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Original article URL: http://bridgemi.com/2014/02/to-increase-college-attainment-broaden-the-definition/

Guest commentary

To increase ‘college’ attainment, broaden the definition

Brandy Johnson is the founder and Executive Director of the Michigan College Access Network, and a first-generation college graduate.

Brandy Johnson is the founder and Executive Director of the Michigan College Access Network, and a first-generation college graduate.

Despite my deep respect for Dr. Glenda Price, I was troubled when I read her recent guest commentary in Bridge on why college isn’t the right choice for everyone. I fundamentally agree with her thesis, but am concerned by the rhetoric. I think prominent Michigan leaders are framing this issue in a way that is damaging. Let’s rethink the way we use the word “college”.

As Price articulates, it is clear that postsecondary education is essential for most students. In fact, according to the Center on Education and the Workforce, 62 percent of all jobs in Michigan will require postsecondary education. However, her column conflates the word “college” with “university” – and I think there is a distinction, and one with an important difference. I am the first to argue that not every high school graduate should pursue a four-year degree – but it is dangerous to say that those who don’t aren’t college-bound.

A postsecondary educational program that results in a valuable credential is precisely the definition of “college.” College is the umbrella term for the many variations of education beyond high school. When a student decides to pursue a professional certificate or associate degree in a technical field, we should celebrate that as a college completion, and not bend over backwards to emphasize that this accomplishment is not college. There is a drumbeat (one that the Michigan College Access Network hopefully played a role in amplifying) that every child should go to college. However, there has never been a rallying cry for every child to attain a bachelor’s degree.

At the beginning of her column, Price mentions seniors working on college applications and juniors attending college fairs as they prepare for their next educational steps. To be clear, all of the postsecondary certificate programs in the skilled trades also require applications and admission, and representatives of these programs can and do participate in college fairs. These programs aren’t free and they aren’t casual. Seniors who are choosing a trade/technical route should complete applications, fill out their financial aid materials, apply for scholarships, and weigh their options alongside other seniors who are choosing a university route.

In both instances, they are applying to college. When we separate these pathways and distinguish them from traditional four-year college, we inadvertently minimize their value and importance. Dividing students into college-bound (read: university) and career-bound (read: non-university) does much more harm to a student’s self-confidence and self-worth. Students who pursue education beyond high school are going to college – whether they are pursuing an engineering degree from Michigan State University or a welding technology certificate from Lansing Community College.

Price argues that school counselors and parents must help today’s graduates find the “best fit.” Again, I emphatically agree. However, she argues that for many students, the best fit means forgoing a college education. My concern is the message we are sending, and to whom we are sending that message. We rarely advise our own children to not go to college. We are talking about other kids – and those other kids are probably low-income (and qualify for a Pell Grant) and probably don’t have parents with college degrees.

Without a doubt these students have bigger barriers to overcome. However, our response as leaders should not be to push them into programs that will limit their professional opportunities and wages. We should provide them with the social, academic, informational and financial supports they need to fulfill their career dreams, whichever pathway they choose.

Price says “there is too little attention given to the opportunities that advanced manufacturing, the skilled trades, and other non-degreed options might offer.” If I may be so bold, that is all I hear us talking about. The governor made it a centerpiece of his education message in 2013 and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. recently launched a major program to promote these fields across the state. The phrase “college readiness” has now been replaced with “college and career readiness” as a reflection of the shift – and for good reason. If anything, I worry that the pendulum has swung too far. The “Is College Worth It?” headline is now a daily occurrence, despite the clear and compelling evidence that the attainment of a bachelor’s degree is the surest path to economic well-being of individuals, as well as of their families and communities.

I don’t have kids – but if I do, I will do everything I possibly can to set them up for success, including encouraging them to go to college. The bottom line is this: I believe that we should prepare all students for college – and that simply means we shouldn’t set an expectation of a high school diploma as a terminal completion point. College is anything from a technical certificate to a PhD, and we should celebrate and value students that complete any of these credentials.

Brandy Johnson is the founder and executive director of the Michigan College Access Network, and a first-generation college graduate.

Bridge welcomes guest columns from a diverse range of people on issues relating to Michigan and its future. The views and assertions of these writers do not necessarily reflect those of Bridge or The Center for Michigan.

120 comments from Bridge readers.Add mine!

  1. Jarrett Skorup

    Ms. Price argued that not everyone should pursue a university degree – everyone agrees that people should pursue education (which the author above lumps in with “college”). So the first half of this is largely a discussion over very little difference.

    Here’s the main discussion: “[Price] argues that for many students, the best fit means forgoing a college education. My concern is the message we are sending, and to whom we are sending that message. We rarely advise our own children to not go to college. We are talking about other kids – and those other kids are probably low-income (and qualify for a Pell Grant) and probably don’t have parents with college degrees.”

    That’s silly. There are lots of forms of education besides “college” (even as broad as the author makes it). One is not a bad parent if they encourage their child to be an auto mechanic, a carpenter, a waiter, a programmer or web designer or one of the other jobs 60% of people do without a college degree.

    The Pell Grant comment is interesting. The federal government’s involvement in higher education skyrocketed in 1970 (Pell grants leading the way) – and yet, despite a 10-fold increase in federal funding, a lower percentage of low-income citizens are getting college degrees today than 40 years ago (12 percent in 1970 vs. 7 percent today): http://www.michigancapitolconfidential.com/19076

    1. VOR

      Jarrett, I think that Ms. Johnson has an excellent point. Most college educated parents, when they talk about “whether college is for all kids or not”, are talking about other people’s kids. It’s sad that the cost of College and Universities in particular is rising so fast. Some so called fiscal conservatives are blaming college loan programs, while at the same time they are severely undercutting State funding for Michigan Universities. Inflation is going to happen to tuition, but that number is often doubled when you cut State support by 5% or more. A third tier, or cause, that neither side seems to address, is the un-ending investments that Universities are making to stay the “Best in the World”. MSU’s $1 Billion Science Building comes to mind, along with over $1 million / year in maintenance costs for that building. I spoke to MSU’s past President Peter McPherson about this, and he said that $900 million of that building came from Grants, and that some of the rest came from private donations. My Dad correctly pointed out that the $900 million in Federal & State Grants came from taxpayers… We can spend our $billions being the “best equipped”, attracting scientists from around the world, or educating our Michigan kids. Lets find a way to do both, without outpricing an education for working families…

      By the way Jarret, I think you must not have read that 62 percent of all jobs in Michigan will require postsecondary education, because your comment suggested that 60% don’t require college.

    2. DBG

      Jarrett – I can appreciate your position as there are still a few careers that don’t require education beyond high school. But what you’re missing is that many of the jobs you listed (including auto mechanic, programmer and web designer) DO require some post-secondary education; certificate of 2-year degree. And that education is referred to as a “college education”. So to say “college” when you mean “university” is not for everyone is misleading, limiting and even a bit degrading. We need students to see themselves as life-long learners. They need to be prepared and excited to pursue education and training beyond high school in order to get living wage jobs. They should not feel they are “less than” because they chose to go into a career that does not require a 4-year degree. That is what Ms/ Johnson is trying to convey.

  2. Danielle Funderburg

    This is a wonderful summary and rebuttal to Dr. Price’s article. I strongly agree that the emphasis on this argument is more about semantics than methods. We are ultimately responsible for preparing our children, whether we birthed them, teach them, or mentor them, for life BEYOND college. And this preparation includes academics, social skills and work skills if possible.

    We are concentrating on the minors of what “college” means and not the very task of READINESS for what our children will have to accomplish once out of high-school. I personally champion behind the ‘college-ready’ initiative because I was considered one of THOSE kids. I lived the importance of continuing my education to break the cycle of poverty that plagues our children today. Whether it’s a traditional four(five) year degree, or an entrance exam into the armed forces our children MUST have the academic rigor needed to pass these exams.

    We are getting caught up on the minors of semantics, are our children “COLLEGE MATERIAL” (a term I despise), and the tired conversation of affordability, which by the way, most low-income students have meaningful access to financial resources and could reasonably go to school for free.

    We have to be laser focused on the fact that students must have the necessary fundamentals of math, reading, science and social studies. Be equipped to problem solve and have certain soft skills in place in order to compete in our now global workforce.

    I applaud Ms. Johnson for her clarity and boldness in challenging the conversation and defining what college preparation really means.

  3. nana63

    ms. brown- the issue is post-secondary education by whatever means necessary and according the individual’s needs and aptitudes. Dr. Price knows what is real. the idea of college and career readiness is not new. the state of Michigan needs to get back to being one the best states to get a good education “from the cradle to the grave”, (70’s). no time to waste on semantics. ijs

  4. Adam Ellsworth

    I believe the fastest way to both increase college completion rates and reduce student debt load would be to prevent state and federal money from going to for-profit colleges such as ITT Tech. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is now suing ITT Tech’s parent company for building their entire business on the basis of defrauding primarily Pell Grant-eligible persons that can ill afford the loan payments for incomplete educations or dubious credentials.

    http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-cfpb-itt-tech-enforcement-action-20140226,0,6644352.story
    http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201402_cfpb_complaint_ITT.pdf

  5. dmgb

    I have followed the education debate & articles published on Bridge with great interest. What I am writing is based not on statistics but on personal experience.

    First & foremost, before considering post high school continuing education (under whatever name you want to call it) we have to have most of the kids actually graduating from high school. I am not sure that statistics truly reflect the numbers of kids that are not completing high school for many reasons. We have moved the career programs that were in high schools to community colleges. Too often we lose those students that used to graduate high school & be certified to work the day after graduation. They are simply dropping out.

    With respect to higher education, there are many people out there with advanced degrees that are too far removed from college to be tracked. I have family & friends with advanced degrees who loved Michigan, wanted to stay in the state but could not find jobs in their fields. I know others who are working in jobs outside their fields. Some are making a reasonable living, others are not. Many are continuing to work in jobs that require no degree. It is oversimplifying things to state that post secondary education improves chances of employment. It is especially problematic due to the numbers of students taking out loans. Repaying of these loans keeps them from buying cars, houses, etc. The costs of higher education historically were born by the taxpayer because the benefits of a higher educated workforce. Now that cost is being carried by the individual who often is not earning enough to repay those loans. It is why the student loan bubble will eventually turn into a future crisis. And the tax payer will have to pay for it.

  6. Duane

    Ms. Johnson’s approach reminds me of the emphasis on social success over academic achievement in acquiring a high school degree. After that it seems we saw a significant rise in degrees being awarded to students that couldn’t read what was on their diploma.

    I think the issue is about demonstrating the value of post high school education. What has happened is the media and others are using a convenient shorthand of ‘college’ to discribe that added education, whether it be a welders or pipefitters certification, special electronics knoweldge and skills, or some other specialized skill cerification.

    College is the description of a certain place for and type of training. It describes those things, it does no change the value of any other types of training.

    Redefining what ‘college’ means does not change anything except adding to the ‘politically correct’ vocabulary that can lead to miscommunications and misunderstandings. Ms. Johnson may feel better about saying anyone with post high school training has gone to ‘college’, but the reality is a welder needs special training to develop a highly valued skill which is not available in college, and engineer needs classroom and lab instructions that colleges are designed to deliver.

    “…we inadvertently minimize their value and importance. ” this remark suggests Ms, Johnson doesn’t understand what many of these non-college trained people do and she fails to understand how those who utilize their knowledge and skills value what they do and respect their contribution. This returns me to the thought Ms Johnson is more about adding to the ‘politically correct’ lexicon than she is about promoting people matching their interests and capacities to the best training for them. She seems to have never seen a quality welder drawing a bead on an alloy tank in the middle of winter when a process is down, they are more valuable then any Phd at that moment (and everybody there knows it).

    “We rarely advise our own children to not go to college.” My high school counselor did, she just didn;t know what to recommend in its place.

    1. Leon L. Hulett, PE

      Duane, re: Your comment, ‘“We rarely advise our own children to not go to college.” My high school counselor did, she just didn’t know what to recommend in its place.’

      Here are some recommendations: ‘Write a book.’ Or just write something. I told my sister and a fifth-grader about a local Library Contest where people wrote about local history and may win a $1000 prize, $500 for kids. My sister won the first year, and could not attend the presentation of the award. So, I arranged for the fifth-grader to receive the award and the check for $1000, on her behalf. The next year the ‘5th grader,’ wrote her own article for the contest.

      In 1939 a survey was done at a New York Literary Guild meeting. One question was, How many writers here have completed college? It turned out that none of them had. This one group of writers turned out writing in 1939, amounting to $250,000 per month. These were the top writers in America at the time. None had gone to college, and none had learned to be productive writers, in college, either. The author of the Harry Potter series, was self taught, and after she became the first writer to become a billionaire she was invited to Harvard to tell them how she did it.

      Now, I would widen this to all arts. One child I know, loved to draw and to paint. So instead of advising her ‘to paint.’ I asked her if she would accept a contract, to paint something someone needed, and I explained what they needed. She did it, and she got paid. Now I think if one looked at the Masters down through history to see which had learned their mastery in some sort of ‘college’ and which ones had not, I think the self-taught group would be much larger. I wouldn’t say they all were self-taught, but then I haven’t done the survey either. I don’t think any college that teaches Art, or how to paint, would dare.

      Now how about Engineering? My wife tells the story of her grandfather, working as a boy in a Lumber Mill, here in Michigan. There was a huge engine to power all of the Mill, and one day it broke down and all work was stopped. An Engineer was called in to fix it. The Engineer needed an assistant that knew where things were to fetch things locally. Grandfather became the assistant to the Engineer. The Engineer carefully explained to an eager boy how things worked. The boy learned as the Engineer made certain marks or scratches. The Engineer said, this mark shows where the wheel should be, on the shaft. If it is not right, the engine will not run properly. There were a lot of things to know, and lots of ‘marks.’ One day the Engine worked again, and the The Engineer went away. A few years later, the great Engine once again came to a stop and all the plant was shut down. The owners began a desperate search for an Engineer to fix the great Engine. A still rather small boy said, in a small voice, ‘I can fix it!’ All eyes turned to the little boy they all knew so well, or thought they knew, in astonishment. The owner’s did not stop looking for an Engineer, but they kindly said to the boy, ‘If you can fix it, you can be our Engineer.’ He did, and he was The Engineer from then on.

      One Professor I had at Michigan State told us what was required for a person to be an Engineer in the 1930s. He said the person had to know just one formula. It is called the Flexure Formula. This is the formula anyone might use to see how a beam or anything flexes when you put a force on it. People that build buildings, bridges, roads, towers, etc, do use this same formula today.

      When I worked at a local company they rejected all 200 applicants for a position, with graduate degrees, because they ‘didn’t have any experience.’ So what is more important: A college degree? Or experience?

      Or shall I say, the ability to do. My recommendation to your counselor, is to tell such students, to acquire the ability to do things, by working your way up. And I would include saying this to the college-intended as well.

      My wife tells the story of a local boy that did just this. He was in her class in a one-room school, K-8. He later became a billionaire. He founded Domino’s Pizza. When he later decided to complete his education, he said, ‘If I had learned to do things like this, I never would have become a success, a billionaire.’

      1. Duane

        Leon,

        The comment was an example to Ms. Johnson that it requires more than simply saying ‘college’ or not ‘college’, those positioned to help students look to their post K-12 education need to know what is available and be able to help the students investigate for better understanding. I would like to hear how the K-12 schools are reaching out to a diverse cross section of professions, inviting them into the classroom to describe what they do, what it takes (educational and effort) to achieve what they have, and to talk about the interests they have that their professions fulfill.

        That counselor had a college degree, she worked with those who had college degress, all of their extended professional training was in extended college courses, her point of reference was college education. Neither she nor her peers seem to have any apparent contact with professions other than college degreed.

        I had the advantage my father (who had completed only the 8th grade) worked himself into a job that allowed him contact (auto industry) with many certified skilled people and with engineers. He share his experiences and his perspective on each of them. Based on his expectations and later my desires for control of my life, I ignored that advice.

        In my career I have had greater opportunities to work with a diverse groups of professionals and have found my choice was right for me. However, I confirmed my Father respect and appreciation for the college, the non-college, and the self taught professionals. I have found those who have invested most in their knowledge and skills seem to enjoy what they do, some even in the most inclement conditions.

        Aside from the teachers kids have in school what exposure do they get to a diverse set of professions? How do we change that so ‘college’ is not the goal, rather knowledge and skills for a life time are?

        1. Leon L. Hulett, PE

          Duane, re: ‘Aside from the teachers kids have in school what exposure do they get to a diverse set of professions?’

          From my 5 year experience putting myself in that exact position, as a substitute teacher (one or two days a week as my Consulting Business, allowed). I would say none, to very little. In one classroom, after I had introduced myself, and gave only a few high lights from my career, a child asked this question, with kind a wondrous look on his face, ‘Why are you here? Instead of off doing more of those amazing things?’ I said, I think, just what you might have said, based on your various comments, ‘I’m here for you!’ In another school in a vocational education class a girl found I was from her home town. She said, ‘No one’s from there!’ She had had zero contact with professionals from her home town.

          ‘How do we change that so ‘college’ is not the goal, rather knowledge and skills for a life time are?’ Well, I actually have thought about that a lot. I wrote up 10 Standards, written from the viewpoint of the student. What skills and specific training could I, as a Professional Engineer and father, give a student, in 25 hours or so of tutoring, so he or she would have such a viewpoint? How could one learn fast enough, learn to set new goals for himself, no matter how fast things were changing in the world around him? I did my best to write 10 Standards that do encompass such a goal. I wrote ten little courses to match them to give the student those abilities.

          I found after the five years of teaching that a few more ‘standards’ might be needed to do the level of effort I think is needed at this point, with the skill levels being taught in public schools. I envisioned one on ‘Attention’ to teach the student sufficient attention skills that he would never need to worry about ADD. Another had to do with false things, what if people tell you, or convince you, of false things? How might one handle that? Another had to do with ‘Emotion.’ One eighth-grade girl was so far gone on this issue, she seemed to be a magnet for bullying. Boys would come up even when I was working with her to torment her. I handled each in turn, but this girl was in trouble. I felt compelled to do something.

          I wrote a suggestion to a local school on ‘Bullying.’ I found, that they seemed to act very much as bullies themselves. Unfortunately, I was not very effective on that one.

          What are your ideas on this issue?

          1. Duane

            Leon,

            I have no ideas about addressing ‘bullying’ or ‘bullies’. I have been so blissfully ignorant of it at the time people were attempting to ‘bully’ me, thus I am not a credible source of ideas. As best I can tell those trying to ‘bully’ me simple got tired of by ignorance of their intentions they gave up. I would not recommend this as a means to address it.

            This could be an opportunity to establish a few ad hoc teams to investigate local ‘bullying’ to first frame the issue, describe the profile of such events, developing a vision of what would be a desired environment without ‘bullying’ would look like, identify the barriers to achieving that vision, create and inventory of means to address the acts of ‘bullying’, addressing the barrier to preventing ‘bullying’, and means for supporting those who are being ‘bullied’.

            My limited experience makes me a poor source of ideas on the subject.

          2. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane, I was actually thinking of all those issues, not just bullying. ‘What exposure do they get to a diverse set of professions?’ ‘How do we change that so ‘college’ is not the goal, rather knowledge and skills for a life time are?’ and ‘Bullying.’

            Bullying is more than a local thing. It’s influence has been emphasized nationally in the news as people have died from it, quite a few movies have been made dramatizing the issue, at the state of Michigan level not too long ago, a Michigan death, prompted a new state law requiring all public schools in Michigan to comply within six months by submitting copies of their revised school policies on ‘Bullying’ that comply with the new law. I got excited about the issue and reviewed the local school policy and took the liberty of updating it to the new law, just as a suggestion, to the school board. I took it to the local Superintendent of Schools, and got a bit of a surprise. Instead of reading it, he had me send it directly to their Attorney. In a few days I followed up with the Attorney to see if he had gotten it, and if he had any comments. He had received it, but not read it, and had not read the new law. His company represents 750 schools in 4 or 5 states and I expected their response would be a coordinated thing and appropriate to all the schools they represented.

            To make a long story shorter, my suggestion was finally nixed by the schools policy committee and I was not notified or asked to talk about it. I found out about it later as I submitted a request to talk to the school board about International Competitiveness and what our local school could do about it. The Superintendent ‘trash canned’ my new request to the board, and when I asked why he said it had to do with my suggestion on ‘bullying’. He said he could not even discuss it in mixed company, as his secretary was nearby. I had to laugh to myself, ‘What is this all about?’ I had put in a paragraph about offensive language, and how a bully might take a normal English language word and make it seem negative by adding strong negative emotions and gestures and timing to it. So the words are unimportant, it is how a person says them that might be offensive and most important. So as an example, after describing the use of normal language to make words offensive in this way, I used a four-letter ‘s’ word as an example. The dictionary defines this word, one definition, as ‘a girl that doesn’t dress well.’ Even in this context, he chose to take my use of this word as something unspeakable, a ‘zero-tolerance’ type word. I had no idea the school was so far away from society on this issue. The guy was totally, or was acting totally offended, that I would suggest such a word to be used in a school policy. So I said, just change the word, or delete the paragraph. He said no…, he just could not even bring himself to discuss this. He was enraged. I think this school, and policy committee are hyper-sensitized to this issue and in fact are being ‘bullies’ themselves on the issue. I think this condition occurs because they have nothing to compare it to. I think you mentioned this in your comments on bullying I think. But I am adding a discussion below to expand on this a little.

            My suggested policy also had this information in it. One should never describe a set of characteristics for a bully, or any anti-social personality, without also describing the social characteristics that compare to it, and are the way people should act, the social personality. If one does not do this then it may be used for witch-hunts, or as this school had progressed to, they were demonizing everything to do with this issue to such a level, they could no longer discuss it freely.

            How could they possibly be treating kids fairly on this issue? I’m sure they are not, it might be as simple as this one point they failed to put in their policy. By the way, the state law also does not set this straight.

        2. Duane

          Leon,

          With regard to the exposure to profession, I would see schools setting up a program in which people from different professions were recruited to visit classes and describe what they do and how education is a factor in what they do. I would also asked the students what they saw as important issues to them and have the visitors address them. As an example if it was about where they would most likely find jobs, if it were about the hours they worked, if it was about pay. With regard to pay I would have the school/students do the searches looking for starting salaries, average, top, and who the employers might be. I would encourage the participants to try to see what they are doing through the eyes of their audiences and frame their presentations accordingly. Sometimes, particularly with professionals who are geer to working with peers they can fail to change their mindset and present as if to peers.

          I also feel that simply taking a class (by subject) through a setting they would use and describe how education applies. As an example walking through a grocery store would be a good place to introdude kids to the engineering that goes into the packaging on the shelves, the marketing, logistics. Visiting a brokerage or bank and introduce them to the math and reading and analysis that is required. Visit a construction site, a manufacturing facility, a auto repair shop, etc. I would encourage finding out what sports the like and introduce them to the physics that apply. Not every student will be reached in any one situation. However, a persistent exposure to how education is needed in everything and especially for personal success will build to an acceptance and to the reality that it is with their grasp.

          As for the changing focus to knowledge and skills would be partically addressed by the career professionals in talking about how the knowledge and skills they have learned outside of school and how they have applied it to work. Where possible bring local successes and have them describe what knowledge and skills are important to them and how they gained that knowledge. Bring in employers and have them describe the knowledge and skills they are looking for and how that affects the jobs people are hired for and how it works into career advancement and longevity.

          I would start these programs in middle school and continue them through high school. Where possible I would encourage the students visiting operating facilities to see how education is applied.

          I feel there are many volunteers that would be good resources to develop and administer such programs, even participating in them.

          1. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane, these are all excellent ways to get professionals more involved in what students are learning.

            ‘I also feel that simply taking a class (by subject) through a setting they would use and describe how education applies.’ This is what I did when I was substitute teaching for five years. I would always do the Lesson Plan their regular teacher left me. But when I answered student questions, I would use real life examples, of where it applied. One day the plan was a puzzle, where the students had to define 50 words, and the result was then a mystery symbol drawn by their correct answers. I assumed the words were review words, from the whole year. I took the first student question, which involved one of the more complex or difficult to answer. I correctly defined the word, and gave examples of how I had used it in my career, usually on some big glamorous project. that took a few seconds. Each time I answered I spoke loudly enough so that all could hear easily. I suppose many of them just wrote down the correct answers they had been expected to know, but didn’t. By the end of the 50 minute class I had defined, asked to define, each of the 50 words. After class, three of the students were so happy. They told me they had learned more in that one class, than they had the whole year with the regular teacher.

            At one time I wrote up 62 of these stories, hoping that one day, I might have the opportunity to put them into some kind of movie. But that has never happened. But if your plan works out to have schools organize such an activity, I would like to see that in movie of some sort.

            I received some pretty adventurous questions from the students, that would probably not be appropriate here, but you are right answering the questions they have in this way would be extremely important. One student wanted to be an Astronaut. Another had been in an Honors program at another school, and her parents had transferred her in the middle of the fall, to late to start with the Honors Program at this new school. She was despondent. She thought she could never get back on track again. I told her how to do it. Another student asked about having a purpose for Calculus. He said he had asked his regular teacher and got an an honest answer, ‘I don’t know.’ Then the teacher said he would find out, I suppose from the other teachers or the school. In a few days he came back in said, ‘We don’t know.’ I told him 7 purposes off the top of my head, showing where I had used it in these ways. Then I told him about the idea that he should work a reason to study each thing he is learning about. Find some type of purpose, but a purpose that brings the subject alive for him. will be the most important one.

            One parent I was tutoring asked about her son, who had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. They had prescribed drugs and she didn’t want that. What could I do? I defined correctly what ‘attention’ was and suggested to here to use the knowledge and skills from my tutoring, to tutor her son. I recommended to her almost exactly the things you recommended, with a slight twist. I asked her to arrange for her son to observe people at work, using excellent attention skills. Just have him look at them and notice how they did things, how they used their attention. Several months later she got back to me. Her son had just been accepted to a Gifted and Talented program and was no longer ADD. I never saw a mother so thankful. Years later, a friend of hers, confirmed to me that the boy, now the man, was doing great in college.

          2. Duane

            Leon,

            The challenge is to get people to breakout of their model of operation by larning from other fields.

            Congratulation on your success.

          3. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane, re: your ideas for acquiring skills and knowledge. [I have a devil of time losing some letters here when I type things in.]

            I woke up with a Dream this morning, and thought I might run it by you:

            What if you and I started a reading program for, that means dedicated to, the 8 kids in Kary Moss’s ACLU thing, where some kids in Michigan are not learning to read at grade level. Our program would incorporate the ideas we have discussed here, on this site. So far, it is kind of directed to the same people her class action suit aims towards.

            Our program might be called the, ‘Grade Level or Death!’ program, or something cute that kids might like. A friend told me an amusing story about a robotics class he taught, where he had a Drill Sergeant available, tell the kids about organization for 10 minutes. The Sergeant kept saying, ‘Plan or Die!’, when he was saying how they organized their tactics going door-to-door with a squad of armed men, each depending on all the others. Each man had a function and they all had to coordinate with each others functions, second by second. One of the kids kept saying that phrase out loud, to himself, with eyes closed, for the rest of the day, as he hit the desk lightly with his fist, to emphasize a thought he was having, in a funny way. My friend’s class in high spirits had buttons made up with that slogan, and it was kind of their, The Robotics Kids, special secret as they wore them around school, enjoying the reactions of others.

            This program would be directed to all kids in Michigan, though. I would train each child in a few study things, like how to acquire knowledge and my six barriers to study, or hire my tutor to do it, so they could learn enough to learn to read, then bring them up to grade level in Reading. You might coordinate with businesses to work out how your ideas and their ideas, might fit in to a common effort. And, you might coordinate with educational people to see how they might fit in.

            In my dream, I imagined a little 3X5 card, or Ticket, that each student might present to our program. On one end of the top side, it would have only the student’s name and two grade level numbers, beside the name, on the left the grade level he has attained, and on the right the grade level he seeks to attain. If he is an eighth grader that reads at 2nd grade level, that would mean he intends to start as having achieved 2nd grade and seeks to attain 8th grade reading level, and our job would be to bring him up to 8th grade reading level. It might look like, 2 John Doe 8. It would also have these words across the face of the Ticket. ‘I am willing to be here and help others.’ Meaning he or she is willing to do the program and help others to be successful when reading. The child would have to present the Ticket to me. He may withdraw his Ticket at any moment he wishes.

            On the back of the Ticket, at one end, we would have these words, ‘We are willing to have this student complete this program.’ It would list the names of those responsible for this child’s compulsory education, and we would have a check box for each. For example; Rick Snyder, Michael Flanagan, Joyce Parker, Kary Moss, a Parent, etc. If you find one of those people have the authority to authorize a payment for completing our program, then there would be a place for a signature. If their box is checked, it means you have this child’s name on a log somewhere of persons that that person has authorized to do this program, and they are willing for the child to be there.

            When a student completes a grade level in reading, when he presents evidence he has completed and complied with the law, we give him a one ounce silver coin, and his Ticket back. If he completes 12th grade, we give him a one ounce gold coin as well. This is our version of ‘a gold star.’

            Basically, these students would be any students where compulsory education has failed to comply with the law yet. Our fee would be $20,000 for each coin (a reading grade level) we give out, or as agreed.

            Our program would be one more way those responsible for the law, could comply with it.

            What do you think?

          4. Duane

            Leon,

            The idea of creating an innovative approach to reading and learning definitely has appeal. I am a strong proponent of piloting programs/processes before making a big push for broader implementation, so the group of students you mention would seem to be right.

            As you mentioned we have been sharing ideas. Turning those ideas into action plan/program/protocols will require some work. Having learned using a disciplined approach when developing a project is an effective method for the desired outcome I would want to develop such a protocol for the project you are proposing. If that is of interest I would share the core map of that process.

            As I have mentioned many times, I like to engage a diverse group to explore an idea and develop an action plan. I would like to have 6-10 people involved in the initial exploration of your suggestion to see if it addresses what will be needed and I think various perspective will only strength the final product. I could see recruiting some from commenters here, I would surely want at least one experienced professional (especially one that has had to teach kids to read).

            My experience with Drill Sergeants has been they are more focused on a single approach rather then adapting to the people needing to be reached.

            The more detailed ideas and practices you have mentioned seem to apply broadly not just limited to reading that is why I could see this being initially applied to reading with it expandable to other subjects/skills.

            Another of my lessons is that people lock on what they first hear, whether it be the cost, the outcome, the concept, and unless one is assured of what the first present it becomes a barrier to success. I would like to see a though out project plan before presenting it beyond the initial development team.

            I would like to see this explored into more detail. One of the methods I use to test an action plan is, is it more about the solution than it is about the results. I have heard referred to as ‘don’t fall in love with the solution, fall in love with the problem.’

