It is a fact that children within the US are not learning as effectively as those in many other
countries. This has been a long standing problem that has proved difficult to conquer.
The constant obligation to use the processing of information as the primary method of learning causes students
to suppress and erode their inquiry skills to varying degrees. As a result, they find it increasingly difficult to become
interested enough in their subjects.
As hard as our school officials have tried to address the problem, many children are really not experiencing
authentic learning. Against their best efforts, our school environment is still a place where many children become
obsessed with seeking validation from their peers. Rather than going to school with an anticipation of what they might
learn, they go with the burden of having to fit in. Their coping mechanisms and behaviors are less and less controlled
and lead to bullying and violence.
They most commonly complain of being bored. THE OLDER THEY BECOME THE MORE THEY LACK THE DESIRE
TO UNDERSTAND! As they strive to achieve out of pure obligation, they suffer the irrelevance of their work. They
see no purpose in memorizing information which is prescribed anonymously and has little or no practical value. Christ
is not allowed to ask them questions nor to encourage them to understand. God does not have His place as revealer of knowledge
and giver of wisdom and understanding.
As they leave high school, they aspire to achieve a status in life. Yet they lack an
aspiration for a life of authentic learning.
WHAT WENT WRONG
In the late 60s the US Department of Education decided to standardize educational objectives.
As this era was then characterized as "the age of information" because of the advent of computers, they were compelled to
describe these objectives as processing information with increasing complexity. It was believed that the best
that children could be taught to do was to emulate a computer. The educator's role was to provide the input.
The student's role was to process the information with increasing complexity, the final objective being that of reasoning.
In this design, reasoning was the conclusive response to the exposure of a number of pieces of information. Learning
was supposed to be the result of a series of conclusive cognitive events. What was so compelling was that this model
was so easy to standardize, to administer, and to measure. Over ten years later, in 1983, the magnitude
of the decline in students' performance was declared a national emergency. The National Commission on Excellence
in Education declared that our educational system was failing in their report A Nation At Risk. Since then, our country
has never really recovered. The department of education is still grappling with the same problem. The only gains
they have made are short term gains in teaching elementary school students how to process information more efficiently,
especially in mathematics.
The common scholastic experience in school has been that a subject has been learned if the information
could be processed in some prescribed fashion, ie, essay, multiple choice, fill in the blank, etc.. The other part of
that common experience has been that the only relevant and important value of that subject is the potential
that it has to bring opportunity to the student. The subject does not carry enough importance by itself.
It is neither interesting nor personally meaningful to the student. The common sentiment is that only
a NERD could be genuinely interested in an academic subject !
So if our students are not learning, what ARE they doing?
THEY ARE MEMORIZING
They are learning a million and one ways to memorize what must be recalled when tested. They
are being made to believe that that is the way to success.
THAT IS THE MILLION DOLLAR DECEPTION!
Memorization is a short term practical tool. When that is 90% of what is being
achieved, there is very little learning going on! Hence the big crisis when our students
hit college. It is in college that a student is supposed to produce from the ability to learn effectively. It
is no secret that this has not been happening for quite some time. It has become more evident in recent years that
our country is suffering from the effects of this in our colleges, and subsequently in the workplace.
THE TRUTH ABOUT LEARNING AS GOD CREATED IT!
What separates man from all other species is NOT that he can store vast amounts of information
in the brain.
What separates man from all other species is that only man can generate unprogrammed, spontaneous
These are questions that are generated by the desire for understanding. You cannot learn if
you do not first desire understanding. A genuine desire to understand must have two basic
components. First, there must be a realization of the lack of understanding. This realization comes from the admission
that the subject of this understanding can't be described sufficiently in a spontaneous manner. Secondly, the understanding
itself must have sufficent value, not just the consequences of that understanding.
The processing of information is a public experience.
Learning through personally meaningful inquiry is a personal experience!
We all value ourselves as learners. We can appreciate ourselves
as learners only to the extent that we value our inquiry process and have the confidence to apply it. Students
who believe their questions are valued by others will have more value for their inquiry process and apply it more often.
This is why the highest achievers in the class are more inclined to ask questions in class.
Students who percieve themselves to be poor learners will be more inclined to save their questions for after class.
There is now an increasing number of students who percieve themselves as poor learners. This is occuring as the processing
of information is being re-inforced upon the students, while they are being demanded to demonstrate the results of authentic
OUR SOLUTION IS TO NURTURE THE INQUIRY PROCESS
Our solution is to provide the student a customized platform
from which to learn how to ask better questions. They then discover that they weren't learning to ask better questions
because they were given the impression that memorizing the information leads to mastering the subject.
When a student discovers that they really weren't learning how to learn, and that they
really can learn, there is a huge burden lifted from their shoulders and the emotional response is wonderful!
Every process in life is rythmical and oscillates between two endpoints.
THINKING IS ALSO RYTHMICAL
All of our conclusive thoughts are really preceded by a sensation of the need for that conclusive
thought. We may or may not recognize that sensation as a verbal inquiry at that time. When we make an effort to
focus or to think harder about a subject we are really reformulating inquiry. Then as we respond to that inquiry
we reach an understanding of the subject. Understanding is God's ultimate educational objective.
It is a necessary ingredient to contributing to society. The more a student becomes confident of acquiring understanding,
the more zeal they accumulate to further their understanding. This by far surpasses the motivation to achieve academically.
Authentic educational achievement is what occurs as a result of understanding.
This then translates into our 6 basic precepts:
- Learning can only be authentic when the inquiry process is
OWNED by the student.
- The inquiry process cannot be owned without the genuine desire to
- Students will gain more confidence in themselves as learners to the extent
that they learn to nurture their inquiry skills
- The rythm of more and more effective personally meaningful questions and their
tentative answers is what results in understanding.
- Students are compelled to share their understanding to the extent that they are
convinced that others value that understanding.
Students will nurture a growing desire to contribute to society to the extent
they feel that they are a part of society and value their potential contribution