Developing Dispositions/Character Traits as the New Global Focus: Resilience, Resourcefulness, Reflectiveness, Reciprocity

The idea of deliberately fostering muddled minds via K-12 education that we encountered in the last post and the overall disdain for Axemaker Minds in the 21st Century that is practically a theme for this blog makes perfect sense when we remember all the entities and people we have encountered, in either my new book or this blog, who have openly proclaimed a desire to use education to drive radical political and socioeconomic change. From John Dewey and Karl Marx as I describe in the book to the OECD’s current admission of The Great Transition or the UN’s related The World We Want 2015 campaign, we are just being overwhelmed by people generally living at taxpayer expense who want wholesale transformation. The US Common Core Initiative and 21st Century Learning globally are simply methods to stealthily get US schools, teachers, and students “in transition” without being honest with parents or taxpayers as to what is going on.

To truly appreciate how so much change could be attempted in plain sight without being properly understood, it is important for us to take a look at the new RSA report that came out this week. The so-called “New Agenda on Climate Change” described in that graphic report is to cease debating the reality of manmade climate change and to turn it into a “social fact.” Widely believed and therefore influencing behavior whatever the actual facts. Needless to say, K-12 education that is no longer fact based but instead focuses on key concepts usefully presupplied will come in awfully handy to such a “social fact” aspiration. Not to mention a muddled mind and a trained willingness to act in the face of ambiguity and “persist in the face of difficulty” as we encountered in the last post’s mention of those desired learning dispositions.

Called the 4 Rs by Claxton and UK documents, these Learning-Power Dispositions of Resilience (Feeling or the emotional aspects of learning), Resourcefulness (Thinking or the cognitive aspects of learning), Reflectiveness (Managing or the strategic aspects of learning), and Reciprocity (Relating or the social aspects of learning) make perfect sense as a focus of the classroom if change to and in the student is what is sought. As an invisible means to broader transformation. Claxton even said that the 4 Rs are part of a needed  Epistemic Climate Change in the schools. So let’s go back to what Jonathan Rowson wrote is now desired to appreciate why it is the student, and ultimately voting adults, whose values and guiding beliefs and personality need to all change.

Rowson and the Social Brain Project and its work are not interested in dealing with an environmental problem. He wants to “refocus the debate away from the existence of the problem towards competing ideas about solutions.” Which again is very useful if the problem does not actually exist and was always just an excuse for social, political, and economic transformation in a desired collectivist direction which is precisely what we have discovered on this blog going back to the early 60s. RSA is simply going to assume away the dispute. It knows about the governmental monopoly over education that allows a radicalizing focus on bringing students on board with the desired changes while erroneously believing they are essential. Rowson acknowledges the extent of RSA’s goals on behalf of the UK and actually the rest of the world by announcing:

“we have to connect with the root causes of the climate problem, which is partly about using way too much energy to fullfil socially and culturally needs and desires, but is more profoundly about the price of fossil fuels [what was that quote from candidate Obama about necessarily skyrocketing?] that produce that energy, and political and economic structures that keep us addicted to them.”

So it is the political and economic structures that need changing. Rowson concedes why getting at individual values, attitudes, and beliefs is so essential in all these radical change efforts as the agenda seeks to get at “how the behaviours of consumers and citizens serves to perpetuate the economic and political basis of the energy production and consumption that drive climate change.”

Or don’t drive climate change at all but are useful to social, political, and economic change. Those 4 Rs as the student and classroom focus instead of knowledge would certainly help if the solution to be pushed is some kind of Universal Love or obligation to care for others. Rowson mentions Robert Kegan in the paper and we know Kegan spoke at RSA this past year so Kegan’s Stages that are in turn based on Lawrence Kohlberg’s globally influential Stages of Moral Development are very much on the mind of the RSA, the OECD (remember this is what their Key Competences are built around?), US implementers of the Common Core, and new Hong Kong definitions of Citizenship traits to be fostered in school. Such global commonality around what is basically the same set of desired personal dispositions and moral beliefs at the same time can hardly be coincidental.

Especially when the Rowson paper explicitly mentions that what President Obama (no insertion of ‘US’ there as if Rowson considers him everyone’s President Obama) did with the climate change discussion that was so crucial was to frame it in “distinctly moral terms.” We keep coming back to the same goal to be encouraged in students and ultimately everyone: “the ethical responsibility to safeguard the welfare of people we care about as well as those we are never likely to meet.” Necessitating our need to take someone else’s word for what those unknown people want and need from us.

Now if this is the change you want in the future, how useful is an official Learning Quality Framework that has a New Vision for Learning? That the school should now be “investigating social, economic, moral and personal reasons for revising the school’s vision of and for learning.” To make the new focus of school how “teachers now plan lessons around the learning capacities they are trying to help students to build.” And the “development of learning capacities is planned to ensure progression.”  That’s not knowledge folks and this view of the focus is not confined to the UK either. It fits perfectly with descriptions of how the College and Career Ready Index and Student Growth are being touted in US school districts too. Elsewhere the Framework makes it clear teachers are to be “drawing students attention to learning behaviours they are using” so that the students will be “progressing in developing learning habits.”

