentially meaningless. I have borrowed constantly in writing and speech from her suggestion that 'conditional' language is more persuassive than 'unconditional'. Most importantly, I have learned to help other people become mindful about solving their problems in my coaching work.
What is mindful learning? It is learning that involves "openness to novelty; alertness to distinction; sensitivity to different contexts; implicit, if not explicit, awareness of multiple perspectives; and orientation in the present." What might this all mean for us? Perhaps our educational curriculums need to be taught differently, maybe our jobs could be more enjoyable, and self-improvement less onerous.
She states the myths of conventional learning:
1.The basics must be learned so well that they become second nature.
2.Paying attention means being focused on one thing at a time.
3.Delaying gratification is important.
4.Rote memorization is necessary.
5.Forgetting is a problem.
6.Intelligence is knowing "what's out there."
7.There are right and wrong answers.
Each chapter discusses, in a nondogmatic manner, theory and possible reasons why these myths are not always helpful.
This is not, as Professor Langer states, a "how-to" book with prescriptions and study programs for the self-help "professional learner" (as one reviewer phrased it.) It doesn't have cute little "mind-maps," and it isn't a De Bono's "Thinking Course"-type book. The reviewer (Adamson, January 22, 1999) might have learned something if he'd been less smug about his naive faith in those "accelerated" learning books which don't deliver half of what they claim.
Personally, I found this book extremely helpful in my own personal studies - from learning to play tennis and golf better, becoming more fluent in Spanish, improving my chess - since I try to find alternative methods, perspectives, and just plain fun in learning. I don't try to be perfect. I don't think there's only one way to do something. Try it.
Langer attacks the myth that rote learning & blind memorization are the foundation for higher-order skills. She makes a strong case that "forgetting" is often a good thing. Teachers should be concerned about students understanding the contextual limitations of what they learn, rather than with "covering the material."
Coupled with Bob Boice's several books on mindfulness in teaching, this book changed the way I think about college teaching.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I teach, so this book gave me a lot to think about.
Her first book (MindfulnessMindfulness, 25th anniversary edition (A Merloyd Lawrence Book)) is a better overview of her... Read more
Very meaningful book although a tad bit hard to read owning to use of longer words. The book makes great case for the role of curiosity and open mindedness toward learning. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Abhishek
Quality book in fine condition delivered in a timely way. Thanks.Published 11 months ago by thomas e.
Fascinating book, loads to think about and consider. As a psychologist it was saying much i already knew and believe. Her style sometimes bogs down a bit. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Caroljean K. Rodesch