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No Parroting Allowed!

Learning Emergence by Asking Questions

Emergence Group Babies

"On The Four States of Learning"

Questions for the Week of January 8, 2007

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When asked, "how do you best learn?" most people usually respond with either a technique, like, "in a classroom," or by naming their favorite sense, like, "I learn best visually." Unfortunately, this implies most people define "learning" as the ability to parrot the correct answer.

What is wrong with this? We believe that "parroting the correct answer" creates parrots, not students; dullards, not Einsteins. So how can we create more Einsteins? We believe, by asking questions which are intended to provoke the student's own questions. More important, we see this as the best way with which to reawaken in students the love of learning.

This week's topic is, "On the Four States of Learning?" Would you like to awaken your love of learning about this topic? You can, simply by reading the teacher's questions and then, by asking yourself, "what questions did these words just provoke in me?"

On The Four States of Learning
"Can Being Aware of What State We’re In Aid Our Learning Process?"

I recently spent a week studying in my field, at an institute. Each day I was excited about what I might learn and each day my reality surpassed my expectations. There were seven keynote speakers, one each morning, most of whom found a way to make his or her presentation seem personal despite the 300 audience members.

Next, we attended a mini-course of our choosing. These were usually smaller groups of about twenty to thirty students, each of which included many opportunities for questions and small group activities.

For the final two and a half hours each day then, we participated in study groups. This was considered our home-base. The same twenty students and two group leaders were together for all seven days at this time to discuss our interpretation of the day’s activities, ask questions, develop ideas for implementation and participated in more new learning activities. This group was the heart of the program as the leaders were able to develop a safe atmosphere that fostered much open and honest communication and a very strong connectedness among the members. There were aha’s all over the place. I delighted in what I was learning and made several connections with between my new learning and Emergence Theory, each day, privately and publicly.

In the evenings, most of us gathered in intimate groups made up of other attendees from around the world and participated in spontaneous conversations about learning. There was an energy of wanting to stay up until the wee hours of the morning inventing new and creative ways to share what we’d learned each day with our students and colleagues. I called home often with the excitement of a child. Several weeks have passed, and I still can’t wait to share more of what I've learned. I love reading books pertaining to the institute and I'm looking forward to continuing my studies in this area. I learned more about learning during this week than I did during my time earning a Bachelor’s and 2 Masters Degrees combined.

This said, my questions come now. To me, this week seems like the perfect example of the Known by Emergence and Known by Extension stages of The Four States of Learning. What I don’t understand is that in our last Emergence Teachers Group, Steve suggested I had learned mainly through my connections with people and that the program designers and presenters didn't provide me with the opportunities for learning that I deserved. (I realize this is Layer 2, but I don’t see how else to state this. Perhaps this is Block number one for me?)

The Teacher's Questions (asked by Colleen)

  • Do I have a block about this learning experience? Did I misinterpret? What am I not seeing?
  • Of course, I was in Layer 2 for much of the time during the week, but when the light bulbs clicked on, did they illuminate what was momentum learning up until that point?
  • Although I can remember much of my very intense week of learning, there are some things I need to look at my notes to be reminded of. Once I do though, it comes back to me very clearly. Does that mean I didn't really learn it or could there be something else at work here like an overload of some sort?
  • Is it possible that babies’ learning only exists in the 3rd and 4th (Known by Emergence and Known by Extension) states?
  • Does this account for the exponential rate of their learning that occurs before age 7?
  • Can we, as adults, consciously put ourselves in that state even if our inclination at the moment is the 2nd state (Known by Momentum)?
  • In other words, can we pull ourselves out of Layers 2, 3, and 4 at will, when we need to learn something? If so, how?

Sample Student Response Questions (asked by Gary)

  • Are babies ever NOT learning?
  • Does the introduction of verbal language and thoughts disconnect babies from their seemingly persistent state of Layer 9 or 10 conscious connection to their environment?
  • Is learning by emergence a process of re-entering the state of consciousness that babies are always in?
  • Can the state of "baby consciousness" be maintained in adults for extended periods of time?

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