There are many factors that come into play when we create habits or biases – either good or bad. Some of these include our upbringing, the influence of those around us, our environment, the media, and our own experiences. When it comes to learning, in whatever setting, it’s important to embrace new ideas and perspectives. Doing so not only will allow us to take on the new information, but also aids with personal growth, fostering empathy, and embracing diversity.
But how do we unlearn old habits, particularly ones that hold us back in the learning process. In this post, we’ll look at this idea in more detail and some of the practical things we can do to engage in the process. Creating lifelong learners who are able to embrace new ideas is not only critical for the success of our multicultural and diverse classrooms at The Global College, but also sets our students up for success when they continue with their studies at universities around the world before embarking on careers across a variety of sectors.
Old habits: Acknowledge and Reflect their existence
The first step towards unlearning old habits and biases is to acknowledge their existence. It’s important to reflect on our beliefs, behaviours, and thought patterns and where they come from. We should consider the origins of these biases and habits, questioning whether they align with our values and contribute positively to our personal growth. This self-reflection is key because it sets the foundation for the unlearning process.
Seek Exposure to Diverse Perspectives
Broadening your horizons by seeking exposure to diverse perspectives is crucial in challenging and unlearning old habits and biases. Some examples of how this can be done include engaging with people from different cultures, backgrounds, and belief systems. One of the most beneficial experiences at The Global College is the exposure to people from all backgrounds. Actively listening to other people’s stories, experiences, and viewpoints without judgement helps gain a broader understanding of the world and challenges preconceived notions – a topic we discussed in our post about promoting intercultural competence in the classroom
Embrace Empathy and Active Listening
Cultivating empathy and practising active listening are powerful tools for unlearning old habits and biases. When engaging in conversations, we must strive to understand the other person’s perspective rather than focusing solely on our own. By putting ourselves in other’s shoes, asking open-ended questions, and genuinely listening to their responses, we create the perfect environment to understand new perspectives. This empathetic approach fosters a deeper understanding and allows for the dismantling of biases rooted in ignorance or misconception.
Embrace Lifelong Learning
An open mindset and a commitment to lifelong learning are essential for unlearning old habits and biases. Stay curious and actively seek out new knowledge and experiences. Read books, attend workshops or seminars, and engage in discussions with individuals who possess different perspectives. As a college, we are lucky to be able to count IE University as a key partner, and students will be able to benefit from visits to the campus to attend talks given by leading professors. The willingness to learn and evolve helps break the shackles of ingrained biases, paving the way for personal growth and transformation.
Practice Mindfulness and Self-Reflection
Cultivating mindfulness and self-reflection are powerful tools in the unlearning process. Mindfulness allows you to observe your thoughts, emotions, and behaviours without judgement, enabling you to identify and challenge biases as they arise. Regular self-reflection sessions provide an opportunity to examine your actions, motivations, and underlying beliefs critically. By cultivating self-awareness, you can actively unlearn old habits and biases and replace them with more inclusive and progressive ones.
Embrace Discomfort and Learn from Mistakes
Unlearning old habits and biases can be uncomfortable and challenging. Growth often occurs outside of our comfort zones. Embrace the discomfort and view it as an opportunity for personal development. Be open to making mistakes, as they are valuable learning experiences. When you falter, take responsibility, learn from the mistake, and commit to doing better moving forward.
These are just some examples of what we can actively do to unlearn old habits and create the perfect environment to take on new perspectives and viewpoints. If you are keen to find out more about our learning model or the IB programme, contact the college to arrange a visit or come to one of our Open Days.