A Learning Theory From a Learner's Experience

My general learning theory is simple:

Learning is automatic, unconscious, and impossible to avoid.

The question is never whether or not you will learn from a particular experience.

The real question is, "What are you learning from those experiences?"

When adults lament that children are not learning, they are completely missing the point.

The children ARE learning something, it's just not what the adult expected or wanted.

There are three fundamental lessons that every experience teaches, even if we don't realize it:

  1. How we manage our own and other peoples behavior
  2. What and how we exchange with others to get what we need (which may include the exchange of attention, energy, money, etc.), and
  3. The pattern of consciousness that results from living within that power structure (#1) and those exchange processes (#2).

If you want to know what is being learned then you have to first assess the power structure that shapes the relationships between the people in the environment (meaning everyone not just teachers and students), the exchange processes that propel the action within those structures and the patterns of consciousness that result from those dynamics.

Developing methods for this type of analysis would be an important way to apply the insights of this learning theory.

Applying This Learning Theory

That pioneering work is being done through the development of an accreditation model for K-12 schools by Schools of Conscience.

The 8 Steps to Accreditation for Schools that Nurture

Step 1

Join Schools of Conscience by making on-going monthly contributions.

Step 2

Enact the Nurturing Schools Education Policy Resolution.

Step 3

Declare candidacy for accreditation & pay the candidacy fee to become a Mender School.

Step 4

Collect baseline well-being data.

Step 5

Collect self-representations of the school.

Step 6

Facilitate an accreditation visit by your peers within the Schools of Conscience membership to observe student and teacher engagement, primary psychological need supportive behaviors and structures, and the integrity of your school's self-representations.

Step 7

Schools of Conscience issues a report on the relationships between well-being data and the school's self-representations.

Step 8

Schools of Conscience makes an accreditation decision based on a combination of the school's on-going capacity to meaningfully evaluate well-being and whether well-being is promised and delivered.

Either Mender School status is retained until accreditation is accomplished or your school becomes an Accredited School of Conscience.

Wikipedia entry on learning.

The link below goes to an excellent summary and overview of the different types of learning theories that exist. I suspect that I fall into the situational/ social category, although my own sense is that these categories are all valuable descriptions of different aspects of learning.

Learning Theory at InFed