Motivation and Mindfulness

When trying to understand mindful learning, I read through Ellen Langer’s article and get the sense of this new culture of learning which stresses on the self-consciousness of learners while learning. The article also shows how mindful learning looks like from a more methodological perspective. The whole idea was inspiring, but I always have this question in my mind while reading: why would I willing to learn?

I feel enlighted when the word motivation comes up in videos. I think motivation is the solution to my question. I see Dr. Emily Satterwhite’s talk today about their actions against mountain valley pipeline as a good example of full of motivation. By knowing what’s important to ourselves and the aspects we care about, motivations generate. Then decide to take actions. Of course, the real world cases are not this simple, but I personally believe they all start somehow in this way.

In the first place, I would define motivation is the lead of mindful learning, however; now I figure they are two different and interactive aspects. A motivation may not last long or become important enough if we lack the self-awareness about what we are motivated by. Motivation coming up from mindful thinking, are those can support us to get through tough times.



3 thoughts on “Motivation and Mindfulness

  1. You raise a point I haven’t seen very often: that someone can be both mindless and motivated. What do you think that would look like? Can you think about ways in which students can be mindless but motivated at the same time, because motivating students is exactly what we want to do, but if they’re not also mindful, then we still haven’t fully done our jobs, have we? Or perhaps it’s their responsibility. Either way, as instructors, how do you think we can achieve both mindfulness and motivation in our students?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Qishen,
      Interesting reflection on mindfulness and motivation in students. I love the short Dan Pink video for this question, because it really turned my thinking around when I was learning about what motivates people. For so long I had it all wrong!

      And to Jasmine! Hey!
      I am not easily thinking about ways students can be mindless and motivated simultaneously. What about this: Maybe if a student is headed into a theater to hear a talk by a speaker they can’t remember a thing about for extra credit–they’re motivated, but they aren’t mindful about the presentation they’re head to.

      In the Landscape Architecture studio, we ask students to look for design precedents to communicate their ideas about what they might want to do in a project. So they may have to look for water features. Some students might just look for “water features,” eager to get 10 basic ideas and be done with the assignment quickly. Another student might be looking for 10 “ecologically sensitive water features” or 10 “water features that double as playscapes.” These kinds of searches are a bit more challenging, but yield more interesting results. Perhaps the last two are mindfully motivated, but the first student is mindlessly motivated.

      As an instructor, I think it’s important to have a plan when you’re headed into the class. You have to know what you want to accomplish, and you have to be able to see what you must do to facilitate those learning objectives. After that everything ought to fall into place. If we do our jobs well, then the students should be mindful, motivated, and attentive. But even some of the best lesson plans can be derailed by a student who is “checked out” that day and (for whatever personal reasons) just won’t participate and engage. There’s only so much you can do as an instructor; the students have to meet you halfway.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Qishen – I agree that motivation may be the result of mindful thinking. We are always motivated for or against something based on a variety of factors. However, as you noted in your post, I believe that a strong culture of learning based on the self-consciousness of learners is important to both the teacher and the student for knowledge creation to occur.


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