Ubiquitous Coincidence or Deliberate Targeting? The New Science of Mind, Brain, and Education

Let’s start with a quote from November 2018 and an international adult leadership seminar tied to one of the creators of the K-12 MBE model referred to in the title and then tie it to the use of learning standards from the last post as ‘self-regulation’ and exactly what is being targeted as the missing elements in the Iceberg Problem. Sorry for the delay in writing, but I needed to be sure of how everything fit and one of my sources was a more than 700 page book. This is from a man called Werner Erhard who came up quite often when I was researching Esalen and Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory and its ties to the K-12 actual template.

We can choose to be audacious enough to take responsibility for the entire human family. We can choose to make our love for the world to be what are lives are really about.

Each of us now has the opportunity, the privilege, to make a difference in creating a world that works for all of us. It will require courage, audacity, and heart. It is much more radical than a revolution–it is the beginning of a transformation in the quality of life on our planet. What we create together is a relationship in which our work can show up as making a difference in people’s lives. I welcome the unprecedented opportunity for us to work globally on that which concerns us as human beings.

Those aspirations fit well with that Blueprint from the last post, don’t they? The quote came from the materials found here https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1263835&download=yes and it is a co-author, Michael Jensen, whose personal bio ties him to the creation of the MBE program at Harvard in the 1990s. By Autumn 2011, we can find an article by Michael Ferrari and Hazel McBride called “Mind, Brain, and Education: The Birth of a New Science” on “the benefits as well as the difficulties involved in integrating neuroscience into education policy and practice.” We parents and taxpayers have every right to be properly informed as to what is meant by the following terms and also the real links between this vision and Mr Erhard’s quote above. After all, as the article’s conclusion stated:

Educators and school boards are increasingly coming under media scrutiny and increased pressure to improve educational outcomes at a time when educators, policy makers, and the public have become fascinated with ‘brain research’. At the same time, governments and policymakers are promoting and supporting Evidence-Based Decision Making and Knowledge Transformation. These are ideal conditions for the Growth of Mind, Brain, and Education.

Do Tell. Notice the reference in that quote to Knowledge Transformation because it goes to the mouthful distinction between what those course materials call “An Ontological/Phenomenological Model.” Before I quote what that transformation means, let me remind everyone that Mihaly Csiksentmihaly [see tag] describes himself as a phenomenologist and it is his model of Excellence being mandated now in the US under civil rights calls for Equity and Excellence. It matters greatly that his model was pushed globally at the 2017 World Government Summit in Dubai as I covered here http://invisibleserfscollar.com/radio-silence-and-the-dog-that-did-not-bark-positioning-positive-education-globally/ . According to those course materials, an “ontological exercise…is about a transformation in who you ‘wound up being'”.

Since the course materials were created for adults, a comparable ontological/phenomenological exercise in children and teenagers through deliberately created learning experiences also goes to who they are at a neural level. Let me go to that 700 page book, Humans as Self-Constructing Living Systems, and what it referred to as ‘person-based self-regulation.’ That New Science article hypes the role of the OECD in pushing the MBE model and, like Professor Clabough from the last post, the OECD has said ‘self-regulation’ is the purpose of K-12 education in the 21st century. Let’s quote what that really means:

Humans have developed two interrelated social-regulatory methods: (a) to impose and enforce regulatory rules on social components through power and physical arrangements external to the organization’s components, whether social groups or individuals (e.g., through laws and punishment, police action, imprisonment); (b) to make the regulatory rules and processes properties of the components themselves so they become self-regulating in relationship to the social organizations of which they are a part.

I bolded that particular phrase because it is actually what George Will called Soulcraft and the rightful domain of governments, what Erin Clabough pushed as neural and second nature, and what we keep encountering as personalized, student-centered, competency-based learning. In the Karoly paper on the “Mechanisms of Self-Regulation: A Systems View” from the last post under “The Activation and Use of Standards” think of it as why the Iceberg Problem created an Appendix III on the role of learning standards to change the nature of K-12 education.

Having a goal (or a specific performance level to which one aspires) and being able systematically to surveil goal-relevant activities do not alone provide the impetus to self-regulated modulation of thought, affect, or behavior. Before the all-important comparison of the feedforward and the feedback signals can occur in human control systems, the goal or standard must be triggered, activated, or called up from long-term memory.

The adult leadership course materials spend a great deal of time undoing what is in long-term memory that is judged to be an impediment to the desired way of being. The materials lament that the neural wiring of the adult brain is too tied to the “realization of that past-derived predicted future“. The slideshare bolded that phrase as neural wiring is viewed as in the way of the Creating a Desired Future and “What Happens in the Brain with Such a ‘Created Future'”. K-12 grounded in phenomenology can go directly to shaping who a student will “wound up being” by pushing transformational learning that goes directly to controlling “who you are as a product of the beliefs you assimilated concerning yourself and the world, and the socialization and roles you learned.”