            I am not one for dreams, I always see my thought process being divided just between the conscious and subconscious, one working with a lot of distractions and the other (most commonly when first falling asleep or just prior to waking) with little or no distractions. Both efforts contribute to good results.

          5. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane, re: ‘Having learned using a disciplined approach when developing a project is an effective method for the desired outcome I would want to develop such a protocol for the project you are proposing. If that is of interest I would share the core map of that process.’

            I would be interested in your approach to such a problem. This is hypothetical, of course, but not entirely.

            I would envision three rather distinct phases; it might help if I expressed some steps and a desired outcome for each. I will add in the primary responses I would expect.

            Phase one: We would start with 8 or 10 kids, that have achieved 5th grade reading level. Only one of Kary’s 8 kids are at this level. I would spend 2 hours giving them my Applied Knowledge Workshop, the same one I gave the 5 robotics kids. So this would be 2 hours, class time, for me. That would be done in one day. Then I would do my first standard. This takes 10 hours, my time, that would take two or more days. The students work with others part of this time, so they are ready for Phase 2. This should be enough about study for phase one. I would then do ‘reading out-loud’ for about 25 hours, where they pair up and work as twins, five sets of twins. This should bring them up to reading grade level, with the ability to increase their own reading grade level faster than one year per grade. This step is 5 days or more. These students may have to do some amount of reading of progressively higher level materials on their own until they can present evidence of reading at grade level. So, this is the desired outcome; each of the students presents evidence they can read at the grade level they signed up for.

            To achieve this result, you would have to set up a room schedule, possibly weekends or evenings, with a school superintendent, and get the first 10 students from the school, then get the approvals from all the folks to attempt this. I expect no one will step forward to pay for this or assume any responsibility, even though they are not complying with the law until the kids do present evidence they are at grade level. I believe this could be authorized by the Emergency Manager, Joyce Parker. As with Kary’s kids they may be six grade levels below the grade they are currently placed in. It would be nice if we had a liaison reading teacher with the experience you thought of. I only need them to do the before and after testing and provide the graded reading materials or list for us to use at the library. You may want her to do more.

            You should add to this your ideas (and some of mine) on having kids interact with business people. They should observe what study skills. and professional skills, are used in about five different businesses. The business people should be coached in advance on what is expected of them. That the kids will be observing specific study skills and business skills, and excellent examples should be arranged, but also poor examples so the kids get the idea of what is poor in the real world and what is great. This is not a simple walk through of the plant or ‘work shadowing’ with a question and answer period. This will be students getting very personal and straight to the heart, with employees about the essential skills businesses need.

            We could do Phase one over and over at different schools. This is about 40 to 50 hours each of my time.

            I would expect parents to get personally enthused about this at this stage. I would not expect any great enthusiasm from the public at this point. I would expect a little back flash from the school and teachers, and much disbelief. I do not expect anyone to come forth with money to fund a program like this, at this point. They will consider it ‘too different’, ‘it does not fit with the way we do business.’ People may find some reasons to stop it during this phase. We just have to bear with it all, be effective and move on. The back pressure should not be too great. Not being funded at this point is not a failure, it is our investment, and paying our dues, and a simple demonstration of technology. We will be busy enough convincing ourselves we can do this.

            Phase two: The graduates from Phase one will be able to help others effectively, but not without intensive supervision. We should require this as a vital part of the program. Now each of the 10 kids must work with 10 other students. So here you need up to 100 more students, 10 per class with one or more of my graduates acting as tutors for each class. Each of these tutors do a Phase one, with me intensively supervising the tutors. I would start with just one class for me to train the tutor, and myself, and handle the kids effectively. We should be able work up to 10 classes at once if things go right and some of the trained tutors are interested in doing more. Again, about 40 to 50 hours, for each Phase two.

            This phase will probably attract too much attention. Having kids that can do what these kids, tutors, will do is new in the world. Again, I would not really expect anyone to fund us from one of these demonstrations. I guess I would rather not say why. I would expect tons of questions and requests to explain every single thing about it to everyone. (It is easier to ‘just do it’, and observe it.) I would kind of expect a bolt from the blue, if one person, the right person, in the public actually gets the concept of this. I would expect students, parents and businesses, and home schools to fully cooperate on this. Parochial schools and churches might even join in. But I have yet to see public schools express a willingness for kids to succeed at this level.

            Phase three: With funding, we could hire my tutor to train teachers. Or to do their program with larger numbers of students to teach them how to study better, and to bring them up to grade level in Reading, Writing, Science and Math.

            I would expect that you would do well to get into communication with Emergency Managers, at some point, in such a program.

            I’m looking forward to what you have in mind.

          6. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane, re: The companies I would like to see kids visit.

            The kids will be learning how to acquire skills quickly. They will be learning that skills are specific abilities one can learn. They are being trained to acquire an Ability by Observing, Deciding and Acting. Or ‘To Observe, To Decide, To Act’ for short.

            So, I would like to see them acquire the essential skills of American Business by observing the skills each of the following have acquired to do their work; an Owner, a Manager, a Project Engineer, a Plumber, a Ditch Digger, a production line worker, a quality inspector, a shipping and receiving Clerk, an inventory control manager, a cost control person, a Purchasing person, and a Salesman.

            I once was assigned the task at a Boys Ranch, to take six delinquent boys to a river bed and have them load gravel and rocks into a trailer for a decorative walk at the Ranch. Each of the boys and I, had shovels. So I made it a Challenge. I assigned one boy to simply observe the activity for the first five minutes and tell us who shoveled the most shovelfuls of gravel into the trailer, the five boys or me. He said I had loaded more than all five of the boys combined. Without saying a word of instruction these five boys were now able to load the trailer in good time like workers that knew what they were doing with shovels. They had an idea of the work a ditch digger might do, at least in terms of handling a shovel in gravel. The task had taken about half and hour.

            In other words, we should coordinate with the people in business the kids will be visiting, to see that they do demonstrate key skills, the actual skills they use, and be prepared to say the circumstances where they had acquired them. When I was first asked, How do I ‘Do it?’ I was kind of taken aback. I had to think about it again, as I had long since simply thought it as a skill acquired and did not think about ‘doing it’, at all. I think a business person will have to think through how to articulate what skills they consider the most important and what they do at this point in time. But most of all I want the kids to see the skills for themselves, before there is any discussion of them.

          7. Duane

            Leon,
            My approach is to first establish the desired outcomes (project purpose), know where you are going before you start.
            Establish project scope. A major risk to project successes is project creep, people become so enthusiastic about what they are doing they expand it beyond what they were designed to do.
            Establish the results that is planned to be achieved, being as specific as possible. You need to know if what you are doing will/is working, you need to demonstrate to other real results (this is counter to politics in almost any setting).
            Develop the critical activities that will achieve the project expectations, what are those things that must be done to deliver the results specified.
            Identify the barriers to critical activities working, such as lack of information/knowledge, lack of willingness to change, lack of interest, lack of perceived value, limits to resources and by scope of project, limits on pool to draw team from, etc.
            Develop methods to address those barriers. This is in conjunction with activities developed to achieve the project expected results. This should also include necessary resource, activity, materials, knowledge/skills, etc.
            Develop of a project map that includes the activities, critical and sub critical, the sequences of activities, the resources, regular status reporting, and with a firm timeline
            Develop a list of roles and responsibilities and the person identified for each role. Team members will be given the authority to act within their responsibilities.

            I favor this disciplined process approach, it helps to minimize surprise problems, to reduces the creation of problems by preventing activities happening out of sequences, it ensure communication within the team, and aid in communication with those involved in the project and those outside with interest in the results. People have a tendency to become energized by certain activities and aspects of those activities and can be distracted from other elements that are critical to achieving the desired results or they can undermine leveraging the successes to other applications, this discipline reduces that significantly. It also is effective at integrating diverse knowledge and teams in the process. It allows for individuals to be most effective with their expertise while affording other expertise to be employed.

            You have describe several particular activities, I have seen well designed activities fail because supportive needs are overlooked that is why I lean on the adherence to a disciplined project approach.

          8. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane, re: ‘the adherence to a disciplined project approach.’

            Your approach has eight 8 major sections, which I might number with roman numerals from I to VIII, and give each one a key word or two so you can see each of them match up with your discussions of them. Then I can number items within with Arabic numerals or letters, and so on, that an outline might use, as more details are added. With the various project management and organizing materials I have used, this comes in handy to keep track of things. One system I have used simply uses basic steps that might be used to organize any activity. It starts with 10 main things, like goals, purposes, policies, plans, projects, orders, ideal scenes, and so on down to the final products needed. Then one works them up and down to fill in the blanks of the activity, and only enough of this is done to encompass the activity to the level of detail the people involved need to do it. I will use your method here to make it easier for you.

            For now I will not write down much for you, but will allow you to edit mine freely, and note or add yours as you wish. I will put more detail into the first sections for now, and we can fill in other areas more as we wish. Please note the purposes you might like to do. I would need help from my tutor for larger efforts.

            I. Purposes:
            1. to bring 10 students, S, at grade level 5 or higher, GL5, up to grade level, GL, in Reading, R. or 10 S at GLR5 to GLR
            2. bring 10 S at GL5, up to grade level in Reading, Writing, Math, and Science. or 10S at GL5 to GL.
            3. bring 110 S at GLR5 to GLR.
            4. bring 110 S at GL5 to GL.
            5. bring S at Leona group up to GLR
            6. bring S at Leona group up to GL
            7. bring S in Michigan up to GL
            8. bring parents and businesses on board to assist the effort.
            9. recruit a board to compare what we propose, to current practice, and provide their recommendations for improvements.

            II. Project Scope: with before and after testing
            1. 10 S at GLR5 to GLR
            2. 10S at GL5 to GL
            3. 110 S at GLR5 to GLR
            4. 110 S at GL5 to GL
            5. S at Leona group up to GLR
            6. S at Leona group up to GL
            7. S in Michigan up to GL
            8. parents and businesses do their part
            9. board provides recommendations

            III. Results: each student presents evidence they have demonstrated what was required for a level. This includes test results.
            1. 10 S at GLR5 to GLR
            2. 10S at GL5 to GL
            3. 110 S at GLR5 to GLR
            4. 110 S at GL5 to GL
            5. S at Leona group up to GLR
            6. S at Leona group up to GL
            7. S in Michigan up to GL
            8. parents and businesses do their part
            9. board provides recommendation

            IV. Critical Activities:
            1. Each student must be tutored to learn how to study well enough to achieve one of the purposes. Then a student and twin work with each other till they can present evidence they have achieved that level.
            2. The Applied Knowledge Workshop must achieve the result that students are now willing to learn.
            3. My standard 1 must result in a student that can study well enough to learn to Read.
            4. My other standards must result in students that can study well enough to complete K-12.
            5. Licensing may be required to legally deliver these results.

            V. Barriers:
            1. Six barriers to study have been identified that are expected to increase student willingness to learn. No doubt one or more of these barriers will be grasped by a student and used by them to learn well enough to learn to Read.

            VI. Methods:
            1. six barriers to study have been isolated and are presented as 10 written standards. Each standard has a little course with it, so a student can do the little course and learn how to apply the content of the standard to what they are studying in life. The Applying Knowledge course is the little course for standard 9.

            VII. Project Map:
            1. a Map or Plan will be developed in due course.

            VIII. Hats: (or a list of roles and responsibilities each person will have, showing how the team functions as a group to produce the final products.)
            1. Hats will be developed in due course.

          9. Duane

            Leon,

            It seems you are focused on making your action plan fit an outline of a project. I think a bit of discussion about the why and what of the process maybe a better starting point.

            The risk of having the answer (how people should do something) before the project is developed risks narrowing the focus at the beginning and precluding people from having a contribution and taking ownership of the project. The project development team can be both an beneficial source of ideas and a critical resource in the project implementations.

            I would like to have draft a purpose and not precluding others involvement by focusing on the action plans too early. How that purpose is developed or finalized could be an opportunity to involve a diverse group that would feel ownership of the project and activities.

            As an example; the purpose might be about elevating the read skills and learning process for elementary school students.
            This would allow people to determine if they felt that fit with their concerns or results they would like to see achieved. With that then the group to draw team members from would be defined and recruitment could focus more on knowledge and skills to develop a diverse team.

            Experience has taught me to follow the process, trying to force the process to fit an identified answer commonly creates problems that can derail the solution.

          10. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane, Alright. I understood I was responding to your request for ‘a disciplined project approach.’ I believe, you know where I’m coming from now. My response was worded as the type of project I have had great success in doing alone. At one company that was 20 major projects over a period of 12 years. 100% success rate on 20 proposals, 20 projects over $500k each, 20 prototype sets of engine mounts for commercial aircraft, 20 qualification tests accepted by the FAA, all with on-time completions. 40 million in net present value at 20 percent profit projected for the next 30 years. I resolved after the first project to refine my methods to become more expert with each new project. So, Yes, focused on project work. So let’s regroup, that was 20 years ago!

            I’m understanding now you are suggesting, to not follow that disciplined approach, Grade Level or Death’ plan, to an immediate solution for 110 kids at my expense, but to follow a more general process to further evolve a development team.

            The plan from here would be to develop the whys and whats of the process further, to expand to a more diverse team to include their concerns, purposes and wishes more easily.

            This suggests to me you may have a more general purpose here that has not been discussed enough yet. I’ll put my planning in a drawer, and listen.

          11. Duane

            Leon,

            With your project management successes and with a completed reading program in hand, I am unclear of how I might contribute to what you want to achieve.

          12. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Hi, Duane,

            Honestly, I found myself trying to answer that same question yesterday!

            The planning system I usually use has 10 parts, and ‘project’ is just one part, maybe 10% of a whole activity. It has another part called an Ideal Scene. This is what an existing activity might look like under more ideal circumstances. One estimates the existing scene, like the 8 kids Kary Moss discussed in her article. Then one does the planning to bring that about. What would be a little better or little more ideal than the existing scene, the results those kids got? One might choose to do a little or a lot. An ideal at the level of heaven or some such thing would be way too high, so one might choose something easily attainable, or within one’s reality at least. So, I believe I have a handle on the technology to achieve a little higher ideal scene as regards some type of reading program. Or actually, I have been working with ‘study’, instead of reading, so that is why I use only one or two standards to maybe do a little better with reading. A lot more could be done with it.

            So, I need help with the other 90%. Let me give some examples.

            I wrote my standards for a school to work program associated with an intermediate school district with 25,000 students. At that time I had no little courses to implement them as well as I do now. I had done no pilot testing to verify a fifth grader could make it though such a little course. They agreed to fund, but with a little twist. Or maybe it was a big twist. They asked me to supply the students. That threw me. If I have the project and the know how to do it, and they have a huge number of kids that need help, why put this one additional wrench into the mix? So that is the kind of help I need. How do parents get access to such a program? How do kids get access to such a program? How does a community get access to such a program? Do we have to build all the infrastructure, or a parallel infrastructure, to do it? possibly. If I did the before and after testing then that would be the first thing others might take issue with. I would like the school or someone else to do that. I might fund a very small project, and I have been. But if others provided some funding that would help. At Highland school they are spending $20,000 per year per student, apparently. And to no good result. Shouldn’t that $20,000 per year per student buy something? According to the law, as Kary sees it, it should. Regardless of the cost, the school has contracted with people to provide services to students that are required to be there by law, till age 18. For my program to be accessible by more people, I will need help.

            From what we have discussed on this site, I feel we may be kindred spirits, or at least we are willing to believe there is something more ideal that could be done for the education of children in Michigan. If we do nothing here, that is alright too. But there may be some bigger worthwhile thing we could do that we both would be proud of.

            Would you like to help?

          13. Duane

            Leon,

            I am interested in altering the educational discussion to focus on the results we are getting and what we can do to get better results.
            The challenges I see to doing that is turning the attention from systems to results, moving from fault to facts, shifting attention to the student roles and responsibilities, and doing it without adding to the spending.

            The reason I start with purpose in a project is to draw people in that have a common concern. By starting with the answer or specific method many are excluded. They may be excluded by having heard such claims before with no change in results, it is different from what they envision, or it does no address their concerns.

            I believe to change the discussion the process needs to be inclusive of students and parents and public, of experts, and of the public, even government.. I would like to develop this process in the open enlisting a diverse group of people.

            A major barrier to taking this approach is the risk of having (for you specifically and all who would participate) ideas, specific programs and methods, even discussions being changed.

            Another challenge is finding the platform for a project team to do much of their development work in an open forum with regular reports into that form, and to find a team that would be willing to try such open approach.

            The approach I would like to take is less for a technical problem with a technical solution and more for a solution that is more influenced by people and local culture and personal perspectives.

            At the early stage of a project I see value in developing support of implementation.

            There have been the technical means for this approach for years, I could see the platform being Bridge and making it a regular feature.

            If this doesn’t fit how you applying your work I understand. I look forward to other opportunities that may fit our approaches.

          14. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane, re: Your comments March 9.

            My son was in trouble in grade 4, and it was 1979 when I took up these matters in earnest. I have tried a lot of things. It looks like some of the things I learned doing those things might help you on your way. You should contact me by email, I do not have enough info to contact you.

            I wrote quite a few articles for local newspapers about things I felt strongly about. I would get a call or two after each one. One knew me from high school and invited me to be a co-teacher for a few days to share our experiences with the new kids.

            Another was from a group called the Futures Group in a small town near Kalkaska. The Kalkaska school had budget problems and decided to shut down the school early and shut down busing right away and other things. Hundreds of parents wanted to riot and it was making national news. The NEA and others sent in teams to try to put a lid on it. The leader of this group wanted a better future for her child and the kids she knew and invited me to talk about my ideas to all these people as guest speaker. She said at the last meeting, they had about a hundred parents and it was pretty much chaos or revolution. She didn’t want to repeat that. What I’m saying is that if you were to write articles for local papers, or libraries or TV shows and such you would soon be having the people you want to talk with getting back to you. For some reason I seemed to be able to work little miracles in Kalkaska. The group leader used up all the time just trying to keep control of a riot just waiting to happen. I was able to see a very specific thing the parents were upset about and I asked the man next to me, who unknown to the group was a school board member, to talk with a group of about 25 remaining parents about ‘the busing issue.’ That collapsed the whole thing. Kalkaska was no longer in the National News, and everyone went home. The moment in history had passed. Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to talk to the group myself. I didn’t know about ‘emotional moments’ then.

            I’m also saying when there is chaos or a confusion and people want to revolt, it is easier to get their attention, they know they want change. One of the Engineer’s I asked, ‘Had they ever had a course in study?’ said, yes and told me he had had seven such courses. He was working for Rolls-Royce and had been working with GM, when they were having their managers trained by a guy by the name of Raymond Massey. Massey’s thing about learning was one needed to create an emotional event, or moment. In that moment, the other person may be more receptive. Like in the meeting above. This Engineer had just talked to a group of high school students and he had mentioned where he worked and if they worked hard and set him their resume after finishing school he would see that Rolls-Royce people looked at it and they may have a job for them. That is just what the kids wanted to hear. That was their emotional moment. They were all ears. They could see at that moment, there was a direct path that was real to them to get one of the jobs he was talking about with a good company.

            I’m not saying to create the chaos, and from what I know of Kalkaska, that might not be too hard to do. I’m saying to look for them. They are very likely springing up around you, in schools around you every couple of months. Step in and listen, talk to people, reach out to people.

            So, I’m also saying to seek out these parents groups. Go to school board meetings at some different schools. Go to their PTA and PTO meetings. Their School To Work groups. They will have volunteer groups to do various things like, Band Boosters, and Athletic Boosters. I went to a group in Indianapolis that were ‘Academic Boosters.’ Talk to the mentors of Robotics Teams. I went to a local Maker’s Group and talked to the Robotics people there. They gave me an introduction to robotics kids and a whole school class of robotics kids. The Robotics teacher also had 18 students that were under achievers. ‘Would I like to tutor them?’

            More specifically, from what you said, it sounds like you should also write something for Bridge that might amount to an ongoing forum in the direction of a development team, like you said. There are other groups out there, like Mackinac Center that might have something like that. I would just like to encourage you to try a lot of those things. You might try writing 10 articles for papers and see how many responses you get. Our local papers have Letters to the Editor, Forums, and other opportunities. I wrote about our local schools wanting a new school. How they had said six reasons for the new school, and I showed how each of them was false. The news paper held it up till the day after the election, just ‘after’ everyone had voted. So lesson learned, the paper can help you or destroy you. So you just have to know that, I guess.

            I think it helps if you have some support from folks, so maybe I can help you with that. It also helps to ask for more information. If you see an emotional moment in your local schools or newpaper forums or on TV editorials, get in there. You may find a head ofA group that needs what you offer, right there talking to you. From what I have seen, you already know how to do that.

            A local TV Station, Channel 9, heard from one of their staff about my ideas, and the local Program Manager soon gave me a call, wanting me to escort their reporter around the community. I suppose there are some smart ways to do things, but I seem to have explored most all of the ways that weren’t, in retrospect that is. Try not to burn too many bridges.

          15. Duane

            Leon,

            Emotions are mercurial, they go up quickly and high, they fall quickly and disappear. Emotional moments are good for politician but poor for sustainable change.

            As I recall Massey was a professor in Colorado. He said two things that stayed with me; you are what you were when, and the older you get the more you need a severe emotional experience to get you to change.

            The first is about how we learned, as much to do from modeling as it is from learning. Kids can struggle but if they see their parent persist they will be persistant. That is one of the reasons I talk so much about expectations, if their models have high expectations of them they will take those expectatons and make them their own and work to achieve them.

            I have had a bit of experience working outside my training, early on found that it is people that you need to work with and how they relate to it can determine whether something works or not.

          16. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane,

            Massey’s work at GM for my purposes, was just an example of when I surveyed people and found there was little out there that addressed the individual and how the individual applies himself to study. I use only what I have had success in using in business or with the kids I tutor. That is how I wrote my standards, from the viewpoint of a Professional Engineer, ‘How would I, a Professional Engineer, do it.’

            ‘Emotions are mercurial,’ I agree. I presented a student’s emotional win to one of the demonstrations I had him do, where they had worked out how something applied to their own life, to my Engineer friend at Rolls-Royce. He agreed that was an emotional moment. But it was the exact opposite of Massey’s idea. Massey used a mercurial moment to teach one of his thoughts to the student. I had a child work something out for himself and then feel great because he had worked out something and now knew something I did not tell him. In this way a student learns something and gets a win after doing it. Massey’s way was for him to create some heavy emotions, then insert something to be memorized. My friend got the difference and admitted my way, was the way students should learn to work things out for themselves.

            The technology of the mind, public and charter schools are using, and the various state standards are using, is basically that of S. L. Vygotsky, Stalin’s favorite, that died in 1934. Stalin funded the development of these ideas. When Vygotsky died, Stalin froze all education research in Russia for 20 years, the rest of his life. No other research was allowed. I think Stalin felt Vygotsky’s technology was sufficient to teach the kind of obedience he wanted and nothing further was needed to create the ideal Marxist state. (Of course he also had Pavlov and his labs doing research with pain-drive theory on dogs.) On page 6 or 8 of Vygotsky’s book, ‘Society and Mind’, or was it ‘Mind and Society?’ Luria is giving an introduction and says, Vygotsky’s works were so inline with the Marxist views of the regime in Russia of the day, that no editing was required at all (by Stalin’s chosen men). Vygotsky’s books are promoted to education in America by The Harvard Fellows. Vygotsky teaches three methods that are used in schools exactly as he presents them in his books. One day I looked at Amazon.com and found 152 different books citing his name and crediting his technology. This is the technology American education is using. Vygotsky’s primary idea is called modulated or moderated stimulus response. One might have the child read something from six different sources and they all are chosen, or calculated, to say the same thing to the child, the same party line. Or in a classroom the child may be told the same thing from six different students and the teacher. The child is not asked look at things for himself or to work it out for himself. He must ‘work out’ what others, the regime if you will, is telling him to do or the way things are to be.

            When I was substitute teaching the regular teacher might leave instructions to divide the classroom up into groups of about six. So there were five groups. Then I was to give the students an assignment. I watched how this worked. None of the groups knew the answer. So one group would ask another. Finally, one boy in one group worked out an answer. That group told the other groups, and every student in every group, got the same answer. The answer their regular teacher had expected. That is how they did it. That is not how I would do it. I would not use moderated stimulus-response. I would not use Vygotsky’s stuff and I would not use what Stalin funded and required in Russia (under pain of death). The state of Michigan, and the other states should not use it either. We should have free people that know how to study freely, know how to observe things for themselves, how to evaluate things rather than just accept things, have their own purposes and the know-how to work things out according to their own lights. Then they can be free, rather than what Stalin and Luria, and the Harvard Fellow intended for others. Students are not taught how to evaluate such information. If they become confused when they are trying to apply it they are not asked, ‘Have you been taught something you feel you can not apply?’

            What are your views on how a student learns? Should he or she be encouraged to be free, or to learn freely, to be ‘self-determined’ or should he only be ‘taught’, to have only the views of the teacher, the school, or the state, Joseph Stalin, or Karl Marx, or others. Should he be ‘other-determined?’

            My standards are intended to encourage the student to have his own viewpoint, to be self-determined, to evaluate all things for himself, to have a set of tools to learn each new thing he comes to in life if he wishes. If there is a sea of information, he may have the tools to evaluate it and find what is important. He can learn judgement. He can learn the level of literacy we discussed earlier. I require no change to curriculums, because they do not teach these things to students, and I do not teach what they teach.

            There are study courses of a sort now in some schools, but they do not teach these things. They teach the student to guess, to memorize, to take notes, to have a place to study, to have a time to study.

          17. Duane

            Leon,

            My approach is more of showing how a concept is already part of the everyday. I see ‘concepts’ being founded in the everyday rather than being developed and then applied to the everyday, by doing that way it helps elevates it credibility with people living in the everyday..
            There are many things that are best learned by repetition, the times tables, I have been told that the application is when the bulk (70-80%) of learning (retention and application) happen. This will vary by individual and change with. Whether it is a newly minted engineer or a second grader they need to be exposed to what the possibilities are in a way that expands what they can see. A second grader will not understand the concept of engineering, but they can be exposed to a diversity of topics/genres to test their reading skills on and begin to expand what their mind will accept. Similarly the engineer can be introduces to the different facets of engineering in school or in the workplace to allow them to recognize and decide on what interests them. Each should reflect where the person is in their growing process. The Fifth grader can begin to see how engineers impact them simply by taking them down a grocery isle and describing what goes into what they see.

            Expectations that are carved in stone quickly become barriers, best in wood where it takes work to change them.

            Purpose and expectations and objectives can be interchangeable, it has much to do with how the individual applies them. Whichever is used it needs to be measurable so the individual can monitor their progress.

            When I talk about ‘THE answer’ it how the mind is conditioned, it is not about authoritarian or democracy. When one is taught to have ‘THE answer’ they learn to believe if they don’t have THE answer (all inclusive) they should not say anything. If the teacher asks a question in class they are expecting a single answer and don’t raise your hand unless you have that answer. This discourages the competition of answers, the collaboration of individuals. It creates the mindset of there is a right way and if you don’t have it you are going the wrong way.

            As for listening it is about teaching open mindedness. The most common approach is to hear what you are expecting to hear. This can be due the source, the environment, what was last said, what is the stereotype one has of the person, what one’s own ideas are on the subject, what others have said before a new statement, even how something is said. We are not taught to confirm what we hear, to question in a way the brings out more about what is said, how to recognize and overcome our barriers to actually hearing what is said.

            Behavior modification has a lot to do with creating desired behaviors through repetition, confirmed repetition.

            When you said reading a chapter is commonly received as reading the whole chapter, not specifically relevant parts.

            How large the barrier is determined by who has to overcome it. A few minutes of extra reading can be large to a weak/poor reader.

            How one learns about expectations can determine how they use them. If you want someone to make expectations a person tool for success then they need to be introduced to expectations in a personal way. If it is for applying to a group/organization/community then it will be presented in more structure or conceptual way.

            I like to draw in a diverse group; self-selected Bridge readers would be good. I could see such a discussion creating a new approach to how problems/issues are addressed and a means to developing new/innovative ways to approach them. I feel that much of the commenting is emotion driven, I would like it to be more learning and sharing.

        3. Duane

          Leon,

          What I recall of Massey’s emotional moment wasn’t so much to teach, but to breakdown a barrier and open up to learn. The example I recall was one of a student who took her bike into the building where he taught, disregarding rules and doing some damage, so he stomped on her bike wheel to get her attention. He wasn’t teaching, simply trying to break her self-serving view of how she acted.

          As for the moment the student succeed at learning and realized their success with emotion seemed more about self-reinforcement or feedback. More of the ABCs of behavior management.

          I look at the stages for kids, the early years learning the mechanics (reading, writing, arithmetic, etc.), the middle years the basic though process/thinking, the rest of life applying what has been learned and learning /thinking more. I don’t know enough about the teaching of mechanics to contribute much. However, the ABCs of behavior I have found as a valuable tool to support learning. I talk a lot about expectations, I see student expectations, others expectations, lesson expectations (when this is not address I see it as a barrier to learning), expectations of others and of the process.

          1. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane,

            I think you might know more about ‘expectations’ than me at this point. I have researched it some, and my ideas were more in the direction that there is a lot to know about it, and that I did not know much and didn’t know anyone to ask. I hadn’t gotten to the idea it was a barrier that I might address with students.

            What I know still seems to be in the anecdotal stage, the story telling stage. I have tried things, and I was so amazed I was afraid to do too much with it. Example; a substitute teacher in California got a list of locker numbers, and thought her students were geniuses, and treated them that way with super high expectations. She won an award for her accomplishments when her student made the Honor Roll that year, with class of misfits and delinquents. Example 2; I had a 14 year old girl, Chrissy, from Edmonton, email me and say she had lost her last debate and wanted me to tell her all about simulators so she could do better on her next debate. I decided to do something like the teacher in California. I just made up a super high expectation, at least what I understand it to be. I said I will believe she is Jesus Christ, at least when I write her, I will only use the same respect and high expectations as I would for Him. I am not a Christian. I sent her the most respectful letter doing my best to represent all I knew of simulators that she might use, and about debate. She won her next debate. This dialog continued till she had won Nationals in Canada for the year 2000. She qualified to go to South Africa for Internationals, but since she was only in 10th, she could not go. But her partner Beth a senior, did go.

            For my Standards, I try to refine what I know of something new, down to a correct definition, one that is absolutely true, and possibly a new standard. Then I try to make up a little course to teach this true concept to others. For example with my first standard, I define the word study. For the little courses I try to fully develop the concepts that add up to that definition, with the idea that if one can fully grasp two things individually, two concepts individually, then it is an easy matter to fit two of them together into a new combined concept.

            For a standard that represents a barrier, I need to work out the true definitions, a statement of exactly what the barrier is, and then a clever solution of how a student might handle the barrier, or solve it. In practice this more or less has to come down to an instantaneous ability. The person sees the barrier, as you stated for himself, or as others may see it for themselves, and so on.

