I decided, after listening to an interview of Ellen Langer, to read more about her mindfulness research. Having done so, I certainly appreciate her insight into mindfulness generally, and for education specifically, but I’m skeptical about her proposed solutions.
Her research, Langer explains, focuses on the costs of mindlessness and the benefits, including greater control and more opportunities, of mindfulness. “Mindlessness,” she (2014) maintains, is “pervasive” and contributes to “virtually all of our problems” (xiii). Mindfulness, which as Langer understands it involves attention to context and variability, creates heightened awareness of and more control over contexts, as well as increased authenticity, new possibilities, and more hope and change (xviii, xxv-xxvi). Moreover, it can make work more like play and play as important as work, and it can lead to changes in the ways see others and ourselves, as well as our health, abilities, and even happiness (xxvi). Continue reading “Mindful And More”
A recent Tribune editorial characterizes the Chicago Teachers Union call for an April first job action as a “Tantrum Day,” and it dismisses this call by suggesting that most Chicago workers cannot whimsically decide to stay home because they’re “upset about conditions.”
I saw Eddie Bocanegra on the stairs after I had seen him on a screen. He had a few minutes, he said, before class, so we talked about his role in The Interrupters, a film about violence in Chicago neighborhoods that I had recently seen, and his experiences as a student. Then he went to his class while I continued to the bus stop. At that time, I was struck by how upfront and open he was, especially given his experiences, and I’ve sometimes wondered what he has been doing since his graduation. Now I know.
Commencement speakers seem to offer variations on the same themes, at least at all the graduations I’ve attended, and then comes an interminable march of graduates across a stage where they shake hands with administrators and teachers. That is a perfect time to consider why they’re, and we’re, there anyway.