The MBE/ontological/phenomenological emphasis with adults has to “explore our worldview and frames of reference themselves–their genealogy, internal logic, uses–as well as assess the costs and benefits, and advantages and disadvantages…[in order to provide] the opportunity to discover and eliminate the constraints and shaping imposed by your worldview.” K-12, with the same emphasis, gets to head directly to ‘Go’ in most students and simply impose the desired worldview and frames of reference and then have the federal government (in the US) mandate all students have those assessed at least annually as Higher Order Thinking Skills. HOTS then has always been more about what will guide students ways’ of being, goal setting, and decision-making in the world than about what used to be known as epistemological or information learning.

No wonder lectures are passe and textbooks must be electronic and experiential. I want to end with an abstract from a May 2019 essay from World Futures that ties to the Global Education Futures Forum 2030 that uses language that also ties to that 1968 Bellagio conference at the Rockefeller Foundation villa. The Erhard/Jensen materials used similar language seeking to make the present about the future to be created, not the past. Alexander Laszlo stated his intention “to bring into being a world and future where all of us can thrive has been shared by numerous people. Yet despite these intentions, we have not yet been able to effectuate the deeper transformational change required for bringing this forth at the pace and scale now required.”

If that gain sounds remarkably like the Blueprint, both authors have fathers who have been at this Social Sciences Altering Consciousness to Change Social Systems vision for decades. Let’s finish with what Alexander (the son) described in January 2008 about how this transformation could occur in “The Making of a New Culture Learning Conversations and Design Conversations in Social Evolution.” You would need to target the “confluence of values, beliefs, ideas, and forms of expression characteristic of interpersonally aligned individual cognitive maps.” Alexander Laszlo said those arose “from a community,” but we have met them recently as Collective Cognition and it is what learning standards tied to competency-based frameworks and the Common Core create. They target the needed “psycho-personal and socio-cultural to bio-physical and process-structural” all at once.

If all the authors cited in this and recent posts are writing and speaking about the “importance of learning for the purposeful design of the future,” don’t we have the right to know about this hijacking of purpose? That suddenly classes labelled as reading, math, history, or science are more about a physiological change at the level of the mind and brain than they are about information transmission? When schools or even higher ed regard themselves as “learning communities to foment doing the right things” at a neural level in their students in order to effectuate a transformation to act to create “changes that will approximate their visions of the future,” we need to understand this deliberate targeting.

Especially since it turns out that actual factual knowledge and an Axemaker Mind in the student are the ultimate bulwarks against this neural and psychological manipulation.

33 thoughts on “Ubiquitous Coincidence or Deliberate Targeting? The New Science of Mind, Brain, and Education

    • Thank you. I was worried about that, but had no good way to check and figured that was enough to help people find the source. As you can see, the authors asked that the ssrn source be linked to.

  1. Apropos of nothing, everything, just read an ‘alternative’ view of BOEING’s ongoing engineering debacle. This person is calling the BOEING 737, a “diversity plane”. I think you could also call it a Tranzi OBE plane. Seriously, when I engage with my international student interns, I think, would I want to have this girl/guy as my surgeon, my attorney, or piloting a plane I was flying on?

    I guess that is why the “Darwin Award” has been renamed the “Common Core Award”.

    • Funny you should say that given the “Branching Out: Designing High School Pathways for Equity” link I put up a few days ago on the previous thread and its implication that math needs to be reconsidered to make it equitable for All. Suddenly it too becomes experiential so that students “experience Essential Concepts for Focus.” Notice too how the reconceptualizing of high school mathematics laid out here https://www.kappanonline.org/need-catalyze-change-high-school-mathematics-berry-lawson/ in discussing the Catalyzing Change push ends with the statement that the reconceptualizing is actually about

      But we owe this effort not only to our students but also to ourselves as we work together to create and nurture the society we wish to inhabit.

      Who knew eliminating the algorithmic nature of mathematics could be so powerful? It’s how we create that desired new society! Did you know that “it’s about approaching math as the provision of a toolkit (OUTDATED), as opposed to developing a way of thinking (CRUCIAL). The former toolkit approach was defensible, and arguably unavoidable, in the millenia before we had tools for procedural math. But in today’s world, the crucial ability to be mastered is mathematical thinking.” That gets us people who don’t know what they don’t know and create debacles like the Max pretending to be the same plane despite radical changes where it mattered to performance. But, hey, the cockpit appeared to be the same to previous 737 so isn’t that facade what is really important?

      • Couple of thoughts, here.

        A few months back I had a conversation with an old school, and highly-placed Japanese bureaucrat (the guys who actually run this country), which touched upon revisions to math instruction in this country. A very numerate person, this guy described the former methodology, which quite purposefully had students agonizing for weeks over higher-level challenges. My friend said he still remembered these struggles and that he believed that they “created new space in the student’s brain”.

        On my own part, I recalled experiencing the same “new space” creation via struggles with the world’s great books. I question, now, whether the students I encounter would be capable of reading a dime store novel.

        I suspect that absent that “space”, cockpit features are all that is apprehended, and even after the first massive systems failure.

