Because nothing is more important to our children’s futures
than how well they can learn when they get there.
*Learning Has a Dark Side
Learning can cut both ways. Learning can be profoundly unhealthy. 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 emotionally motivate them to avoid engaging in learning that makes them feel bad about themselves (see: Mind-Shame). Unquestionably accepted 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).
*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
“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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