The purpose of content under this vision is merely to “drive learning opportunities and stretch and progress learning capacities” although it of course remains terribly useful to taking an unknown and getting students to know regard something as a social fact. I don’t think it is a coincidence that Guy Claxton talks about meeting with David Perkins of Harvard who we have encountered in connection with the NSF-funded Understandings of Consequence approach to science and social studies learning under the Common Core. Nor his mention of working with one of the best known Whole Language advocates Shirley Brice Heath or fuzzy math advocates-Jo Boaler. All of these education so-called wars makes much more sense if affecting what the student believes is the actual goal of all these controversial philosophies.

So many of us still hear the word assessment and simply erroneously assume we are still talking about measurements of knowledge. The Learning Quality Framework makes it clear that assessing for learning is about “tracking and authenticating the growth of learning dispositions (with regard to when, where, and how they are used)” and insists that such tracking, likely to be revealed to parents using opaque terms like data and feedback, “builds learners’ motivation and informs learning design.” Which of course gets sold under the euphemistic term “personalized learning for all students” but sounds rather like BF Skinner’s operant conditioning.

Again having such intimate data and detail about the essence of each student is very useful if the goal is “challenge the values, structures and processes that led to this case of overconsumption and resource depletion, and which otherwise leads to more.” And that is precisely what Rowson says the new goal is. He also proclaims the need to shift mindsets and must be excited about the prominence in the UK of Guy Claxton’s Learning Power work.

Does anyone doubt that a ‘learner-centred classroom” in the UK and the US and elsewhere will really come in handy if you believe we as a society need a “broader cultural shift that reframes ‘prosperity’ as something with social, relational and experiential dimensions”?

How about if it is your intention to challenge “the structure of the macroeconomy and the logic of capitalism”?

Stay tuned as I drop yet another related disclosure bomb next time.



24 thoughts on “Developing Dispositions/Character Traits as the New Global Focus: Resilience, Resourcefulness, Reflectiveness, Reciprocity

  1. Robin,
    de ja vu. feel like I’ve met my twin. Tell your children, there’s a redheaded lady, who thinks just like their mom. And yes there is an upside to having such a mom. My mom is one too !
    Thank you and blessings,
    dawn (atilla too?)

    • Dawn-my oldest was out of the country when the book came out but he laughed when I read him the dedication page.

      He has come a long way from the high schooler who wanted to know why so many people looked to me for advice.

      We follow the evidence and recognize when we are being played and look for the function of ideas, not the PR declaration.

  2. wiping powdered sugar from my hands on my apron for a sec,
    I recalled this a friend sent me and thought it would explain the foundation of what it all keeps coming back to. I call it BS, but the proper term is hysteron proteron….
    Back to cookie baking!
    Merry Christmas to you and your Robin!

    logical fallacy – a fallacy in logical argumentation
    fallacy, false belief – a misconception resulting from incorrect reasoning
    hysteron proteron – the logical fallacy of using as a true premise a proposition that is yet to be proved
    ignoratio elenchi – the logical fallacy of supposing that an argument proving an irrelevant point has proved the point at issue
    petitio, petitio principii – the logical fallacy of assuming the conclusion in the premises; begging the question
    post hoc, post hoc ergo propter hoc – the logical fallacy of believing that temporal succession implies a causal relation
    Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc

    • Cookies!! Yum.

      Did not know if you saw this link I put up this morning on previous thread on Philly’s Green Infrastructure

      It includes the actual slideshow put on recently.

      Yes hysteron proteron. Trying to change reality by pretending something is so that either is not or may not be. In this case it becomes the rationale for the long sought restructuring.

      I kept thinking about the Kegan presentation and Unger’s presentation and the spirituality focus that seems mostly to me about creating mindsets for social justice. None of this is hidden but recognizing how it all relates is a great deal of detective work. But it all clearly is intended to work together for the desired change without people recognizing in time what is really being counted as student achievement or cognitive.

      It’s like IB. The bright kids recognize it is manipulative junk and a waste of time and lots of busy work. It’s the parents who cannot bear to hear it. Lots of people do not want to know what is wrong and I keep trying to tell people we cannot fix this until we acknowledge what the problems and actual intentions are.

      Merry Christmas to you and your as well. 2014 is going to be quite the year.

  3. I know Robin, so so so many autre person refuse to take their heads out of the sand to acknowledge said clandestine overtures now kinda out in the open. They refuse to believe it or are afraid to be outliers.
    My fellow domestic goddess extraordinaire colleague in Pittsburgh
    Finds the same ennui among her peers too.
    I think therefore I bake.

