For no light matter is at stake; the question concerns the very manner in which human lfe is to be lived.
"What touches the heart is engraved in the memory."
"In the practical use of our intellect, forgetting is as important as remembering"
Learning and Relationship Based Pedagogy
Co-creating meaning since 2001
An important part of teaching is making explicit to the learner what they should forget
"The best schools are, without exception, filled with happy children who love going to school - children who love their teachers and their friends - children who love their maths lessons and their art classes."
Headteacher, King’s College, British School of Alicante
"The teaching that uses no words, the benefit of resorting to no action, these are beyond the understanding of all but a very few."
Primates need to enjoy something to be good at it...The only way to get to the bottom of primate intelligence is to design experiences that engage them intellectually and emotionally...What they care about are social situations involving individuals close to them.
Frans De Waal
"Do not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born in another time."
Proverb (attributed to both Chinese and Hebrew cultures)
"Away with your loathsome statistics!"
James Hilton - "Goodbye Mr Chips"
"Large scale public education will always be mediocre, for the same reason that in large kitchens the cooking is usually bad"
"Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care"
"The unlearned learned teachers are new barbarians, serenly restoring the Dark Ages"
Rethinking Learning and Pedagogy
"All learning is emotion based and led - every learning experience begins with a feeling. This is completely overlooked by almost all formal learning and development systems.
Natural and instinctual learning systems work because they evolved with us - conventional and traditional ones fail because they have been invented for us."
To learn from one who no longer learns is to drink from a stagnant pond
But to learn from one who is still learning is to drink from a flowing stream
Emotionally Competent Stimuli and Attention
We notice and pay attention to what is, or might be, important to us. It is our emotion and feelings that lead us to direct attention at, attribute significance to and create meaning from the plethora of sensory stimuli that would otherwise overwhelm our mental processing capacity.
Antonio Damasio says "Emotion is critical for the appropriate direction of attention since it provides an automated signal about the organism's past experience...and thus provides a basis for assigning or witholding attention" (from 'The Feeling of What Happens').
What is Relationship Based Pedagogy?
Relationship Based Pedagogy recognizes the centrality of emotion and feeling in learning and development. Therefore it places a central and fundamental importance on the establishment of a secure, trusting and personal relationship beetween teacher and learner. The building of this relationship is the first and main task of the teacher - formal, explicit and curricular learning assumes a secondary and dependent place.
Learning is most effective when it involves feelings and emotions - fear, love, acceptance, belonging and attachment are prime motivators. The first of these is incomplete, damaging and morally unacceptable; relationship based pedagogy employs the others, begining with the teacher's unconditional positive regard for the learner.
In an open letter to teachers a Holocaust survivor wrote:
"My eyes saw...gas chambers built by learned engineers, children poisoned by educated physicians, infants killed by trained nurses, women and babies shot and burned by high school and college students. So I am suspicious of education.
Help your students become human. Your efforts must never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths, educated Eichmanns; reading, writing and arithmetic are only important if they make our children more humane."
Quoted in H G Ginott, 'Teacher and Child'
Relationship Based Classrooms
Certain behaviours characterize Relationship Based Pedagogy and Relationship Based Classrooms.
Click below to see an
"Many who are capable of exhibiting significant understanding appear deficient, simply because they cannot traffic readily in the coin of the educational realm"
Designing a Learning Experience
Learning and developmental experiences will be most effective if they follow patterns which evolution provided for learning.
The pattern below is an interactive one between a learner and a Mediating Agent (MA).
The MA may be a human or an artificial agent. Agents may be either active, such as a teacher or computer, or passive, such as a book or DVD.
The process will take the form:
1. Initiation via an act of attention within the learner.
2. Provision via the MA of a presented stimulus. This is an Emotionally Competent Stimulus, or ECS.
3. Securing learner engagement through an emotional response to the ECS.
4. Emergence of a somatic response or “feeling” in the learner.
5. Initiation of explicit reasoned and rational thinking within the learner.
6. Beginning of articulation of these processes and thoughts and their outcomes.
7. Linking of emergent products with existing memories and frameworks of understanding.
8. Development of thinking trains and the creation of new linkages through recall, analysis, further articulation and dialogue.
9. Creation of narratives that secure the new learning within existing frameworks and understandings and memories.
10. Challenge to and consolidation of narratives, especially through re-articulation and “explanation”.
11. Application of new behaviours and growth of experience, consolidation of new neural pathways and application of new learning to novel analyses and circumstances.
The process should form the spine of a designed learning experience.
Sub-processes may be iterative.
This is an active and energy consuming process - facilitated conversations use a lot of brain very intensively. Consequently timings, pace, breaks and duration are critical elements of design, along with the sensitivity and flexibility to be able to change these when neccessary.
Pro forma for designing a learning experience
"Delightful as the pastime of measuring may be, it is the most futile of occupations, and to submit to the decrees of the measurers the most servile of attitudes"
If an idea makes sense to you - make it yours.