        • Think of the ‘productive struggle’ as being about rewiring a part of the brain to use the provided categories of thought or Essential Concepts for Focus (41 per Catalyzing Change). Now the self-constructing living system is constructing its vision of reality using the very concepts intended to make them believe this world needs to be radically transformed. That’s what I mean when I wrote that this is not actually about history or math anymore. Those titles simply provide a conduit for desired concepts to be instilled.

          Take a look at this that I worked on yesterday http://competencyworks.pbworks.com/w/page/67945372/Detailed%20Definition%20of%20Competency%20Education . Think about that Erhard/Jensen template of mastery as experiential and a form of Being, not knowing and then think what does CBE actually mean when it writes about “ensure [students] have mastered key content.” I am arguing that there and in the so-called “success outcomes” as just two examples this vision of education seeks to reengineer who the students are via curricula learning experiences that actually seek to alter their very Being through the images to be implanted via digital technology especially in their mind. Then those images get married to practiced behaviors (remember that Michael Barber/ Vicki Phillips link on Irreversible Change) until they are Habits of Mind.

          Aren’t the references here to “Learners advance upon attainment of learning expectations (mastery) through personalized learning pathways” simply another way of saying you get to move along to the next planned set of activities once we can see through formative assessment of desired behaviors on open-ended, non-algorithmic opportunities provided to the student. Those demonstrate that the desired rewiring has occurred and the student can move on to more neural wiring to the now existing rewired brain. The Mind becomes t tool that is not really under the control of its user, but the architects laying out the Essential Concepts and tying these to emotions.

          I also worked on this in the last few days. When I wrote CtD, the Georgia educators on a state panel I was on kept arguing that the ‘soft skills’ language in a new statute Georgia had quietly enacted at the urging of the state Chamber of Commerce was about students who come to school without knowing how to tie their shoes. I pointed out the statute said that soft skills was any type of personality qualities any international entity wanted to assess for and call ‘soft skills’. Very open-ended and subject to manipulation out of sight. Lo and behold we now have UNESCO acknowledging that ‘soft skills’ is simply another term for the Transversal Competencies it is pushing globally https://www.cornerstoneondemand.com/sites/default/files/partner/asset/files/skilla-transversal-skills-future-proof.pdf and that another term for those TrC’s is the personality qualities of each student. Success for All indeed..

          Notice too all the interest in all these documents on how the students will critique the existing world and how they will act to apply the ‘content’ in the real world. At least with robots no one has any illusions that they are being programmed. With biological systems like humans with K-12 education tied to ISO standards, the existence and nature of that programming is much harder to see.

          • Yes, indeed….

            Oh, yeh, I thought of a BOEING story. Many many moons ago I was contacted by BOEING’S global OD department. They were looking to build a team of OD facilitators in Japan, and to address on-going issues with construction of 770’s…if memory serves.

            I presented for the interview as scheduled…and, no one on the call. I later learned it had been mis-scheduled because the project lead, actually, the global head of a department BELIEVED that Japan shared the same timezone as Hawaii.

            They never did solve those issues at the plant.

          • This will not solve them either. https://curriculumredesign.org/ccr-receives-funding-from-mathworks-for-21st-century-mathematics-courseware/

            The Mathematics courseware covers ten areas of change in PISA Mathematics 2021, stemming from recommendations the CCR produced for the OECD’s PISA 2021 and Australia’s ACARA. The courseware brings together into a single cohesive implementation, all of modernized knowledge – context, content and concepts -, interdisciplinarity and projects, and skills, character and meta-learning abilities. The design will allow for self-paced student work, significant teacher professional development, and demonstrate multiple pedagogical approaches to courseware publishers…
            Jack Little, president and cofounder of MathWorks, stated: “Evolving the way STEM subjects are taught and learned is critical to inspiring the future generation of mathematicians, engineers and scientists. MathWorks is pleased to support CCR’s courseware initiative.”

            Charles Fadel, founder of the CCR, added: “It is very rewarding when open-minded thought leaders recognize and embrace the need for moving Mathematics forward. This courseware reflects the needs of this century’s leading-edge mathematics professions such as Data Scientists, Algorithmics, etc. coupled with a far deeper understanding of fundamental math topics such as proportionality and number sense. This comprehensive design will appeal to a significantly larger number of users, who are unfortunately too often turned off by the partial irrelevance of many mathematics subjects, and the poor pedagogical practices associated with them. We are very grateful to MathWorks for its clarity of vision and kind generosity, as this work will significantly extend and support the prior grant from Mr. Ray Stata “.

          • Mathworks stuff could be good. What would be best is for it to be self-paced, so the able kids can run ahead. I believe Mathworks makes Matlab, and there’s plenty of fun that kids can have with that.

            Shhh don’t tell the educrats that, or they’ll put equity controls around it to prevent exactly that. Our district is getting some math software that could be fun (from the description) but the plan is to use it only for RTI — to help kids who have fallen behind. Nothing to let kids run ahead.

    • I worked on the MD11 Flight Management System, in a team with other engineers that included some private pilots. I’ve also worked in other aerospace products. I think I have a fair understanding of how pilots think.