            Then at least for my first standard, I put about 10 parents through the first part. Each time I put two parents through it, I would refine it. Then I put a fifth-grader through the whole little course. I refined the parts she had completed as she went along. So I verified what I have works for a fifth-grader. He sister was in second-grade, so I know what it takes to get a second-grader through the first part of that.

            So if you could, would you mind trying to define the concept of ‘expectations?’ Then explain how it might be a barrier to a student. To a teacher. To a parent. or to someone in business. Then what might a student or teacher or parent or worker do to overcome the barrier. I have the student make up examples of how they might apply the idea. I then have them then demonstrate applying the idea till they can apply it more or less instantly and feel great about it. Then I might give them some tough examples to demonstrate how they would handle it.

            I agree this could be a barrier, but can we work out how it might be solved by, or used by each student in America? Are there limits to it, where one might take caution? Educate me.

          2. Duane

            Leon,

            The analogy I commonly use is taking a trip where the destination is the expectation. There are many ways to get there but if you don’t know where you are going you have no interest in planning a route or in making the necessary effort to get there so you never know if you have arrived.

            If a student doesn’t know what they are to learn (no expectations) then how will they know if they can learn or will have the interest to study? When a teacher lectures and leaves it to the student to figure out what will be on the test and they fail why should they try again? The teacher creates a barrier to learning by not creating an expectation for the student of what to learn or how to learn or when they learn.

            If a teacher has low or no expectations for a student what will they teach to?
            If parents have low or no expectations for their child how will they support them?
            If all those who are resources to the student (teachers,, parents, peers) have low or no academic expectations for the student how will the student have other than low or any expectations for themselves? If they are not taught about expectations then how will they develop them for themselves?
            As for those in the community (such as businesses), their expectations will reflect what the schools have of them and when they are included in the learning process. If the school asks them to describe how education fits their business then they will frame for the students they will see. If the school asks them to provide training on a topic they will. If they school asks them to describe the expectations for students they will. If the school ignores the community they community will work to meet those expectations (that seems to be what is happening most if not all school districts).

            People work to the expectations, whether high or low. It is their road map and they will do what they believe it will take to get there.

          3. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane,

            Very interesting. This reads like you are explaining it to students in a class. I see what you mean.

            I have been thinking about this today, and below is the way I would approach it. This is just a first draft. Then I will look to see if it answers your questions, and explanations. The standards I have are a bit of context and pattern for me. So far, I do not really see how this content is different than my 10 standards, and six barriers to study. But I will take a fresh look and see if the lights come on.

            I reviewed many definitions of ‘expectations’ from Onelook.com and conceptualized the idea of it, and then put words to that.

            Written like one of the definitions in my standards it would go like this. ‘An Expectation is when someone decides how something will be.’ I would then have the student read the definition, and any sample sentences, and then make up sentences of their own until they can do this quickly and easily. Then I would have them make up some examples or share some from life. Then do some quick demonstrations with actual objects to develop the full context intended.

            Examples: A teacher says to a student, to read Chapter three as homework. The student understands this as the teacher’s expectation, now he or she may decide to do it, or not. Demonstrate what happens, what will be, if the student decides not to read Chapter three. Now, demonstrate what will be if he does choose to read Chapter three.

            Now, demonstrate how a teacher might use this concept of an expectation to relay her instructions to students.

            Demonstrate what a parent that has the expectation that their child get at least a ‘C’ might do.

            Demonstrate what a parent with high expectations might do.

            As a twin, demonstrate how a twin, studying with a student, can keep the student’s expectations high and exceed the teachers instructions, or exceed what he might choose to do without help.

            Demonstrate how you might apply this idea in business where employees have to coordinate with others and know what others are doing. Demonstrate what would happen in business, if one did not know this idea of expectations.

            One type of problem is when two people or groups have different expectations for each other, but do not talk to each other much. Demonstrate how you could talk to each of the groups and sort this out with this concept of ‘expectations.’

            Demonstrate some ways, ‘expectations’, can be a barrier to study.

            These demonstrations only take seconds. But sometimes a student has to work things out. So what I learned to do, is to have them do the demonstration over and over till they can do each one very quickly, without hesitation.

            When a student does these demonstrations, his twin would be listening and checking to see if he got all the things right. Then they would switch around, and do them all over again with the twin doing the demonstrations and the student observing. A tutor sees all these things are done.

            Now to your description. I think this would address most of the things you described.

          4. Duane

            Leon,

            I have had opportunities over time to work on explaining the topic and have found making it relevant to the everyday is more effective for those I am talking to and makes it more likely I will get my message across.

            My approach is more about the individual taking ownership of their expectations. The first step is helping them understand what the expectations can be. When you ask the students what they want to be doing in 10 years and they have no clue what an engineer does then you can’t expect them to include the work of an engineer in their expectations. Expectations can fit any time frame for a day to a lifetime. But it will still be determined by what the person is aware of.
            To me expectations are what things can be or what we want them to be. It is not what things will be, we don’t what effort it will take or what barriers will have to be overcome.

            For people that have never used expectations, creating their own, realizing they can achieve them, and determining what it will take to achieve them is something that has to be learned.
            One of the challenges I have found in the K-12 education system is that they don’t modify the education process as the student progresses to encourage exploratory thinking. When learning skills there is only one answer, the rights answer, to demonstrate the skill is learned. However, when learning to think and especially to apply what one has learned there is no single answer and yet the schools continue to expect THE answer (their answer). I wish they would teach listening so students wouldn’t feel they had to have the answer and give it before they have asked some clarifying questions.
            What you describe seems to be more of behavior modification. The teacher provides the antecedent, the student the behavior, then the consequences. That is critical in studying to learn. And that does fit the expectations, an antecedent.
            Using you example of the assigned Chapter to be read, in any textbook I have read there has been some parts that weren’t necessary to the particular class and still the expectation was to read it all. That creates a barrier for the slow reader, they invest a lot of time and struggle for no gain. For the exceptional reader it is also a barrier as they see how the teacher had little concern for the student and was simply making it easy on themselves. Expectations need to take into consideration the person who is to take ownership of them. If the assignment had been to read these pages or these topics then those barriers would have been removed and the students would have been more effective in what they spent their time on.
            I see expectations as personal and not as an exercise, unless it is to learn how to use them beyond the personal. Establishing expectations for a team or an organization needs to be taught, establishing them for yourself or for those who support you needs to be practiced.

            This is the type of discussion that would be part of a project development effort, and would be good to have with a diverse group.

          5. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane,

            I would like to respond to your comment, but I will have to get back to you tomorrow.

          6. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane re: March 13, 2014 at 8:36 pm

            I wrote my responses in red, but now I don’t think that will show up here, so I put brackets around them too.

            ‘Leon, I have had opportunities over time to work on explaining the topic and have found making it relevant to the everyday is more effective for those I am talking to and makes it more likely I will get my message across.’

            [I like to use the concept of Comparison to help a child learn something new to them, A New Idea. The new concept often is something quite new to their everyday world, but by having them compare it to many things they do know, ‘making it relevant to the everyday’, one can not only get the idea across, but the skill of using it, outside their world. I have them read the accurate definition, ‘the true data.’ Until they feel they understand it. Then I have them see that word in print, in sentences correctly illustrating its use. Then instead of explaining to them, I have them make up sentences using it correctly, quickly and easily. Then I have them make up their own examples, and if they cannot, I give them examples from their world, or my world, they might understand, until they can make up examples for themselves quickly and easily. So this is a new higher level ability, to not only use it in sentences, but to conceive examples in their world and mine. Then I have them demonstrate it with little objects. This is much tougher again. They usually have to now work out how to do this. One girl said, ‘I don’t know how to do this!’ We worked it out, and in a just a few seconds, she was doing it and knew how to do it, and was happy to have learned something new to her. Then I have the student demonstrate using it to solve a few situations that were or may be actual situations in life. Now this New Idea and the ability to use it in most any situation, is a part of their world. An explanation to them, is quite different than when they personally work out a series of increasingly difficult situations, from very simple to very complex. Do you see how this is different than a verbal explanation?]

            ‘My approach is more about the individual taking ownership of their expectations. The first step is helping them understand what the expectations can be. When you ask the students what they want to be doing in 10 years and they have no clue what an engineer does then you can’t expect them to include the work of an engineer in their expectations.’
            [That is true as an example. But that being said, I do not expect them to have a clue at that point, as a second-grader or as a fifth-grader about anything to do with Engineering. On their first day of work after announcing to me they are my new Engineer? That is quit different I think.]

            ‘Expectations can fit any time frame for a day to a lifetime. But it will still be determined by what the person is aware of.’ [True, for that instant in time. But five minutes later, they may be aware of more. Right?]

            ‘To me expectations are what things can be or what we want them to be. It is not what things will be, we don’t (know) what effort it will take or what barriers will have to be overcome.’ [I guess this is probably expressed in the context of ‘reasonable expectations.’ It is also possible a person might have ‘unreasonable expectations.’ I still see these as expectations, not necessarily the ones we might want, but still they are their expectations despite not knowing the efforts and barriers. If they cannot fully achieve an expectation then it might be helpful to know how to handle such things. I call these things ‘failed purposes.’ On a special job I once had, I put out a thousand proposals in one year. Only 20 succeeded, to my expectations. I had to learn how to accept failure, on my expectations, with grace. It was a tough thing to learn.]

            ‘For people that have never used expectations, creating their own, realizing they can achieve them, and determining what it will take to achieve them is something that has to be learned.’[I agree. But I just want to point out here, I have been calling many such things ‘purposes’ as defined in my standards, or a personal reason for something. If it is an objective they intend to achieve.]

            ‘One of the challenges I have found in the K-12 education system is that they don’t modify the education process as the student progresses to encourage exploratory thinking. When learning skills there is only one answer, the rights answer, to demonstrate the skill is learned. However, when learning to think and especially to apply what one has learned there is no single answer and yet the schools continue to expect THE answer (their answer).’ [I agree. I think it is rather authoritarian, rather than democratic.]

            ‘I wish they would teach listening so students wouldn’t feel they had to have the answer and give it before they have asked some clarifying questions.’ [I don’t think I understand enough about what you mean by ‘listening’, beyond your examples here.]

            ‘What you describe seems to be more of behavior modification. The teacher provides the antecedent, the student the behavior, then the consequences. That is critical in studying to learn. And that does fit the expectations, an antecedent.’ [It was not my intent to use, or not to use, 'behavior modification.’ I don’t know enough about it speak about it.]

            ‘Using your example of the assigned Chapter to be read, in any textbook I have read there has been some parts that weren’t necessary to the particular class and still the expectation was to read it all. That creates a barrier for the slow reader, they invest a lot of time and struggle for no gain. For the exceptional reader it is also a barrier as they see how the teacher had little concern for the student and was simply making it easy on themselves.’ [I don't think I said the context for 'Reading a Chapter', at least the one I had in my mind. I was a Guest Teacher and the regular teacher had assigned the class to read Chapter 13 of an Art textbook. The students had no such expectation. They said, they had no text books. We found them on shelf in a closet at the back of the room, never opened, never used. They had just done things like finger painting. Chapter 13 had three sections and 4 sets of questions. The Principal was so amazed that the teacher had given me those instructions, he demanded to see her Lesson Plan. So I gave them to him.]

            ‘Expectations need to take into consideration the person who is to take ownership of them. If the assignment had been to read these pages or these topics then those barriers would have been removed and the students would have been more effective in what they spent their time on.’ [I understand your example and what you mean by ‘barrier’ there. That is true. My six barriers, I guess are intended to be a higher level thing, a block of a whole subject for instance. If one has a certain consideration, he will devote no attention to a subject and neglect it thereafter. Going back to comparisons for a moment, that is quite a different thing, than spending a couple extra minutes reading a portion of a Chapter that was unneeded for a specific task. Assigning the extra reading beyond what is needed, is still true. But on a scale of 1 to 1000, its importance might be 2 or 20, where if he might never look at the subject again, that barrier, or that concept of one barrier a student can know about and have a handle on, is closer to batting a thousand.]

            ‘I see expectations as personal and not as an exercise, unless it is to learn how to use them beyond the personal. [I'm not sure what you are saying here exactly, shouldn't one learn more about 'expectations' so one can apply them to oneself, to the personal?]

            ‘Establishing expectations for a team or an organization needs to be taught, establishing them for yourself or for those who support you needs to be practiced.’ [I agree.]

            ‘This is the type of discussion that would be part of a project development effort, and would be good to have with a diverse group.’ [Do you have a specific group in mind?]

          7. Duane

            Leon,

            I apologize, I placed my respons to your March 15 comments above this et. See my comments made on March 16th.

          8. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane, ‘I apologize, I placed my respons to your March 15 comments above this et. See my comments made on March 16th.’ I found it alright. I’ll get back tomorrow.

          9. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane, March 16, 2014 at 9:35 pm

            All these ideas seem to be from the viewpoint of ‘a teacher.’ I try to make the viewpoint of the student the primary focus, and do not present the viewpoint of a teacher at all. My things are only about study things, the things one might learn before being exposed to things teachers talks about like multiplication. I do use examples from Engineering that students can grasp.

            ‘My approach is more of showing how a concept is already part of the everyday. I see ‘concepts’ being founded in the everyday rather than being developed and then applied to the everyday, by doing that way it helps elevates it credibility with people living in the everyday..’ [We have different definitions of the word ‘concept.’ Which one are you using?]

            ‘There are many things that are best learned by repetition, the times tables, I have been told that the application is when the bulk (70-80%) of learning (retention and application) happen. This will vary by individual and change with.’
            [I would agree some things must be memorized or learned by heart. But I have found understanding a better approach for multiplication, multiplication tables or multiplication facts, addition facts, and ‘calculator math.’ When I tutored an eighth-grader to understand multiplication, she could do multiplication more or less instantly, she then could study very fast and confidently, and did move up to As in school, she did not use the tables, and did not depend on the use of ‘calculator math’. I asked her what she did when she did ‘calculator math’, before understanding. She said she just typed in what was written and accepted the calculator answer with no idea of whether it was right or not. She had no judgment when she did that. I think that might be true for people using memorized tables as well. Is it ‘right’, or ‘wrong?’ They don’t know. The legal definition of sanity is ‘the ability to tell right from wrong.’ One should not teach people in a way where they can not distinguish the difference.]

            ‘Whether it is a newly minted engineer or a second grader they need to be exposed to what the possibilities are in a way that expands what they can see.’ [I agree.]

            A second grader will not understand the concept of engineering, [I do not agree.] …but they can be exposed to a diversity of topics/genres to test their reading skills on and begin to expand what their mind will accept. [I have not found this to be the case. One of my second graders conceives of starting businesses, doing projects like making Danalion Wine, or Black Berry Wine, and others. She had her own idea of starting a company to repair sewing machines and provide them to poor people at low cost. I explained to her about how they, the used sewing machines, would need to be cleaned, adjusted, parts replaced and repairs made. I could not find an adult expert to train her how to do that, but she was game.] Similarly the engineer can be introduces to the different facets of engineering in school or in the workplace to allow them to recognize and decide on what interests them. [This looks like the way a teacher would do this, and from my experience that does not work too well. Young Engineers tell me they have experienced that no one shows them how to do actual things. A business owner said, new engineers will ask other new engineers how to do things, and get a group of five or six together to 'solve' a simple skill. By the end of the day nothing is done. I was hired, to be the 'grey beard,' the one who knows how and show others how to do things. The same task the fiver or six young engineers were struggling to learn, is done by one person in an hour or two when one knows the skill of it.] Each should reflect where the person is in their growing process. [I don’t agree with such an 'airy fairy' teaching approach.] The Fifth grader can begin to see how engineers impact them simply by taking them down a grocery isle and describing what goes into what they see. [I think it is better to have them, the second-grader and the fifth-grader, do something. I set up a contract for them to do something and they get paid for a high quality product. I choose things for them to do that are not too difficult, and do not let them fail. I get them expert help, and make certain they succeed. They become competent.]

            Expectations that are carved in stone quickly become barriers, best in wood where it takes work to change them. [I find that new Engineers seem to have many ideas carved in stone. The task is what will the business world do with them till they change their minds and become fully productive in the real world? How do they get work that requires experience, if they are not experienced? How do they get experience, if they are not willing to experience? My standards handle that, but nearly all businesses do not know how to do it well.]

            Purpose and expectations and objectives can be interchangeable, it has much to do with how the individual applies them. Whichever is used it needs to be measurable so the individual can monitor their progress. [I don’t think a teacher would use something, show a child how to do this, here that is recognizable by someone in the business world. At Highland over half the kids are dropping out of the school before graduation, and the school does not correct the teachers? Who is competently monitoring the progress? I think maybe no one is doing this. I just read about Bill Gates investing $300 million in common core standards because schools do not prepare students with the knowledge and skills they need to be college ready or career ready. Your idea may have some merit, but I do not believe students know how to do that. A student that can study competently can do this. The simplest test, the simplest measure, of such progress is to have the student demonstrate, to himself, how he can apply an idea or a skill. I don't think any school in Michigan even knows that it can be this simple.]

            When I talk about ‘THE answer’ it how the mind is conditioned, it is not about authoritarian or democracy. [I disagree. What you are describing is exactly what ‘authoritarian’ means. Using such a conditioning technique is authoritarian. The student is not free to participate freely, and doesn’t. He is not free to investigate, or experiment, or demonstrate, or observer freely, and he does not. ] When one is taught to have ‘THE answer’ they learn to believe if they don’t have THE answer (all inclusive) they should not say anything. If the teacher asks a question in class they are expecting a single answer and don’t raise your hand unless you have that answer. This discourages the competition of answers, the collaboration of individuals. It creates the mindset of there is a right way and if you don’t have it you are going the wrong way. [I understand this issue.]

            As for listening it is about teaching open mindedness. The most common approach is to hear what you are expecting to hear. This can be due the source, the environment, what was last said, what is the stereotype one has of the person, what one’s own ideas are on the subject, what others have said before a new statement, even how something is said. We are not taught to confirm what we hear, to question in a way the brings out more about what is said, how to recognize and overcome our barriers to actually hearing what is said. [Alright.]

            Behavior modification has a lot to do with creating desired behaviors through repetition, confirmed repetition. [This is an authoritarian technique. I believe Pavlov developed this under duress, following Stalin’s orders and funding, in the 20’s and 30’s. It should not be used or encouraged.]

            When you said reading a chapter is commonly received as reading the whole chapter, not specifically relevant parts.
            How large the barrier is determined by who has to overcome it. A few minutes of extra reading can be large to a weak/poor reader. [I understand what you are saying.]

            How one learns about expectations can determine how they use them. If you want someone to make expectations a person tool for success then they need to be introduced to expectations in a personal way. If it is for applying to a group/organization/community then it will be presented in more structure or conceptual way. [I understand.]

            I like to draw in a diverse group; self-selected Bridge readers would be good. I could see such a discussion creating a new approach to how problems/issues are addressed and a means to developing new/innovative ways to approach them. I feel that much of the commenting is emotion driven, I would like it to be more learning and sharing. [I think this might be difficult here, as the article, where Al says to ignore reformers. He has a lot of support there for the status quo, like the failure at Highland, and few people trying to create new approaches to problems or such issues. I would rather just sit down with students at a school like Highland and tutor them to know how to study well enough to get themselves to grade levl, and see them through doing that. Or see them hire any tutor and contract with them to do just that. It is not that big of a problem. It is not rocket science, and it is not unsolvable with existing budgets. It does not take a committee. Just insist that teachers teach each student to the grade level they are in. Have School Boards publish what grade level students are at, on a continuing basis. Have them publish how many of the graduates of a teacher are at grade level. If a community can see a teacher does not know how to teach a student and bring them up to grade level, they will do the correcting I think they might riot, like they did at Kalkaska in the 1990’s. The community just has to be made aware. This might be a good use of the ‘measurement’ idea you were talking about.

          10. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane,

            I thought you said something about wanting to get more kids involved here. Do you want to talk about that? – Leon

          11. Duane

            Leon,

            I see ‘concept’ more as how scientific concepts are a description what already exists and not what they think should exist.

            I have limited experience with the reading, but what I have seen that when a person (even in 2nd grade) finds a topic/genre/author that strikes their interest they can become a voracious reader. And if they don’t find it they will always be a poor reader.

            I subscribe to the view that a person’s brain continues to grow until their in their early 20s, and kids have different growth rates/spurts, so where they are in their brain development can affect what they learn and how well they learn it.

            As for you example of about the half dozen new engineers, that sounds like an issue of the workplace culture rather than an issue of new engineers or it may have been the nature of their expertise.

            As for the students being ‘paid’ for doing something, I lean more to finding out what their interests are and matching feedback with that interest. I like to move things where they are providing their own feedback, it is usually more timely, though it needs to be strengthened by feedback for those they respect.

            If new engineers are allowed to have an extended time to be productive suggests that an organization is either overstaff or has a near monopoly on their market. I did seem that when new engineers were hired there were already a few projects given to them with specific expectations, deliverable results in a set time. We were a rather lean company.

            Developing the expectations so that they are measurable by the individual maybe a break from the historic educational culture, but if it works in one setting why not try it in another? Why not work with teachers to develop metrics such that the students can be involved and using them to provide self-feedback? It seems this happens in K-12 sports all the time and even library programs that track the number of books kids read, the kids are making the same counts for themselves to get a prize for so many read.

            I agree that having only THE answer is conditioning, one that stifles individual thought. I can see why you would see it as authoritarian, but it is much more conditioning than creating the authoritarian structure. We have too many choices to allow it to create a social subservience. Those same distractions do support the conditioning that if ‘I’ don’t have THE answer then I should be quiet.

            [Listening] “Alright” suggests a disagreement or less than acceptance. What do you find weak or different from your experience that I might consider rethinking?

            I am not clear on how behavior modification is authoritarian. If the individual identifies the habits they want to develop, they provide their own feedback and triggers, how is it authoritarian? It can be a tool/method used in controlled environments, such a totalitarian societies, but that doesn’t make it authoritarian.

            I like to start with a group whose members are self-selected, simply being interested in the topic, because they have already shown and interest so the environment can draw in their contributions. It has to do with creating a critical mass that with success keeps pulling in more and more.
            It is always good to have talked through many of the barriers to an ideas success before taking the step into application, that way the earlier bumps in its testing are expected by all so they don’t become barriers. The measurements are a good example, you need to know why people don’t want to have them succeed before you try to use them. No Child Left Behind is a good example of how the barriers weren’t addressed before application.

          12. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane March 19, 2014 at 9:05 pm

            I see ‘concept’ more as how scientific concepts are a description what already exists and not what they think should exist.

            [When I selected an exact definition of ‘concept’ to use, I had in mind a child learning a new skill, acquiring a new ability, or acquiring all the skills he might acquire in a lifetime, or all students might acquire over eternity. How exactly does one acquire a skill? I had to know, and I had to be able to articulate it terms a young child could understand with ease. I understand science is based on ‘Conservation of Energy,’ as a basic concept. This is in the sense you used the term, concept. But if we considered that energy (and mass) can not be created or destroyed, then how does it come into existence? If I were now to define ‘concept’ in that context, then I think we would be in error. It would mean that the ‘concept’ is conserved and not created or destroyed by the child. I wanted to know how a child could bring an ability into existence. How could he or she create an ability. I settled on, he or she could ‘observe’ one and decide to acquire it, then they would have it. But I had to broaden ‘observe’ a little to include ‘imagination’ and an inherent ability to create. One could imagine an ability, and decide to have it, and have it. I settled on; ‘Observe, Decide, Act.’ As my definition for ability. With such a definition one could learn to observe an ability, decide on its nature and acquire it, and then do it. Like, ‘Read it, Do it.’

            So, Yes, your definition may be fine for science, but not in the context of acquiring an ability, or conceiving a new idea, let's say, like Newton’s Laws. Before Newton the law did not exist. He conceived it, he observed things and thought out how they might work, and was able to articulate to others so they might also see it. Now his laws are conserved for posterity in the annuls of ‘Science.’ Yes, there is an irony here, he could Observe, Decide and Act, but in general ‘Science’ does not. So I try not to make that error. I teach children to acquire skills and have them demonstrate they have the ability to acquire skills they can observe.]

            I have limited experience with the reading, but what I have seen (is) that when a person (even in 2nd grade) finds a topic/genre/author that strikes their interest they can become a voracious reader. And if they don’t find it, they will always be a poor reader. [I think that spark you observed is very important. I have observed it with interest as well, but I have seen it otherwise many more times. Once in High School, I was tripped up while running a mile-run in Track, at a Regional's Meet. I was running about 13th coming into the last lap and got tripped up. I seemed to get that certain spark, which I understood as ‘Second Wind.’ I found a place where I had a huge amount of energy and took off sprinting. I went so fast, I passed 11 of the 12 runners in front of me, and had nearly overtaken the lead runner. I came in 2nd by 4 hundredths of a second. I qualified for the State Finals. But I got a passion for trying to find out what this ‘Second Wind’ thing was all about. When I had learned a little about it, I taught my son to run with it. He had been diagnosed with Scoliosis, and had leg braces and heavy boots on. It challenged my knowledge a little but when that moment happened for him, he sprinted around our track many times at high speed. He exclaimed, ‘I feel like I can run any distance!’ That was the same thing I had realized when it had all come together for me a couple of years before while running 3 miles a day. Yes, the interest you see is important, but there is more to it than that.]

            I subscribe to the view that a person’s brain continues to grow until their in their early 20s, and kids have different growth rates/spurts, so where they are in their brain development can affect what they learn and how well they learn it. [I subscribe to the view that a being is not his brain, or any body part. Down through history people have thought of the navel, the spleen, the heart, and other things like ‘chakras’ as the seat of various things. One group even felt ‘the cell’ was a better choice, and explained more. On one question and answer website I wrote something on Artificial Intelligence about this. A fellow from an AI site asked for permission to place it on his AI site. It stayed there for years. I basically said that modelling AI on the human brain may be the reason AI has gone nowhere. Why not model AI on the intelligence people have shown down through history instead? Why not use the actual capabilities of the human mind as a starting point for intelligence, instead of a body part, a piece of meat? People have had much of their brains removed and if it is done gently enough they still live and have regained skills. One chicken had its head cut completely off and it lived for three years without it.]

            As for you(r) example of about the half dozen new engineers, that sounds like an issue of the workplace culture rather than an issue of new engineers or it may have been the nature of their expertise. [The example illustrates my experiences with dozens of Engineers and many companies and discussions with many managers. A manager at a local company says it takes 5 years to bring a CAD Operator, meaning ALL the CAD operators, from a local Community College up to speed after hiring. (I assume this means HIS expectation speed.) When I went to Pratt & Whitney in Florida there were 1500 Engineers on the Third Floor there. They had a six-months training program for new-hire Engineers. I went through that program. At Rolls Royce I talked with a new Engineer that had been assigned a Mentor. I dialoged by e-mail with the mentors for nine First Robotics Teams I talked with the Director of Education in charge of training at RR Indianapolis (about 40,000 employees). I talked with a local High School in Indianapolis and reviewed their CAD contract with RR to document their buildings built in World War II with little documentation. ]

            As for the students being ‘paid’ for doing something, I lean more to finding out what their interests are and matching feedback with that interest. I like to move things where they are providing their own feedback, it is usually more timely, though it needs to be strengthened by feedback for those they respect. [The pay was nominal, the format was exactly that of business world contracts I had been using to double the size of a local company; specifying terms, price and the exact quality of product expected. They did provide things they were interested in without much prompting from me, I merely chose a novel format for my reply to them and the dialog. Each of the contracts were at their choice only. Some they did not accept.]

            If new engineers are allowed to have an extended time to be productive suggests that an organization is either overstaff or has a near monopoly on their market. I did seem that when new engineers were hired there were already a few projects given to them with specific expectations, deliverable results in a set time. We were a rather lean company. [Those seem like arguments that are rather dismissive of the whole issue. Yes, I was and they were assigned, projects and tasks, and schedules within the training programs. When I took such planning, from senior Engineers, to the owner of a Space company, he countered with, ‘I could do those tasks in one-third the time you have here.’ I know what the expectations were for college graduates and experienced senior engineers. After I trained my new-hires within my department I estimated their project planning hours could be measured on the basis of a senior Engineer was four times, 4X, as fast as a new-hire from college. When I had trained these senior Engineers to a level above the level the owner of this Space company expected, they were 10X the speed of new-hire college graduates. My expert opinion is that your ‘lean company’ was not ‘leaner’ than these specially trained and carefully managed employees.]

            Developing the expectations so that they are measurable by the individual maybe a break from the historic educational culture, but if it works in one setting why not try it in another? [Alright, let’s do it! It is simple. Just have the student do it. Have the student demonstrate with the actual objects of the subject the ideas and actions of the subject. Have him show how he would apply them to actual situations. If the actual sized objects are not so convenient, use smaller generic objects, or have them draw a picture of the action, or model it in clay. Why not do this…it requires the student to be at a far higher energy level (interest level). It would also require the student to have the discipline and know-how to be able to do this. For example, doing the little courses from my standards would provide these skills. Tutoring provided by others would not accomplish this.]

            Why not work with teachers to develop metrics such that the students can be involved and using them to provide self-feedback? [Just have them demonstrate each important point in the curriculum, for starters. The metric is, can he do it? Or not? Currently, it may not be EVER be done, not at all, not even once. The barrier that prevents teachers from even looking at this idea in the slightest, is the content of my Standard 9.] It seems this happens in K-12 sports all the time [did they learn to do this in an academic course? I don't think so.] and even library programs that track the number of books kids read, the kids are making the same counts for themselves to get a prize for so many read. [Do they count ones read out-loud? Ones read to others? One's they can apply to something in life? I think what is used, is only a very simple sort of metric.]

            I agree that having only THE answer is conditioning, one that stifles individual thought. I can see why you would see it as authoritarian, but it is much more conditioning than creating the authoritarian structure. We have too many choices to allow it to create a social subservience. [Does the student really have many choices? Does he have to sit in that chair, in that location? Is he free to change his personal location at his own will, or is this determined by another? Does he control his time? Or is there a bell? What does he control, and what is not under his control? I think schools are more about social control (subservience), than academics.] Those same distractions do support the conditioning that if ‘I’ don’t have THE answer then I should be quiet.

            [Listening] “Alright” suggests a disagreement or less than acceptance. What do you find weak or different from your experience that I might consider rethinking? [Can you say this ‘listening’ idea to a 7 year old in such a way she will get it?]

