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Ellen J. Langer
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Human Dimensions of Fire Management
Human Factors of Firefighter Safety
Human Performance

NRFSN number: 15832
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Mindful learning takes place with an awareness of contexts and of the ever-changing nature of information. A mindful approach is distinguished by three characteristics: the continuous creation of new categories, openness to new information, and an implicit awareness of more than one perspective. Learning is hindered by popular misconceptions about learning. These myths are, first, that the basics must be learned to such an extent that they become second nature. Second, paying attention means staying focused on one thing at a time. Third, delaying gratification is necessary and important. Fourth, rote memorization is essential to education. Fifth, forgetting is a problem. Sixth, intelligence is knowing “what’s out there”. Seventh, there are right and wrong answers. This book explains how these myths undermine true learning. Langer applies the theory of mindfulness to multiple contexts and explains how mindfulness or conditional learning is effective and how, alternatively, learning without this awareness both limits learning and can be a precursor to failure.


Langer, Ellen J. 1997. The power of mindful learning. Reading, MA: Addison Wesley. 167 p.

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