    God is on our side.


  4. Ok I just began reading the philly link you sent. Hah! Fat chance this cheesesteak would ever get in a philly paper!

    Loving this nugget:

    A grey infrastructure system was estimated to cost more than $6 billion. The green infrastructure plan Philly is moving forward with will only cost $1.2 billion over 25 years. Some $800 million of that will go directly to green infrastructure projects in the city, while $200 million will go to further strengthening the city’s water treatment plants. Another $200 is reserved for “adaptive management,” which will address “future technological changes.” Focht said even if future mayors tried to undo this 25-year plan, they can’t. The agreement, which he emphasized is “not a consent decree,” has been signed.

    Surprise! We are SAVING YOU
    MONEY! This piece has all the showstoppers… Yeah where will the $$$ really go?
    Our burb got an $80,000 grant for a
    ” rain garden”. Uh that would be a
    ” ditch” to you and me. Hah again, no ditch was ever carved in this very obvious tiny swath on the main road. But I was the only one who questioned. Where’s the $$$$.?
    Where’s the green ditch?
    Petitio, Petitio principi… Hah!

    • Madmommy–This column from yesterday is a reminder of just how much the suburbs are about to be under attack in 2014. I am familiar with Rothstein’s work and he would not be writing this unless as I have mentioned this was already on the agenda.

      Of course since I read too much, I notice that the co-author of Brookings’ The Metropolitan Revolution also got a plug yesterday for her work at the Techonomy conference talking about the sharing economy. Techonomy has high powered conferences we are also not invited to based on the idea that we have met the technological stage Marx wrote about that would supposedly make redistribution and an economy premised on needs, not consumption, possible.

      Which is ultimately where all these initiatives are going as connected people line their pockets with taxpayer funds advocating for a transition that benefits the politically connected most of all. Let’s hope 2014 is the year more people recognize the intention that they acquiesce to being ruled over and that the schools are being used to create personalities malleable to such political subservience.

      All in the name of equity or social justice or catastrophic climate change or affordable outstanding healthcare for all or whatever pipe dream gets the transformative foot in the door. It may not be fun to get all this, but the alternative really is to be having it still going on but without knowledge or understanding in time. At least this way we can protect our own loved ones and friends and hopefully others we have never met. There’s a great deal of altruism for strangers in the useful info I have given away on this blog in 2013. I have no use for being told I must have empathy for others and the government will be monitoring to ensure compliance via data on personal growth.

  5. I was just having a conversation yesterday with a fellow CCSSI fighter about how parents and most American citizens in general simply take what they feed us as reality. When talking to people/parents about the possibility that there is an agenda behind all these new reforms one must be careful. If you blurt out facts that others are not willing to hear, you get some raised eyebrows and someone who avoids you at the next PTA meeting like you are the town loon. Why don’t you just accept this good thing we are doing for your children? There are no “radical” teachers. There are other moments when you are speaking with someone and you both make the connection of something additional going on behind the scenes. It’s almost like a first date. Do you see this? Do you read this blog? Do you know? OH, I know! Making that connection with someone in your town who “gets it” priceless. Then there are the moments when you speak with a Gypsy principal or super and they know you are on to them and what they push. Scary! They watch you with new found enthusiasm every time you enter the school.

    Perhaps the reality is that we are so secure in the thought that our country could not be violated in such a way. Secure in the thought of the one in the position of leading this country truly has our best interest at heart and will defend the Constitution. No group of people would be able to infiltrate America like that! Exactly what “they” are counting on.

    When will the proverbial “wool” be removed?

      • Depends On Your Worldview

        Historians who analyze the notion of “mass compulsory state schooling” do so to both advance scholarship and to be of assistance in public policy.

        A commonly used breakdown into distinct categories comes from David F Labaree.

        In 1997 he articulated three differing perspectives or what we would now call worldviews:

        1) democratic equality — develop competent citizens for democratic roles in society
        2) social efficiency — invest in human capital for industry
        3) social mobility — provide for the aspirations of individuals to live successful lives

        Labaree’s paper — Public goods, private goods — saw the first two as public goods and the third as private. Currently, considerable debate ensues on these two issues, producing controversies as over parent choice, vouchers, bussing, enforced catchment, etc., using public/private interest as compass points depending on your point of view.

        But, Labaree writes that social mobility, the private goal, has overtaken the others to the detriment of society. This knowledge in the hands of central planners boosts their adamant opposition to parental choice.

        It will take some good economic research to show whether an aggregate of private choices would equal or surpass the present expensive, often dysfunctional central planning model. And, in the end, to demonstrate that the “public good” may actually be better served by a totally “post public” universe of education. This is an establishment dread.