            I am not clear on how behavior modification is authoritarian. If the individual identifies the habits they want to develop, they provide their own feedback and triggers, how is it authoritarian? It can be a tool/method used in controlled environments, such a totalitarian societies, but that doesn’t make it authoritarian. [Here is an illustrative story. Pavlov liked to work with dogs. He developed his behavior modification ideas with dogs. The dogs obeyed, did certain things when a bell rang, when triggers were used. Stalin wanted the ideas published so he could control millions of people. So Pavlov published them. One day there was a fire in Pavlov’s lab. All the dogs got away and were ‘free’ for three days. Their behavior modifications, their conditioning, vanished. It no longer existed for those dogs. I think if you train a child like a dog, it will not turn out well, for you or the child, when he is free to act according to his own will. This is what I understand of behavior modification. I call that ‘authoritarian’, as it is not done according to the child’s own wishes, by his own free will. It is done by an ‘authority’; a mom, a dad, a bus driver, a teacher, a principal, a police officer, a doctor, etc. The ‘authority’ chooses, the child does not choose. The authority commands, or ‘expects’, the child complies. Abraham Lincoln used to tell a story about a pig with four legs and a tail. If we call a tail, a leg, how many legs does the pig have? A southern gentleman responds, ‘Five!’ Lincoln, then says, ‘That is the difference between you and I. Even though you say a pig has five legs, I know, it only has four! I know the difference.’ In your example, you say, ‘If the individual identifies the habits they want to develop, they provide their own feedback and triggers, how is it authoritarian?’ I say, ‘How does that conform to your definition of behavior modification?’ If we call a tale a leg, it is still a tale. If the student is perfectly free to do all those things, and is not under the duress, the expectations, the orders, of an authority, in any way, then how can we call it ‘behavior modification?’ in the sense of Pavlov’s works with dogs, defining the subject for Stalin?]

            I like to start with a group whose members are self-selected, simply being interested in the topic, because they have already shown and interest so the environment can draw in their contributions. It has to do with creating a critical mass that with success keeps pulling in more and more.
            It is always good to have talked through many of the barriers to an ideas success before taking the step into application, that way the earlier bumps in its testing are expected by all so they don’t become barriers. The measurements are a good example, you need to know why people don’t want to have them succeed before you try to use them. No Child Left Behind is a good example of how the barriers weren’t addressed before application. [I agree.]

          13. Duane

            Leon,

            A skill has no physical state; it resides in the mind. The actions of an individual may utilize a skill, such as how a carpenter pounds a nail. The skill facilitates the value that pounded nail may provide, but that skill did not take a physical state (solid, liquid, gas) or energy state to provide that value or lift the hammer.

            Your examples of ‘Observe, Decide, Act’ or ‘Read it, Do It’ are concepts describing how things happen in real life.
            Before Newton gravity did exist, it did not change when Newton describe ‘Newton’s Law’. He simply presented it in a way that others could understand, recognize, and apply what was happening in nature. Newton’s concept wasn’t created it was simply a description. My concept of learning is that the mind has to apply what is to be learned before it is learned. Some may be able to make that application theoretically, but most (at least I do) need to make that physical connection such as doing the arithmetic to learn to add and subtract. Still my concept is nothing more than the description of how a person learns.

            With regard to ability, it seems more of a capacity that one has and which may be developed rather than it is about being created. A person may not have the ability to dunk a basketball, and no amount of training/practice will make them capable/able to dunk a basketball.

            It seems to me that what we learn resides in the brain and is processed in the brain so if the brain is changing then why wouldn’t that affect how we store, retrieve, and process what we have learned?

            “My expert opinion is that your ‘lean company’ was not ‘leaner’ than these specially trained and carefully managed employees.” You could be right, the technology difference and the cultural difference could be the reason for my different experience. The company was a flat organization with a culture that was more about individual responsibility and authority. When comparing to peer organizations using such metrics as revenues per employee, number of new and total patents, supportive metrics such as EHS, all seem to reinforce the effectiveness of that approach.

            The idea of the paying wasn’t my point, it was how to help the individual to internalize what they needed to do rather than be dependent on an exterior drivers of their actions. As for getting a student to have personal metrics they can use for self-feedback, it may need to be adjusted by grade level. It can start by asking the student what they would like or expect to achieve in a given time frame (semester), ask what the barriers they see that might prevent them from achieving their expectations, ask what do they think they would have to do on a regular/daily basis to overcome those barriers to achieve their expectations, then have them set a spreadsheet to track their practices and set up an index that reflects the impact of their activities that they follow. The metric isn’t the expectation, the metric is what he can control and will lead to his learning. It is about providing the student with a the means to reinforce the practices/habits that will help them to learn. How much they read leads to how well they read, how much homework they do leads to how well they learn.

            Schools are designed around efficiency of the teachers not effectiveness for student learning. Why else would there be multiple guess tests?

            The way you start to teach others to listen is by the teacher learning to listen to the student. The younger the student the more they learn by modeling rather than by being told. If the teacher doesn’t practice what they are teaching then which speaks louder?

            I do not believe a child and a dog are equivalent in their ability to learn, in how they learn, in what they learn, or in what they can be taught. We learn that when the doorbell rings there will be someone at the door, that seems analogous to Pavlov’s work. Does that mean we are controlled by the doorbell?

            Pavlov’s work was an example of modifying behavior not the concept of modifying behavior. The dog was controlled by external forces; the individual has the capacity to be their own controlling force. A student can decide to change their study habits, the individual can change their exercise habits, and each can be influenced by external force and by internal forces. The methods we use maybe similar in principle to what Pavlov did, but that does not mean they are based on an authoritarian structure.

            What issue or topic would you like to see opened up for a group discussion and possible approach to addressing them?

          14. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane March 21, 2014 at 1:17 pm

            [Well said. I thought you might be saying, ‘I can’t do this!’ pretty soon. I expect if there is such a thing as ‘a box’ in all this, you might be looking over one of the edges.]

            ‘A skill has no physical state;’ [for the purposes of my standards, the sequence of defining things is important. I define ‘ability,’ first, as said, before defining ‘skill.’ Then a skill is presented as a learned ability. Even before I define ‘concept,’ I have students learn what abilities and skills are as ‘concepts’ by having them use these ideas in certain ways, and I include how to acquire new skills quickly. I just use this same pattern.

            ‘it resides in the mind.’ [I define ‘mind’ differently than you might. I say a person has ‘a mind’, in much the same sense as you, or people commonly use the word ‘brain.’]

            ‘The actions of an individual may utilize a skill, such as how a carpenter pounds a nail. The skill facilitates the value that pounded nail may provide, but that skill did not take a physical state (solid, liquid, gas) or energy state to provide that value or lift the hammer.’ [ I think we are close enough on this.]

            “Your examples of ‘Observe, Decide, Act’ or ‘Read it, Do It’ are concepts describing how things happen in real life.” [I think so. When I talk with VocEd people, they often say, “That is how I learn skills.” “That’s how I do it!” as if they had never thought of it quite in those words before. I haven’t heard teachers that teach academic subjects, say this, and they don’t seem to quite grasp it so easily.]

            ‘Before Newton, gravity did exist, it did not change when Newton described ‘Newton’s Law’. He simply presented it (the concept) in a way that others could understand, recognize, and apply what was happening (with actual objects) in nature. Newton’s concept wasn’t created, it was simply a description.’ [I think we are probably talking semantics here, or that you have a personal dislike for the word ‘create.’ Newton is credited with originating The Law of Gravity, The Three Laws of Motion, and others. They had not been formulated before him, they had not been proven, they had not been put to practical use, before him. They had a lot to do with bringing about the Industrial Age, and Newton is credited with the value they played in that. They have far greater value than the mere descriptions others had before his time, they explain and can accurately predict how new things will behave in the real world. I disagree that we should value these laws as descriptions only, they define and set the boundaries of Classical Mechanics, and to a degree Physics.]

            ‘My concept of learning is that the mind has to apply what is to be learned before it is learned. Some may be able to make that application theoretically, but most (at least I do) need to make that physical connection such as doing the arithmetic to learn to add and subtract. Still my concept is nothing more than the description of how a person learns.’ [This sounds a lot like my Standard 10; The student must present evidence that they have applied the material. And a part of that is using the actual objects, or at least ‘objects’ with some mass, or sketches of the actions, locations, positions and forms related to the material. I distinguish between ‘the mind’ and ‘the individual.’ I expect the individual to be there and do the things he is learning, not just robotically repeat or duplicate an action or sequence without thinking.]

            With regard to ability, it seems more of a capacity that one has and which may be developed rather than it is about being created. [I think you may have some confusion here with what a ‘talent’ is. But that being said, if the person thinks or feels he is learning it, or developing it, then I would put that into the category of skills, a learned ability.]

            ‘A person may not have the ability to dunk a basketball, and no amount of training/practice will make them capable/able to dunk a basketball. [I taught myself to dunk a basketball in high school. I have major problem with this. A parent may be so protective, that they will feel or say, there is little a child can do. A person may have such low self-esteem or have such a poor self-image, that they won’t even try many simple things they could easily do. Now a good coach can raise the bar quite a lot on what a person can actually do. A good Olympic coach can raise this even higher. There are limits I suppose, but I would rather work with a child that believes they can accomplish anything, than one that has an attitude that amounts to an unwillingness to try anything.]

            ‘It seems to me that what we learn resides in the brain and is processed in the brain so if the brain is changing then why wouldn’t that affect how we store, retrieve, and process what we have learned?’ [This sounds a lot like the old philosophical discussion of which comes first, ‘form’ or ‘function?’ For example, in computers there is the idea that the speed of a computer increases at the rate of doubling in 18 months. That has held true for a long time, until recently. So that would emphasize ‘function.’ What if one considered that a very simple chip, ‘a form', like the 8086 chip was the final form, and said, This is the form we have to work with, see how much you can increase the function without changing the form? The computing world would be in a far, far different place if that had been used instead of the change the function by 2X thing. When I wrote the AI article, I used a simple calculation. What if we wanted to calculate the maximum storage capacity of the brain? Say, 20 trillion cells. So many molecules per cell, etc. All that capacity might only store 2 or 3 months of data. Data calculated from the amount of data a human mind has been demonstrated to be capable of. Why tie both your hands behind your back and close both your eyes tight shut to accept this ‘brain’ thing? Well, that was part of the article for why the brain assumption was not a good starting point for AI.]

            “My expert opinion is that your ‘lean company’ was not ‘leaner’ than these specially trained and carefully managed employees.” You could be right, the technology difference and the cultural difference could be the reason for my different experience. The company was a flat organization with a culture that was more about individual responsibility and authority. When comparing to peer organizations using such metrics as revenues per employee, number of new and total patents, supportive metrics such as EHS, all seem to reinforce the effectiveness of that approach. [I don’t doubt it was effective. ‘individual responsibility and authority’ sounds like a good thing to me. But who trained these folks? How did they come to have that level of skills and good judgment? That sounds very similar to one company where I had a corporate mandate on many projects. Having that level of authority, and the highest level of priority in the company, made my life a lot easier.]

            ‘The idea of the paying wasn’t my point, it was how to help the individual to internalize what they needed to do rather than be dependent on an exterior drivers of their actions.’ [the contracts idea was in addition to my standards. I wanted to give students some reality on how businesses work in the real world. How they get work and how all that works together to make the world go round. To my knowledge that is not taught in schools. What the students had learned about how to study on my little courses, has to do with how they might internalize knowledge and skills, be self-motivated and self-determined.]

            As for getting a student to have personal metrics they can use for self-feedback, it may need to be adjusted by grade level. It can start by asking the student what they would like or expect to achieve in a given time frame (semester), ask what the barriers they see that might prevent them from achieving their expectations, ask what do they think they would have to do on a regular/daily basis to overcome those barriers to achieve their expectations, then have them set a spreadsheet to track their practices and set up an index that reflects the impact of their activities that they follow. The metric isn’t the expectation, the metric is what he can control and will lead to his learning. It is about providing the student with a the means to reinforce the practices/habits that will help them to learn. How much they read leads to how well they read, how much homework they do leads to how well they learn. [I had thought about a point system, where defining a word might have one point, reading a page might have a certain value, completing a book might have a large number of points, giving an example could have a point value, writing an essay or doing a demo could have a certain number of points. More complex demonstrations could have more points. But I haven’t worked out the details. One has to start somewheres.]

            Schools are designed around efficiency of the teachers not effectiveness for student learning. Why else would there be multiple guess tests? [You are right.]

            I do not believe a child and a dog are equivalent in their ability to learn, in how they learn, in what they learn, or in what they can be taught. We learn that when the doorbell rings there will be someone at the door, that seems analogous to Pavlov’s work. Does that mean we are controlled by the doorbell? [Yes. And the school bell to start a class, to end a class, to start a basket ball game, or end it. The ringer for a phone. A police car siren. The horn for an emergency vehicle. A hurricane alarm system. Stop signs. Stop lights. Yellow lines on a road. When a sergeant orders troops out of a trench up and over the bank into the machine guns.]

            Pavlov’s work was an example of modifying behavior not the concept of modifying behavior. The dog was controlled by external forces; the individual has the capacity to be their own controlling force. A student can decide to change their study habits, the individual can change their exercise habits, and each can be influenced by external force and by internal forces. The methods we use maybe similar in principle to what Pavlov did, but that does not mean they are based on an authoritarian structure. [I can accept that. How much training (hours) in how to study, does a child receive in K-12, and how much training does a teacher receive on how to teach? A child has little, or no, training in how to be ‘self-determined’, a teacher has thousands of hours of training or conditioning in how to ‘other-determine’ students, or to use authoritarian methods on students while teaching. A child must say ‘sir.’ The teacher says, 'Johnny, take your seat!' The teacher wears a suit, the child rarely has a uniform or similar dress standards. The teacher stands, the student sits. The teacher controls the class, the student is controlled. Stimulus-response. The bell rings, the student responds. The teacher moves about freely, the student is confined, must not move and must sit-up-straight. The student wants to go to the bathroom, he must ask the teacher for permission. If the student does not conform, he is sent to the principal. What does the student do, when a teacher misbehaves?]

            What issue or topic would you like to see opened up for a group discussion and possible approach to addressing them? [I wrote up somethings, and will respond tomorrow on a new note.]

          15. Duane

            Leon,

            “I haven’t heard teachers that teach academic subjects, say this, and they don’t seem to quite grasp it so easily.” That is an indication of an opportunity for change.

            I respect and am even in awe of those who develop an idea that no one else has seen. For in almost all such case they change the world. Newton is a great example for what he recognized and articulated was a step change in science and the world. He turned his discovery into a tool that others would build on. He was creative in his thinking, he wasn’t creating in the mas or energy sense. I don’t ‘these laws’ as setting boundaries, rather they are guideposts for testing of the ideas and stepping stones for new ideas. The ‘laws’ of man (how we act and react) are much more dynamic and change as man and society changes, a moving from authoritarian to democracy, so we those ‘laws’ need to accommodate change.

            I would offer it isn’t just an individual’s thinking they can be an Olympic athlete, there are certain physiological capabilities that they must have. Having achievable expectations can lead to ever greater expectations and the efforts required to achieve them.

            Moore’s Law may not be that effective analogy to use, I believe a reporter coined it after interviewing Mr. Moore.

            The engineers I worked with were trained by their respective schools, the employer felt the next stage of their training was to be done by them (analogous to the old sink or swim teaching method). There were given unlimited access to resources in the organization and were provide regular feedback, but they were not put into where they used the technical training and drew on the available resources to apply their knowledge. There were those who weren’t comfortable with the structure and move on, others that changed jobs inside the company. Not every activity was successful, the CEO once said he cost the company more money with his mistakes than anyone else so he expected failures, but he expected each employee to learn from those failures.

            “And the school bell … ringer for a phone… police car siren … alarm system. Stop signs. Stop lights. Yellow lines…” Are you sure these are totalitarian controls or simply means of communications, school bell seems to be more about a time of day rather than the indiscriminate control of an administrator, the siren/alarms seem to be more about communicating what is happening then about an administrator control, the yellow lines seem more about a warning of risk than of a control.

            “..sergeant orders troops out of a trench up and over the bank into the machine guns.” That is from almost 100 years ago, that hasn’t been the case for at least 50 years.

            I would encourage students to be taught and having re-emphasized regularly how to study, how learning works, what they can do to improve their learning, the mechanics of learning. Having it part of K-12 each year.
            I haven’t seen a suit in a classroom in years, or in many companies, and many of the old student decorum you mention. “What does the student do, when a teacher misbehaves?]” That seems like another opportunity for change.

  7. Leon L. Hulett, PE

    Bandy, the title of your article starts with these words, ‘To increase ‘college’ attainment’ and your arguments are well stated, but….

    Here is my suggestion to help you, parents, teachers, school board members, legislators, and others to do this.

    I ask high school students, that I’m personally teaching or tutoring, ‘What would you like to be doing in ten years?’

    Now, the key idea here is ‘doing’, rather than ‘being.’ I would not bother to say, ‘What do you want to BE when you grow up?’ As a manager, I have had dozens of new-hire Engineers, top of their class in college, sit before me on their first day of work, in their professional life.

    Do you know what their first question is, always is? ‘I’m your new Engineer. What do you want me to do?’

    You see, at this point, not ten years later, they have achieved ‘being something’, being a college graduate, or expanded definition, college graduate. They are now ready TO DO, what they always wanted to do. They feel very free. They may have only invested in ‘BEING’, up to that moment. Now, I, or their first manager, must choose what they will do next, their first task. Now if they had had their attention on learning how to do what they always wanted to do well, or on something they chose to want to do well, things might have been quite different.(They might know how to do some of the things they will be doing that first day.) So here is a key question, to consider. Were they studying for some kind of status, or for others? Or were they studying for something they actually wanted to do?

    I was being shown around a tech school one day by a Liason Teacher, a teacher assigned to show people like me around, and this issue came up. We came upon a student, all covered in grease and sweat. So, as a part of the very brief conversation that came up, I lightly asked this question, ‘What do you want to be doing in ten years?’ The young man broke out into the biggest smile you ever saw and enthusiastically exclaimed, ‘I don’t know what it will be, but I know I will be using my hands.’ I think this student was actually telling me his basic purpose in life. But the Liason Teacher didn’t see it that way, she didn’t see what he said as most important. She jumped on this instantly, and rushed in to say, ‘No!, No! NO! You want to be using your mind!’ She could have been saying, you should be studying for a college degree. So we have a child, or young man, saying what they most want to do, and we have someone else not listening, and insisting on what they thought was best.

    So if you choose to use this question, to find what a young person wants most to be doing, you may then want to help them fit that into ‘college plans’ and helping them achieve what they most want to do.

    Now when I graduated from high school, college intended, three teachers conspired in an odd way, on my behalf. They helped me get ‘a high tech’ summer job. This was 1965, but the job was automation. A local company was installing high tech electronic sorting machines, to sort cherries. I got the job of learning all about these machines and operating them, and displacing 200 women line-workers that sorted cherries up to that time. That job helped pay for college for three summers. Now what did those teachers conspire to do? One got me a job driving a dump truck, for a couple of weeks. Another usually worked, summer work, at this cherry company and had heard about this high tech stuff coming into the world, and coming into a plant near him. He researched and found they were setting up a special program for a very bright young man related to the owners of the company. Somehow they expanded this program to include a second person, me. The bright young man, was to do the Day-Shift, and I could to the Night-Shift. So how, with 20-20 hindsight, was this so important? It gave me something I wanted to do in a high tech setting. It gave me valuable experience in the real world. All in that critical three months before I even started college, before I had chosen what degree I wanted from college.

    So ‘To increase ‘college’ attainment’, I recommend people focus on ‘doing’, on what a young person wants to do, rather than being a status symbol. Ask them one of my questions, ‘What would you like to be doing in 10 years?’

    Also, do a little conspiring and arranging. Help young people get some actual experience, as young as possible, in doing the work they really want to be doing in life. I have even set up a contract with a fifth-grader to learn a skill and provide a high quality product, and paid them. I set up a little bank, put the money in it, and gave it to her. When she completed one of my contacts, she could then remove the money. I never lost a dime, and she learned about ‘contracts’, and ‘banks’ for that matter. You can do this too. It will look good on their resume.

    So when a young person you know, sits in that chair on his or her first day of their professional life after college, they may have the presence of mind to not say, ‘What do you want me to do?’, they might say with a smile, ‘Hi, I can’t wait to see how you folks do things?’ and he will know what means to do things. He may find that business is not at all like the public educational experience he or she has experienced up to that moment. It is not about status, it is about doing things and accomplishing real things in this world.

    Good luck!

  8. Chuck Jordan

    There is no argument that students today need to go beyond a high school education. The problem I have is the real message we will be sending to students, which is, since you are not college material (I too hate this term), we will dumb down the curriculum so you can be successful and get a job. The reality is that students don’t know what they want to do in high school and probably will change jobs many times. The vocational-technical jobs of the future will take more education than the 4-year degree. We need to prepare all students so that after high school they can go into a job, get special training, go to community college or go on to a four year college. Community colleges are full of students who have been in the workforce, need re-training, need special skills or want to go on to a four year college who aren’t prepared to be successful. We need to be raising expectations not lowering them or arguing about what post secondary really means. We shouldn’t fall for this either/or reasoning – it’s either skilled trades or college. Kids need to be prepared to do both, so they can decide, so they have choices and still have choices after their current job is outsourced or mechanized.

    1. Leon L. Hulett, PE

      Chuck, re: ‘Kids need to be prepared to do both, so they can decide, so they have choices and still have choices after their current job is outsourced or mechanized.’

      What do you recommend to accomplish this?

  9. George Friess

    This is so refreshing. There are areas of manufacturing and skilled trades in construction and the informatin ( computer ) field that have high wage jobs available, but are unable to find workers with the required skills. Our technology is so diverse and complex that many Bachelor’s degree programs fall years behind in responding to the needs. We should guide students without adding the elitist bias of four year bachelor programs. Their interest’s should be given more weight. It isn’t always ability or intelligence driven. Many of the greatest technology breakthroughs, particularly information technology advances were made by brilliant individuals who quickly lost interest in university degree programs.

    1. Leon L. Hulett, PE

      George, re: ‘Many of the greatest technology breakthroughs, particularly information technology advances were made by brilliant individuals who quickly lost interest in university degree programs.’ I agree.

      A friend in Robotics said the DOD contacted him and 5000 other Robotics suppliers specifically to ask these companies to encourage students to study ‘robotics’ and other IT subjects. Critical components of US military subsystems are now being supplied by foreign countries, because America lacks the expertise, the brain power, and the capacity. According to him, the DOD feels this is a vital National Resource that has been lost, and that must be replenished. These people are just not getting through and graduating out of our schools. DARPA, one agency of the DOD is spending tens of millions on high school robotics and Maker/Hacker Space programs to encourage the replenishment of this vital national resource. Japan may be 50 years ahead in Robotics, and the gap is not getting less. Their Asimov robot, represents technology and capacity America does not have.

      This robotics guy tutored at a robotics class, and invited me to do something as well. I put together an Applying Knowledge workshop and tutored five students on it. I hope that helps at least a little. They did win their Robotics Regional’s, and now State is coming up.

      I am very much not a DOD guy, but I am supportive of kids, their futures, and America’s technology future. Maybe someone should set up a steering committee in Michigan to point students toward promising careers like you pointed out? And maybe point colleges and universities toward the jobs, research and support industry might need to support this wave of new tech stuff?

  10. R.L.

    One quote we all seem to overlook.”If a society does not respect it’s plumbers as well as it’s philosophers,,neither it’s pipes nor it’s theories will ever hold water”. Our society needs to re evaluate it’s priorities. Think about it. Try outsourcing your electrician,plumber,carpenter,cable installer,carpet layer,etc. etc.etc . Too much fluff added to the requirements for your four year degree. Debt you can’t pay back. I never hear of college and university people and their coaches taking huge pay concessions. Get a grip. R.L.

  11. jhf

    Brandy gave great comments regarding postsecondary education. Michigan is richly blessed with 15 public universities, 28 public community colleges, over 70 private colleges, over 400 non-degree career schools, and many apprenticeship options. A high majority of Michigan high school graduates enroll within 3 years after high school graduation. One tragetic public policy is ignoring just how many don’t complete their initial goal and fall in deep financial burdens. Postsecondary leaders must be held to a higher standard for completers rather than just enrollees!

  12. Allison

    Kudos! Excellent and thoughtful rebuttal. I wholeheartedly agree.

  13. Debbie Gillespie

    Agreed! I’m a director in our Workforce Training and Development department and coordinate short term training. I also serve on our College’s Student Success Council. I believe we should support the students choice of career paths whether it’s earning a welding certificate, a CNA or Phlebotomy certification or a two- year Associate’s degree. Completion of their training of choice and job attainment in their field is the success.

    1. Duane

      Debbie,

      What are the methods you believe we should use to demonstrate our support for students who choose their own career path and the necessary schooling?

      I lean to exposure of the various career paths and impact additional education has on achieving and succeed in those respective paths begining in middle school, before they have chosen, before they have been discourage (by those pushing a particular path or by those saying it is too hard).

      I believe the lack of exposure to the diversity of degrees out their and the lack of public exposure to the educational resources available are barriers to over come before students choose.

      My view is that once they have master the necessary knowledge and skills support of their choice will be done by those they work with and the statisfact the gain from their choice and learning.

  14. Leon L. Hulett, PE

    Duane, 23 March

    “I haven’t heard teachers that teach academic subjects, say this, and they don’t seem to quite grasp it so easily.” That is an indication of an opportunity for change. [I agree.]

    ‘The ‘laws’ of man (how we act and react) are much more dynamic and change as man and society changes, a moving from authoritarian to democracy, so we those ‘laws’ need to accommodate change.’ [I don't quite follow that. But I do not think we are moving from authoritarian to democracy. I don't think the ideas of 'individual' or 'democracy' are so well understood. I think society is just moving from one authoritarian system to another, unless we do something.]

    I would offer it isn’t just an individual’s thinking they can be an Olympic athlete, there are certain physiological capabilities that they must have. Having achievable expectations can lead to ever greater expectations and the efforts required to achieve them. [One of my heroes in High School was Richie Jordan, here in Michigan at Michigan State. He was about 5' 6", or 5' 8" and could score 50 or 70 points per game in basketball and dunk the ball. He got on the team at MSU. When I went to MSU much later, there was another young man that played intramural basket ball with us ROTC guys. He was 5' 6" and could dunk the ball with both hands. He could jump higher than me, so we let him jump Center at the start of games. Physiology may be a barrier, but I have found 'the individual' can often overcome barriers that I and others had placed there, when they had not.]

    Moore’s Law may not be that effective analogy to use, I believe a reporter coined it after interviewing Mr. Moore. [Nevertheless, the point was, there was a functional idea being used there in the industry, not a fixed form. I feel 'function' is more important than 'form', and often scientists get into endless arguments about this, or fail to argue it out altogether, and just go forward with a 'form' like 'the brain' or 'everything revolves around the Earth', or 'one will fall off the edge of the world, if they go too far to sea', 'the world is flat.']

    ‘The engineers I worked with were trained by their respective schools, the employer felt the next stage of their training was to be done by them (analogous to the old sink or swim teaching method). There were given unlimited access to resources in the organization and were provide regular feedback, but they were not put into where they used the technical training and drew on the available resources to apply their knowledge.’ [I can't follow your words here, but this sounds like the way I learned at one company. I was given a lot of freedom and responsibility and lots of resources, and I made some mistakes. I put together 20 major 30-year projects for them at 20% profit over a period of 12 years, for about $40 million Net Present Value. The Engineer next to me, my boss, failed in that environment 100% of the time on about the same number of projects, all lost, all the customers were lost. He could have used some better management and know-how. I think the skills and ideas I was able to learn there (using the investment, substantial investment, in me by that company should be put to work in K-12 schools. There are some better ways to do things. Later the resources were more limited. We came up the motto, 'We have been doing more and more with less and less for so long, we can now do anything with nothing.' ]

    There were those who weren’t comfortable with the structure and move on, others that changed jobs inside the company. Not every activity was successful, the CEO once said he cost the company more money with his mistakes than anyone else so he expected failures, but he expected each employee to learn from those failures. [I understand this philosophy. I call those things he said, 'humility.']

    “And the school bell … ringer for a phone… police car siren … alarm system. Stop signs. Stop lights. Yellow lines…” ‘Are you sure these are totalitarian controls or simply means of communications,’ [You have substituted 'totalitarian controls' for my notions of what authority looks like in our world. Home Schools probably don't use any of these control techniques. I presented those notions in a negative context. 'Control' doesn't have to be negative, but many of the examples in our world are more negative than they need to be. I believe they are negative because they contain a negative intention. If they did not, then they, or a more positive control system could be used. As you implied, what is wanted is an effective control system, that is not so negative. You may not have looked at all of these things as so negative, but it would not take a lot of thought to improve any one of them to make things, these systems of communication, more positive. A system might be improved by simply noticing the negative intention.]

    school bell seems to be more about a time of day rather than the indiscriminate control of an administrator, the siren/alarms seem to be more about communicating what is happening then about an administrator control, the yellow lines seem more about a warning of risk than of a control. [Again you are saying, a school bell, or any of these notions, are not ‘indiscriminate control.’ A Home School would not use a bell. Colleges do not use a bell. A person studying at a library does not have, or require a bell to control him. If a notion of control, or one of these controls I mentioned are arbitrary, then you might agree it is not needed. If it is negative, indiscriminate, and cruel, and required under some great penalty, then I would feel free to call it ‘authoritative.’ If it has no arbitrariness, no indiscrimination, or negative intention in it, and is in fact a positive communication and effectively manages a coordinated activity, I have no problem with it. That is good control. If a British military unit trains soldiers to blindly obey, and if they are pinned down in trenches, as they were on a day in WWI, 1917, when machine guns were new in the world, and over 80,000 died when seargents ordered them up and over the banks into the German machine guns, when any one of those soldiers would have done something quite differently with more enlightened training, I say that as a system of teaching that system is ‘authoritative.’ Yes, it may have been a hundred years ago. But if Michigan is using a system of education that is no more enlightened, from the viewpoint of a student, I say it is an opportunity to change something that does need to be changed.

    “..sergeant orders troops out of a trench up and over the bank into the machine guns.” That is from almost 100 years ago, that hasn’t been the case for at least 50 years. [You may feel inclined to reject this notion, that our students in Michigan today, could not be manipulated in a similar way, that they are more enlightened and more free. Tests on Americans, in WWI showed that 70 percent were illiterate. Tests in Michigan this last year showed that 30 some percent were proficient in Reading. I don't wish to argue the point of, 'Is America being dumbed down?' I would just like students to be more competent and free and empowered.]

    I would encourage students to be taught and having re-emphasized regularly how to study, how learning works, what they can do to improve their learning, the mechanics of learning. Having it part of K-12 each year.

    I haven’t seen a suit in a classroom in years, or in many companies, and many of the old student decorum you mention. [They were presented as notions relating to authority. Maybe I should present some more current ones; What if a child brings an knife or weapon or explosive to school? 'A hundred years ago', such a thing was quite different. My brother tells of a boy, 1942, that brought a stick of dynamite to a tree near a One-Room School with a long fuze in it. He then told his friends in the class what was going to happen. It was a big joke then... now-a-days, I wouldn't think so. A local Intermediate School District has a zero tolerance policy regarding violence. Recently a boy was suspended from a local school because he went bang-bang and used a hand gesture on the school grounds... In another school a six-year old kissed a girl and got suspended.]

