Learning is not just one of the things we do. Everything we do, in every of moment life, involves learning; every movement we move, every emotion we feel, every thought we think, every word we speak, and every belief we believe. Babies learn to become children, children learn to become teens, and teens learn to become adults. From gene expressions and brain wiring to social-emotional development, linguistic proficiency, abstract thinking, self-reflexivity, artistic expression, academic achievement, vocational success, professional development… and on and on… every aspect of human life involves learning. (see: Redefining Learning) Learning, far more than any other human activity shapes each and all of our lives (see also: “I” Am Learned, “We” Are Learned).
How well we grow through the traumas, challenges, and disadvantages we experience depends on how well we learn through the traumas, challenges, and disadvantages we experience. How well we rise to meet the opportunities and advantages we encounter in life, depends on how well we learn to rise to those opportunities and advantages. From our emotional health and maturity to our mental health and wisdom, our innermost growth and outermost achievement depend on our learning. Not just what we learn or how we learn, our lives depend on how well we learn in general – on the healthiness of our life-learning.
Learning can be profoundly unhealthy. Learning Has a Dark Side
Learning doesn’t care. Learning can be physically, emotionally, socially, linguistically, cognitively, intellectually, and academically maladaptive. Most of our unhealthy behaviors are learned (see: Unhealthy Learning). Children can learn in ways that misorient or mis-scaffold their learning (see: Maladaptive Cognitive Schema). Children can learn in ways that motivate them to avoid learning that might make them feel bad about themselves (see: Mind-Shame). Certainties and beliefs enslave our learning (see: Mental Models). Learning can be learning disabling; we can learn in ways that result in acquired learning disabilities (see: Institute).
Unnatural Learning. Natural and Artificial Modes of Learning
We only sense now. We only feel now. We only think now. We only learn now. We are naturally ‘wired’ to learn from what is happening on the living edge of now. But modern human life requires an unnaturally different kind of learning. Reading, writing, math, and all their abstract, conventional, and technological outgrowths, require our brains to process information in complexly artificial ways (like a machine). Whereas we learn to move, feel, touch, smell, taste, hear, emote, walk, and talk by reference to the immediate internal feel of learning them, in the artificial domains we learn from the external, abstract, authority of who or what we are learning from. In natural modes of learning, we learn from immediately synchronous (self-generated) feedback on the edge of participating (falling while walking). In the artificial modes, (other-provided) feedback can be way out of ‘sync’ with the learning it relates to (test results in school provide feedback far downstream from the learning they measure). Most of the children who struggle in school are struggling with artificial learning challenges. In reading, for example, our brains must process a human invented ‘code’ and construct a simulation of language. Reading requires our brains to perform in ways that are as artificial and machine-like as an MP3 player.
Today’s Unprecedented Challenge
than how well they can learn when they get there.
This site has four intentions: 1) to engage you and learn together; 2) to present elements of the neurological, cognitive, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, educational, vocational, social, economic, and political “case” for “stewarding the health of our children’s learning” – for becoming fundamentally concerned with learning to care for how healthily our children learn their way into becoming adults; 3) to present distinctions critical to differentiating healthy and ‘unhealthy learning‘, and 4) to introduce new models of virtual and real-world relationships that exhibit this ‘stewarding healthy learning’ orientation in action (click on any word on any page of this site (and keep clicking it) to experience one such model.
“We can no longer assume that what we think children should learn
is more important than how well they can learn.”
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