I was impressed to see in the news (18 Dec 2015) that even in primary schools, the practice of mindfulness is gaining serious attention (Mindfulness relaxation trial). By beginning the day with a relaxed and positive frame of mind, the students and the teacher would potentially be primed to make positive choices through the day that lead to more positive outcomes and experiences. The consequence of that might develop into a more enlightening experience away from school as well. A virtuous cycle.
I am wondering whether such a positive experience is a useful path towards changing the cycle that Professor Lea Waters describes in spread the love with positive posts . With a surrounding of positive information, is it a possibility that we can make more choices that are beneficial to a broader “we” than in a negative cocoon of the conventional adversarial news cycle, which is certainly not new but gaining more prominence?
My own research is in the field of adult education choice making. After some time looking through literature and interviewing a limited number of people about their choices to learn as adults, I am realizing that for many people the choices are not always made from a positive learning perspective but may be made with compliance or a sense of necessity as a driving “motivation”, leading to a negative mindset in the learning journey or a flat refusal to continue. From this perspective, one wonders what the broader benefits will be (if any).
With the advent of mass access to digital technology, there has never been such a ready access to high quality learning. In a MOOC I undertook two years ago, a fellow student in Bangladesh was concerned about the exam requirements that would be undertaken while in a location where 24 hour stable electricity is rarity. From that perspective, he might have viewed the problems rather than the benefits. I believe he knew the benefits. Both he and I were undertaking a MOOC for research students through Stanford University. I believe from the tone of the online chatter that he, like many of us, saw this learning opportunity undertaken on the top of existing postgraduate research study loads as a positive.
With a positive learning perception or experience, then I believe (prospective) students are much more likely to engage positively and get more than the knowledge that comes from undertaking a (forced) learning journey. I look forward to testing this further in my research.
Perhaps with more positivity in our adult learning choice making, then the choice, learning and reflection of the experience will lead to broader benefits and have characteristics that Professor Waters describes in her recent TEDx; Warning: Being positive is not for the faint hearted!
Through meditation, schools are giving students a better chance at experience positivity in learning participation. As adults, learning choices can be seen to have other issues or impacts. Perhaps the choice is about how we decide to experience the opportunities that we have, even when they may carry constraints that initially appear problematic?
In the meantime, I return to my own learning (research) choice dilemmas…