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Writing as Willing
All students are incredibly brilliant learners long before they come to school. They have accomplished the greatest learning they will do in their lives by learning through imitation to stand upright and walk, speak and converse with others, and think clearly about their psychological makeup of being a person who thinks, feels, and wills. Balancing thinking, feeling and willing is a life-long task that many adults have yet to master. If the child can walk, speak, and think when they come to you – then you have a gifted genius on your hands. What we need to do next is capitalize on this giftedness and transfer the skills used to accomplish these miracles of learning into fundamental forces of education.
Standing upright and walking is the greatest learning task you will accomplish in life and is often taken for granted. Walking is a kinesthetic activity that is primary. Children who can’t learn to walk often have trouble learning to communicate. The will nature in children is also being attacked in modern society by a passive world of entertainment (TV, video, movies, Internet, etc.). Calculators take the place of mathematical computation, spell-check replaces dictionary skills, and the Internet has replaced libraries and books. The basic skills of rhythmic skipping and jump-rope games are replaced by Gameboys. Often playgrounds and recess are taken away from the slow-learner or even done away with by the school entirely. Social interaction, conversation and natural inquiry have little place in the prison-like schools of social reform that parade as education.
Standing upright and walking are transformed into the forces needed to handwrite legibly. Children desire to write before they desire to read usually because they wish to imitate their parents. A written letter to the teacher in cursive is a piece of shear magic to the child who cannot write. The desire to handwrite is confused by the fact that the parents read printed material but handwrite in cursive. This is a very difficult thing for students to understand when they are pre-literate. Try to explain why the alphabet has infinite font styles to represent the same old letters. Most adults write in cursive and it is seen as a sign of immaturity to print when you handwrite. These things confuse learners.
Handwriting is derived from “drawing” the forces of nature represented in the letters of the alphabet. Children need the connecting tissue that adults use to justify their teaching methods. Letters and numbers are symbols that have some picto-graphic starting point in the far past. We often do not explain any of the important things to children about what we want them to know – because we don’t know them ourselves. And then the student’s “silly” questions are ignored. We need to play with knowledge until it becomes alive.
Drawing and handwriting precede the ability to read the “printed” word. We should see that all learning proceeds from the will, the kinesthetic domain of the learner’s psychological makeup. Development of large motor skills are a necessary developmental aspect of the child that turns walking, running, skipping, hopping, jumping, climbing, throwing, catching, spinning, and all other large motor skills into handwriting as a “drawing out” of the thoughts of the learner. The child needs to develop a relationship with the alphabet – both graphically and phonetically before they begin to decode these mystic symbols.
English is a very irregular and difficult language to learn if the child no longer has the strong forces of imitation that they possess from birth to age seven. English is not a collection of perfect rules to be followed; it is a complicated and mystifying jumble of homonyms, heteronyms, and irregular spellings and grammatical rules that are full of “exceptions.” Children learn to write and read because they wish to imitate the caregivers in their environment. Therefore, if the caregivers don’t read — then the likelihood of the child “desiring” to read is minimalized.
When a child has had problems with the will in the early stages of life, many difficulties may arise. Improper training of the will and imitation of wrong actions by caregivers can lead to aberrations of the will in the child including violence, acting out, and improper relationships to sex. Physical abuse, verbal abuse, and psychological abuse damages the will of the child. Fear, anxiety, and eventually asocial behavior may arise due to these damaged developmental stages of childhood. We can often see these tendencies in the way the student walks, runs, skips, or interacts with others. A damaged will may take years of positive habits to overcome the damages of childhood.
Reading as Feeling
Just as writing arises out of forces of the will, reading arises out of forces of feeling. Speech becomes reading after a long process of extrapolation. Children learn English seemingly without effort and with only a little correction of verb agreement and tense. Children play with language until they get it right by modeling the example of the caregivers in their environment. If clear articulate speech is used in the home, then the child may also learn those speech and articulation patterns. It is another miracle that children learn to speak without any teaching (in most cases). The child learns through its inherent giftedness and the developmental forces available during child development.