        It’s in this context that some, especially in the teacher training colleges, see Marxist education as an imperative to maintain the status quo of central planning, public service jobs, and students acquiring uniform mindsets in the name of the “public good”.

        • Tunya-

          Isn’t part of the problem a belief that being on public payroll hasn’t hurt them and a failure to appreciate that a ‘public good’ mindset leaves them wide open to manipulation?

          That empty degrees are not something a private employer outside of centrally planned economy where the privates are monopoly, politically protected providers of needed goods like utilities will pay for?

          In the book I talk about Deirdre McCloskey’s economic research surrounding The Great Fact. I get that too many are unaware of that reality, but why isn’t that research good enough?

      • I am certain the authors intent was not to incite laughter at the statements on the domains of happiness, but I did. Perhaps it was the fault of the hot totty I am sipping.

        We are to look within our “self”, our community and planet for the key happiness in our lives. Some interesting highlights there:
        Make less than 75K per year, don’t try to get ahead by working more be more active in your community instead. Do acts of kindness when they can be seen it will make “you” feel better (because the act of kindness is about you, of course), be spiritual, (what ever that means to “you”) trust your employer, do your part to participate in governance and encourage others that being governed is great ( I suppose they assume the constitutional republic is void) Look strangers in the eye ( ha ha ha) Find more friends and you will not get the flu (you can also just wash your hands) Join a neighborhood initiative (based on false climate change) and find more happiness in community, communicate effectively but don’t communicate the truth……

        Blech! Tomorrow while I enjoy the beautiful sounds of the choir at church I will be sure to look all my fellow worshipers that I don’t know in the eye and wish them a Merry Christmas! 😉

    • LL-I am missing the video, but here’s another slideshare on community building.

      Anyone question whether the suddenly all-present word “resilience” is being used in same sense as the new desired Disposition? I noticed the Duke Endowment is also funding research pushing this disposition as a means of dealing with stress.

      We don’t need much actual knowledge these days, just desired psychological characteristics.

    • LL-

      See what you think of this shift . So the driving question is “How does conflict impact people and places?” and students create websites and documentaries and learn to use tools. The computer replaces the saw, but it is still vocational education. No interest in the transmission of a body of knowledge.

      When I was researching RSA’s Opening Minds curriculum it reminded me so much of IB. It was interesting that the high school teachers with the students who had been doing OM for years found them to have a very weak store of facts.

      • I may not be grasping what you are thinking, here are my thoughts:

        What exactly did students learn from the driving question? “How does conflict impact people and places?” It appears they learned more about how to use a tool rather than real factual knowledge about what conflict does to people, cities, or countries. If they did gain some knowledge on this in addition to the other computer based tasks it is not stated. Learning to use that tool was of more importance than discovering what kind of impact conflict has.
        In addition, what instruction did the teacher really give? What knowledge did she impart upon her students if any? Using the computer and internet is the main focus of this task (vocational). The article states that the students created something “real”. In my opinion that is based upon how you think about cyber information and personalities. If you think that the online environment is a reflection of real life.
        “The end goal of SAMR model is redefinition” redefinition of what exactly? The new vision of what it means to have learned, or show growth?

        While reading this article I recalled some information I read in the past. There is a search engine made just for Common Core. It is supposed to provide information that is aligned with CCSSI. It has been found to be politically biased and favoring other countries. It is called SIRS discoverer, by ProQuest. I wonder how many are being required to use this tool that provides biased information.

        • LL-I think those are excellent observations. And you are so right, without facts, you will only believe you are a good researcher. It is interesting all over the world that there is am emphasis on teaching students about the bias of sources. They will end up believing what they should not and disregarding what is accurate.

  6. The entire effort seems to be based on how much nagativity, criticism, misinfo and gibberish a child can endure : resilience… Before they
    ” break” against their family traditions and beliefs, and become cult like followers of the institution ie state.
    Occupy seemed to be a test. It cannot be admitted that ccss has been well tested because it would reveal the intention. A catch 22 as this argument against ccss of its untested experimental nature, has never been addresses and cannot be, leaving it a very good weapon against ccss.
    The SNL vid was great.

  7. Ok that Duke link is rediculous!
    3 or 4 million dollars for this! Outrageous waste of money that could feed starving children. C’mon!
    This is a case of.. ” where’s the money going, really???
    This is predetermined consensus collectivist material, insert here… The money in these partnerships and research grants goes where exactly?
    Into pockets of grateful and compliant edudemia…
    So instead of fixing the problem, say financial stress on kids by letting their parents worry about it and minding their own business. OR. Lowering tuition, they choose to get in students personal business, just like life skills and measuring grit.
    Here is a quote:
    We expect the research coming from this project will add to the field and lead to interventions focused on student well-being.”

    What intervention? Wellness Massages? Psychotropic drugs?
    Hypnotism? Activism?

    The Vagueness of communitarian busibodyism… All too calculated and invasive.

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