      They are control freaks about their plane. They want to know every single thing about their aircraft. And that’s as it should be.

      The thought that they would be flying a plane, with 100 or 200 souls on board no less, without being told that an automatic control system had been installed that, without their knowledge, would adjust the rear stabilizers to nose the plane down and would not even tell them — nor were they ever warned that this was possible in their training — is INCONCEIVABLE. It’s so far beyond shocking, even these control freaks would not think to ask about such a thing.

      One pilot could get his plane out of a dive. The control system had put him into that dive. Nothing worked. I am sure he could not even imagine that his stabilizers were angled as they were, as they went down and all perished.

      This does not excuse him from not having read his briefings and knowing the applicable checklist, however. The pilot failed too.

      • Hi David,

        My understanding (could be wrong) is that the changes in the stabilizer system had not been communicated in briefings, and this is why two planes went down, and a third crash was only averted because the pilot drew from his military experience to figure out why the plane was not responding as expected.

        The article I read on this was written by an engineer who stated that BOEING had cut costs by outsourcing engineering functions to third world countries, which, coincidentally, satisfied their ‘diversity’ mandate.

  2. Here is an interesting exploration of SEL.

    https://quillette.com/2019/10/25/mediocrity-for-all/

    And a quote from Fidel Castro after the revolution:
    “The peasant must learn only what we have decided to teach him and nothing else. Our main aim in the field of education should be to teach him to be completely integrated into collectives. He must get rid of his taste for individualism and his stupid love of independence.”

    • Thank you for the link and quote Russell. About the time Castro came to power and the Marxist Humanist template launched globally back in 1962, the Ford Foundation began to fund an initiative called Futuribles that fits with the aspirations in the last two posts and the point I am trying to make about how learning or performance standards actually work. I went back to the 1967 book that came out of Futuribles called The Art of ConjectureThis morning to check why that book reminded me so much of language I am seeing now. I found this that goes to why governments want to manipulate mental images in students as well as adults:

      Images are formed in our mind and inspire us; we know this from daily experience. It is absurd to look for explanations of human conduct which disregard this essential phenomenon…from the future in which we now place them, these possibles ‘beckon’ to us to make them real…man acts, not ‘because,’ but ‘in order to.’ Action is explained by its final cause, its goal: ‘In this sense we may say that in volition the practical motive lies in the future’. We are to understand by this that the future is the domain into which a man has projected, and in which he now contemplates, the possible he wishes to make real, the image that is and will be, as long as it subsists in his mind, the determining reason for his actions.

      I bolded ‘its goal’ because a ‘standard’ that is experiential can be substituted for goal there and performance standards generally are about practicing a change to what the student ids now until the desired changes become neurally instilled Habits of Mind. One of my morning newsletters mentioned that the emphasis at the WISE global ed summit this week in Doha sponsored largely by the Qatar Foundation is on ‘Unfreeze’ and ‘Refreeze’ which sounds particularly like the Erhard/Jensen template adapting Kurt Lewin’s work. In addition, the summit is looking at the nature of what it means to be human. Sounds remarkably like the Pope’s Humanity 2.0 Initiative doesn’t it?

      In fact, I am adding the blurb from the summit’s site:

      In our constantly changing world, it’s more important than ever that we unlearn and relearn the skills and knowledge that will allow us to thrive as individuals and societies. This extends to the way we teach, the way we learn, and how knowledge is shared.

      Join over 2,000 educators, decision-makers, and influential experts from the public and private sectors from over 100 countries who will gather in Doha for engaging plenaries, dialogues, debates, and tailored networking sessions to reimagine and build the future of education.

      Pitch your project, crowdsource solutions to a challenge you are facing, share your inspirational story or offer a workshop by applying to present at one of our Get Involved sessions.

      Explore what makes us uniquely human in the age of exponential technological transformation as we reconsider what constitutes a good education, how to educate the whole person, and how to foster lifelong learning.

        • This avalanche of stupidity is almost too much to bear. I am wondering if they will configure the Nobel Prize award categories to reflect these changes, as in the award for ‘Mathematics’, would be replaced with an award for ‘Mathematical Thinking’.

          • The stupidity is intentional. It’s getting to where perhaps most parents should homeschool at least for elementary. The worst brainwashing, and they don’t teach much real stuff in elementary. Teach them the 3 R’s and they’re well prepared for middle school and beyond.

        • To All, and I just have to articulate this to SOMEONE.

          I made the decision, today, to accept no more student interns from the U.S. While I do understand that the education crisis Robin has outlined so carefully, is of global dimensions, my experience with these kids suggests that the U.S. is now producing second-generation ‘incompetents’.

          Robin, we have talked a lot about competency models that eschew actual knowledge bases. The outcome I have seen is that kids do not know ‘how’ to build the knowledge bases they will need to perform real jobs. Not a clue….

