I find it quite interesting, while crossing into other areas of study, you run across terms that are the same but hold vastly differing meanings.
Take mindfulness for example. In the world of counseling, being mindful is being purposefully and actively aware of your sensory experiences in the moment without judgment. There are many wonderful exercises and techniques to help ground you in the moment, help slow down your thoughts, and bring your attention and focus to being fully present in the moment. It is a calming thing. It is quite helpful for those who struggle with anxiety or racing thoughts. Being mindful can help you “get out of your head”.
However, in the world of education, being mindful is something a bit different. Ellen Langer, in her book The Power of Mindful Learning, defines mindfulness as being open to new information, new categories being continually created, and awareness of multiple perspectives. She continues to discuss how we can learn “the basics” to various things and practice them so much that the skills become “overlearned”. This causes a risk to miss the nuances of the individual components and lose out on the ability for fine tuning adjustments.
Maybe, these widely different terms are more closely related than I initially thought upon a first read. Possibly, through the magic of amalgamation, these separate things can converge into one interesting thing.
Perhaps that is just it. We miss out on things we really can learn when we are not focused on the moment or are tuned-out by the repetition of muscle memory tasks. Being open, purposeful, and actively aware in a learning environment may help us suspend our previous thoughts and ideas, either as teachers or as students, and gain awareness to new categories and multiple perspectives. If we “get out of our heads” regarding teaching, learning, and pedagogy, then more creative, organic, and interesting methods of learning can come into our awareness.
Now, with a mind full of thoughts on how to look at education and learning with a mindful approach, I am excited to see what new ideas and perspectives pop up. I hope that quieting and stilling my mind can open me up to seeing and understanding more in the world of education, as well as counseling. And in true counselor form, I will practice my mindfulness and continue to allow my thoughts to roll gently past, like fluffy white clouds against a bright blue sky. I will suspend judgment and notice what all happens.