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On Project Based Learning

the Emergence Explorer

Questions for the Week of May 8, 2006

these questions were based on the article
"Natural Human Roles in Classroom"

Emergence Character Type Babies 9-AI-2

This Week's Questions

[posed by Colleen A.]
  • How are students affected when a teacher goes into shock?
  • How can we teach children the importance of connecting to teachers?
  • Is Project Based Learning a form of Emergence?

Do you know?

[Question 1] How can Emergence and Project Based Learning be used together to help students become more effective learners?
[Answer] Colleen, before having anything like a definitive answer, I would need you to help me to have a picture for "Project Based Learning." Even without this picture though, I know already the answer would include the idea that there is nothing the Principles of Emergence can't add love to. After all, we each have within us an almost unlimited potential to become more loving beings with every "project" we take on.

[Question 2] Does a teacher go into shock every time a student asks a question that she doesn't expect or know the answer to? If yes, does that explain why teaching is so exhausting?
[Answer] Before answering, let's consider what would make teaching exhausting. If a teacher feels exhausted after teaching for a day, then he or she is spending most of his or her time in a state of aloneness to neediness. More over, while teachers can mitigate this condition by making connecting to students the first and primary focus, even one student in shock can break these connections.

To answer your question now, yes, going into shock about not being able to answer a student's question can make teaching exhausting. We cannot assume though that this is the nature of what is happening. There are many possible BLocks here, and the one you mention is but one. A good possibility, yes. But only one of many good possibilities.

What would some others be? Being a two in a room full of ones. Being in shock from life events outside the classroom, such as from school politics or from marital stress. Being overwhelmed by trying to help a parent deal with illness or end of life issues. Being torn between teaching someone else's kids and being with your own children.

These are but a few very real possibilities. In truth, then, there are almost an infinite amount of possible BLocks which could be provoking a teacher into shock. Remember too though, that there are also an infinite number of possible solutions as well.

[Question 3] How are students affected when a teacher goes into shock?
[Answer] When a teacher goes into shock, the whole room goes into shock, similar to how one hole in a space capsule would affect all of the occupants. In addition, when a teacher goes into shock, as time passes, the affect builds, similar to a feedback loop in an auditorium, until finally, it builds to a crescendo. Unless, of course, the teacher knows how to bring herself out of shock, meaning, she knows how to use connecting to someone and how to build on this connection as the means to reconnecting the whole class, both to each other and to her.

[Question 4] How can I help teachers to celebrate and delight in their students' "questioning" more?
[Answer] To offer a "how to" answer would take a full length article. To offer a starting point though, the basic idea here is to help teachers to realize that their delight is predicated on that they, themselves, must be learning while they are teaching. In fact, ideally, teachers would be learning simultaneously with the students, albeit, with their focus more on learning to teach than on learning the curriculum.

[Question 5] How do we teach children to connect to their teachers and other students?
[Answer] The best way? By having teachers learn right along with their students. In this case then, teachers, by example, would be modeling for their students what being a student is like. Again, teachers learning would more likely focus on learning how to teach rather than on the curriculum. However, learning to see more beauty in the curriculum is a strong second need.

[Question 6] If connections occur only between two people, how can a teacher keep 25 students connected / learning / engaged at once? Is there something more than just witnessing a classmate’s connection with the teacher, or is that enough?
[Answer] In its most basic form, a connection occurs from the mere witnessing of beauty. Thus yes, just witnessing a classmate’s connection with the teacher can be enough. Given the student is conscious. In addition though, there is the idea that we can aggregate "bodies of beings" into a sort of "meta-being," thereby allowing us to connect to the whole meta-being though one connection. The prime example of this, then, is when a class is entranced by a teacher.

[Question 7] Can students be connected to curriculum? Or are they connected to the author or to a perceived personality?
[Answer] Both kinds of connections are possible. Thus, what follows the word "connected" is the key.

To whom have the students connected then?

When students connect to authors, teachers, and to perceived personalities, such as to mythical creatures and historical characters, they have made a Layer 9 connection, as these connections are to "beings." When students connect to the awe and wonder of the solar system or to the incredible beauty of the Grand Canyon, they have made Layer 10 connections, as these connections are to "non beings."

Finally, how do you know they have made one of these connections? You know because they exhibit the sign of having had an emergence. What sign? They feel delight. In what? In having discovered for themselves, the beauty in these beings and non beings. And by inference, the beauty in the very world of which they are a part.

[Question 8] If we can know only what we can picture, then how can we possibly know advanced mathematical ideas such as those studied from advanced calculus on up? At some point, doesn't math become too abstract to picture in the real world?
[Answer] At some point, everything was too abstract to picture. This is simply the nature of abstractions. To babies then, at one point, everything becomes an abstract. This includes not only the abstract quantities ("one," "two," "three," etc.) behind the most basic mathematical operation; "counting," but also the concept behind any natural world object or operations, from ideas like "cooking" and "eating" to the concept we just mentioned; "counting."

When does this occur? When we ask babies to label everything in their world, by asking them to learn to speak. Words, then, are the primary "abstraction," the first way we learn to abstractly refer to the things in our world rather than to what they actually look like.

