By Saira Nikhat Imam
We are all programmed to learn. This learning process starts right in the lap of a mother and reaches its climax once we inhale our last volumes of oxygen in this world. To put it simply, learning is the art of acquiring skills or knowhow about the things around us. Just take a peek around and see how babies around you learn different things at their different stages of lives. First they learn to crawl, learn to speak and then learn to walk. The skills babies learn keep on changing as per their growth. Do you remember how did you learn about different things in your school? You may join a college after school and move on to join a university later and the trajectory of learning doesn’t stop there as well.
You meet different people regularly and you communicate with them. You go to office. You run a business. You attend a wedding party. You buy groceries. The list goes on the trot. It means that every action you take involves some kind of learning. But different people learn things differently. That is the beauty of our world. However, one thing is common amongst all individuals, anywhere in the world and that is, to say that ‘learning is a continuous process’.
There are several different ways a person can learn about something. You can learn about a thing randomly. For instance, you can pick up a newspaper and learn about a thing or else you tune in to your favourite FM channel and learn about something or you can learn about something in a social gathering such as a wedding party. Other methods of learning such as teaching, coaching, mentoring, and training are different methods of learning because these methods involve some kind of structure, order and planned approach.
A learning process has to be effective so that the people involved in learning something learn about that thing completely. Such learning is possible only when the people involved in the learning have their best state of mind. That is what a Mindful Learning is all about.
A Mindful Learning method involves:
· Conducive environment of learning with no stress,
· People involved in a learning have a right frame of mind to learn,
· Individual/Groups enjoy the activity of learning,
· They are involved into the activity with so much focus that they are unaware of all the distractions around them (also termed as “Flow”),
· The information is presented to them in a well-organized and coherent manner.
· Awareness of the self and the environment
We live in a society. Society brings with it social pressures. We have emotions in us too. Both these social pressures and emotions play their major role in shaping us by influencing our learning. The aim of a learning method is more focused on ‘offering knowledge’ without ever considering the parameters (social and emotional) around you. You may acquire the required knowledge by a learning method but you may have to bear undue stress and many distractions in doing so. After acquiring the required knowledge you may not be able to take a sound decision because the knowledge provide to you would have been incoherent. Even if after acquiring required knowledge you are able to take a sound decision but you may not be happy after that. All these unhealthy constraints are addressed by Mindful Learning. For instance, it is an established fact that when our emotions vibrate in tune with us when we remain focused and pay attention to the things that matter to us. The result is that you can make better decisions. And it offers joy to you. Mindfulness is all about connecting with the present moment and Mindful learning involves sinking in the feeling of learning. If it is a book, the learner can start with appreciating the texture of the book and feeling happy with each paragraph, words or nuances etc as a learning experience. Similarly, the same approach of appreciative learning can be applied on a workshop, in college or elsewhere.
Acquiring right knowledge to achieve success and living happily can no more be dealt with separately? That is why Mindful Learning is the answer for teachers, educators, facilitators and everyone involved in the space of learning and development.
Saira Nikhat Imam, a Behavioral skills trainer by profession is an enthusiast to create a niche for her in the corporate landscape. She is a dreamer and wants women pursue their dreams in all areas of life. She conducts workshops in Mindful learning and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org