How does a person learn? How can important learnings be facilitated? What basic theoretical assumptions are involved?
Here are a number of the principles which can, I believe, be abstracted from current experience and research related to this newer approach:
1) Human beings have a natural potentiality for learning.
2) Significant learning takes place when the subject matter is perceived by the student as having relevance for his own purposes.
3) Learning which involves a change in self organization - in the perception of oneself - is threatening and tends to be resisted.
4) Those learning which are threatening to the self are more easily perceived and assimilated when external threats are at a minimum.
5) When threats to the self is low, experience can be perceived in differentiated fashion and learning can proceed.
6) Much significant learning is acquired through doing.
7) Learning is facilitated when the student participates responsibly in the learning process.
8) Self-initiated learning which involves the whole person of the learner - feelings as well as intellect - is the most lasting and pervasive.
9) Independence, creativity, and self-reliance are all facilitated when self-criticism and self-evaluation are basic and evaluation by others is of secondary importance.
10) The most socially useful learning in the modern world is the learning of the process of learning, a continuing openness to experience and incorporation into oneself of the process of change.
1) The facilitator has much to do with setting the initial mood or climate of the group or class experience.
2) The facilitator helps to elicit and clarify the purposes of the individuals in the class as well as the more general purposes of the group.
3) He relies upon the desire of each student to implement those purposes which have meaning for him, as the motivational force behind significant learning.
4) He endeavours to organize and make easily available the widest possible range of resources for learning.
5) He regards himself as a flexible resource to be utilized by the group.
6) In responding to expressions in the classroom group, he accepts both the intellectual content and the emotionalized attitudes, endeavouring to give each aspect the approximate degree of emphasis which it has for the individual or the group.
7) As the acceptant classroom climate becomes established, the facilitator is able increasingly to become a participant learner, a member of the group, expressing his views as those of one individual only.
8) He takes the initiative in sharing himself with the group - his feelings as well as his thoughts - in ways which do not demand nor impose but represent simply a personal sharing which students may take or leave.
9) Throughout the classroom experience, he remains alert to the expression indicative of deep or strong feelings.
10) In his functioning as a facilitator of learning, the leader endeavours to recognize and accept his own limitations.