Speech is the fundamental quality that raises us above the animals. Words hold more power than anything else on earth. Yet, children learn complicated nuances, colloquialisms, metaphors and implied meanings without effort, and have fun with it. This is the perfect model of learning. Learning needs a stress-free environment, where an atmosphere of fun pervades exploratory learning without punishment for mistakes and where successes are demonstrated and celebrated. Each learner drives his or her own learning. You cannot make anyone learn anything unless they want to. It is shear presumption to think a teacher teaches anything other than who they are as a learner.
Learning to speak and converse transfers to the learning of reading. The same forces that created the miracle of speech and conversation are available to learn reading. Reading is frozen speech. All reading was originally done “out loud” and was considered sacred by the ancients. The votive stones of Hammarabi, or the pillars of the Egyptians were only meant to be read aloud by a priest. One wrong pictogram or letter meant death to the scribe who made the error. Reading to yourself was considered evil and was a sign that a person was insane. To carve words in stone had a serious consequence for everyone involved. Today children are often punished for not being able to read at the appropriate grade level. Failing a grade or being labeled handicapped often await the child who, by no blame of their own, is punished for not being able to read. But if we know that children “learn to read on the laps of their parents”, then isn’t it the parent who should be punished and not the student if they can’t read?
Reading is only successful if the reader has a desire to learn to read, a reason for reading, and the drive to memorize new words as they are encountered. Whole Language, Phonics, Sight Words, or any method of reading has limited success. All methods should be available to support the child who wishes to read. Basically, Intuitive Learning posits that reading is learned from writing. We call it the “writing road to reading.” Practice writing the songs, games, stories and rhymes that the children already “know by heart” and then have the children read the writing aloud. This works every time! The child has memorized the poem, verse or song and then has carefully written it out. Speaking each word as the child “recites” the selection is effectively linking writing to reading. It really is that simple. Take the forces of speech and turn them into fun activities of writing to read. Otherwise, you harm the miraculous forces that helped the child to learn to speak in the first place.
You can begin to see the problem with reading when you hear the inarticulate speech patterning that the child has learned from home. Many reading problems are associated with listening. If the reader can’t “say” the word properly – it will be hard to read it also. Listening is the first essential of hearing, which may or may not lead to comprehension. Damaged hearing is common in today’s world. Inarticulate speech patterns rule modern parlance. Students constantly ask as they speak, “Do you know what I mean?” They don’t ask, “Do you hear me?” Students often experience not understanding the speaker and therefore assume that the listener cannot understand them as they cannot understand other speakers. “Do you know what I mean?”
Clear, daily choral speaking should happen at the beginning of every day of learning. Singing beautiful lyrics should accompany learning throughout the day. Singing combines elements of rhythmic discrimination, tonal recognition, and articulate delivery that underpin speech. We needn’t belabor the fact that loud, amplified music hurts the ear and that garbled lyrics filled with violence and sex don’t wet the appetite for good literature. We often find damaged ears at the root of reading problems and also the missing development of the kinesthetic domain as it effects the long muscles in the body. Developmental delays or the lack of development hinder clear reading skills.
We must look to the child’s developmental stages to find the stumbling blocks to learning to read effectively. Often, a simple case of arrhythmia or perceptual lag may be holding a child back from properly vocalizing the words being read. Remedial methods must become part and parcel of every day’s lessons to reinforce the strength of will and feeling to be transferred to the new task of reading.
Speech is directly connected to the feeling life of the learner. One kind word or one harsh word can change the motivation of the learner’s feelings and thus affect the desire to learn. We all live for the words others share with us. If a learner has only had harsh words, then words are harsh to them. If lovely words have built up their self-esteem, then words are golden. Only a child who loves words will memorize the thousands of words they need for a complete vocabulary. For the learner with self-esteem, words reveal the wonderful world around them. For the learner who has not had the benefit of praise and support in reading, the words are as bad as the world around them – there to hurt and punish them. Then, each word or letter is a battle. You can’t make a frightened person happy by making them do something they perceive they can’t do. We must study and respect the background of each learner and learn to see the world through their eyes.