    “What does the student do, when a teacher misbehaves?” That seems like another opportunity for change.

    1. Duane

      Leon,

      Many people like to think that the way people act can be captured by a ‘Law’ just as the “laws’ of science capture how nature acts. The reality is that people are unique both genetically and socially making them muddled where nature is orderly, so the concepts of man must be dynamic (what was will not be so in the future).
      The individual has more discretion than ever, authorities have a diminishing level of consequences they can inflict. The politicians are so pre-occupied with re-election that they support what the populace will accept, they don’t tell the populace what to do and how. This is even apparent in the truly totalitarian societies, people are willing to act individually in the face of real state controlled consequences, so in a relatively democracy (even in the classrooms) is expanding. This democracy may not be as apparent in politics but it is in the marketplace and the social environment. Thus to get people’s (students’) attention requires more adjustment to the individual.

      I felt the CEO was not being humble as he was trying to reinforce the culture of risk taking.

      I appreciate the idea that suits represent authority. I am saying that authority is disappearing and is being replaced by a need to adapted to the individuals in the class. The ‘power’ in most settings is shifting to the expectations of the individual away from the control by authority. The choice is to resist this changing environment or to become part of it.

      When I was a kid most boys in elementary school carried a pocket knife, it was expected, but it was never an issue in school (classroom/playground). How it was managed had to do with the authority the parents gave to the school (teachers/administrators). Times have changed and the ‘no tolerance’ is a protection for teachers/administrators from the power (legal action) the individual parents are exerting. That is the reality of how authority/power/control has shifted and must be accommodated in the learning process.

      1. Leon L. Hulett, PE

        Duane,

        I wanted to help you with your idea to reach students from this website. I thought you or I might write a guest article to accomplish that. I made a first try, below, but it just didn’t come together for me yet. Maybe you could look at it and be inspired to do your own, or make this one good enough. Want to try?

        Don’t ignore Students, they need to be heard here too.

        I was looking up a favorite article to review, when this quote struck my eye, and it just about knocked me over, ‘Power Flows to the One Who Knows How.’

        How would a student’s voice be heard here? How would they do it? How would we do it?

        One day, a few years ago, I was reading one of those sensationalized little ‘facts’, or factoids, on the web. It said, ‘One-third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.’ ‘42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college.’ I thought, surely this could not possibly be true? No, this could not be true. Or could it? Could students have so little use for reading? How would one find out how such a factoid was constructed? I decided, like Paul Harvey, to find out, ‘The Rest of the Story.’ Power flows to the one who knows how.

        I searched the web for these quotes and found several that said this information was from The Jenkins Group. Who in the world were they to say this? How did they know? I was a little offended. So, I decided to look up this ‘Jenkins Group’ and got a big surprise. This publishing company was located within 20 miles of my house! I could almost see them from here. I had probably walked right by their building on the Main Street of a nearby Michigan city many times, over the years. I called them and asked about Mr. Jenkins and the factoid. They said Mr. Jenkins, was not in, but he, the one who answered the phone, might be able to help me with what I wanted. They are a publishing company and they do fund surveys like that. Mr. Jenkins does have a keen interest in such things. He did not remember the survey that generated that factoid, he confirmed it was not in the files available to him, but he did know how the company worked, how they would do it and he gave me the name of the services company where Jenkins would have obtained the survey.

        So I called the publishing services company. They did not recognize that factoid either, but it sounded like something they had done. She could not locate the survey. But once again, she told me how they do it, how they would obtain such information. They would get an order, from a company like Jenkins, and Jenkins was indeed one of their clients. They would format the survey, determine its wording, and have a Canadian company do the leg work of contacting the people to get responses to the survey questions. She gave me the name of that company. So I called that company. They did not recognize that survey or survey questions either, but they said what they do is take the survey from that client, and interview 1000 people on the street and report back to the services company with the survey results. That’s how it was done. When was it done? I do not know. But with the trend moving towards people reading fewer books, I hope it was not too long ago.

        So why not use this know-how to get students to participate in discussions here, just using this one quote, ‘Power Flows to the One Who Knows How.’

        We could request, readers here, or students they know, to make up a survey. Now there is a Household Survey each month for the Economy, where 60,000 people say if they are working. There has been an Adult Literacy survey, the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) that says how well about 30,000 adults read.

        But what would Bridge readers most like to know about Students in Michigan? We could have an annual, or monthly, survey: The Bridge Survey of Students in Michigan.

        First we could ask Bridge readers what they think students would like to know how to do.’What are the top ten things students would like to know how to do?’

        Then we could ask students, ‘What are the top ten things you would like to know how to do?’

        1. Duane

          Leon,

          Rather than ‘Power Flows to the One Who Knows How.’ I see success is in the hands of those who have the knowledge and the understanding how to effectively apply it. The challenge is to help people not only gain the knowledge, but to help them learn how to think so they can best apply that knowledge.
          You wonder how today the literacy rate hasn’t shown such a great improvement. Reading is a tool, and it is valuable only in the eyes of those who have used it effectively. In a video and audio world, reading is not a necessary. That lack of necessity creates a barrier to developing readers.

          I like the idea of opening a discussion through a Bridge article. I am not sure it would fit the Bridge approach and format. They seem more about presenting a position instead of drawing in the public to look for different perspectives.

          I believe strongly enough in the idea of an interactive process with readers/the Bridge community, the idea of turning to the public to develop new/innovative approaches to ongoing problems/issues, and to the learning issue specifically that I would be willing to go to Ann Arbor for a few days to have an open and frank discussion with the people at Bridge to explore this approach and the challenges of testing it. I can see this would take 3-5 articles over several weeks and that could be a significant hurtle.
          I would see the stages/articles; develop a process map of learning (K-12, maybe more), describing the different elements and how they can impact the learning, identifying barriers to learning (from the students perspective then other perspectives), capturing what the expectations are for K-12 learning, and developing methods for addressing barriers to achieve expectations.

          This has been a good conversation, it has caused me to stop and think and articulate what I have thought about. Thank you and I am appreciative of Bridge for allowing it to continue.

          1. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane, March 25, 2014 at 8:01 pm

            ‘Rather than ‘Power Flows to the One Who Knows How.’ I see success is in the hands of those who have the knowledge and the understanding how to effectively apply it. The challenge is to help people not only gain the knowledge, but to help them learn how to think so they can best apply that knowledge.’ [That is well said. But you seem to be saying precisely the same thing. How do you distinguish these two ideas?]

            You wonder how today the literacy rate hasn’t shown such a great improvement. Reading is a tool, and it is valuable only in the eyes of those who have used it effectively. In a video and audio world, reading is not a necessary. That lack of necessity creates a barrier to developing readers. [It should be clear to you at this point that I do distinguish between Reading and Study. The six specific barriers to study, as I have articulated them in my standards and here, do apply to Reading, but they also apply just as precisely to a video and audio world. They apply to how one learns, or for that matter, how one does not. Yousay, ‘In a video and audio world, reading is not a necessary.’ In such a world, is the ability to learn by viewing and listening, also not a necessary?

            ‘I like the idea of opening a discussion through a Bridge article. I am not sure it would fit the Bridge approach and format. They seem more about presenting a position instead of drawing in the public to look for different perspectives.’ I think their recent initiatives such as the one with governor Snyder, where for six weeks they solicited inputs from Bridge readers, is an example. They have been doing pretty much these same things with their education Guest Commentaries.

            ‘I believe strongly enough in the idea of an interactive process with readers/the Bridge community, the idea of turning to the public to develop new/innovative approaches to ongoing problems/issues, and to the learning issue specifically that I would be willing to go to Ann Arbor for a few days to have an open and frank discussion with the people at Bridge to explore this approach and the challenges of testing it.’ [Do you have some specifics in mind as to how you might approach these three issues with them?]

            ‘I can see this would take 3-5 articles over several weeks and that could be a significant hurtle.’ A ‘440 Hurdles Race’ has many, many hurdles.

            ‘I would see the stages/articles;

            develop a process map of learning (K-12, maybe more),’ [Do you see this as being different from the standards Michigan has accepted and national groups have been advocating for and lobbying for some time?]

            ‘describing the different elements and how they can impact the learning,’ [Do you see this as different from the specific standards such as common core, and how they are addressed from the viewpoint of teachers and the various teaching certifications and initiatives, like Bob Sorenson's, Frantically Formative? I have presented Pierre DuPont's elements; Thing, Idea, then Words. Also, Geometry then Arithmetic (also Plato's.)]

            ‘identifying barriers to learning (from the students perspective then other perspectives),’ [I see one of the most basic things missing is an accurate definition of the word, 'standard', from the student's perspective as it applies to each thing he learns.

            'capturing what the expectations are for K-12 learning, and' It seems to me the whole discussion nationally and at the state level have abandoned and strictly avoid, 'Grade Level.' Student expectations are directed to 'Proficiency' instead of Grade Level. Two hundred years ago, Pierre DuPont and Thomas Jefferson articulated expectations that had to do with a level of education sufficiently high to sustain the futurity of a great republic. Even 'Grade Level' is not sufficient to the level of goal they envisioned as 'required.'

            'developing methods for addressing barriers to achieve expectations.' Pierre DuPont identified four simple text books that would be needed to meet his and Jefferson's expectations. He felt he was not able enough to write such text books as these, but he did specify what they needed to contain and how he thought they should be written. I believe he and Jefferson envisioned a Golden Age, like the one in Greece from 490 to 330 BC that was initiated by Pericles and doomed by Alexander the Great. If you do not address the barrier Alexander placed before Greece, that ended democracy, that civilization and a Golden Age in 330 BC, I doubt you will achieve a Golden Age such as Pericles had, or Jefferson hoped for. In a letter in 330 BC, Alexander to Aristotle, "Why have you given our Most Excellent Knowledge to the public?' along with 40,000 talents (1,600,000 lbs) of gold.]

            ‘This has been a good conversation, it has caused me to stop and think and articulate what I have thought about. Thank you and I am appreciative of Bridge for allowing it to continue.’ [Your welcome.]

          2. Duane

            Leon,

            I am uncomfortable with the word ‘power’ in this context. My concern is that it creates and image of what is necessary to succeed and I don’t believe that is the case. You may have using that to indicate that the know how was the power. If there has to be ‘power’ I would say it is the internal strength of the individual, for I have known those who had develop the knowledge and skills and yet lack the internal drive/ability to actually make things happen with it. By the same token I have known those who did not have the knowledge and skills but had the strength and persistence to find those that could make the necessary things happen. I don’t believe it is simply knowledge and skills that need to be taught but the confidence for each person to compete in the environment they live.

            Learning can be done by seeing and hearing, but being limited to that means will limit people to wait for others to create the audio and video presentations out of the written resources.

            The concern about Bridge approach to presenting positions rather than encouraging an inter-active conversation with readers is probably the most difficult barrier to overcome, it is a mindset. If I better understood how they viewed readership then I could possibly frame it so they might be willing to test the idea. I feel the American culture has changed from simply wanting to be told to one where they want to be heard. An example is how at least one of the cable programs has started real time tracking of people’s views on what is being said on air. Another is how many shows are now including electronically submitted questions and comments on air. There are methods that could measure if such involvement enhanced readership or not. If this Bridge approach could be overcome then I believe the others are simply mechanics and can be addressed.
            The guest commentaries and even the soliciting of comments for the Governor and even his potential opponent have been one sided excluding inter-actions. Many times a couple of key questions can provide a great deal of insight in to the thinking that went into a comment, and this can be the critical point when an idea gains appreciation and is turned into action. There are no follow-up questions to the request Bridge makes for comment so we seldom if ever learn the thinking behind the remarks and without understanding others thinking process for an idea we are generally stuck in our own thinking.

            The ‘Common Core’ seems more about the education process and not about the learning processes that students’ progress through. I feel before understanding what influences and how it influences the students learning we (at least I) need to get a better feel for the learning process. As an example, how important is the teacher’s technical knowledge compared to how the student receives what is presented? How important are the expectations of each participant in the learning process compared to peer pressure? My understanding of ‘Common Core’ is that it is more about structure and administration then it is about the student and their role in their learning.

            I see ‘standards’ as a reference point, something to be compared to not something that controls learning. My reservations with ‘standards’ are the it commonly becomes a limit (controls) on practices rather than a reference to build from, it commonly becomes the barrier to change (because it takes so much energy to be established), it becomes a barrier to innovation, it is built on the past so it has all the baggage of the past. If ‘Common Core’ becomes the ‘standard’ there will be a whole industry build around it that will fight to preserve it and prevent change.

            I see the grade level being more about physiological growth rather than academic achievement. I support grade levels based on chronology; kids generally grow physically and emotionally in a similar way. Academic achievement may differ from that, but it does need to be balanced with individual growth. There can be a student who is academically achieving in math at the expected 7th grade level while physically and emotionally are at the 5th grade level. I would strongly resist moving students into higher grades simply based on academic achievement. I do believe there are currently practices that accommodate these differences.

          3. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane, March 26 9:36

            ‘I am uncomfortable with the word ‘power’ in this context. My concern is that it creates and image of what is necessary to succeed and I don’t believe that is the case. You may have using that to indicate that the know how was the power. If there has to be ‘power’ I would say it is the internal strength of the individual, for I have known those who had develop the knowledge and skills and yet lack the internal drive/ability to actually make things happen with it. By the same token I have known those who did not have the knowledge and skills but had the strength and persistence to find those that could make the necessary things happen. I don’t believe it is simply knowledge and skills that need to be taught but the confidence for each person to compete in the environment they live.’

            [Alright, you are saying; 'the confidence for each person to compete in the environment they live.' I understand this is not taught in existing school systems. It is not taught to my knowledge in Teachers Colleges. It is not addressed in existing standards. It is not included in Michigan's Constitution or in the education laws. I have included it in my standards, and I believe I have outlined how this is done. How would you do this?]

            [But going back to the context for 'power' from this quote. The article I was referring to, is a hundred years old. So the wording or use of words has probably changed as other things have. In 1927 this article was said to have been reprinted more than any other in history, except the bible. It was not sold to individuals, it was sold to those in 'power.' The author sold 50,000 copies to one customer, and asked his publisher to publish that many by a certain date. The publisher could not, so the author, got permission for the customer to reprint it. Then there was an order for 100,000, then another, and many more. Finally, there was an order for 3 million from J.P. Morgan, for his employees. The article was called 'Take a Message to Garcia.' It describes what the author thought the level of quality of men should be. Or shall we say, what the end result one might wish for education to be. It rather defined what a competent person of the day was. It was written just after the Spanish American War by Eduard Hubbard.]

            [I understand the definition of 'power' used in that quote to be; 'the ability to achieve something, or to make something happen.' The man in the article that was able to take the message to Garcia, was shown to have this ability. Now, as you pointed out, what is desired, is for the person in training, to have the confidence to compete in the environment they live in. Or I might say, a person that can 'take a message to Garcia.' You might wish to read the article.]

            ‘Learning can be done by seeing and hearing, but being limited to that means will limit people to wait for others to create the audio and video presentations out of the written resources.’ [Again, I am not proposing to teach reading in that way. To provide a bit more of a context, here is a story where I had three people working together to make certain parts. Sub parts had to be made, then made into a assemblies, then tested. It took three days to do this at first. My contract said, I had 82 parts to make in 18 days. I had to use these people. So I took the barriers out of their wy each day, and got them up to producing 18 parts per day, and completed my contract on schedule. But the point is, what a change in those three employees! Wow! Now they had a whole different level of competence, a whole new outlook on life. They walked with confidence. They started wearing sports coats. They felt great pride in what they were doing and what they could now do. It was rather unshakable. I tried to learn from this an instill that into the training on my standards.]

            ‘The concern about Bridge approach to presenting positions rather than encouraging an inter-active conversation with readers is probably the most difficult barrier to overcome, it is a mindset.’ [I agree. But it does not have to be our mindset.]

            ‘If I better understood how they viewed readership then I could possibly frame it so they might be willing to test the idea. I feel the American culture has changed from simply wanting to be told to one where they want to be heard. An example is how at least one of the cable programs has started real time tracking of people’s views on what is being said on air. Another is how many shows are now including electronically submitted questions and comments on air. There are methods that could measure if such involvement enhanced readership or not. If this Bridge approach could be overcome then I believe the others are simply mechanics and can be addressed.’

            ‘The guest commentaries and even the soliciting of comments for the Governor and even his potential opponent have been one sided excluding inter-actions. Many times a couple of key questions can provide a great deal of insight in to the thinking that went into a comment, and this can be the critical point when an idea gains appreciation and is turned into action. There are no follow-up questions to the request Bridge makes for comment so we seldom if ever learn the thinking behind the remarks and without understanding others thinking process for an idea we are generally stuck in our own thinking.’ [This is an excellent point!]

            ‘The ‘Common Core’ seems more about the education process and not about the learning processes that students’ progress through.’ [I agree. Bill Gates has spent $300 million to make common core happen. He believe it will make people 'career ready.']

            ‘I feel before understanding what influences and how it influences the students learning we (at least I) need to get a better feel for the learning process.’ [I feel the learning process goes like this: a student is 'understanding' or potential understanding, and can know. When he observes, he can know when something is true or not, he can gain certainty. He can use his ability to decide, to take an observation and make a skill, and then use it. Or he can just keep his observations. These together are knowledge. Now, from my experience people tend to make things more and more complex for quite a while, and then they finally can simplify things down again. I suppose you will have to do some of that.]

            ‘As an example, how important is the teacher’s technical knowledge compared to how the student receives what is presented? [I have seen this happen, where I had a skill in mind, and the child just seemed to grasp it with a simple demonstration and could do it. I don't know teachers without the skills do it. I think it can be done. But I haven't seen it. I always take the view that I expect my students to finally achieve a level above my skill leve, and they usually do. But I don't demand that.]

            ‘How important are the expectations of each participant in the learning process compared to peer pressure?’ About half my Applying Knowledge Workshop has to do with this.]

            ‘My understanding of ‘Common Core’ is that it is more about structure and administration then it is about the student and their role in their learning.] [I think so too.]

            ‘I see ‘standards’ as a reference point, something to be compared to, not something that controls learning. My reservations with ‘standards’ are the it commonly becomes a limit (controls) on practices rather than a reference to build from, it commonly becomes the barrier to change (because it takes so much energy to be established), it becomes a barrier to innovation, it is built on the past so it has all the baggage of the past. If ‘Common Core’ becomes the ‘standard’ there will be a whole industry build around it that will fight to preserve it and prevent change.’ [I suppose you are talking about 'Common Core' here. I expect it was true of 'No Child Left Behind' before that, and 'The Proficiency Test' before that, and so on. But a word about my standards. What I'm proposing will only take about 50 hours. It doesn't change anything in the curriculum, or the way teachers teach, it only gives a student some tools or skills to use to learn the curriculum, what the teacher is trying to get across, or what he will be observing in life that he wants to do.]

            ‘I see the grade level being more about physiological growth rather than academic achievement. I support grade levels based on chronology; kids generally grow physically and emotionally in a similar way. Academic achievement may differ from that, but it does need to be balanced with individual growth. There can be a student who is academically achieving in math at the expected 7th grade level while physically and emotionally are at the 5th grade level. I would strongly resist moving students into higher grades simply based on academic achievement. I do believe there are currently practices that accommodate these differences.’ [My standards don't have anything to do with any of this. It sounds like something teachers think about. From the Michigan Constitution, and laws, and State Standards, I understand grade levels as academic levels. That being said, teachers and schools seem to talk like you do. So why bother to call them 'Grades', just use the person's age. Put all the 9 year-olds in the same room and call it good?]

          4. Duane

            Leon,

            Too many good topics you raise so my comments are long, I apologize for this length.

            I believe confidence is built on individual achievement or accomplishments, it start with tasks that match the individual. It can begin with the awarding of a star for each successful assignment in the early grades with progression to more challenging tasks. It is reinforced with personal activities where the individual is part of a successful team. It has to do with establishing expectations and achieving those expectations. It may not be taught, it may be more developed. It doesn’t have to be a well-orchestrated sequence of events, rather it needs to be a theme that is carried through the whole learning process. That theme could draw in people from the outside that have achieved personal, academic, financial, career successes relating about what it took for their achievements, it would be included in each lesson or grade, it would be included in all school events(from keeping the classroom in order to athletic activities, to music and other academic events), it would be part of outside community activities, etc. Wherever there is an activity whether school related, with parent coaching family related, with NGOs activities, and so on. That maybe an optimistic view, but it is possible in structured environments such as the schools. The one caveat is that it must be recognition of truly challenging tasks for the individual; one size won’t fit all and can undermine the confidence building.

            Themes are an effective tool for developing consistency of practices. When themes are presented for those who will implement them they can have many values one being that they help the individual relate how they present themselves and their activities and creating a critical mass of consistency that can multiply the impact.

            An idea can travel well but how it is presented can mute or even cause that impact to be lost. Think of Shakespeare and his writing style and how that is a barrier to his readership today. The original ideas were written for a certain time and place so we should expect that for them to have a similar value today they need to be presented for the current time and place. It has much to do with looking at it through the audience’s eyes/hearing.

            Mindsets can be changes, ours included. What is needed is to learn the thinking/experience behind the mindset. What drives it, if in the case of Bridge it is readership then that would need to be accommodated and metrics develop to track readership. If it is resources, then that needs to be addressed. The most difficult thing is getting people to talk about the thinking that the mindset is built on.

            Your view and mine of the learning process have differences and that suggests to me that there are several other views on this out there and a diverse group could develop an effective process map of learning to work from. I see people (students) as intellectual sponges always observing to draw in information, the referencing it to their experiences (knowledge) and processing it accordingly (including disregarding it). If we look at the student the first step in their learning is observation (old adage what you do speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you are saying) so teaching needs to start with what is observed and relating it to what the student can do. The student progresses to listening and watching it being done and practicing it (doing). The move to applying what is being taught on structure activities. They then learn how to apply what is learned to unstructured and unexpected activities. Ideally they begin to look at things and develop their own ideas about them. Just like learning of specific knowledge and skills so does the learning how to think develop (should be integrated into) and could be integrated into the knowledge learning process.

            I had more than one opportunity to be involved in situations where the purported ‘teacher’ was learning the technology right along with the ‘students’, the common joke was it is ‘earn while learn’ time. The role of the teacher was to frame what was being learned so it related to the students in a way they could be able to apply what was being learned in routine and extreme situations. The learning was happening real time, the teacher was drawing in the students to ensure that they were learning, the way the teacher related what was happening to what the student already knew was how the best learning value was gained by the students.

            My experience has been people gravitate to turning ‘standards’ in to a means of control, especially the government. Whenever ‘standards’ are promoted I first cringe (too many bad experiences) and then look to see if the proponents are including a mechanism to assess how the ‘standards’ are being used and that the ‘standards’ is being written in a way that promotes performance and doesn’t prescribe practices. The examples of No Child Left Behind and Common Core have both deteriorated into partisan bickering and educational industries, making learning only an excuse to have created them.

            Grades are simply an administrative structure to manage by age. Levels of learning would be another administrative structure to manage learning. Each has a value and don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

          5. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane 6:59 PM March 28

            ‘What I could glean from a cursory search on ‘Effective Study’ was that it was focused on how to use reading rather then on the mechnics of learning to read or how to draw out critical inforamtion on a page. When a person isn’t taught those mechanics they can become a barrier to studying and learning. The information about studying is very valuable and I believe that should be integrated in to the education process. Too many time presumptions are made and efforts aren’t made to teach critical tools for learning to people/students.’ [I agree. But I referred this to you on the basis that this is the standard text book used in colleges on how to study and referenced by others. I had already outlined how I would approach things. It does go into some ways to draw out critical information on a page. He uses the analogy of how people used to learn to swim by 'the Sink or Swim' method. They learned to 'dog paddle' with that method, and those habits are the skills used by nearly all swimmers. He had lots of enlistees and draftees to survey during the war. This information was then compared to studies during WWII, he did with 'The Army Specialized Training Program'. These people represented an elite, selected for intelligence, academic record and current knowledge. He said these bright testees, had pretty much the same inefficient skills as the others, but they used their intelligence and effort to do well academically. His team surveyed all the skills these people were using, and then his team developed slightly more advanced skills, which he decided to call 'Higher Level Work Skills'.]

            [These skills were then systematized into his SQ3R method. Each of these letters represent not just words, by a whole philosophy of approach to study, he had developed and tested. 'S' stands for 'Survey', but as you requested, it means to look for 'headings', 'topics', 'Chapter Titles', 'Summaries', 'previous questions' and such things that will be helpful learning what the content of the article is. This was the original definition of 'Context Clues', but not the one used today in schools and some state standards.]

            [He emphasizes, as his research moved forward over decades, that the amount of training a student seemed to need to apply this knowledge, his advanced skills, was quite extensive. (I have found this to be case with mine as well.) He says early on, that he is going to present 'the mechanics of learning', but as far as I could tell, he only presents how he surveyed, observed and tested instead.]

            [The mechanics of learning I use goes like this. The student's intellect is based on 'understanding.' When he listens to someone or reads, at the very first he usually understands fully. Then he comes to something he does not understand. Specifically, this is a word or symbol. If he is skilled in the mechanics of learning, he will recognize this is a most critical instant in time and he will stop and do something about it. If he is not skilled, and he goes on past this exact instant, he will enter a time when he does not understand and things will seem more dim to him. This lack of understanding contains 'blankness', 'separateness', 'can't remember' and other things, but basically his intellect is retreating further and further, from the subject after that point. So what is the correct mechanics, or thing to do at that exact point? One recognizes he does not understand that 'word' or 'symbol' and he stops instantly, and defines it. He looks it up in a good dictionary, or glossary, or encyclopedia, or asks someone. This is quite precise like a tightrope walker. If the tightrope walker, places his foot in any place but the right place he will fall. The correct path for the student is to find the exact definition that applies to exactly what he was learning. There may be 10 or 100 definitions for that exact spelling, or that exact pattern of sound, but there is one that precisely matches the understanding the speaker or the author intended. This is called the appropriate definition. When he sees and recognizes this exact meaning, he is back in control again, he has his balance. He may then safely place his next foot forward. He should read that meaning and fully understand that. He should use it in sentences until he makes it his own and can use it quickly and easily, and his certainty is returned. Now the danger has sort of passed, he has his footing again. Now he should proceed forward to understand the other common definitions in his dictionary for this word or symbol. Then he returns to the material and relistens to or rereads that section so he can fully understand each thing as he moves along. In this way he can fully maintain his brightness, his good control, and his full intellectual capacity as he moves along. Doing anything else, is pretty much like a false step on the tight rope. He will have troubles, sometimes instantly, sometimes for the rest of his life.]

            [Another common occurrence is where the skilled student recognizes the symptoms, the blankness, or the confusion, or lack of understanding, or any of a hundred other symptoms. He then knows to stop, and go back and find exactly where he failed to grasp the materials and does something about it. Till he can read through all of it with full comprehension.]

            ‘In one situations part of the preperation of students included a discription of how their learning would progress (a step process). Creating that expectations allowed them to invested in their learning waiting to see if they did learn (they were all very skeptical). Once that first step change in what they understood happen then they began to build confidence and trust. I mention this is because it is an example of how mechanics are important for the student to understand so they can create their expectatons and trust in the system.’ [You can see how this mechanic is quite different than the one I used in my example. The path I laid out will avoid stepping off the tightrope of understanding and ability to apply. If their expectation was to only take a very superficial look at something, then they might not be tripped up on understanding, because their understanding was never consulted or engaged. If you asked them 'to demonstrate' what they had learned, then that would engage their understanding, or utter lack of understanding, instantly. This is a test one can use, by the way, for someone that may not know, they do not know something well enough to apply to life.]

            ‘My sensitivity to mentioning specific numbers of hours, especially when it is part of a discussion about standards, is that people gravitate to a number (only remembering the first one they hear) and they strive to integrate it into the related ‘standard’. I saw this happen with a federal regulation which my employer had to invest resources in showing the regulation writers how they were penalizing employers and creating barriers to better performance.’ [You are right. Thanks for pointing out your example. Perhaps I should not have mentioned the 10 hours or one hour per page. It was important for me to know and I invested quite a lot of time to find it out, but it probably is more damaging to others, than it would be, if I said nothing about it at all. Better to just leave it out of conversations from now on.]

          6. Duane

            Leon,

            It seems ‘Effective Study’ availability is rather limited, it seems like it is a book or at least a topic that should be included in middle school programs.
            There does seem to be a significant amount and quality of work that has been done in the previous hundred years that is either simply forgotten or has been so manipulated that is value has been lost. It would seem these could be some opportunities for search and reviews that could resurrect the information and ideas they developed.

            You have mentioned your approach to learning previously and I don’t have a disagreement with your views, it think there may be other aspects to consider. You approach presumes a certain level of training and skills or that students approach/respond in the same way which may not be the case for all students. You example of a student encountering something they don’t recognize or do know, not all students will have develop to the point of seeking out the necessary information. It might be the difference between ‘what should be’ and ‘what is’.

            When I used the example of the step learning is was not about how the learning process works broadly, rather it was about how to help those students establish expectation/metrics to develop trust in their training, the process for the training, in themselves and their capacity to learn the topic. This was how the training had to be adapted to the individuals and how simply presenting the knowledge would have failed without helping the students becoming engaged in the subjects and learning. There is a point when all the presentations, all the requests for demonstrations cannot overcome the openness of the student to learning. They can’t simply be told to learn then have to take ownership of the learning.

            The point about the numbers, is not to exclude them from the concversation but to time their introduction into the conversation. The number of hours it takes is impotant data, especially when at the stage of developing the action plans and implementation. If such numbers are introduced tooo early they become the focus, because they are straight forward and require no thinking. The idea is the what is most important, it needs to be the focus, it needs to be thought about, it needs to be explored. In the case of the example I used, the regulators came up with a number and stop thinking about what performance they wanted achieved. They set the number of hours and were don’t. This created a significant burden for those who were the knowledge experts and had not been consulted on this. And they were effectively removing those knowledgeable people process because the administrative burden. Similarly if you in the case of your 1 hour that becomes a ‘standard’ because it takes no thinking on the parts of those who want to control how the education process is being done.
            It isn’t about leaving it out of the conversation it is about what you are tryhing to say with that number and what the audience is listening for.

          7. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane March 28 6:44 PM

            [To your comment on 'confidence:'

            I think there is a basic or first principle, students can use to ground this idea of 'confidence': 'Production is the basis of morale.' This idea and its influence can be taught to and and applied by students.]