          They do not understand the concept of transferrable skills, e.g. that improved research, and analytical skills would serve them in the next role, and the next. Their conceptual/behavioral mandate seems purely to their ‘relationships’, and to the expression of their own experience, which WE KNOW is as valid as anyone else’s.

          I am wondering, now, if any rehabilitation is possible, or whether they will simply be warehoused as drones in tech firms. Note, I cannot see that they could learn a trade….and, particularly the males. Additionally, they seem to have NO SENSE of urgency as to their future employment having been assured by their mentors that they will all be brilliant entrepreneurs. ARGH!!!

          • I don’t this these kinds of projects will help your concerns. https://www.middletownpress.com/middletown/article/Intense-research-projects-teaching-Middletown-14853607.php I suspect it leads you to recognize why you are seeing what you are.

            Students were given 13 topics from which to choose, and allowed to pick members of their groups, said Shannon Murdock, a learning specialist and leader of Team 8A.

            “We acted as mentors, giving them hints, or editing — things like that. It was a lot of learning the process of collaborating,” as well as assessing, once the project was complete, whether they made the best choice of partners, something they’ll eventually find invaluable in their future careers.

            Each will be graded on their efforts.

            Four students explored the topic of mental illness in “Behind the Mask.”

            “It’s a very sensitive topic for most people and their families,” explained Makayla Minor, whose group’s goal was to encourage their peers to talk about the affliction in an open way.

            “We want to be more welcoming, raise awareness, and make it more efficient for people to find help,” she said.

            “Mental illness is actually a lot more common than people think,” said Abby Hammons. Worldwide, 450 million people suffer the effects, her research shows…
            Students wrote articles centered around the theme of “change,” as part of the district’s new interdisciplinary focus. The publication will incorporate the skills and content each learned in their language arts, science and social studies courses, according to Murdock.

            Students selected a vast array of change-related essential questions, including “How could eating fast food for every meal a day change your health?” “How does the grieving process change someone or their life?” and “Should Columbus Day be changed to Indigenous Peoples’ Day?”…“They present a compelling argument,” said Superintendent of Schools Michael Conner, who was excited to see “students exercising their voice and their agency to articulate problems meaningful to them, and bringing it to the necessary leaders to address these problems.”

            Mastering these skills are an essential element of Middletown 2021: Keys to Innovation and Equity Strategic Operating Plan 2018-2021, Conner’s blueprint to increase student achievement across the board.

            It’s an “intentionally designed curriculum where we’re addressing national standards, but also addressing the essential skills that aren’t assessed: creativity, problem solving, emotional intelligence, collaboration, cognitive flexibility, answering questions that are not scripted or instructed,” Conner said…

            Social studies teacher Shawn Murdock’s class learned this semester about the 1607 Jamestown settlement in Virginia.

            “People were starving so bad, they had to eat each other,” he said. “They had to connect that with the science of ‘How many calories would a person’s arm be?’ and stuff like that. They take what they’re learning in all their subject areas and combine it into one project,” he explained.

            Not one, but two sets of students chose cannibalism as their focus.

            In the past, Shawn Murdock said, students had stricter guidelines. The approach was much different this go around.

            “Let them go, let them do their own thing. Learning this way is far more useful for real-life applications,” he said.

            Over at the table of Jason Huang, Michael Gennaro and Simon Hahn sat a booklet they’d drawn up with a large, red warning on the front cover, with the disclaimer, “viewer discretion is advised. Please read at your own risk. This is not a comfortable topic to read and is quote gross. Feel free to skip us or decline to read this if you are uncomfortable.”

            Although the focus was on Jamestown, Gennaro did some side research about other instances of cannibalism in U.S. history, including the Donner Party, which was found in Sierra Nevada in February 1847; and the survivors of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, which crashed in the Andes. Both resorted to consuming the dead among them to survive the ordeal.

            If I do not get a chance to write this week, with various family obligations, I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

  3. Yes, that pretty much describes the ‘thought’ processes I am seeing in my young wards.

    It also explains why members of my so-called profession, coaching, cannot apprehend that this function did not spring out of certain dope-addled heads at the Esalen Institute; that its performance requires a specific set of compentencies and BODIES of KNOWLEDGE.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    • Thanks. You will find this new grant interesting. https://www.templeton.org/news/the-neuroscience-of-self-determination No way this is being pushed without manipulating these processes being the actual goal.

      The project, headed by Princeton Neuroscience Institute co-director Jonathan Cohen, will focus on three core aspects of human autonomy. One set of investigations will look at how humans create mental models to take complex tasks and render them simpler and easier to solve. Another will look at how we evaluate and decide between competing goals — how we choose between faster but smaller rewards and slower but larger rewards, and how we decide which tasks to do right away and which to save for later. Finally, a cluster of investigations will look at when and how cognitive control can be “costly” — why some complex mental tasks (like facial recognition) are easy for humans, while others (like multi-digit arithmetic) require significant mental effort. Indeed, this kind of human efficiency is a common thread running through all three areas of investigation: autonomous decision-making and action require getting high levels output from finite mental and physical resources.