To heal this realm of speech and reading we must bathe the student in pleasant songs, engrossing world literature, meaningful choral speaking, and wonder-filled storytelling. If the teacher tells a story by heart that has a profound impact on the learner, then the learner will desire to be able to do the same for others. If the teacher is brilliantly articulate, well read, a good singer and speaker, and loves the written word – then the child has a model to follow.
Mathematics as Thinking
We all know that children inherently love math in the early grades and usually dislike math in the upper grades. This is because of the way we teach math. Math rules the world and all natural law. Why would anyone not love math? Math is objective, universal, and applicable. Then why do children “turn off” to math in the fourth grade and not “turn on” to math again unless they choose to study it as part of their chosen profession? Math teachers are often terrible and the math process is created to weed-out and punish those who are not inclined to the dead rules of math. Good math teachers have no problem making math fun. First off, there are no math “problems” but simply math “equations” which are easy to prove. All math is easy, it has proofs to check the work and verify the answers.
Math applies to everything we do. Math must be “done” as an activity of discovery that is easy to check. We set math learners up to believe in “problems” not “equations.” All math relates to the human body and is therefore easily relevant to the learner. If the equation doesn’t make sense, then why are we doing it? All math should be “doing” and therefore easily experienced and learned. All math should be related to the human being.
The forces we use to learn math are the same natural forces that make up our thinking and its ability to make sense of the world we perceive. Math objectifies seemingly abstract concepts just as the observant thinker objectifies seemingly abstract psychological processes that seem diametrically opposed. The thinker knows they have feelings and will impulses that may not agree with the thinker’s concepts. Often the thinker is at odds with both worlds of feeling and willing. This is not dissimilar to wondering what process or rule of math to use to figure out an equation. Often confusion arises and the math learner is frozen with too many options, all of which sound good. I feel the answer is, I think the answer is, I know the answer is; only the third option stands the test of proofs. Simply understanding that we are threefold beings who must try and balance the three different worlds inside of us is lesson enough to learn.
Many adults do not reach the point of objectively balancing the three soul forces in the human being. These states of consciousness are reflected in the three types of brain waves: alpha, beta, and theta. Much research has shown that learning to navigate between these three realms helps learners control their inherent soul forces and control impulsiveness and dreaminess. That is exactly what math does. It objectifies clear thinking and separates it from feeling and willing while seeking abstract answers to an equation. Feeling and will come to play when equations are based upon real life situations that the learner cares about and has a vested interest in. Everyone can learn fractions when dividing a pizza between friends.
Math is easy when feelings of inadequacy and impulsivity are mastered and not clogging up thinking. Math is very much like the process of metacognition, which is a type of thinking about thinking. Math often begins with the phrase, “Let’s think this through.” Vocalizing the processes of thinking while doing math is an excellent way to develop metacognition. Learners should “talk through” the logic of the process they have chosen to solve an equation. Often this self-dialogue will filter out the feelings and impulses from the thinking processes that lead to the answer. Distraction is a key factor for poor math skills. Confidence and skill need to find their homes in feeling and willing before the thinker (mathematician) knows he is a good mathematician.
Visualization is a key component of thinking and math. Often, the poor mathematician does not create strong visualizations to accompany the thinking involved with math equations. The learner must be able to visualize numbers forward and backwards before they can “make a mental note” or see the equation written on a “blackboard in their mind.” Simple exercises of repeating two, three, and four digit numbers backward can help create strong visualizations. This is necessary before clear math skills will blossom.