            You said, ‘I believe confidence is built on individual achievement or accomplishments, it start with tasks that match the individual. It can begin with the awarding of a star for each successful assignment in the early grades with progression to more challenging tasks. It is reinforced with personal activities where the individual is part of a successful team. It has to do with establishing expectations and achieving those expectations. It may not be taught, it may be more developed.’ [I disagree with this method of building 'confidence', if it is pretending to build confidence; such as giving gold stars, or praise, or affirmations of self-esteem, to everyone, even if they contributed no production to something valuable. I disagree with this so called 'development', of this behavior. I can see where this specific method of teaching might be called a' theme.' That being said, I like the idea of individual achievement or accomplishments where they are real, and valuable and rewarded. Stimulus Response theory comes from Wundt who was, and whose laboratory, were well financed by Bismark. Mediated Stimulus Response theory comes from Vygotsky who was, and whose Institute of Defectology, were well financed by Stalin. His theory of 'themes' is the 'mediated' part. If the child is being taught to be self-determined and free, I am in favor of that. If the child is being trained to be manipulated by the trainer, or teacher or tyrant and to be forever enslaved or slavish to such methods, I strongly oppose that, and lend my voice to its denunciation.]

            ‘It doesn’t have to be a well-orchestrated sequence of events, rather it needs to be a theme that is carried through the whole learning process.’ [Again, I am in favor of building on individual achievement and accomplishments towards his or her personal ideals and values, and strongly believe this is the basis of morale and confidence, and certainty. But I think it is time to clearly distinguish in our own minds, the difference between the two. One reinforces tyranny, the other leads to individual freedom and prosperity.]

            ‘That theme could draw in people from the outside that have achieved personal, academic, financial, career successes relating about what it took for their achievements, it would be included in each lesson or grade, it would be included in all school events (from keeping the classroom in order to athletic activities, to music and other academic events), it would be part of outside community activities, etc. Wherever there is an activity whether school related, with parent coaching family related, with NGOs activities, and so on.’ [Once more, are we talking about a student 'confidence' in his own tools, his personal abilities, his personal ideals and his personal values? I hope so.]

            ‘That maybe an optimistic view, but it is possible in structured environments such as the schools. The one caveat is that it must be recognition of truly challenging tasks for the individual; one size won’t fit all and can undermine the confidence building.’ [You seem to be alluding to 'one size won’t fit all', as if it applies to the use a standard, any standard, in schools. A question, how do you distinguish teacher and class 'recognition' from student 'confidence?']

            ‘Themes are an effective tool for developing consistency of practices. When themes are presented for those who will implement them they can have many values, one being that they help the individual relate how they present themselves and their activities and creating a critical mass of consistency that can multiply the impact.’ [?, 'critical mass of consistency?']

            ‘An idea can travel well but how it is presented can mute or even cause that impact to be lost. Think of Shakespeare and his writing style and how that is a barrier to his readership today. The original ideas were written for a certain time and place so we should expect that for them to have a similar value today they need to be presented for the current time and place. It has much to do with looking at it through the audience’s eyes/hearing.’ [I understand this is an ability one might acquire, as a good writer might have such an ability. I don't know how one might do that. I understand the ability might be stated as you have; 'the ability to look at things through one's audience's eyes or ears.' Let's call this 'Ability X'.]

            ‘Mindsets can be changes, ours included. What is needed is to learn the thinking/experience behind the mindset.’ ‘What drives it’ [Ability X]

            ‘if in the case of Bridge, it is readership, then that would need to be accommodated and metrics develop to track readership.’

            ‘If it is resources, then that needs to be addressed.’ [What if there is a specific agenda? I once wrote a newspaper article critical of a new school bond. I showed that the school had announced six reasons for the new school, and showed my research that showed they were all false. I did not know the school agenda behind this false information at the time. This was the type of research and information voters would need to understand the issues and make an intelligent decision on voting day. I submitted the article six weeks before voting day. I followed up to find why it had not been published. It was published the day after voting day. The bond passed. The newspaper had its own agenda and that was not to allow the public to be informed and to vote honestly and to support fair elections. If you have discussions with Bridge at Ann Arbor, as you said, possibly you will know the true of their position. ]

            ‘The most difficult thing is getting people to talk about the thinking that the mindset is built on.’ [Thus your planned trip to Ann Arbor. I would say 'intention', instead of 'thinking.']

            ‘Your view and mine of the learning process have differences and that suggests to me that there are several other views on this, out there and a diverse group could develop an effective process map of learning to work from.’ [I don't see that as an easy task. On the standards committee I was a part of I got see the mindset of teachers, and I believe that was formed by Teaching School Curriculums. Will you be open to views other than 'the one' taught by teaching schools? I hope so.]

            ‘I see people (students) as intellectual sponges always observing to draw in information, the referencing it to their experiences (knowledge) and processing it accordingly (including disregarding it).’ [I see students as having the ability to make personal decisions, to choose to observe or not, to have their own understanding, to have knowledge and methods of gaining knowledge. To know what is right and what is wrong. To know what is true and what is false. To have the ability to like things and dislike them. To have a multitude of senses, not just five or six. (to sense a familiar location, or person, or time - like 'it's getting late'. Or familiar emotions and motions, like the swing of a bat or the turning of the earth.)]

            ‘If we look at the student the first step in their learning is observation (old adage what you do speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you are saying)’ [I have never heard that 'old adage' by the way. We could also start with his or her ability to make decisions by saying or expecting that he does have this ability, and when he observes something desirable, he will be able to make a choice, a decision. Thus we could present him with a situation where another has an ability where he could observe it and allow him to make a decision about it. I gave this recommendation to the first parent that started my first little standards course years ago. She said, as an example, that her son was recently diagnosed as attention deficit, so I said, have him observe many people with excellent attention skills. I told her to prearrange meetings with people where it would be fine if her son simple observed them doing their work or things they like to do. Ask the son to observe how they used their attention. Two months later she reported back that her son was no longer attention deficit and had been accepted to a Gifted and Talented Program.]

            ‘so teaching needs to start with what is observed and relating it to what the student can do. The student progresses to listening and watching it being done and practicing it (doing). Then move to applying what is being taught on structure activities. They then learn how to apply what is learned to unstructured and unexpected activities. Ideally they begin to look at things and develop their own ideas about them. Just like learning of specific knowledge and skills so does the learning how to think develop (should be integrated into) and could be integrated into the knowledge learning process.’ [How would you define 'thinking' and how would you distinguish 'thinking' from 'observing' and 'decision making?']

            ‘I had more than one opportunity to be involved in situations where the purported ‘teacher’ was learning the technology right along with the ‘students’, the common joke was it is ‘earn while learn’ time. The role of the teacher was to frame what was being learned so it related to the students in a way they could be able to apply what was being learned in routine and extreme situations. The learning was happening real time, the teacher was drawing in the students to ensure that they were learning, the way the teacher related what was happening to what the student already knew was how the best learning value was gained by the students. [My son had a learning situation like this. He had learned about computers very early, because I bought a micro-computer back in 1980 and I allowed he and his older brother to play with it at home. When he was in third-grade his class got a computer and the teacher had no idea what they were or how to use them. My son cautioned her on how to handle something or it could be ruined, so she had him teach the other students, and herself, how to use the computer. He became an excellent teacher right there on the spot. I'm guessing that teacher did just what you did, or what your example said. Now he is an IT professional.]

            ‘My experience has been people gravitate to turning ‘standards’ in to a means of control, especially the government. Whenever ‘standards’ are promoted I first cringe (too many bad experiences) and then look to see if the proponents are including a mechanism to assess how the ‘standards’ are being used and that the ‘standards’ is being written in a way that promotes performance and doesn’t prescribe practices. The examples of No Child Left Behind and Common Core have both deteriorated into partisan bickering and educational industries, making learning only an excuse to have created them.’ [When I first looked at 'standards' it was as a part of a School To Work (STW) activity. I volunteered to be on their Standards Committee, not knowing much about what that might mean in their context, but having extensive experience in industry with actual standards for many years. One of the first things I did was look up the word 'standard' to work out for myself what the concept of it was. I found that even in industry, they do not define the word 'standard' exactly. I went up the line to ASME, SAE, ASTM, and ISO. None of them had defined 'standards' or could answer my emails on what it meant. I even found ISO does not, or didn't at the time, mean International Standards Organization, it meant, iso, or 'equal' or 'equality.' This little STW committee thought we should recommend the MEAP test, or the Proficiency Test, as the standard to be used by schools. I said, 'Why not use industry recommended standards?' They said they had never seen such a thing. What would 'they' look like? As I could not present one either, they asked, and I wrote some and gave them to the committee. The President of that STW said they were the first industry standards he had seen or knew of, to be presented to public schools. So then I looked far and wide within the public school, national and state standards to find what they might conceive as a standard. I found, 'A statement about quality.' and a few others. The purpose of Common Core Standards, on a Bill Gates website, I found recently, was actually fairly good. But I don't the common core standards follow that precision. My Professional opinion is that those groups you mentioned and others have not defined what the word or idea of 'Standard' means and so none of them can apply it effectively. I notice Bob Sorenson has some 'standards' for his 'Frantically Formative' initiative. Same thing.]

            ‘Grades are simply an administrative structure to manage by age. Levels of learning would be another administrative structure to manage learning. Each has a value and don’t have to be mutually exclusive.’ [I have been using what is called a Checksheet. This is a step by step set of instructions and knowledge a student and his twin can use to learn how to apply each of my Standards. Anyone of any age can use it. Anyone of any grade can use it. I think this idea would be a better 'administrative structure' for schools to use. Completing one checksheet would complete one unit of education. It contains its own measurements. It only takes two people to use, once its use is understood. The idea could be applied to all educational content and measurement. Just as each of my standards could be applied to each idea in education, so could this idea be applied to each educational unit.]

            Thanks for the opportunity to compare our thoughts. I know you ‘cringe’ at standards, and I like Jefferson, have sworn eternal hostility to all forms of tyranny, maybe we can work this out and accomplish something great.

          8. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane March 29, 2014 at 2:55 pm

            ‘It seems ‘Effective Study’ availability is rather limited, it seems like it is a book or at least a topic that should be included in middle school programs.’ [It is on ebay for $30 or bidding starts at $20. My sister learned of it at Freshmen college level. I suggest you drop in to your local library. I'm sure they can locate a copy for you to read. I wouldn't try to copy it there.]

            ‘There does seem to be a significant amount and quality of work that has been done in the previous hundred years that is either simply forgotten or has been so manipulated that is value has been lost. It would seem these could be some opportunities for search and reviews that could resurrect the information and ideas they developed.’ [I have one book from 1903, I think and one from 1812. You might also try 'How to Read a Book.' by Adler. He also recommends reading his Great Books series, a series of over 100 books from more or less all of the great minds down through history. He says, one should try to match minds with each of these great minds as you read them.]

            ‘You have mentioned your approach to learning previously and I don’t have a disagreement with your views, it think there may be other aspects to consider.’ [Of course there are. These standards just represent a Professional Engineer's best effort, near the end of his career, to provide students with some things that might help them with learning, with work, and in life.]

            ‘Your approach presumes a certain level of training and skills or that students approach/respond in the same way which may not be the case for all students.’ [I'm sure this criticism has been leveled at every education system ever proposed, including one from April 1800 by Pierre DuPont. He accused Thomas Jefferson of this same thing and said, 'It is like getting the cart before the horse.' Jefferson was talking about colleges, and DuPont undercut to grammar school grades 1-3 and he then presented a workable system to bring young people up to a high level of literacy, and then beyond to the realms Jefferson envisioned. You seem to have somehow missed the most important point of this discussion, when do these standards apply? My standards only address that area of knowledge that comes before all of public education, including Bob Sorenson's formative standards for each grade level. They come before Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, the three R's, Kindergarden and preschool. They require no change to school curriculum because they precede all of those things. I have shown you where I addressed them successfuly to fifth-graders and second-graders, as well as parents and grand-parents. I validated them, at least for myself so far, that these people can be taken through this written form of the standards. I have also verified that these trained people can then apply these ideas to their children, grand children, and younger siblings.]

            [I had a young engineer trainee, a sophomore in college, give me a high complement long ago, then ask me 'how I do it?' I told him he needed a course in how to study. I estimated a course level for a study course I knew of as being appropriate for a junior in high school. He struggled immensely with it. So I determined to work out something for lower levels. So I would have the right answer next time.]

            ‘Your example of a student encountering something they don’t recognize or do know, not all students will have develop to the point of seeking out the necessary information. It might be the difference between ‘what should be’ and ‘what is’.’ [I beg to differ. A child's first teacher may be his mother, or father, or a sibling. Why not teach the mother, or father, or sibling some things, some understandings, they can apply to help anyone learn most anything?]

            ‘When I used the example of the step learning is was not about how the learning process works broadly, rather it was about how to help those students establish expectation/metrics to develop trust in their training, the process for the training, in themselves and their capacity to learn the topic. This was how the training had to be adapted to the individuals and how simply presenting the knowledge would have failed without helping the students becoming engaged in the subjects and learning. There is a point when all the presentations, all the requests for demonstrations cannot overcome the openness of the student to learning. They can’t simply be told to learn then have to take ownership of the learning.’ [I agree we have some different ideas about learning. I never said, 'They can’t simply be told to learn...' I said the student is basically understanding, and there is a precise tight-rope like, way, to help a person maintain his understanding, and to come to an understanding of something new.]

            ‘The point about the numbers, is not to exclude them from the concversation but to time their introduction into the conversation. The number of hours it takes is impotant data, especially when at the stage of developing the action plans and implementation. If such numbers are introduced tooo early they become the focus, because they are straight forward and require no thinking. The idea is the what is most important, it needs to be the focus, it needs to be thought about, it needs to be explored. In the case of the example I used, the regulators came up with a number and stop thinking about what performance they wanted achieved. They set the number of hours and were don’t. This created a significant burden for those who were the knowledge experts and had not been consulted on this. And they were effectively removing those knowledgeable people process because the administrative burden. Similarly if you in the case of your 1 hour that becomes a ‘standard’ because it takes no thinking on the parts of those who want to control how the education process is being done. [I understand. I have had this happen already with the robotics kids.] It isn’t about leaving it out of the conversation it is about what you are tryhing to say with that number and what the audience is listening for. [Got it!]

          9. Duane

            Leon,

            Confidence is built on achievement, completing a challenge. The recognition of achievement can be difficult, especially for the very young, so the ‘Stars’ are simply a means of acknowledging the achievement, it says they have succeeded through their efforts.
            Since confidence is a personal things, it will be build or not by the individual. The efforts to assist to build confidence can be false, but whether confidence is built or not is determined by the individual. You talked about the tightrope walker that could only have one false step. They learned to take their first steps on the rope without the risk of a false step. Was that a pretend confidence building step or did it lead along the path of confidence ?. Confidence is in the individual not in what others do to or for them.

            I don’t see teaching as a theme, it is specific practices. A theme is the continuity of an idea/message that crosses roles and time. A theme does not control it is a reference that actions and practices can use to provide continuity of an idea or practice.

            ‘self-determined’, ‘manipulated’ are terms that can conjure different images for different people. I believe in boundaries for children, the younger better defined, with maturity the boundaries become ‘grayer’. I don’t believe a 5 year old has learned enough to be given self-determination. As for manipulation by a teacher, doing homework is a manipulation to help a child learn. Classroom participation is a manipulation.

            Drawing the community in would first be a means to expand the student’s view of the world and the opportunities it provides. Second it can put a face to success and that can be a piece for a person developing their confidence. Each of those can be a theme for K-12.

            A student builds their own confidence, the recognition in the classroom may contribute to that, but it is at best a piece for it is dependent on how the student perceives it. Simply saying to the whole class a specific student has achieved something may or may not be accepted or be a positive event for that student. That is why I warn against setting particular actions such as classroom recognition for all students and activities. My message there can be a standardization of methods but there must be a means/expectation for adjusting it to accommodate the individual.

            “critical mass of consistency” is recognizing that a single event or a group of random events will not establish a confidence, a trust that they can be expected and utilized. The ‘critical mass’ is that actions/events are predictable both in criteria and frequency, and creates an expectation in the student. Without the predictability of criteria for an action then it has not weight to influence.

            Ability ‘X’ can be learned, it is in two parts. The first is in how to develop a new or different idea, understanding its anatomy. The second is learning to look through the audiences eyes, trying to understand what their set of filters are for evaluating something, a Q&A investigation. If there is another agenda then that needs to be asked about. This may not be as direct questions, but it is investigated. And the idea is then framed to address those issues/agenda. A simple example is when the government writes a regulation, one factor that must be addressed is enforcement. It has nothing to do with the purpose of the regulation, but it is an issue that the government must address.

            I have seen members of a group with individual agendas that had many points of conflict that were in direct conflict end up working together to create something that they all owned and felt would promote the purpose there agendas were trying to achieve.

            Does, ‘what you do speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you are saying’, make sense to you? Can the actions of a teacher so affect how they are received that no one will listen to what they are saying?

            Before someone can make decisions (at least ones that are rational) they have to a certain level of development. Whether a child cries or not can be considered a decision, but it they are simply doing it because they have done it before doesn’t make it rational. The level of decisions that a person can make rationally progresses with maturity. I believe in the ‘age of maturity’ (maybe not the specific age) when people are accountable for all their choices. I also believe that certain choices/decisions should not be left to a minor because of their lack of maturity. Your example of the parent and the progress of her child after applying your recommendations demonstrate how the child wasn’t able to make a beneficial decision and needed the parent to do it.

            Thinking has to do with weighing available information. Observing is one way to gather information, but it is not the evaluation of the information and how it will impact or be impacted by various actions. Thinking is the assessing of risk/reward before making a decision and taking action.

            I see there being two classes of standards, those that are about physical consistency, design or ‘engineering’ standards such a physical specifications, and those about human actions, the ones that are designed to influence the actions of people. The physical standards need to be prescriptive, specifying dimensions, materials, etc. The human actions ones are commonly prescriptive and try control methods and actions. These would be more beneficial if they were designed to encourage improving performance and transferring knowledge, but that seldom happens.

          10. Duane

            Leon,

            I did a search of the area library network and coould not find a reference to the book “effective Study’ not the author.

            The mentioning of the people will not response the same way to a particular method was not meant as a criticism. It was offer as a reality that might be addressed with an addendum to the method. A good practice can be enhanced to address opportunities.

          11. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane March 30 4:46

            ‘library’ ‘Effective Study’ Francis P. Robinson 1946, 1961, 1971

            I found that a search of Google books using ones zip and specifying Michigan gives all the libraries in Michigan, with the miles to the library, and further search gives more details, like MSU has two of the 1971 books. It also allows one to specify the year of publication or search and find all the years of publication. My copy is 1961, but I would recommend the latest, 1971. Your local library can call any of these books into their library for checkout.

            ‘people will not respond the same way’ I have been using this idea. For the robotics class I talked with the teacher and he recommended calling it something like, ‘Applying Knowledge’ and keeping it to an hour or two. So I wrote up something from my Standard 9 and did that.

          12. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane March 30 4:36

            ‘Confidence’ What I said about the tightrope walker had to do with ‘understanding’ not confidence. The idea is to cherish or nurture a high level of understanding as the student moves along in their studies and not let him falter, as far as understanding is concerned. This is something the student can learn to do, or to notice that he has faltered and remedy it quickly. The teacher can learn these things and detect when a student falters and correct it quickly, or at least get the student moving in that direction. Normally, the student should have confidence and a high morale and high emotions and alertness. It is only after he has faltered, that one would need to build confidence again. But I would just look to understanding, once that is restored, the student will be bright, enthused, bold, intelligent, happy, energetic and confident again. It is best not to force the student into faltering in the first place, because one is ignorant of what causes it. A better thing to do is train the student to do this themselves.

            A possible sequence of things a teacher might observe on a student that does not know how to handle things himself, might go like this: The teacher sees the student is bright, alert, happy, has excellent posture and is smiling. Then the smile goes away. A slight slouch begins, the emotional level starts down. The teacher that know these study skills, should notice each of these things or similar things, and could intervene to correct the situation. A student that is knowledgeable of study skills, would notice. He would stop, and look for what he went past, that he did not understand. He would look for when he was last doing well, and look more closely in that exact area. A teacher could have him do exactly these things, but if the teacher is training him to take responsibility for these things he might observe a bit. If the student is working with a twin, the twin should observe these things and could do something to fix it. Now if the student and the teacher are not trained to observe these things, and if the twin system is not used. Then the teacher would very likely not see any of this till the student yawned, said he was ‘tired’, didn’t get enough sleep, and was just ‘bored.’ Now if this had been going on for some time, then the student would not be understanding much, the teacher would not even think of having him demonstrate his understanding or lack of it, the teacher usually tries to explain what had been read or heard in ‘other words.’ So the original material, that had the source of the problem, is just abandoned and is never taken up. The student has been allowed to fail, to step off the tight rope. He was never told about the tight rope, and how to never fail, and how to keep his own spirits and understanding high. No one has had him read out loud and observed a stammer, a substituted word, a hesitation, any physical manifestation or a lack of understanding or comprehension. Any one of these things can be used to find something the student has gone past and not understood. Once that is found, the student can be observed to read smoothly, easily, without hesitation, without a stammer, with not substituted words, with full comprehension and understanding. This method can be used to help the student learn how to read or listen on his own and fix problems that come up. ‘confidence’ is the wrong target. When the student understands he or she is confident.

            I didn’t say teaching was a ‘theme’. Teachers are taught to use ‘themes’ as a method of teaching at least since the Framework of English Language standards for Michigan, from about 1994. In the references for that document, it says those standards resulted from Neoreconstructionism, and gives Vygotsky’ book, ‘Mind and Society’ as a source book. The teaching of ‘themes’ was also begun in this country starting in 1917, by a Harold Rugg, where 500 to 700 specific ‘avant-guard’ themes were extracted from the American literature of the day, and then incorporated as the entirety of the themes to be used in Rugg’s program up to 1940, when all of his programs were abandoned as being ‘too socialistic’ for the war effort. The subject of ‘themes’ is too far from my current interests to continue.

            ‘self-determined’ You said, you do not believe a 5 year-old should be given self-determination. I’m sorry, but I believe it was never yours to give… or take. I know this is point of philosophy. But if we disagree on this point, I would ask you to quickly review The Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution and other founding documents having to do freedoms like, the pursuit of happiness, and all that. There is no basis within the Constitution to my knowledge that supports what you are saying,thus there can be no law that supports it. And I am only taking it up, as I know teachers do feel that way; John Dewey said that and lots of others too numerous to mention. A 5 year-old is quite free. We should see they stay that way. A philosophy of ‘not believing a 5 year-old should be given self-determination’ is exactly what I mean by ‘tyranny’, placing the ambitions of others above those of the 5 year-old, or student. This is also my objection to ‘themes’. Your definition of what a theme seems to be, is fine, but in the context of a tyranny only, what could any theme in that context, possibly mean to convey to a free person?

            “critical mass of consistency” I see this entire paragraph as an outline of what a ‘theme’ is in the context of Vygotsky’s many books. (the research was paid for by Stalin.) This is exactly how a tyranny teaches people to conform. I know you know what it means, you just have not comprehended what means in America.

            Ability ‘X’ That sounds about right.

            ‘Does what you do…’ make sense to me? Yes it does.

            ‘Before someone can make decisions…’ ‘age of maturity’ ‘development’ ‘decisions should not be left to minors’ ‘rationality’ I disagree. I believe a person always makes their decisions based on the best information they have available. I think it is our responsibility to see people are informed with information that is true.

            ‘Thinking’ I have a little story about what is more important, observation or thinking. My brother-in-law said my bike was broken. He was very worried about it. I had lent it to his grand-children to play with. He had gotten upset with them when they brought it to him, and he had upset them. I asked him to take a look at the broken bike. ‘Don’t think about anything.’ ‘Don’t fix anything, just observe it.’ He did, and reported back. He said it was not broken, the chain had just come off. It had a real easy way to put the chain on, so he had just slipped in on. Problem solved! The bike was fine. I told the girls there was no problem, and I had not problem, and they were welcome to ride the bike all they wanted. My point is that you may have been trained ‘to think’, or that thinking is more important or ‘think before you act’. But you may not have been trained so much in observation, possibly not at all. Observation is senior to ‘thinking’. Here is a rule of thumb you might try out, ‘Observe, don’t Think.’ I know this may seem quite ‘odd’ to you at this moment, but just try this tiny little idea, and see how it works for you.

            You said you knew about my standards, but I don’t believe you have ‘observed’ them yet.

            ‘standards’ I hope you get the chance to observe my standards and see for yourself, if they encourage improving performance and transferring knowledge as I hope they do.

          13. Duane

            Leon,

            “Normally, the student should have confidence and a high morale and high emotions and alertness.” I am not sure what normal is. However, I wonder how a young child that lives in a world of adults would be expected to have confidence. The child is totally dependent on the adults, they provide what is needed, they know what the child does not know and are the source of that knowledge for the child, they have physical attributes that child doesn’t possess, larger, faster, stronger. Unless the belief is that confidence is an genetic trait why should we expect all the children to be confident?

            If being confident is so normal for children then how do they lose it when they become adults? Why do so few people question authority, question actions and events that are not in their best interests, question those who perform poorly? Why are children and even adults so susceptible to fads, to the trends in fashion, in politics, in lifestyle if they possess self-confidence?

            “Then the smile goes away. A slight slouch begins, the emotional level starts down.” That describes an event driven change, it would not be noticed if the brightness, smile and such weren’t there before. It is about presenting things and changing the presentation until it is either understood or a reason for a lack of understanding is a identified.

            I misunderstood your reference to Vygotsky work on themes, you did not say teaching was a theme.

            “‘self-determined’ You said, you do not believe a 5 year-old should be given self-determination.” I don’t believe it should be left to a 5 year old to decide whether to put their hand in a flame to see what it feels like, a elementary or high school student to decide whether to drink or drug, there are many things that I don’t believe children are prepared to decided thus I don’t believe they have the ‘right to self-determination’. As for the Declaration of Independence, I don’t believe those same authors gave self-determination to all the residence of America with the Constitution. I believe the mind grows and changes just as the body does and that just a child cannot fend for themselves and must be provided for so do I believe those same limitations exist for their judgment and require support and decision making for them. You may not believe in the parents’ responsibilities and authority, but I do. I believe my children who did not have self-determination in their formative years are much better off today because of the managed control then if they would have been left to their own devices. Our children we expected to study, to do homework even when they decided they didn’t want to and would rather play. You may feel that children should be given that self-determination and I am glad that your children made their own choices to study and learn from an early age, mine weren’t that smart and needed direction.

            I wonder if the source of ideas and information should be reason for prejudging the value or application of those ideas and information. Does who paid for research necessarily change the accuracy or validity of the findings? We hear much in the media that because private companies pay for the research and development that it should not be trusted, even used at all. I disagree, I believe the ideas and information and application should be evaluated on the merits rather than on the source of the funding.

            With your example of the bicycle chain, when the position of the chain was observed how would a person know whether it was on properly or not? How would a person know how to return it to proper position and decide which method to use? Would they disassemble the bike to reinstall the chain or would they simply slip it over the wheel gear and then on to a few of the pedal driven gear teeth and turn the pedal? When there are choices how does one decide which to make? I feel all of those are more than just observing they involve thinking.

            All I know of your ‘standards’ are what you have described in this conversation. I have not observed them in practice.

            With our extended comments we may want to move create a new comment at the bottom to continue the conversation.

      2. Leon L. Hulett, PE

        Duane,

        ‘Many people like to think that the way people act can be captured by a ‘Law’ just as the “laws’ of science capture how nature acts.’ I suppose, I am one of those people, that believe there could be basic principals that people might know and use to be more successful. That would be the idea of my Standards. If one knows what the word ‘study’ means and knows how to use it, they might be more likely to be successful in study. Where a person that accepts a misguided idea of study might be misguided, and will most certainly fail.

        ‘Thus to get people’s (students’) attention requires more adjustment to the individual.’ One of the basic principles I see, maybe the most basic one, is the one about ‘self-determinism.’ Where the individual is free to act using his own basic purposes and instincts, he will be the most successful. So by whatever means we have arrived at the same place, I believe.

        1. Duane

          Leon,

          The challenge is getting everyone to understand and agree to what the word ‘study’ means and how to practice it effectively.

          I am not so confident in ‘instinct’, I believe it is something learned and if the lessons have not been properly designed it may at best make ‘instinct’ ineffective. That is one of the reasons I believe there needs to be a discussion of what the expectations of K-12 education should be.

          1. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane,

            ‘The challenge is getting everyone to understand and agree to what the word ‘study’ means and how to practice it effectively.’

            [I agree. My first Standard is the definition of 'Study.' I have a 12 page little course to help the student understand what it means and to practice it effectively. Study means 'To apply the mind to acquire knowledge and skills.' It takes about an hour per page, with two students working together, to get through it. It took a fifth-grader 10 hours to do it with her grand-mother. The fifth-grader then turned around, and started through it on her own, with no word from me, going through it with her second-grader sister. She can practice it effectively, and has presented evidence that she has. (That is my Standard number 10.)]

            As you may, or may not know, none of the Michigan Standards apply to how a child may learn the other standards. This seems like a good place to start.

          2. Duane

            Leon,

            Your approach to ‘study’ could be very effective. What I would like to see included would be the mechnics or how to read a page, look for the key points, highlight them, take notes, do homework, including the sutdy setting, how to create the habit of studying, etc. And include the why for each.
            I was never taught any of that, mine was simply read the chapter, the test.

            I am concern about a standard that establishes minimum hours to study.

          3. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane March 26, 2014 at 9:43 pm

            ‘Your approach to ‘study’ could be very effective.’ [Thank you.]

            ‘What I would like to see included would be the mechanics or how to read a page, look for the key points, highlight them, take notes, do homework, including the study setting, how to create the habit of studying, etc. And include the why for each.
            I was never taught any of that, mine was simply read the chapter, the test.’ [My sister said she learned these things from a book called 'Effective Study' by Francis Pleasant Robinson. I have a copy of that book. It sounds like what you want. I also found such things in a booklet by the National Association of School Principals. A local middle school principal gave me a copy. I also found such things in a local school Planner Book. When I followed up with these things the students did not know about them or use them. I suppose more rigorous training might help. I have considered these things more in the context of how students interact with teachers than how they learn things. They might help.]

            ‘I am concern about a standard that establishes minimum hours to study.’ I don’t understand the context for this.

          4. Duane

            Leon,

            What I could glean from a cursory search on ‘Effective Study’ was that it was focused on how to use reading rather then on the mechnics of learning to read or how to draw out critical inforamtion on a page. When a person isn’t taught those mechanics they can become a barrier to studying and learning. The information about studying is very valuable and I believe that should be integrated in to the education process. Too many time presumptions are made and efforts aren’t made to teach critical tools for learning to people/students.

            In one situations part of the preperation of students included a discription of how their learning would progress (a step process). Creating that expectations allowed them to invested in their learning waiting to see if they did learn (they were all very skeptical). Once that first step change in what they understood happen then they began to build confidence and trust. I mention this is because it is an example of how mechanics are important for the student to understand so they can create their expectatons and trust in the system.

