The human being is basically threefold in its organic structure- head, trunk, limbs. The corresponding functions of thinking, feeling, and willing come to maturity in three distinct stages, each culminating in a particular peak of physiological development: the change of teeth, the arrival of puberty, and finally adulthood. These stages of development were well known in the past and had elaborate ceremonies of “coming to age.” These facts, which anyone may observe, have been overlooked by modern educational theorists, yet all the physical and psychological implications of this seemingly simple idea have been explained in Intuitive Learning.
The cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains or the thinking, feeling and willing of the human being are the basis for categorizing the different aspects of the learner. The cognitive realm is well mapped out and observed by Piaget, Montessori, Steiner, Gesell and others. Cognitive achievement tests and I.Q. tests can pinpoint quantifiable data about the storage capacities of the brain. The thinking of a child can be scrutinized, analyzed, codified, classified and made into a numerical ratio. This realm is almost solely the concern of modern education. This domain has been conquered, but not understood. The dropping scores on standardized tests, dropout plague, the illiteracy of High School graduates and the inabilities of schools to clearly explain these problems has led the lords of the cognitive domain to an utter standstill in creative solutions. Perhaps it’s not only the head we should teach.
The realms of the affective domain are much more mysterious than the cognitive. Why do we learn? How does the student feel about a presentation? What motivates learners? What can successfully engage a student? Can a value judgment arise from a lesson? These are but a few questions arising from this untamed territory. It is quite difficult to draw up behavioral objectives that consciously touch or manipulate the affective domain. What can reach into the heart of the learner?
Speech is akin to the affective domain. In language is combined both the elements of will and thought in the human being. Language is gesture formed through the air-organism. Speech leads into the unconscious will element but arises from the subconscious feeling element. The internal soul (feeling) element finds expression externally through language. The feeling element in language slowly gives way to the element of meaning. Even psychology is born from language experience. Speaking itself falls into an unconscious region, but consciousness (through perception and conceptualization) seeks to capture the thought implicit in the spoken word. The consciousness of the listener seeks for meaning after the affect has been born. Sound and word groupings are intimately connected within subjective experience, and then they separate and can be conceptualized. The sound content goes into the unconscious, whereas the conceptual content goes into the conscious level of perception.
These thoughts on the nature of speech as the source of effecting the affective domain shed great light upon a domain that has only been partially understood. There are only germinal studies done on the scope of the affective domain, but perhaps these few indications give direction for further study.
Intuitive Learning is based in the highest qualitative uses of speech in the classroom. All lessons are told by memory to the students and the next day students are expected to retell the story from memory. Speech education holds a high place of esteem in Intuitive Learning. Choral speaking, recitation, poetry and song are major parts of each day’s lessons.
The psychomotoric domain is the realm from which all young children arise. The preschool child lives entirely in sensory experience and its effects on the will are profound. The physical body of the young child is the sum total of the twelve senses working together. The will must be in harmony or the body is incapable of coping with stressful learning situations. Without harmonious control of the sensory motor realm, social difficulties, behavior problems or what seems to be hyperactivity can arise. Without discrimination of laterality, the ability to distinguish different sides of letters like b and d would be impossible. A child without a sense for rhythm cannot follow speech patterns, subsequently making it difficult to learn reading, writing or arithmetic. Both the cognitive and affective domains are dependent upon the primacy of harmonious psychomotoric activity.
Cognitive development is based upon the child successfully gaining the following:
- the concept of time sequencing of events, rhythms that effect the body
- the concept of space and the kinesthetic feedback to the child’s relationship to the space and content of a given area
- knowledge of object permanence and the continuity of relationships to objects
- knowledge of object character and the quantity or quality of an object and its inherent nature when experienced in a number of different ways
- an understanding of causality and what makes objects move in relationship to each other or the child
- an understanding of cause and effect
- ocular control and the ability to sense through clear sight
- sense of balance, particularly to imitate a movement with balance
- fine and gross motor control leading to writing, handicrafts, drawing, etc.
- eye to hand coordination that is an essential of writing
- body geography and independent control of separate body parts
- laterality or left-right discrimination or control of each side including dominance
- spatial coordination and control of movement through space
- rhythm and the ability to perceive and imitate rhythms in sound or music
- uprightness and the ability to resist the forces of gravity through levity created by the body relative to space
- directional awareness of forward/backward discrimination and movement
- sensory integration and the ability to discriminate individual sensory input or combine or limit specific input in relationship to the whole.
Generally all these areas can be further reduced by examining each of them in relationship to the following: balance, agility, flexibility, strength, speed and endurance.
These specific categorizations give a hint at the complexity of this domain of learning. Often the most simple, primal areas of consideration are the most neglected. But if a child can’t stand erect or know the difference between left and right, it is demanding to expect them to develop the higher cognitive skills like reading and writing. The methods of Intuitive Learning provide a training of the will that attempts to remove hindrances from the natural development of the child. All lessons begin with will activities and then lead to the imaginative realm where feelings are evoked and only finally come to rest in the cognitive domain. The primary educational force is based in the will.
Harmonizing the will is the essential lesson of first grade before conceptual concerns are placed upon the child. The alphabet comes alive in first grade as fairy tales that prompt poems, songs, and will activities before the letter is extracted and separated into an individual concept. Intuitive Learning utilizes new forms of educational instruction that specifically develop the psychomotoric domain. We focus on educating the whole child, thinking, feeling, and willing.