      The project’s individual experiments will use techniques such as direct brain monitoring through fMRI and EEGs as well as behavioral measures. In addition to the usual research outputs of papers and presentations, Cohen and his colleagues will produce shareable datasets and computational models for use by other researchers.

      Maybe after they learn even more about the brain, they can use the “principles-based” civic textbook with them. https://www.templeton.org/grant/a-nationwide-principles-based-high-school-civics-textbook

      As The Art of Conjecture put it in the 60s when the Ford Foundation launched its Futuribles initiative, Ideas are what we use to construe reality so by all means if we want to sculpt those mental models we must spoon feed the prevailing Ideas. And to think I had the audacity to infer my own Ideas from all that history reading I have done over the decades. But then the history of both CtD and then this blog has been me demonstrating that the proffered script is neither the actual intention nor the likely result.

      I am going to add this as it fits with some of my conclusions from mulling over the math materials on transforming its nature that I have linked since the last post as well as how it ties to the above as well as the function of Whole Language in reading. The provided Image created by digital technology will have the same role as Ideas in the humanities or SHEG. This quote would seem to confirm that insight and it also fits with what the Erhard/Jensen ontological model referred to as a Conversational Domain.

      Mathematics is not a spectator sport. The value of a problem-based approach is that students spend most of their time in math class doing mathematics: making sense of problems, estimating, trying different approaches, selecting and using appropriate tools, and evaluating the reasonableness of their answers. They go on to interpret the significance of their answers, noticing patterns and making generalizations, explaining their reasoning verbally and in writing, listening to the reasoning of others, and building their understanding.

      https://www.illustrativemathematics.org/curriculum/ is the source and that name fits with my earlier insight from reading the language in the High School Transformation paper. I am not sure we as a society anywhere in the world will be aided when Math is used to create Images consistent with envisioning transformational change instead of relationships that ensure that bridges will stand with the foreseeable weight imposed or how to get rockets home from space. Maybe the NASA scientists who got the severely disabled Apollo 13 home using imagination and sliderules might have also understood the risks of all this advocacy for transformational change to an equitable society.

      • Oh gosh…do you remember the interview with the NASA guy who said, ‘we’ no longer have the technology to accomplish a moon mission? Did ANYONE scratch their heads at that bizarre statement?

        Another thing that I think rots young minds are stories of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs…

        I have worked with a lot of CEO’s, and can tell you that Mark Zuckerberg is NOT running that company, though he does do an ok job of playing an autistic wunderkind…

        Call me crazy, but I think a person needs to have mastered a phenomenal number of knowledge bases to run, even, a pop stand…and, I JUST DON’T see the depth or potential for depth in certain people.

        • This article was featured in today’s GovLab newsletter. https://ssir.org/pdf/Winter2020-Supplement-Han-Problems-Power.pdf Talk about an ontological aim and notice the Model T Foundation funding as part of their Realizing Democracy project. “Fixing democracy demands the building and aligning of people’s motivation and authority to act.”

          Think about this quote against the true nature of competency-based ed for K-12–

          But this is only possible if reformers understand the link between the way people behave toward each other in their daily lives and how those experiences shapes people’s willingness and ability to act within a democracy.

          Fits right in with that WISE Summit quote on Unlearn Relearn: What it means to be Human.

          • Responding to David’s 3 R’s observation above.

            I learned to read at ‘3’ and don’t remember how this was accomplished. I was diving into real and big books by 8. I thought these contained magical worlds that I wanted to know about.

            Robin and I have discussed the reading aversion that is evident in my student interns. They balk at anything over 500 words.

            Are they literate? Yes. Have they mastered this skill such that they simply employ it as a valuable tool? No.

            This is across the board. I don’t think they even trouble themselves to follow current events. I mention a story that has been in the U.S. news over months, and they ask me what country this occurred in.

            I have given up on research assignments because I know they will explore the first 3 resources Google suggests and go no further.

          • I have laid out some of the reasons why I believe that the desire not to teach reading properly was tied to a desire to limit and control the Ideas in circulation for the typical member of an age cohort. We then know what Ideas and Images guide perception and control the interpretation of experiences. Very useful if transformation of the student at the neural level of their KBVAF is desired. https://whatedsaid.wordpress.com/2019/11/30/the-biography-of-a-central-idea/ from New Zealand came in today

            Each IB PYP unit of inquiry is based on a meaningful, transferable, conceptual idea that offers possibilities for trans-disciplinary inquiry. Sometimes a central idea comes easily, once we know our conceptual lenses. Sometimes it’s the result of sustained collaborative play with words. Sometimes we know a central idea isn’t perfect, but it’s the best we can do. On occasion, we know it isn’t perfect but we don’t mind, because it expresses the right message and we care more about the sentiment than the rules.

            Read that carefully and then this–

            As the ideas from the book began to take hold in our Year 6 community, students explored the notion of Ubuntu, an African concept which translates approximately as I am because we are, and the learning began to look less and less like traditional school and more of a transformative experience for learners and teachers alike. Seeing how the learning was unfolding, one of the teachers suggested an idea for a whole school inquiry for next year: ‘A community collaborates to create change’. Teachers of the lower grades suggested that a more appropriate version for the younger learners might be ‘Individuals collaborate to build community’.