            My sensitivity to mentioning specific numbers of hours, especially when it is part of a discussion about standards, is that people gravitate to a number (only remembering the first one they hear) and they strive to integrate it into the related ‘standard’. I saw this happen with a federal regulation which my employer had to invest resources in showing the regulation writers how they were penalizing employers and creating barriers to better performance.

  15. Leon L. Hulett, PE

    Duane March 31, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    I do not believe confidence is a genetic trait.

    We probably have different definitions, and possibly expectations, of what ‘normal’ is. I will try to use Ability X to help clarify. When a young child has hurt himself he may feel pain, temporarily. I think we both would agree that that momentary feeling of pain is not normal. When I see young children playing alone or with good friends, I often see them as happy, alert, moving around easily, laughing, playful, creative, and with some positive emotion. You may not consider this as normal, possibly exceptional. But I am considering this ‘normal’ in this sense. When such a child plays, they sometimes do get hurt, or stumble, or do cry. I consider such things exceptional, or in your words, ‘an event driven change.’ If we were observing this child we might see happiness, then the pain from getting smacked on the head a little by a friend. The pain is momentary and he soon returns to happiness. You or I might say or do something to prevent the ‘event’ from recurring in the future. But I would expect the boy to defend a little or well, when the next ‘smack’ presents itself. He learned. My wife might say, if one of our son’s came to her at that moment, ‘What were you doing that got you hurt?’ Typically, my son would say, such and such. And it we would know he knew, and that likely it would never happen again. My son would actually handle it, my wife merely pointed out the obvious by asking a clever question. So now let’s extend this a little and say the child gets ill. Now the discomfort is for an extended time, and we might notice the change, and say, he is not feeling ‘normal’. He is not happy, he has some discomfort. Let’s say, he gets over his cold, or mumps, or measles, and is now happy again. I would say he is now normal again. Now extending this a little more, I offered to work with my niece’s kids a little, she said they had been diagnosed with ADD. I stopped by the house and noticed the family life was chaos. I started with chaos. I took the mom and kids on a long walk and after about an hour things smoothed out, they were all happy. They were all interested in things along the way, like scaring up a deer or two. There could have been nothing chemical here, there could have been nothing genetic. I continued this for a week or two, and the kids had smoothed out, and each day they very quickly became happy, alert, confident, friendly, gregarious, and all that. They were socializing and having a great time. Now we probably disagree when I say, this is their ‘normal’ state. You might say, this is again, an exceptional event, their family life, the chaos at home is ‘normal’ for them at home, and in the classroom.

    So we may disagree on this very basic concept. I believe that before the age of two, a person has decided (not a genetic trait) what their basic purpose is in life. This purpose is the center point of their life from that point onward. They are always happy when they are doing their basic purpose. When they are successful, they are doing it. When they are not successful, they probably are off purpose, off their basic purpose. When they get hurt, that is off purpose, so they go negative on that and recover. The same with illness. Now what does it mean when a child arrives at school, or before a teacher, and is not happy, not feeling good, or bored, or whatever. I would say it means, this condition is not normal. You may define it as normal, and the teacher should just accept it. So we disagree on this.

    I said, “Normally, the student should have confidence and a high morale and high emotions and alertness.” You said, ‘I am not sure what normal is.’ That is how I used the word and what I intended.

    You said, ‘However, I wonder how a young child that lives in a world of adults would be expected to have confidence.’ Hopefully, you now see how I view this.

    You said, ‘The child is totally dependent on the adults,’ That is not true, at least I do not believe that is true. Let me turn this specific discussion around a little, and say as far as the species homo sapiens, it is totally dependent on the children. The species will not survive one generation without the child. Right? Let’s take a group, here again it is totally dependent on the child, or it will not survive one generation. How about the family, the family name, how will a ‘family’ or a couple survive beyond one generation without a child? How will a school or teacher survive without a child? I think you have oriented your thinking in one way for long enough, there may be other issues that are important too. How about the child’s body. Is he dependent on adults for breathing, for drinking, for digestion, for elimination, for any bodily functions? Now let’s take the child as an individual. He does choose his own purpose in life, at least I believe he does. He knows things. He has his own feelings. He has his own attitudes. He has his own sensations. He has his own perceptions and ideas. He has his own mind. He has the ability to make decisions and form opinions. He has his own independence of action. To what degree do adults support or interfere with any of this individuality?

    You said, ‘they provide what is needed, they know what the child does not know and are the source of that knowledge for the child, they have physical attributes that child doesn’t possess, larger, faster, stronger.’ Well said. Can any adult provide these things, or just the parents? Could not any older child also provide any of these things? Could not any younger child, be larger, faster, stronger, more intelligent or more knowledgeable and provide knowledge to any child?

    ‘Unless the belief is that confidence is an genetic trait why should we expect all the children to be confident?’ I believe I have answered this.

    ‘If being confident is so normal for children then how do they lose it when they become adults?’ I don’t think they lost it, at the instant, ‘when they became an adult’, that is not the event that did that.

    Let’s take a few examples: Did you know there is an ‘exact event’ when a criminal becomes ‘a criminal?’ It is the moment, or event if you will, when he lost his Self Respect. Many case histories have shown this occurred when the individual made a very specific decision about himself, at one point in his life. Before that decision he did not view himself as a ‘criminal’, and after, he knew he was one. When he handles that specific decision, or that time, that event, he may be no longer consider himself to be a criminal. They usually consider this to be a very profound and personal thing. I think your view of ‘confidence’ probably includes many specific things. I believe each of those specific things may have a specific event, like the loss of Self Respect with the criminal, that brought it into effect, and when identified could be used to return the individual’s ‘confidence’ in that particular matter.

    Here is an example of boredom, with my youngest son when he was quite young. He wanted some more spending money so he reached out and found some outside work he could do and get paid for. I went along and when I saw how boring it was going to be, or might be, I decided to use it as a ‘teaching moment.’ The work was putting book covers on books. They had pallets of books and pallets of book covers. It took me five seconds to put a cover on a book. It took him seven seconds and it took his friend 10 seconds. There were a few people, adults there, and tons (literally) of books to do. I explained to him and his friend Mike, that ‘interest’ is just above ‘boredom’ as an emotion. Whenever they felt the slightest bit of ‘boredom’, they could just decide to be ‘interested’ again. They learned this skill more or less instantly, and used it all night long. When there was a break between pallets or shipments, they would play and remained ‘interested’. The adults got extremely bored, and drank gallons of coffee, and were still bored. At the end of a very long night the boys were still interested and the adults were nearly dead tired or half asleep. My son has been able to use this ability all his life, he is forty now. What caused these adults to lose ‘confidence’, if we choose to call it that? What caused my son and Mike to remain alert, alive, interested, active and productive all night long? What was the specific event? Why were the adults not ‘confident?’ I would like to say, they did not have the benefit of knowing my standards, but I think that would definitely be self-serving at this point.

    All that being said, I might say something here on a very basic idea that underlies your question and probably many observations you have had in life, but may not be so easy to explain here. You said, ‘how do they lose it when they become adults?’ Now, I have chosen here to make ‘it’ more general, to answer a more general case, than ‘confidence’. ‘It’ is a very specific event. This event occurs when an individual, a child becomes, or chooses to become, in his own view, an ‘adult’. It is when the individual loses, or abandons, his ‘spirit of play’, and starts taking life too ‘seriously’. I may not have conveyed this idea well, but you may have observed people, seemingly adults, that have never lost this ‘spirit of play.’ They seem to be forever young. They take full responsibility for things, but seem to be a little too happy about it. Years ago two young men came to me in California. They were from Turkey. They were there sort of for a business deal, but actually they were there looking for a certain person, or kind of person. They described this ‘kind of person’, as a person that has ‘a smiling face’. If you saw the movie, ‘The Jewel of Nile’ years ago you may remember such a person as ‘the religious leader’ in that movie. They looked me over quite well I think, but I don’t think I was secretly the religious leader they were looking for.

    ‘Why do so few people question authority, question actions and events that are not in their best interests, question those who perform poorly? Why are children and even adults so susceptible to fads, to the trends in fashion, in politics, in lifestyle if they possess self-confidence?’ You may be intending these statements simply as mockery of what you consider to be a lame idea. Be that as it may, If you wish, I will try to answer.

    You said, “Then the smile goes away. A slight slouch begins, the emotional level starts down.” That describes an event driven change, it would not be noticed if the brightness, smile and such weren’t there before.’ That is true. But if one did not know how it works, they would also not be able to start at the point you mention, and then return an individual’s brightness, smile and such. And I might add, an understanding of all the data the person had gone past since third-grade or whenever the original event occurred.

    ‘I misunderstood your reference to Vygotsky work on themes, you did not say teaching was a theme.’ That is true. Vygotsky’s work was on mediated stimulus response. His work underlies the teaching methods, taught in Michigan. When I talked to a Professor that teaches, teachers, from U of M, he said three sources are now used in Michigan. Vygotsky, Skinner and I can’t recall the third, maybe Jenner.

    “‘self-determined’ You (Duane) said, you do not believe a 5 year-old should be given self-determination.” ‘I (Duane) don’t believe it should be left to a 5 year old to decide whether to put their hand in a flame to see what it feels like…’ I suppose this is mockery again. When you say it like that, I would not want the child to be hurt either, but that is not the way I or my wife would handle such things, because we know we will not always be there, when he may make such choices. We went thought the house carefully to make it was ‘child proof.’ Making it safe for a child, as safe as we could make it. No open flames, sharp edges, bare electrical wires, all that stuff. But I did show him how matches worked, what made them unsafe, and how the gas stove worked and what might happen if it weren’t used right. What got hot and what was safe. In short we anticipated what he might encounter and gave him some knowledge or demonstrations of what can happen for him to observe. When he learned ‘swear words’ at school, I taught him all I knew, and what people meant when they used them. He never used them that way in life to my knowledge.

    ‘a elementary or high school student to decide whether to drink or drug,’ My wife’s mother handled her by anticipating such things when she was very young. There never was a problem with these things. We did the same with our kids, and now teach other parents what works.

    ‘there are many things that I don’t believe children are prepared to decided thus I don’t believe they have the ‘right to self-determination’. Is it in your power to prepare them to make such decisions? It might be you don’t have, or don’t use this power.

    ‘As for the Declaration of Independence, I don’t believe those same authors gave self-determination to all the residence (residents) of America with the Constitution.’ I understand this as cynicism, or mockery. As I said, ‘self-determinism’ is not yours to give or take. It was never theirs to give or take, either. But they could anticipate, and they could tell people about freedom and liberty and equality, and make the distinction between that and tyranny. In Virginia alone, 30,000 black slaves joined the English to fight for the cause of a tyrant. They were placed in a compound, and within months, 28,000 were dead. I don’t like the choices that were available at that time, but they died at the hands of a tyrant, while others fought and died for freedom. In 1865 a law was passed to free black slaves. In 1920 a law passed to free women. You could probably tell me more than I know about how free children are today. They (the founders) did provide a Preamble and a Constitution that does show how such things are done (admittedly for some). What have you done with their example? They gave one example of freedom, to a world full of only tyrannies, an example of where such things were first possible for some at that moment, and thus make it possible for all, at a later time.

    ‘I believe the mind grows and changes just as the body does and that just a child cannot fend for themselves and must be provided for so do I believe those same limitations exist for their judgment and require support and decision making for them. You may not believe in the parents’ responsibilities and authority, but I do. I believe my children who did not have self-determination in their formative years are much better off today because of the managed control then if they would have been left to their own devices. Our children we expected to study, to do homework even when they decided they didn’t want to and would rather play. You may feel that children should be given that self-determination and I am glad that your children made their own choices to study and learn from an early age, mine weren’t that smart and needed direction.’ As I said, I only feel we provided safety and direction, a little differently possibly, and we anticipated. My wife’s mother provided her pretty much the same anticipation and safety. We never felt their self-determinism was ours to give or take.

    ‘I wonder if the source of ideas and information should be reason for prejudging the value or application of those ideas and information. Does who paid for research necessarily change the accuracy or validity of the findings? We hear much in the media that because private companies pay for the research and development that it should not be trusted, even used at all. I disagree, I believe the ideas and information and application should be evaluated on the merits rather than on the source of the funding.’ You mention, ‘ideas’ and ‘information’ and ‘application’ should be evaluated on the merits. Was there any particular reason you did not include ‘sources of funding’? I had not really noticed this ‘private company’ trust issue in the media. Could you expand on that a little? Your mention of ‘evaluation’ reminds me of another little piece of information. ‘How do you evaluate a sea of information, to find which drop, or drops, are important?’ How does one do this? How would you evaluate the ‘ideas’ and ‘information’ and ‘applications’, and possibly ‘sources’ in the media to see which are valuable, and which are useless, or false for that matter? Should we include any of these ‘media sources’ in our evaluation?

    ‘With your example of the bicycle chain, when the position of the chain was observed how would a person know whether it was on properly or not?’ I wasn’t present, but I guess he saw it on the ground? ‘How would a person know how to return it to proper position’ He said he looked at it and knew. ‘and decide which method to use?’ He didn’t describe it as deciding which to use, he said, ‘I realized it was simple to put the chain on and just did it. ‘Would they disassemble the bike to reinstall the chain or would they simply slip it over the wheel gear and then on to a few of the pedal driven gear teeth and turn the pedal?’ I don’t know what he did, he just said it was simple and did it. (Where he had done nothing before.) ‘When there are choices how does one decide which to make?’ He said, he observed and realized. That is my point, there was little or no ‘thinking’ as you are describing it. ‘I feel all of those are more than just observing they involve thinking.’ I feel this is an additional tool one might use. He had been using ‘thinking’. One would have to learn it I guess as a distinct tool, in addition to thinking. He might try it out a few times to learn about it. To describe the situation in a slightly different way. His thinking about the bike had not resulted in a solution. When I asked him to simply observe it, it did solve pretty much instantly. So this is my recommendation to you. If you can not solve a problem by just ‘thinking’, you might try this additional tool, ‘Look, don’t Think.’ So ‘Look’ could also be any other perception one might command. Now if one is spending a lot of time thinking about something, then it might be a good idea, a good tool, to apply there too. The solution might come faster. You might get more solutions per unit of time using this tool. If you had three or four personal examples of you using it, I think a light might come on for you.

    ‘All I know of your ‘standards’ are what you have described in this conversation. I have not observed them in practice.’ Fair enough! That means you ‘have’ observed them not being used. :) You are welcome to test what you know of any of them. When I have students demonstrate these ideas, they very often feel the same way. Then when they try to demonstrate an idea, they find they understand it better. They find that when they have demonstrated one a few times, they know it well enough to demonstrate it quickly, or as I often say, ‘pretty much instantly.’ I then give them practical situations in life, and ask them to apply it to that. So each of these steps, maybe 10 or 20 steps. They are learning more about it, working out how it applies to them, they are personally inspecting the idea in detail. Remember my question above? If you have a sea of information? That is how you sort it out. You personally evaluate, personally observe and personally inspect, personally test, personally apply to situations and see how it is important or comes to a solution. Or if it is unimportant or false, or whatever.

    ‘With our extended comments we may want to move create a new comment at the bottom to continue the conversation.’ I’ll try.

    1. Duane

      Leon,

      When I talk about ‘expectations’, I am talking about what is controllable in the future, what a person/team can achieve in the future. When I talk about ‘confidence’, I am talk about what a person believes they can do or achieve. When I talk about ‘normal’, I am talking about what happens in the routine, the everyday, the real time actions, activities, events. Each of these is for the individual or group that is in focus. It is the ‘normal’ for that person or it is ‘normal’ for that team. It is the ‘expectations’ of that individual, that team. It is the ‘confidence’ of that individual or that team. It is not what others define for them.
      A few different frames of reference for ‘normal’; they can be ‘normal’ in the community such as the kids interacting on the playground (least structured), in the school as the kids interact in the classroom (most structured), the child (by themselves or interacting with others). Each one can have a different ‘normal’. I see ‘normal’ as the practices one gravitates to in those settings. We each adapt, establishing patterns/practices based on the setting they are in. This pattern establishes their ‘normal’. An ‘event’ to me, is when a change (commonly and exterior influence) causes an actions or condition. In the case of a child, it maybe an emotional or social action of one person or it may be an accumulation of actions that crossed a threshold and trigger a distinct reaction. A child that is outgoing suddenly becomes introverted, a studious child stops doing homework, an attentive kid losses interest. These can all be changes from ‘normal’ even though they may now be consistent with the rest of the class.

      What is ‘normal’ in the community may or may not be the most productive for the individual. The diagnosis of ADD is becoming expected, a norm, while for the individual that may not be the best. It is important to watch for deviation from each norm and see if it impacts the actions/performance of the individual. If that deviation has an impact than individualized action may be appropriate. That individual sensitivity is a particular concern of mine. Many times it need be no more than ‘listening’, but it is most important that the change which has occurred is recognized

      With regard to your example, for me a child getting hurt is the norm, especially when they are younger and haven’t developed the physical and mental skills to avoid those events. The severity of the event maybe what is outside the norm.

      “I believe that before the age of two, a person has decided (not a genetic trait) what their basic purpose is in life.” I struggle with this idea. It would help if I understood how you define purpose in this context.

      “Hopefully, you now see how I view this.” I sorry to say, your hope has been dashed. I still do see how the kids would change, would have confidence, would make effective self-determinations without external influences. This is also true of adults, those who have never recognized their own achievement never learn that they can succeed, they are unlikely to have confidence in themselves and their abilities, they are unlikely to make choices for their own benefit if they have not had external influences that teach those things.
      I don’t know what is in between learned and genetic/instinct. If confidence doesn’t require an external influence, it is not learned, then it must be instinctive (genetic).

      I and my children must be the exception; we could not have survived (food, shelter, and clothing) without the support of adults when we were little, I would use 8 or 10 when we might have be able to start savaging on our own.

      You suggested that being confident is normal in children; it seems to me that there are many adults that lack confidence. If that is the case then the confidence the children had somehow lost it in their transition to adulthood. If that is the case then I wonder what cause their loss of confidence. I don’t see it had to be caused by a single event, but if it was part of the norm then there had to be a reason it was lost.

      1. Leon L. Hulett, PE

        Duane April 1, 2014 at 9:57 pm

        I will have to get into this tomorrow. I’m just not getting this yet.

        I do have a couple of questions:

        You said, ‘I still do see how the kids would change, would have confidence, would make effective self-determinations without external influences.’ Did you mean to say, ‘I still do not…’?

        You said, ‘I would use 8 or 10 when we might have be able to start savaging on our own.’ Did you mean ‘surviving?’

        1. Duane

          Leon,

          Bad typing and lazy proof reading on my part contributed to the confusion.

          “You said, ‘I still do see how the kids would change” That should have read, ‘I stil don’t see how…’

          ” be able to start savaging on our own.” That should have read, ‘…be able to start scaveging on our own.’

          I apologize and will try to prevent those mistakes in the future.

      2. Leon L. Hulett, PE

        Duane

        Here are some more questions: You said, ‘Each of these is for the individual or group that is in focus.’ Now, if each is ‘for’ the individual or group, what do you mean by ‘in focus?’

        ‘When I talk about ‘expectations’, I am talking about what is controllable in the future, what a person/team can achieve in the future.’ Ok, that is one thing.

        ‘When I talk about ‘confidence’, I am talk(ing) about what a person believes they can do or achieve.’ This is a second thing. I don’t think a student, or child, distinguishes between these two things in any practical way.

        Now let’s compare something, when I am working with a student on a little course for my standards. I have them read the definition of ‘ability.’ For practical purposes they may not even be able to read this one thing. So, from their viewpoint (at that instant) it is neither controllable in the future, nor believable as something achievable. What I do is have their twin work with them till they can read it. If they can not solve it together, I help, till the child can read it. Next I have them read some sample sentences extracted from lots of dictionaries or quotes from famous people. This may now be beyond what they could previously control or believe. Then I have have them make up sentences on their own, over and over, till they can do this comfortably and easily. More or less instantly. So now we are definitely beyond any control or belief, expectation or confidence of the child previously or your presentations here. So I guess this would be a positive event for the child. He had a certain normal expectation of confidence, now it has been extended in a positive way. Now I go on from there and have the child also make up examples, until he can do that easily and effortlessly. Then I go further and have them demonstrate their new understandings with actual objects or sketches. This is a new higher level. I then ask them to demonstrate how they would handle situations I might see in the world. At first I was just asking them to demo their understanding, and they might demo each new idea using it ‘to feed chickens’ or something. But each new idea was the same, how ‘to feed chickens with it.’ You see, if I ask them show how they would use it, it would be related to their ‘normal’ world as you define normal. It would include their ‘confidence’ and their ‘expectations’, with no change in what’s on the horizon. So I also added, applying it to several areas of the world I could envision. Now in actuality with each example, with each demo, they were pushing back their ‘expectations’ and ‘confidence’, and now they were looking at a new ‘normal’ as well. They could then apply things to the world of ‘others’ instead of just their ‘normal’ world of a ten-year old. So this is a glimpse of what happens with my standards. They take a person from where ever they were to a new ‘normal’, but I say a new ‘standard.’ Students could be brought up to this standard, and then enter a classroom to begin to study other subjects; Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, Science and all that.

        I seems to me your definitions of ‘expectations’ and ‘confidence’ do not seem to be receptive to positive changes. Now as they are defined for the individual or team, we might say the ‘change’ part comes from a teacher. Or coach or tutor, or twin or parent, or another person. But what choices does the individual have in terms of changing this pattern, ‘changing his own stars’ to quote from the movie, ‘A Knights Tale’?

        ‘When I talk about ‘normal’, I am talking about what happens in the routine, the everyday, the real time actions, activities, events.’ This sounds like you have included all things here, even events. I see these things as things that could change, and at the child’s own choice, if he knew how.

        ‘Each of these is for the individual or group that is in focus. It is the ‘normal’ for that person or it is ‘normal’ for that team. It is the ‘expectations’ of that individual, that team. It is the ‘confidence’ of that individual or that team. It is not what others define for them.’ Alright, the individual or team; not parents, community, fans, coaches, twins, friends in a peer group,brothers and sisters, teachers, tutors, school officials, et al.

        ‘A few different frames of reference for ‘normal’; they can be ‘normal’ in the community such as the kids interacting on the playground (least structured), in the school as the kids interact in the classroom (most structured), the child (by themselves or interacting with others). Each one can have a different ‘normal’. I see ‘normal’ as the practices one gravitates to in those settings. [That would seem to exclude pain or uncomfortable things.] ‘We each adapt, establishing patterns/practices based on the setting they are in. This pattern establishes their ‘normal’.’ But the child has his own individual choice. He can change his environment. You are intending to include this option, Right?

        Now if we were discussing the world of a tyrant, he might say, No! This is the pattern I have established for you, and you must obey it, you do not have a choice. I will not even tell you that there is a possibly that you might be able to change your environment, or me (the tyrant.)

        ‘An ‘event’ to me, is when a change (commonly an(d) exterior influence) causes an action(s) or condition. In the case of a child, it maybe an emotional or social action of one person or it may be an accumulation of actions that crossed a threshold and trigger a distinct reaction. A child that is outgoing, suddenly becomes introverted, a studious child stops doing homework, an attentive kid losses interest. These can all be changes from ‘normal’ even though they may now be consistent with the rest of the class.’ I understand this idea of event.’ This is sort of the idea of my standards, teach the child the things that may cause such debacles, anticipate them, and not have them, or minimize them.

        What is ‘normal’ in the community may or may not be the most productive for the individual. The diagnosis of ADD is becoming expected, a norm, while for the individual that may not be the best. It is important to watch for deviation from each norm and see if it impacts the actions/performance of the individual. If that deviation has an impact than individualized action may be appropriate. That individual sensitivity is a particular concern of mine. Many times it need be no more than ‘listening’, but it is most important that the change which has occurred is recognized’ This is the viewpoint of a teacher. Couldn’t we teach the child how to avoid such things? Or handle such things?

        ‘With regard to your example, for me a child getting hurt is the norm, especially when they are younger and haven’t developed the physical and mental skills to avoid those events. The severity of the event maybe what is outside the norm.’ Okay, we simply disagree. I see the pain as not normal, and the child rejects it, and the cause of it, and does not repeat it. He avoids pain, so it is not normal. His normal may include the avoidance of pain and discomfort.

        “I believe that before the age of two, a person has decided (not a genetic trait) what their basic purpose is in life.” ‘I struggle with this idea. It would help if I understood how you define purpose in this context.’ Let me lay out a context.first of all, I have not incorporated this idea of basic purpose into my standards. But this is how it relates. I believe in the idea of a soul, the idea of a person as a spiritual being, as an individual entity. So let’s call all of that ‘the individual’. Then a simple context for what this Individual can observe is; The individual, the mind, the body and the environment. The individual can observe, make decisions (self-determined decisions), have opinions, form abilities, form purposes, and other things. The individual can observe others as part of the environment, he can observe the body just like he does the environment, a close in part of the environment. He can observe the mind, but he can also create a part of the mind, or the entirety of a mind. The individual can observe the mind, but also can consider that he has forgotten things. He can create a personality for himself, and this is his basic personality. When his family gives him his name, that is not a part of basic personality. When something in his environment forms a behavior, like burning his hand and jerking away or screaming. That is not basic personality. Now back to basic purpose. My Standard 4 is the definition of Purpose. ‘A Purpose is a short range objective one intends to achieve. My Standard 5 is, ‘A Goal is a long term objective one intends to achieve.’ I think a basic purpose is a purpose the individual, as an individual, has created to be a part of his basic personality. It is something he wants to do and has decided to do. It might not be formed into the exact format of words I use for my standards. It might still be in the form of an inclination or something he wants to do or be. When I worked out mine, I used the words; ‘I want to help others create.’ Now what does that mean in terms of an objective? Well, probably ‘objective’ is not quite the right word to use. Maybe I should change something. So I think basic purpose embodies the idea that this is a functional part of the basic individual, an integral part of his existence, a part of his basic personality. His reason for existence, if you will. His purpose in life. If we took a part or all of his environment away, this would remain. If we a part of, or all of his body away, this would remain. If we took a part or all of his mind away, this would remain. He could change his basic purpose. But no one else could take it away.

        “Hopefully, you now see how I view this.” ‘I(‘m) sorry to say, your hope has been dashed.’ Well, it may be you still don’t get it.

        ‘I still do (not) see how the kids would change, would have confidence, would make effective self-determinations without external influences. This is also true of adults, those who have never recognized their own achievement never learn that they can succeed, they are unlikely to have confidence in themselves and their abilities, they are unlikely to make choices for their own benefit if they have not had external influences that teach those things.’

        ‘I don’t know what is in between learned and genetic/instinct.’ ‘If confidence doesn’t require an external influence, it is not learned,’ I don’t think that is true. When a child comes to have an ability, or a consideration like confidence, then he acquires it, then he has it. It is learned.

        ‘then it must be instinctive (genetic).’ To restate what I said above; the context (for this answer) could be three things; The environment, The body, The individual. If something is learned from others, that is ‘the environment.’ If something is genetic that is from the body. What remains…The individual.

        ‘I and my children must be the exception; we could not have survived (food, shelter, and clothing) without the support of adults when we were little, I would use 8 or 10 when we might have be able to start savaging (scavenging) on our own.’ I don’t think you are the exceptions, I think we just have a little different way of looking at this issue.’ My oldest son was born in Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver, CO. My wife’s labor had been induced and they called me when he was going to be born. I walked into the Hospital past 20,000 to 30,000 amputees that had been placed there, to get some sun on the front lawn. My son’s grip was so strong he could support his own weight before we took him home. One day when I came in, there was a major commotion as I approached the room where he and my wife were staying. My wife had been out of the room when an attendant was cleaning. My son had pushed himself up and had taken a good look at the attendant. From his viewpoint, he was simply ‘observing.’ The attendant went screaming from the room. He was screaming, ‘He looked at me!!!!’ He looked at me!!! He said he had been cleaning those rooms for 15 years and no one ever looked at him like that! Well, babies do care and they do observe things. The attendant had never really put the idea into his own head that there were individuals there, at one to three days old, and these individuals can possibly do all the things individuals can do. I think you may have a different idea from me. I don’t think helping a child by providing the basic survival needs of a body, means that all of the higher level needs of The individual and his mind must be totally ignored.

        ‘You suggested that being confident is normal in children; it seems to me that there are many adults that lack confidence. If that is the case then the confidence the children had somehow (got) lost it in their transition to adulthood. If that is the case then I wonder what cause(d) their loss of confidence. I don’t see it had to be caused by a single event, but if it was part of the norm then there had to be a reason it was lost.’

        Here are four ways a child may lose what he has a child and not carry it into adulthood.

        1) A child may understand math and is learning more. She is confident. She, a kindergartener, doesn’t understand the concept of ‘unit’ and is forced to continue on past it. She then doesn’t understand ‘number’. She then doesn’t comprehend ‘multiplication.’ She fails math from there on. As an adult, she is not confident in math, and feels she is ‘bad’ at math. A tutor sees she is bad at math, and tracks it down with her, to the word, ‘unit’. He has her define that correctly. Now she understands. Now she connects up with her love of math, her initiative in math, her basic ability in math. She now understands everything she originally did, which was pretty much nothing from ‘unit’ in kindergarten onwards. She defines ‘number’ correctly. Now she understands. She defines ‘multiplication, and she can not do multiplication’. She can move forward freely and is now a wiz at math. She is once again confident. She still does not know how to study math, but she could learn it now and is willing to. She can still be easily tripped up by math, because she has not learned to not go past things she doesn’t understand. But at that moment she has her confidence returned. In this one case for ‘math’, a basic word in the subject of math was not defined. When it was defined and understood she was fine and her barrier to learning the subject vanished. This is my Standard 7 – The only reason a student becomes confused or unable to learn, is that they have gone past a word they did not understand.’ Here her ‘confidence’ was barriered by a word she did not understand.

        2) A student got into a row with his History teacher, and left school. He was a drop-out. He was not confident in history and hated it. His teacher had told him, at the end of the fight. ‘You just don’t have any purpose for History.’ ‘You have no reason to learn it.’ After thinking things over, he decided that he didn’t have any reason to study History, it just had no meaning for him. Why did they bother to even teach it? He also decided to try to work a reason to learn about History, to try to have a reason for it. He realized he loved to collect ‘antiques’. Antiques were history to him. He was back in school the next day, with a purpose for History. It might have been rather superficial, but it was a purpose. My standard Number 6 is ‘Every student must have a purpose for what they study.’ Having no purpose was a barrier to him. He could not continue on in his education without it. With it he could and he became a Technician in the Environmental world. He did have the ability to work it out, but no one had asked him to do that before.