A key factor to good math practices involves “drawing a picture” of the equation before attempting to figure out how to solve it. All learning is placing knowledge “in relationship” to other knowledge. No piece of knowledge stands on its on. Knowledge exists in relationship to other knowledge. Therefore, all math equations need to relate to something real. Hopefully, physical math manipulatives are used early on to make math “real.” Math devoid of relevance or relationships does not follow natural law. Math reveals the hidden natural laws of the world and of the thinker. To know math is to know your self.
As we know, even learning disabled students often learn to write and read but have trouble with math. The nature of the student’s mental capacities are directly related to the physical nature of the learner, especially the development of the head. Our heads create a mirror upon which we reflect the outside world. If that mirror is warped or cracked, the mental images come out distorted and incorrect. We must look at the learner to see if physical problems may cause learning difficulties. These physical problems may cause a lack of integration of thinking, feeling and willing. When this happens, we must find other strengths of the learner and capitalize on those strengths as the personal gateway of knowledge for that learner.
All learning must be tailor-made for the learner and take advantage of what integration exists between the thinking, feeling and willing of the learner. The learner’s preferences in learning styles, modalities of learning, and intelligences help create a learner’s profile for learning. All learning should first begin with assessments, observations and surveys to derive the learner’s profile for learning. Then the strengths of the learner can lead the process of Intuitive Learning.
Every good teacher I have ever known was a diligent, active learner. They rested not in the pursuit of knowing. Sometimes this appears as simply enjoying life and rejoicing in others’ happiness and successes. These habits are part of the daily pursuit of happiness for a true life-long learner.
Rhythmic education is healthy reinforcement of good learning habits. Repeating an affirmation daily that uplifts the soul reinforces a good habit of thinking positively and develops self-esteem, as well as enhances listening, speaking and communication skills. Adding movement to the recitation adds the force of will power and eventually memorizing the selection strengthens the feeling domain (getting it “by heart”). Once a selection is easily memorized by repeating it thirty times (practiced each morning for a month or so), the learner can write it down with colored pencils and accompany it with a beautiful illustration. Thus, the will is gently coaxed into a good habit that becomes a lesson well rendered and remembered.
Further discussions of the meaning of the selection will naturally arise as cognition wants to categorize and define the concepts into an orderly whole. This process is a natural, effortless, fun way to experience knowledge in the proper sequence of willing, feeling, and finally thinking. This would be called experience, reflection, and cognition in educational terminology.
Essentially, we model and imitate the experts in our environment who have mastered the habits and skills we want to have ourselves. We are copying the good habits and discipline of the master. The oldest method of teaching is still the most effective, apprenticing to a master.
After an apprentice learns all that the master has to teach through discipline, habit and training, the apprentice then needs to travel to visit and study with other masters. This methodology of journeymen traveling to study with other masters balances out the one-sidedness of any particular master. The variety of styles, experiences and artistic expressions demonstrated by other masters can be placed next to the example of the original master. Eventually, the journeyman develops their own style and expression that is natural to them and calls forth the giftedness and talents of the journeyman as they become a master themselves and take on other apprentices.
- We are our habits.
- We are what we do repetitively.
- Life is a ritual. Learning is a ritual.
- What our actions are aimed at – is our belief system.
- We want the students to learn good habits naturally and fundamentally so that their natural reaction is based on healthy habits.
- Good habits sleep in the will power of humans.
- It takes three nights of sleep to “know” what you have done; one for willing, one for feeling, and one for thinking.
- Belief is the process that re-links us to natural laws and the place we come from and will return to.
- All education in the elementary grades should resemble ritual wherein learners demonstrate good habits of learning.
- We can only know for sure that which we have experienced.
- Science is the art of knowing. Scio means “to know.”
- Theories change constantly and textbooks can’t keep up.
- There is no comprehensive science of education because there is no comprehensive theory of human development.
- Psychology asks questions and gives no answers (about the closest part of us-the soul), whereas science gives answers but asks no comprehensive questions (about the farthest part of us-the world).