Mindfulness for You and Me — Let’s Talk about Language Learning

If this PhD thing actually happens, then I think I found the topic of my dissertation. Because of my background and education and educational technology, I already knew I was fascinated by language learning and using technology to support learning in general. But I recently discovered that there is research looking into mindfulness as a way to support the emotional side of learning a language.

I am so intimately connected to the anxiety that accompanies learning a new language because I live with anxiety on a daily basis. This extends, and increases exponentially, to language learning as I’m often in a state of panic when I’m surrounded by speakers of other languages and then I’m expected to perform. It’s already challenging to learn a language for most of us, but adding a layer of underlying anxiety and it can be a painful experience.

The good news is that I’m not the only one, and the new research is specifically addressing the anxiety and trauma that prevents many from learning in a safe and secure environment. The article titled “International Mindfulness Instructional Design” by Patricia Allen Carbonell (2012) looks at how IMID can assist in alleviating the stress and trauma Latino students experience when taking online language classes. IMID uses mindfulness and other related disciplines to focus on reducing this stress. This article suggests using Mindfulness Brain Stress Reduction (MBSR) as one potential tool to address this.

Things to think on:

  1. Have you ever considered how the emotional side of learning affects your students? If you have, how do you address this?
  2. What is your familiarity with mindfulness practices?
  3. How would you implement something like this into your class, and do you think it would have a positive effect?

References:

Carbonell, P. A. (2012). International Mindfulness Instructional Design. Academic Research International 3(1), 23-29.

Thanks to Mark!

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