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The Power of Mindful Learning

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  671 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Radical in its implications, this original and important work may change forever the views we hold about the nature of learning. In The Power of Mindful Learning, Ellen Langer uses her innovative theory of mindulness, introduced in her influential earlier book, to dramatically enhance the way we learn. In business, sports, laboratories, or at home, our learning is hobbled ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published March 17th 1998 by Da Capo Press (first published 1997)
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Jun 04, 2009 rated it it was ok
Read this during a grad level theory of learning class.

This book is a very easy read due to its simple language, clear examples, and brevity (less than 150 pp.) The author, Langer, bases her theory on 7 myths in education, including "learning the basics so that they are second nature" "paying attention means staying focused on one thing at a time" "delaying gratification is important" "rote memorization is necessary" "forgetting is a problem" "intelligence is knowing what's out there" "there ar
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a frustrating read. While it made some very good points and posed some very interesting findings on the nature of learning and mindfulness, this book was completely bogged down in the details of the studies themselves.

So what you would get is a long, painfully detailed description of a clinical trial or experiment, down to controlled variables and even the specific number of participants in each study, all leading up to a very profoundly insightful conclusion or observation that itself
Denise B.
Apr 19, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 25, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Once upon a time there was a mindless little girl named Little Red Riding Hood. One day, when she went to visit her ailing grandmother, she was greeted by a wolf dressed in her grandmother’s
nightclothes. “What big eyes you have, Grandma,” she exclaimed, clueless as ever, although she had seen her grandmother’s eyes countless times before. “What big ears you have, Grandma,” she said, although it was unlikely that they would have changed since her last visit. “What a deep voice you have, Grandma,
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
This was the second of two texts I read as part of a post-graduate continuing education course called, "Creating a Mindful Environment."

I found this text to be slightly more enjoyable, understandable and relatable to my teaching than the first. With a more narrowed focus on mindfulness in an educational setting, I found Langer's points to be more clear and her examples/research more relevant. There were a few studies and experiments which also appeared in the previous text. I found that to be un
Apr 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
I’m giggling that reviewers complained about the research studies being described in too much detail, because that’s what I loved! Besides, I think it supports Langer’s approach: give me the information and some things it might mean, and some insightful questions, and let my brain do some work.

As an autistic person I loved the premise that autistic people are hypersensitive to people’s level of consciousness, which is difficult in a largely mindless society. That aligns with my own experience.
Paul Reynolds
Mar 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The Power of Mindful Learning is a bookshelf essential for educators. Dr. Ellen Langer shows - based on over two decades of research on learning at Harvard University, traditional education makes the mistake of serving up “packets of information” and expecting students to digest them. Our real mission as educators, she points out, is to inspire learners to WANT to open those packets. One of the key triggers to do that is to provide context and personal meaning to each potential learning moment. ...more
Chandana Watagodakumbura
In “The Power of Mindful Learning”, the author Ellen Langer (a Professor of Psychology at Harvard University), duly highlights the fact that meaningful learning results only when it takes place in a mindful manner. She put forth many examples of how mindless learning is directed and takes place inadvertently in many education systems that existed and currently prevailing. For example, guiding and testing learners for rote memorisation in which isolated pieces of information/data are and/or uncon ...more
An excellent follow up read to Langer's Mindfulness, a more general take on the topic. Personally, I am surprised more mindfulness "experts" do not reference her work more. Her empirical studies bring much validity to the concept. I found both books to be excellent resources for thinking about how we can create school environments where students are focused more on what they are doing and less on how they are doing. ...more
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book opened my eyes to thinking about how we learn in a completely different way. It challenges traditional approaches to learning with research that the author is personally familiar with. This calls everyone who is an educator higher. We should always be open to new discoveries in the field and strive to incorporate new ideas that show promising results.
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Short, concise, powerful concepts about learning. I'd recommend this to anyone curious about how we learn and develop new skills, or looking to improve how they learn. ...more
Nov 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
A helpful read for teachers. Encompasses a broader view of “mindful” to the wider issues of understanding the world and applying value to it. Discusses how a mindful approach to any activity has three characteristics: the continuous creation of new categories, openness to new information, and an implicit awareness of more than one perspective.

Debunks the following myths with interesting explanation about each:
1. Basics must be learned so well that they become second nature. (Overlearning preven
Anna Cross
Dec 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you are in graduate school, a teacher or trainer - I highly recommend this book by Ellen J. Langer. Langer reminds readers of the importance of being mindful in learning and in other aspects of our lives. How do we move from being passive learners or educators to being mindful in our practice? Langer gives you the steps to do just that - I enjoyed having the physical copy of the book and listening to the audio book together.
Jul 16, 2021 rated it liked it
I had a hard time getting into this book because of the quality of the writing. But I'm sure glad I persisted, because it's chock full of interesting examples (in the form of anecdotes, psychological studies, and stories from literature) about how taking a mindful approach to life leads to better outcomes: more creativity, deeper understanding, greater fulfillment....

I feel particularly open-minded and mindful now that I've just finished this book; I hope can adopt this mindset longer-term!
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
Would information to fill an article, not a book
Randy Ades
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
Great book

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Professor Langer has written a thought provoking on how we operate with care, mindfulness on how we educate our students.
Christine Fitzgerald
Interesting read about how mindfulness can enhance learning. Quick read but also at times heavy into theory and not so much practicality.
Feb 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-books
There is no right and wrong answer, it’s all about the perspective. The means of measuring Intelligence is merely one dimension of perception. Never thought of education/work/learning this way.
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Myths about learning and the role of memory in learning are discussed. Learning in context is mindful learning.
hemlet kiai
Mar 15, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mylibrary
insightful and eye opening book
Mar 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
A well written book that explains psychology of mindful learning. Langer's language is concise and easy to understand. She also has a humorous tone which makes the whole book quite interesting. ...more
Jun 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-help, science
An excellent work that could have had a lot more exposition and a lot less emphasis on the details of specific experiments. Good food for thought.
Miguel Panão
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A thoughtful book that opened my mind to a new perspective on learning.
Sarot Busala
Aug 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Give me a new Len to view the world !
The writing is kinda boring but it is informative.
I read this for a class on ways of teaching. Lots of perception-changing ideas. A good read overall.
Kevin Demel
Jul 17, 2022 rated it it was ok
Not a lot here for me. But I did note that it's important to identify distinctions to make anything more interesting. But it will be up to me to find them because she didn't say much about them. ...more
Sara Goldenberg
Sep 10, 2022 rated it it was ok
She speaks better than she writes.
Joe Corrigan
Aug 30, 2022 rated it liked it
Shelves: sociology
Interesting perspective on how we learn and what we can do to foster better appreciation of what we learn by taking a more mindful approach to learning.
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book gets 2 stars from me because there were aspects I liked and I do think the information presented was helpful. However, it only gets 2 because I also think the book was too wordy and contained way too many examples to get the point across.
Nov 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
What is learning? How do we learn? If someone is teaching us, are we necessarily learning? Does education sometimes stifle creativity? In order to scratch the surface of these seemingly unanswerable questions, one can look to the writings of the first tenured philosophy professor at Harvard University, Ellen J. Langer. Langer has published books covering a multitude of idea based topics from decision making to aging. But through her book The Power of Mindful Learning, Langer transforms ones pers ...more
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Ellen Langer, Yale PhD, Harvard Professor of Psychology, artist. Among other honors, she is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and three Distinguished Scientist Awards, the World Congress Award, the NYU Alumni Achievement Award, and the Staats award for Unifying Psychology, and has authored eleven books and over 200 research articles on the illusion of control, perceived control, successful

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