            Analysing the data gathered from teachers’ reflections for our self study, the Teaching and Learning team noticed a pattern. Many of the suggestions and wonderings revealed the idea of building cohesion as an opportunity for growth, be this in terms of encouraging connections between early years and primary, increasing flow of learning time, building a stronger sense of belonging or improving our partnerships with parents. Perhaps the whole school central idea might be ‘Cohesion empowers community’ or ‘Building cohesion strengthens community’, strong possibilities and yet, while we are not afraid to introduce difficult vocabulary to our youngest learners, not quite child friendly enough…

            What you are asking of students is contrary to what they have been told, what they have experienced, and what they have felt, repeatedly. They want the world to change for them. What makes the world work successfully and what fractures it most every time were never part of the upbringing of most.

  4. Thanks for this…

    It causes me to think of the much-touted ‘new’ distributed ‘leadership’ model, “holocracy”. I am enduring this as part of a coaching group right now, and know that I will end up pushing projects through…because NO ONE will make a decision and ACT.

    It also reminds me of reflections of Rogers & Maslow regarding the disastrous results of their handiwork, e.g. tasking groups of mental patients or students (same difference) to manage themselves.

    And, finally, it reminds me of an exercise in student empowerment that occurred at my now, ill-fated, graduate school; this being when students were tasked with the management of the Administration Department….and neglected to check email for months at a time or to follow equitable procedures in responding to admissions applications.

    And, finally, finally, and this is the most delicious,…it appears that the OD Network, founded by Edgar Schein has collapsed globally. I guess this is a ‘doctor heal thyself’ moment.

    • Take a look at this from my holiday emails. https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/54853/why-its-imperative-we-all-learn-to-be-emotion-scientists

      In the late 1990s, Uncle Marvin and I set out together to bring these skills to schools. We failed. We were prepared to deliver classroom instruction only to children. But some teachers were resistant. “Teaching kids about anxiety makes me nervous,” one said. “I’m not opening that Pandora’s box of talking about how these kids feel,” said another. If the teachers didn’t believe in the importance of these emotion skills, they’d never be effective at instructing their students. So Marvin and I, along with new colleagues at Yale, went back to the drawing board. We saw that we would never reach children until we first enlisted teachers who understood the importance of emotion skills. And soon after that we realized that only if there was commitment at the very top, at the school board, superintendent, and principal levels, could entire school systems be transformed.

      Then it became clear that the skills must be even more widely shared. We adults all need to understand how our emotions influence us and everyone around us, not just schoolchildren. We need to develop the skills and be positive role models. Educators and parents have to demonstrate the ability to identify, discuss, and regulate their own emotions before they can teach the skills to others. Our classroom research shows that where there is an emotionally skilled teacher present, students disrupt less, focus more, and perform better academically. Our studies show that where there is an emotionally skilled principal, there are teachers who are less stressed and more satisfied. And where there is an emotionally skilled parent, there are children who have a greater ability to identify and regulate their emotions.

      Once our children grow into emotionally skilled adults, the entire culture will change— for the better. But learning the skills and improving the way we respond to our feelings doesn’t mean we’ll suddenly become happy all the time. Perpetual happiness can’t be our goal— it’s just not how real life works. We need the ability to experience and express all emotions, to down- or up- regulate both pleasant and unpleasant emotions in order to achieve greater well- being, make the most informed decisions, build and maintain meaningful relationships, and realize our potential.

      Notice that aspiration to change an entire culture. That’s what positive psych is really about and Seligman did not used to hide its clear links to the Humanist Psychology of Rogers and Maslow. That London Bridge attacker was at a seminar on transformational change from relearning. We have very dangerous beliefs about behavioral sciences running amok these days and no one with a 5 foot tusk spear to defend us in either the K-12 and higher ed world where I try to expose the truth or in business consulting and coaching of adults where your expertise lies. It’s clearly the same model though as we talked about in this post on what was recognizable from the Erhard/ Jensen ontological framework.

      • who is going to teach me to deal with my anxiety as I read this blog? How is someone like me going to explain any of this to my 30 something son and Daughter in law?
        The depth of this is so stunning, that breaking it down to small bites of information seems impossible.
        Not to mention that they will think I am certifiable and won’t believe a word of it.

        I cannot be the only grandparent who is experiencing this .
        My 2 year old grandson is a student, and next September, my then 18 month old grandson will be going to a Jewish private school. I had been happy about it thinking that at least they will be getting values that I understand based on tradition, history, and faith. But in the mail today I got an invitation to a grandparents’ luncheon there.
        I had been avoiding your blog b/c I cannot transmit this information and I only become more anxious and more hopeless.