Know that this idea, that we can "abstract" from real life the essential pattern of a thing or an action, is one of the root beliefs within all Emergence Theory; that to understand our world, we must learn to see the patterns within nature. At the same time, doing this consciously this is one of the most difficult concepts of all to grasp. Why? Because it requires we learn to read and construct "visual ratios," which happens to be the basis for all Emergence Paper Therapies, from "P" Curves and Visual Intensity Maps to Gender Identity Charts and Social Priority Questionnaires.

From: "Natural Human Roles in the Classroom - Teachers and Students - Ranges and Roles"

[Question 9] How can a person be both warm and detached?
[Answer] The same way that an oven can be on and empty.

[Question 10] Should Project Based Learning, at its best, demand the teacher be a Generalist, while at the same time, allowing the students to become Specialists, hence, the combination creating a Naturalist environment in the classroom? Or should the teacher always be a Naturalist?
[Answer] Wow, you are really on fire here Colleen! I love it, albeit, when I went to review this article, I felt somewhat embarrassed at that I have never finished writing it.

To answer your question though, the main point for knowing this diagram is to give teachers a visual ratio for learning. In other words, this diagram represents a visual analog for the actual learning process. Teachers who learn it then get to recognize the route by which they can create the ideal teaching / learning environment. What would this environment look like?

In the ideal learning environment, both teachers and students would begin any new learning within the "holistic" zone, as "naturalists." Then, as students progressively incorporated more and more visual ratios for this learning, the teacher would then encourage the students to slowly try on both the "generalist" and the "specialist" roles, while at the same time watching for students who have exceeded their visual capacity and so, have gone into shock.

Here, then, is the second value in having teachers visually incorporate this diagram. In other words, should a student stray too far into the generalist role, a teacher could then use her knowledge of the ranges and roles to counter with the equal and opposite remedy, in this case, to step into the specialist role. Like wise, should a student stray too far into the specialist role, a teacher could then use her knowledge of the ranges and roles to counter by stepping into the generalist role.

Ideally then, all teaching / learning would begin, and end, with both teachers and students in the naturalist role. Why? Because true learning; meaning, emergences, happen only within the holistic zone. And true anti-learning; meaning, boredom, happens only within the dead zone.

From: "What Kills Students' Love of Learning"

What happens? What kills "the love of learning?" I believe the answer to this question is the same as the answer to the question, "what prevents learning?" I believe the answer to both these questions is: the "love of learning" dies whenever a teacher’s" credibility is valued more than the student's own experience.

[Question 11] Would you please give an (elementary school) example of what you mean in the above a teacher’s credibility is valued more than the students’ own "experiences. I don’t have a picture of it.
[Answer] In it's simplest incarnation, this picture would be any in which grades mean more than the students' love of learning. Thus, sadly, a teacher's credibility is often based more on their students grades than on their students love of learning; on how well the students can parrot information rather than on how much beauty they have learned to see in the world.

I also love hearing a teacher teach about what he or she loves and in this, witnessing a being similar to myself; more, being seen by such teachers in our sameness. This experience has been rare. And so valuable. It is the sunlight and water which has nurtured the little seed in my kindergarten cup and kept it growing.

[Question 12] It is so sad to me to think of how rare something so valuable is, especially for someone like you. How can teachers find a way to continue to love teaching and to be passionate about what they teach, when they are under such pressure by the district and state mandates to teach overwhelming curriculums; to learn new curriculums after school hours; to meet with demanding parents; to do lunch duty; to reflect on and plan lessons; to confer with colleagues; to correct homework, and to run after school programs, oh yeah, not to mention the 6 hours per day they are actually responsible for 25 students?
[Answer] Sounds like you have been in these shoes. Me too. In a very similar and yet international way.

How? The answer is simple, albeit, somewhat difficult to keep in mind. Make connecting more important than information. Always. Make learning to teach, and learning more about what you teach, more important than meeting demands and complying with rules.

The opposite; making information more important than connecting, and making meeting demands and complying with rules more important than learning to teach and learning more about what you teach, guarantees you will likely keep your job but at the same time want to quit as you will burn out.

Your choice, Colleen. Safe world, or better world. Not an easy choice to make. I've made mine. How about you?

The student first experiences new learning guided by the teacher only when necessary. This means the student need not know ahead of time whether the teacher’s theories are credible. Usually the student has these experiences first by having the teacher guide them and then by logically examining and comparing teacher’s theories to his or her experience.

[Question 13] Is this not the true nature of Project Based Learning?
[Answer] I'm not at all sure. From the little you've taught me though, of what this phrase means, I'd venture to guess that yes, it is the heart and soul of what it ideally means. Do they know how to achieve it? Theoretically? No. By imitation, meaning, technically parroted? Yes.

Sadly, without the underlying visual ratios, we turn everything into a parroted technique. The hope is that good hearted folks like you can wake up the world of teaching. And get them to remember why they became teachers in the first place. The love of teaching. And the love of learning to teach. No one who remembers this ever burns out. I certainly don't.

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