        But today, I picked up your blog again because the buzz words went straight to my heart.
        Join us for a fun hands-on program
        Exploring our Life Skills curriculum which
        Your grandchildren experience weekly.
        We will have min-sessions in Coding, Emotional
        Intelligence, and Mindfulness/meditation

        This is BS and maybe my grandkids are better off going to public school so they can learn about gender fluidity. It is choosing between how do you want to have the lives and minds of your grandkids destroyed. Public or private. Homeschooling is not an option for these people.
        My son’s wife is way too progressive minded to find anything wrong with any of this.
        Reality no longer exists. And I am beginning to believe that the progressive, neuroscience, master minds and mental health experts along with the LGBTQ etc activists are waiting for everyone our age to die, so there will no longer be anything that resembles WISDOM!
        Truly if I told my son that any school today is going to literally CHANGE your child, he won’t believe me.

        I plan to go to this luncheon to see what is going on.
        Perhaps I will grow a pair of balls and challenge the school on this. But I don’t think I have the skill set to do it as I become tounge tied and can’t articulate. The other problem is I don’t know where to start as this has so many layers I get lost in it and just sound foolish. I can assure you lots of these progressive grandparents will think this is just great.

        Maybe this is the Hell I live in now because I was one of those searching people in the 80’s and did est training.
        It was like a cult. And after weeks of it the only thing I remember was the last 5 minutes of it when the instructor said, the bottom line and the point of it all is to “get” that
        “IT IS WHAT IT IS.” That is all I remember.
        I have come far from that person I used to be and am a solid axemind, but that will die with me and never be passed on as this entire mindset that is being pushed has infected everyone. I am scared!
        Seeing Werner Eherd’s name “triggered” me. (Joke)
        Master Minds who know better than us, and seem to have been born to “change” the world never ever go away.

        • Thank you so much for your heartfelt response and remember as a grandmother the number one prophylactic to creating and retaining an Axemaker Mind is being a fluent phonetic reader with stores of lovely stories in your own mind. Be the grandmother who makes books a wondrous experience.

          Secondly, I thought this link might help give you something objective to share without blurting out suddenly “it’s about rewiring the brain to meet the UN’s plans for 2030 and the SDGs”. It’s not about a World Parliament, it’s about governance via practices and experiences deliberately instilled in the mind and personality with innocuous sounding reasons as you are seeing. https://www.gettingsmart.com/2019/08/weve-got-it-backwards-starting-with-content-rather-than-learners-doesnt-work/ should help.

          Also, here is something else objective for you to have as it appears to me from what you describe that your grandchild’s school is building on this, even if its leaders have never actually seen. http://www.oecd.org/education/2030-project/teaching-and-learning/learning/aar-cycle/Anticipation%20Action%20Reflection%20Cycle.pdf . I pulled all those materials just before my mother was hospitalized and then was too distracted to write about them. The hype about “collective well-being” fits with what I am working on now as well as where I see the ‘mindfulness’ hype as going. Notice there is a link there for the fuller note which I printed out late last summer.

          One last thing, awareness of the purpose of the processes being employed serves to negate the ability of these processes to have the desired neural effects. Take that to heart and reach out here anytime you think that my nerdy knowledge can give you both context and possible remedies.

    • This is just out and is an apt description of what is being used now for children as well as adults and the reasons for the shift. I also want to point out that Siegel’s books are frequently cited for use in creating a mandated Positive School Climate. https://www.learningandthebrain.com/blog/presence-meditation-daniel-siegel/

      Siegel begins with the stories of five people at different life stages and in different and challenging circumstances. These individuals’ lives were greatly improved by committing to Siegel’s “Wheel of Awareness” practice. The practice is premised on the idea that, “where attention goes, neural firing flows, and neural connection grows” (P.19)—i.e., that what our mind does changes how our brain behaves and this can have enduring effects on how we act and who we are. He argues that human experience is shaped by interactions among our bodies, brains, minds, and social relationships. Each of these forces contributes to our continually emerging sense of self (i.e., self as a verb rather than a noun)…
      We are often led to believe that we are each alone. Siegel argues that this not only causes suffering, but also is inaccurate. We are inherently social creatures and are deeply connected to one another. Our compassionate connections with others powerfully shape our mind and identity. When we share ourselves with others we all benefit. Laughter among friends, for example, helps us be in the present moment, be open to learning, and mitigates suffering.

      There is really not a dispute on what the aim of these reforms is. There is only ignorance as to the existence of all these declarations or the fact that the law is being used to make these practices mandatory. That means that the desired neural changes are mandatory, which is an authoritarian dream, especially with little recognition of what is taking place all over the world.

      Also notice that this conference in NYC in May explicitly starts with a reference to Maslow and his vision. https://www.learningandthebrain.com/conference-406/Schooling-the-Self/

      • I do maintain that Maslow recanted “self-actualization” or at least expressed extreme doubt as to this being an end goal of ‘education’. I will dig up this paper for you…written just before he died and went to HELL.

        Context: He became the victim of the monsters he had created at Brandeis, the kids who believed that intense emotional experiences of ME, ME, ME, obviated actual learning.

        His line was: “I might as well go work in a chewing gum factory.”

        Rogers made similar statements…

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