        3) My first term at Michigan State in 1965, I learned they would not allow a new student to take more than 18 credits per term, the first term. I said alright, let’s see how it goes with 18 credits, a full load. A young man nearby got very upset by this. He said he was a 4.0 Valedictorian, from Guam, and continued on to say basically he ‘knew all about it.’ He knew all about college, and all about math and science. He did sign up for 18 credits and could not handle it. He flunked out of MSU his first term. He was no confident as an adult. I think this is related to my Standard 9 which has to do with the consideration that one may feel they know all about it, and is not willing to see what really is there to learn. They will act as if there is nothing there to learn at all. They miss the whole subject or activity. I find this almost uniformly in new-hires over the years. They come in to my desk with a high grade point or 4.0 and say, ‘What do you want me to do?’ In many companies it may take six months to a year till they realize there is something there to learn. I try to get them to realize that in the first day. On the second day, they can see what needs to be done and can apply what they do know to it, but they are not barriered from seeing what is there.

        4) A mom had been in a depression for some time. She had a dead-beat, drunk of a husband, two kids having troubles in a school she hated, and a dead-end, minimum wage job. She was not confident. I asked her to do a certain thing, acquire a certain skill, the first skill one learns on the course, on the little course for my first standard. It involves learning a skill by observing, deciding and acting. I had her correctly define, enthusiasm. I asked her to decide to acquire the skill, the emotional level of enthusiasm. She hesitated, but after a moment or two she did decide. Then she spent five minutes thanking me for how great she felt. She went out and found a job that paid twice as much. She is now the manager of an Ace Hardware. Back then she dumped the dead beat drunk of a husband, and found a school she liked and got her kids into it. For two weeks she was in an emotional level of enthusiasm across pretty much her whole life. My first little course has to do with how one acquires skills. Now it is not new that one can decide to do something or learn a skill like this. But to my knowledge this is not taught to students. And there are lot of adults that are not confident, I think it may because they do not know how to do this, or do not do it.

        1. Duane

          Leon,

          ‘each of these in focus’ I am referring to the individual or group whose ‘normal’ we are trying to determine. I don’t believe ‘normal’ for the whole State is necessarily the ‘normal’ for a single person or for a specific group. If we are talking about a 5th grade class it can have a different ‘normal’ from another 5th grade class on the other side of the State. If we are focused on the individual then each can have a different ‘normal’ their class. Each being focused probably has a different ‘normal’.
          “He had a certain normal expectation of confidence, now it has been extended in a positive way.” I have no clue what ‘normal expectation of confidence’ means. To me confidence is what is felt about themselves, whether they can take challenges and succeed or not. Expectations are what they want to achieve, a challenge to overcome maybe an expectation, but expecting to be confident seems to be inconsistent. You expect to succeed, you are confident in your abilities to succeed, but you don’t expect to be confident. You are or you aren’t confident. I can see how someone as part of their ‘normal’ is self-confident, but I don’t see how ‘normal’ applies to expectations.

          Your examples/standards seem to be effective for students to build confidence, to develop skills, even to help establish expectations. I would be surprised if after completing your ‘standards’ all the students would have the same skill levels, the same confidence, the same expectations, or would exhibit the same ‘normal’. It seems to me that the each has different influence outside your classes and those influences could affect their normal.

          I see expectations as always changing and being adapted to the dynamics of the environment. I expect confidence is always changing as long as we are learning. This is especially true for those who are setting their own expectations.
          The changes may go unnoticed the longer one has a certain minimum confidence level. Simply achieving what one wasn’t sure of will grow confidence.

          “That would seem to exclude pain or uncomfortable things.” When I was a kid pain and uncomfortable things was the ‘norm’. We played in the local woods climbing trees, running through the brush, playing hockey, and we always being bruised, cut, having broken bones. If we didn’t venture out and risk the bumps and bruises we weren’t being ‘normal’. And we were at it from dawn to past dusk. Our daughters were the same, out playing and come back in for a bandage, a little comfort, and go out to play some more.
          The child adapts, but they aren’t always given a choice. Our daughters were not all that interested in learning to swim, but as parents we put them in swimming classes. After the first few lessons they adapted and learned to swim. They have since done that same with their children. Many children don’t like vegetables and it takes the direction of the parents to get them to eat the vegetables. In outhouse we, the parents, were the ‘benevolent dictators’, our children had no choices that we didn’t allow. As they grew we allowed more and more so when they graduated high school they were adults with all the self-discretion.

          We (schools) can teach the student many things, but first we need to decide what we want their learning to include. It can be about events, risks, everyday living, specific knowledge and skills, that is what needs to be determined.

          “This is the viewpoint of a teacher.” I think so because that can be a significancet in the student’s learning. I also see that others including students be taught it a bit about it.

          “I see the pain as not normal, and the child rejects it, and the cause of it, and does not repeat it.” How many kids do you suspect have fallen more than once when learning to ride a bike? And I would be surprised that anyone who has fallen off a bike did not receive some pain. How many kids do you think that in spite of that pain got back on the bike and learned to ride it? How many people learned learned when they were children? That would suggest that kids were willing to accept pain rather than avoid it to gain what they wanted.

          It seems we disagree when the capacity it reason becomes controlling. I believe that thinking effectively, for the longer term doesn’t start till 4-6. I personally can recall anything before 4 ½. I believe the personality evolves and with those changes a person’s purpose can change over time. Back to Massey, a severe emotional event can change the person and their purpose at any time in life.

          “Well, it may be you still don’t get it.” Probably not.

          “When a child comes to have an ability, or a consideration like confidence, then he acquires it, then he has it. It is learned.” I agree, confidence is learned so it can be developed and doesn’t necessarily exist before being developed.

          The ‘body’ is what the chemistry establishes; the ‘environment’ is the external influences. What does the ‘individual’ have and how did it occur. Is it in the fixed sole or is it an evolving piece of the person that responds to the ‘body’ and ‘environment?

          If a child can lose their confidence as you describe then it would seem they can develop confidence, neither excludes the other. If confidence is evolving then it may not have existed until the child tries something with a purpose. If they try and try something they see others do and fail or succeed will establish their level of confidence

          1. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane April 5, 2014 at 8:20 am

            ‘each of these in focus’ I am referring to the individual or group whose ‘normal’ we are trying to determine. I don’t believe ‘normal’ for the whole State is necessarily the ‘normal’ for a single person or for a specific group. If we are talking about a 5th grade class it can have a different ‘normal’ from another 5th grade class on the other side of the State. If we are focused on the individual then each can have a different ‘normal’ [from] their class. Each being focused probably has a different ‘normal’. [Alright]

            “He had a certain normal expectation of confidence, now it has been extended in a positive way.” I have no clue what ‘normal expectation of confidence’ means. [I might have said here, "He had a certain way of thinking, now it has been extended in a positive way." From OneLook.com one definition of 'confidence' is: 'the belief that you are able to do things well' So his certain way of thinking, is his belief that he can do things (the 52 concepts defined in my little course for my first standard) well, may be increased and he might feel he can now do things better. I don't use 'normal' so much as 'emotional level', as described below.]

            ‘To me confidence is what is felt about themselves, whether they can take challenges and succeed or not. Expectations are what they want to achieve, a challenge to overcome maybe an expectation, but expecting to be confident seems to be inconsistent. You expect to succeed, you are confident in your abilities to succeed, but you don’t expect to be confident. [Does a student at your school have confidence? If that were increased, would he have more confidence? I am talking about two states: one level of confidence, then another level of confidence.] You are or you aren’t confident. [I don't see this as a 'you are' or 'you are not' situation. How we say there is a scale from one to a hundred. At 10 a student has little confidence. At 90 they are very confident.] I can see how someone as part of their ‘normal’ is self-confident, but I don’t see how ‘normal’ applies to expectations.’

            ‘Your examples/standards seem to be effective for students to build confidence, to develop skills, even to help establish expectations. I would be surprised if after completing your ‘standards’ all the students would have the same skill levels, the same confidence, the same expectations, or would exhibit the same ‘normal’. [No, that is we agree, the idea is not to make them the same. The idea is to increase these things, for the concepts included for each standard. There are 52 concepts defined in the course for the first standard.] It seems to me that the each has different influence outside your classes and those influences could affect their normal. [Yes, that is true. When I wrote the first course for the first standard, this is how I saw it. Then I had students read the true definitions I provided and then do six, or so, things to increase their ability from there, and 6 more again with their twins. Like 'ability'. I say, this could be defined as 'Observe, Decide and Act' and I would have the child work out how to do this ability. Then I pondered. How do I know they had acquired the ability, to acquire an ability? I said to myself, 'I need a way for them to demonstrate this key ability, so it is observable to others, like me or their twin. I struck on emotional level, the emotional level of enthusiasm. I or a twin, could look at them and see their emotional level was different than enthusiasm, then I would ask them to apply what they had learned and be at the emotional level of enthusiasm. That was fine. But I noticed that with about half of the students, they did more than what I had asked. They had sort of 'changed their stars.' All across their lives, not just on course, they were now living their lives as if this new emotional level were now their natural state. As I described this earlier, one mom, went out and got a job that paid twice as much and started a career track to a Store Manager now. She had been stuck in minimum wage job for a long time. She got her kids out of a bad school and got them into a school she wanted. She had been depressed, and she was now enthusiastic and felt great. Somehow this was not just a drill we had done on course. As you said, 'each has different influences outside your classes and those influences could affect their normal.' for about half the students, that held true. For the other half that did not seem to hold true. At least for a few weeks. I would not use your concept of 'normal', I would use emotional level. The one the person starts out with might define how he acts all across his life, at least in the essential things. Then at enthusiasm on my first course, or exhilaration, on my Applying Knowledge course I would anticipate they would have those characteristics across their lives. This is, about half would do that, and the other half, as you said.]

            ‘I see expectations as always changing and being adapted to the dynamics of the environment. I expect confidence is always changing as long as we are learning. This is especially true for those who are setting their own expectations.
            The changes may go unnoticed the longer one has a certain minimum confidence level. Simply achieving what one wasn’t sure of will grow confidence.’ [I can understand all this.]

            “That would seem to exclude pain or uncomfortable things.” When I was a kid, pain and uncomfortable things was the ‘norm’. We played in the local woods climbing trees, running through the brush, playing hockey, and we (were) always being bruised, cut, having broken bones. If we didn’t venture out and risk the bumps and bruises we weren’t being ‘normal’. And we were at it from dawn to past dusk. Our daughters were the same, out playing and come back in for a bandage, a little comfort, and go out to play some more.’

            ‘The child adapts, but they aren’t always given a choice. Our daughters were not all that interested in learning to swim, but as parents we put them in swimming classes. After the first few lessons they adapted and learned to swim. They have since done that same with their children. Many children don’t like vegetables and it takes the direction of the parents to get them to eat the vegetables. In out (our) house we, the parents, were the ‘benevolent dictators’, our children had no choices that we didn’t allow. As they grew we allowed more and more so when they graduated high school they were adults with all the self-discretion.’ [You remind me of a story. Five of us Engineers were having lunch, and my wife decided to join us. One Engineer, Bill, described at great length about how 'A benevolent Dictator' was by far the best form of government. When he had finished his lecture, my wife came back with this statement, 'I agree with everything you said, except for one thing...' Bill, thinking he had covered all the bases, and not knowing my wife well, quickly asked, 'and what that be? She said, with her little smile, 'I agree with everything you said, except... I get to be the Dictator!'

            'We (schools) can teach the student many things, but first we need to decide what we want their learning to include. It can be about events, risks, everyday living, specific knowledge and skills, that is what needs to be determined.' You are presenting this as if it has not been written in concrete by schools for some time. Maybe you saying what we might do in a special way. What I have observed in nearly 50 years of Engineering, dealing with new-hires direct from schools, is that some important things are almost never taught, and some things are taught that I feel it is very important not to teach. I guess my dad set a bad example for me. He used to say, to emphasize a point he had learned in 'the school of hard-knocks', 'I bet they didn't teach you that in school.' He was usually right, school had not taught me that. He didn't give me any examples of what they should not have taught, so I guess I come by that honestly.]

            “This is the viewpoint of a teacher.” I think so because that can be a significancet in the student’s learning. I also see that others including students be taught it a bit about it.’

            I estimate that I will not be able be able to help you understand what I meant by this ‘avoidance of pain’ thing here at Bridge in this context. “I see the pain as not normal, and the child rejects it, and the cause of it, and does not repeat it.” How many kids do you suspect have fallen more than once when learning to ride a bike? [Just as a guess, all of them.] And I would be surprised that anyone who has fallen off a bike did not receive some pain. [I get it!] How many kids do you think that in spite of that pain got back on the bike and learned to ride it? How many people learned learned when they were children? That would suggest that kids were willing to accept pain rather than avoid it to gain what they wanted.’ [Alright. Good argument! I also contend that a person does not mind a little pain. Especially, when it involves pleasure and something he wants to do or achieve. I expect that you have been a student of 'Pain-Drive Theory' for a long time, even if another name was used. So let me be a bit more specific about this. I presented a simplified picture earlier of how a child might see the world: The Person, The Mind, The Body, and The Environment. The Person does not mind a little pain when he or she seeks pleasure or to get what he wants, even if it is play. The Mind may be another matter. The Body is pretty much built on pain, so if we limit our view to that only, I will have to agree, if we are talking about The Body only, then, yes, it probably 'accepts pain', in the sense you described.]

            [When I discussed the avoidance of pain, I meant to convey the idea that The Mind seeks Pleasure and avoids Pain. I believe these are basic purposes of The Mind. If one examined a mind in detail they might find that a human being records about 15 to 150 frames of memory per second, 24/7. If you reviewed one of the injuries you described above involving pain, one might find that a few of frames were missing. They are not present to be viewed easily. They do exist, but the mechanism one uses to scan the mind, or remember such pictures does not allow one to re-experience some instances of 'pain'. The frames or pictures of pain may have a perception of unconsciousness, so if you viewed it closely you would tend to go unconscious. Such frames also have the perception of pain, the exact amount of pain originally experienced. So if a person did recall such an instant they would feel much of the intensity or agony of the pain. The Mind provides a mechanism to avoid such things. Those frames also contain the shut down of the conscious part of The Mind, so the person would feel his consciousness shutting down if he actually reviewed or was in touch with such a memory. Such frames also have a dispersal effect, intense pain tends to cause a dispersal something like an electrical shock. So if the person did contact the content of the memory he would tend to act out the energy or effort of this dispersal sensation and his attention would tend to be elsewhere instantly. So, as I said, I do not expect you understand this. It is not a part of my standards, and we do not need to take it up.]

            ‘It seems we disagree when the capacity it reason becomes controlling. I believe that thinking effectively, for the longer term doesn’t start till 4-6. I personally can (not) recall anything before 4 ½. I believe the personality evolves and with those changes a person’s purpose can change over time. Back to Massey, a severe emotional event can change the person and their purpose at any time in life. [I understand what you are saying. We do disagree.]

            “Well, it may be you still don’t get it.” ‘Probably not.’ [But you probably do not need to get it, for our purposes here.]

            “When a child comes to have an ability, or a consideration like confidence, then he acquires it, then he has it. It is learned.” I agree, confidence is learned so it can be developed and doesn’t necessarily exist before being developed.
            The ‘body’ is what the chemistry establishes; the ‘environment’ is the external influences. What does the ‘individual’ have and how did it occur. Is it in the fixed sole (soul) or is it an evolving piece of the person that responds to the ‘body’ and ‘environment? [I think of 'the individual', or 'The Person' as the commander of The Mind, The Body, and to a degree, The Environment. He may make a decision for the mind, The Mind obeys. He may say, remember 9/11, and the mind brings forth some type of memory or concept. He may make a decision about the body and The Body obeys. It moves, it jumps, it does pushups. He has the ability to be there. He has the ability to communicate. So when He communicates to the body, The Body can be healed. He may have the ability to change things directly in The Environment. There is a description of such an ability in the Bible. In the book of Genisus, 'God said, Let there be Light, and there was Light.' That describes a being creating energy directly with a statement or decision, in an environment. I think an individual has some of these same capabilities.]

          2. Duane

            Leon,

            This is another example of how we may talk pass each other, “He had a certain way of thinking,” A way of thinking doesn’t help me understand your point. A way of thinking can be ‘confidence’, can be looking for the good or looking for the bad, looking for the opportunities or the barriers, it can be how an individual gather information, how they process information, there are any number of way it can be interpreted. If you are talking about seeing things through ‘rose colored glasses’ or through very dark lenses, and I might be thinking about how they gather and process information those undescribed difference we can significantly skew the discussion.

            I am not sure what ‘emotional levels’ means, are their actual levels that describe the degree of emotion or is about how emotion influence confidence and such? I am not challenging how you are using ‘emotional levels’. I just don’t know how to relate it to the discussion without some idea of what it means.

            “If that were increased, would he have more confidence?” I agree that confidence can grow, there is more than just having or not having.

            We were co-dictators until they were of age and living their lives. We felt that was how we could best prepare them to be adults and facing live on their own. They are each co-dictators with their children, it seems to be working with their children.

            You seem to have accepted that people are willing to sacrifice pain of the body for a need/want. I would offer that people also are willing to weigh pain of the mind/heart for what they want/need. There are those who succeed in school in spite of the pressure from peers, even family, not to make the sacrifice for academic success. There is that old saying, it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.’ How many people have failed with their first love suffered and then found another love that lasted a lifetime? Pain is a barrier that each of us considers and weight when deciding to strive for a want/need. That barrier can be time, money, emotions, and yet there are many willing to overcome the barrier for their want/need. I see pain, in whatever form, is simply a barrier that the person decides whether what they want/need it worth the pain. It is a barrier to everyone in most all the want/need. The level of pain is always less once it has been overcome, but is always there. Whether it is for the student deciding on whether to learn, the parent wanting their child to succeed, to the teacher wanting their students to learn, each must choose whether the pain is worth want.
            Time is a tool that the mind uses to reduce the pain and allow the next barrier to be faced. And if the pain is great enough the mind will shut down that part of the body or mind. These are mechanism to help deal with the pain, but it is the individual’s choice to risk the pain/sacrifice for what the want/need.
            “so the person would feel his consciousness shutting down if he actually reviewed or was in touch with such a memory.” I am not sure of that, I have fainted and didn’t realize it was happening until I regained consciousness (it was a physical event). I have known those who had such a severe event that they struggled to even recall surrounding activities at or near the time of the event. I don’t know enough about the mind to understand how and why the subconscious can’t control the conscious, but it seems to happen. For at least one person they could not recall the event and yet they knew enough that they did not risk returning to that situation. I have known others having full recall were still willing to enter high risk situation with full understanding. I can’t separate what was genetic and what was learned, but I accept the divergent reality of both. A simple example is what a mother might risk for a child, or a soldier would risk for a comrade, or a stranger might risk for a person at high risk.

            My fingers and my brain both continue to struggle; my writing/typing are an ongoing issue.

            I am still not understanding what the mind has and how it got it and how it is equal to the genetics of the body (and brain) and the influence of the environment. You use the idea of the Mind controls, but it would seem that the mind has to learn how to control (aside from breathing everything the Mind controls has been taught) or it is from what was transfer through the genetics. The Mind has to learn what jumping is, it has to work learn how to jump, it has to learn the bodies capacity to jump. I believe the Mind/soul are given to us but how it develops is due to genetics and environment. Why would a child with seemingly all the physical resources and opportunities fail, why would a child with all the barriers possible to overcome succeed? Was it because they were given different Minds or did they learned things that built their confidence and expectations?

  16. Leon L. Hulett, PE

    Duane April 9, 2014 at 11:42 am

    ‘This is another example of how we may talk pass each other, “He had a certain way of thinking,” I will have to take this up tomorrow.

    ‘I am not sure what ‘emotional levels’ means, are their actual levels that describe the degree of emotion’ Yes, there are. In English we use certain words to describe emotions; fear, anger, boredom, antagonism, enthusiasm, apathy. There are high emotions, low emotions, positive emotions and negative emotions. Emotions may be thought of as waves with wavelengths, like sound waves or light waves, or infrared waves. Some sounds have wavelengths that are twice as long as another, and when you ring a bell another bell with twice the wavelength may sound at the same time, it picks up energy from the original energy. A low note on a piano might be C, with a frequency of 32.70 times per second. So one can predict there will be another ‘C’ note at 65.40 times or cycles per second on the piano. Emotions are like this too. One may have an emotion of fear, which we might call 1.0. Then the next higher emotion like that is antagonism at 2.0. At 4.0 we have enthusiasm. At 8.0 we have exhilaration. Above 2.0 are usually called positive or high emotions. Antagonism, at 2.0 and below are usually called ‘negative or low emotions. Fear is a negative emotion. Grief at 0.5 is negative and below fear. If one talks with a person in grief and resolves that issue with them, they often move up to fear. And if one talks them through that they may move up to antagonism. So just as with sounds, they are actual wavelengths or frequencies, and there are many more emotions than I have said here. One could describe the energy of a sound as the furtherance or hindrance of the motion of molecules. The molecules actually move and pass that motion onto other molecules as sound. Emotions may be considered as the furtherance or hindrance of life force. Another person can feel the emotion and experience it and its influence.

    ‘or is about how emotion influence confidence and such? I am not challenging how you are using ‘emotional levels’. I just don’t know how to relate it to the discussion without some idea of what it means.’ At each emotion level, such as enthusiasm, life does certain things, so those things can be observed and predicted.

    “If that were increased, would he have more confidence?” I agree that confidence can grow, there is more than just having or not having.

    ‘We were co-dictators until they were of age and living their lives. We felt that was how we could best prepare them to be adults and facing live on their own. They are each co-dictators with their children, it seems to be working with their children.’ We didn’t think of ourselves as dictators, or co-dictators. I would say, I was trying to teach them to think on their own. My wife would say, she was trying to teach them to obey. Probably, her method was probably not so different from what you were doing.

    ‘You seem to have accepted that people are willing to sacrifice pain of the body for a need/want. I would offer that people also are willing to weigh pain of the mind/heart for what they want/need. There are those who succeed in school in spite of the pressure from peers, even family, not to make the sacrifice for academic success. There is that old saying, it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.’ How many people have failed with their first love suffered and then found another love that lasted a lifetime? Pain is a barrier that each of us considers and weight when deciding to strive for a want/need. That barrier can be time, money, emotions, and yet there are many willing to overcome the barrier for their want/need. I see pain, in whatever form, is simply a barrier that the person decides whether what they want/need it worth the pain. It is a barrier to everyone in most all the want/need. The level of pain is always less once it has been overcome, but is always there. Whether it is for the student deciding on whether to learn, the parent wanting their child to succeed, to the teacher wanting their students to learn, each must choose whether the pain is worth want.’ ‘Pain’ when defined as an emotion, is a negative emotion and it has a specific wavelength/frequency. Positive emotions have no pain in them. But a person, a body, can be experiencing pain, while they have a positive emotion. One positive emotion might be one of beauty, where one, say a child, feels that life is so beautiful they just have to get in there and experience it. When one experiences that, it has a very attractive influence. It does not have to have any pain in it. But let’s say one got that feeling when playing a sport like Lacrosse, he might get hurt or feel pain, also, but he does not stop, because the feeling he has of wanting to experience this beauty of life feeling is so attractive. He simply avoids the pain, or accepts it as you said. In Pain-Drive theory, I understand one considers that ‘pain’ is the central influence. In my example, it does not have to be present at all, but if it is present, it is a secondary matter. I believe that pleasure, especially in the higher emotional levels, is a more important influence than pain. At lower emotional levels this might not be so obvious. I would say that pain-drive theory has to deny the existence of higher emotions, otherwise it would not agree with very many observations.

    ‘Time is a tool that the mind uses to reduce the pain and allow the next barrier to be faced. And if the pain is great enough the mind will shut down that part of the body or mind. These are mechanism to help deal with the pain, but it is the individual’s choice to risk the pain/sacrifice for what the want/need.’
    “so the person would feel his consciousness shutting down if he actually reviewed or was in touch with such a memory.” I am not sure of that, I have fainted and didn’t realize it was happening until I regained consciousness (it was a physical event). I have known those who had such a severe event that they struggled to even recall surrounding activities at or near the time of the event. I don’t know enough about the mind to understand how and why the subconscious can’t control the conscious, but it seems to happen. For at least one person they could not recall the event and yet they knew enough that they did not risk returning to that situation. I have known others having full recall were still willing to enter high risk situation with full understanding. I can’t separate what was genetic and what was learned, but I accept the divergent reality of both. A simple example is what a mother might risk for a child, or a soldier would risk for a comrade, or a stranger might risk for a person at high risk.’ I think this is too large a topic to continue here.

    ‘My fingers and my brain both continue to struggle; my writing/typing are an ongoing issue.’ I understand. I’m having troubles too. Maybe we should just stick to more specific things related to helping children in the way we want.

    ‘I am still not understanding what the mind has and how it got it and how it is equal to the genetics of the body (and brain) and the influence of the environment. You use the idea of the Mind controls, but it would seem that the mind has to learn how to control (aside from breathing everything the Mind controls has been taught) or it is from what was transfer through the genetics.’ I think of this as the person learning to use the body. As you may recall, at birth it is often necessary for the doctor to slap the baby on the bottom, to stimulate breathing. Another way to think of this is, at that moment, the person learns to control, to some degree his breathing. He is taking up that one motor control of the body. I had an experience where I was trying to teach my body to breathe from the diaphragm, instead of from the upper chest only. My breaths were not very deep. I just could not make the body learn to do that automatically. I could do it, but the body just did not kick in like at birth. One day I pushed too hard and the body kind of went into a panic attack with its breathing, and the body could not catch its breath. It then switched over to the ‘diaphragm breathing’ I had been trying to do all along. From then on, it was no problem. I think the body learns such things from emergency situations, better than from simple practice lessons.

    ‘The Mind has to learn what jumping is, it has to work learn how to jump, it has to learn the bodies capacity to jump.’

    ‘I believe the Mind/soul are given to us but how it develops is due to genetics and environment.’ We disagree.

    ‘Why would a child with seemingly all the physical resources and opportunities fail,’ They have no purpose, or worthy purpose, or one important enough to themselves, to do.

    ‘why would a child with all the barriers possible to overcome succeed? Was it because they were given different Minds or did they learned things that built their confidence and expectations?’ I believe anyone might do these things. When I was young my brothers more or less beat me every day. By nine-years old this had progressed to seriously trying to break me. My brother was five years older and the center on the high school basket ball team. He was big and strong and mean. One day he devoted all of his strength, and endurance and his belt to breaking me. That is, getting me to do something, even the smallest thing, I did not want to do. I came to believe I could not be broken by physical means only. I was nine years old. A few years later I threw his next older brother through the air and across the entire house. He landed upside down on a coach with his feet smashing out a window at the front of the house. None of my brothers ever tried to beat me up again. I was thirteen.

    1. Duane

      Leon,
      We had power interruption thus the delay in my comments on your April 7 comments.

      I struggle with ideas of levels as it implies that there is some reference or index each person’s emotions are measured against. This suggest that there is a level that is acceptable, ‘normal’, there are an above and a below ‘normal’ level.
      Why I struggle with these emotional levels is it seems you suggest that the actions or thinking of someone will be control or significantly impacted depending on the emotional level. If we consider fear, would fear have one level of emotion or would it rise in level as the degree of risk that is creating the risk rises? Even if one has a high risk fear couldn’t they function effectively? If so, then how do we determine a level of emotion? It seems the only way we could determine a level is by external actions and those depending on the individual was differ greatly.

      “My wife would say, she was trying to teach them to obey. Probably, her method was probably not so different from what you were doing.” How we developed them was first setting boundaries and letting them live within those boundaries until the learned to use those boundaries in their thinking, as they develop risk/reward into their thinking the boundaries were lower accordingly. Obey was not the driver for our dictatorship it was developing their thinking in a secure environment. They were expected to challenge the boundaries and when those challenges demonstrated the reasoning behind the boundary, the boundary was lowered/removed.

      “‘Why would a child with seemingly all the physical resources and opportunities fail,’ They have no purpose, or worthy purpose, or one important enough to themselves, to do.” I agree having purpose can be a valuable drive to success, a purpose to learn can be extremely important to a student for overcoming barriers to learning. I believe their many barriers that they face and whether they overcome them or not is a significant factor in their learning. That is why I believe we should be asking the students why and how they learn and what barriers they have had to overcome.
      Why do student succeed in spite of the barriers? Why did you succeed in spite of your brothers efforts? I am interested in the why and how of such success so we can learn how to provide others with similar tools for success.

      1. Leon L. Hulett, PE

        Duane April 13, 2014 at 8:26 pm

        ‘I struggle with ideas of levels as it implies that there is some reference or index each person’s emotions are measured against.’ I think emotional levels suits the idea of an index or reference level that each persons emotions can be compared to, or measured against.

        ‘This suggest(s) that there is a level that is acceptable, ‘normal’, there are an above and a below ‘normal’ level.’ The individual may consider one level of emotion, acceptable or not.

        ‘Why I struggle with these emotional levels is it seems you suggest that the actions or thinking of someone will be control(ed) or significantly impacted depending on the emotional level.’ Yes, I think so. When a person is at a specific emotional level, then their actions and behaviors across a wide range of activities can be predicted. If a person pretends to be at a level of fear, he is intending to communicate that emotion to others. If a person is habitually at a level of fear, he communicates with his physical state, with his moral choices, with his reality level, with his affinity level, with many areas of his life the level of fear.

        ‘If we consider fear, would fear have one level of emotion’ Yes.

        ‘or would it rise in level as the degree of risk that is creating the risk rises?’ I would expect fear to be a very specific emotion, at a very specific wavelength or frequency. One could have greater or lessor volumes of this specific wavelength, just like with a specific tone of sound or wavelength of light. There are emotional levels above and below fear. Terror is below fear. Anxiety is just above fear. Numbness is below fear. Hostility or overt hostility is much higher than fear, say 1.8, but there is a lower type of hostility called ‘covert hostility’ say 1.1, that is just above anxiety, say 1.01, not too far above fear. This fake or insincere hostility at 1.1 is possibly the most dangerous emotional level. One can be at this low and dangerous level but pretend to be at a level of interest or enthusiasm, like a used car salesman. The insincerity may be obvious, or it may be quite hidden. Thus the danger, one might buy into a pretended interest level, but the person is actually at a ‘hostility’ that can be most destructive.

        If a perceived risk increased, then I would expect ones emotional level would likely drop. One might drop into despair, terror, numbness or apathy or a feeling of hopelessness. These are the emotions a very depressed person might have.

        ‘Even if one has a high risk fear couldn’t they function effectively?’ Yes, they could. But not as effectively as if they were at a much higher emotional level. Choosing to use fear would result in certain actions, likely negative actions, and not likely be as effective as strong interest or enthusiasm. But running away from certain death, would not be a bad thing. Choosing to be at one of these higher emotions would tend to lead to actions that were positive rather than negative. One could handle a danger, or risk, and and any danger in it.

        ‘If so, then how do we determine a level of emotion?’ One observes it. One may compare the observation to what a person in fear would do. One could observe a person’s, one’s body’s, physical state and see if it has the characteristics of fear. Like glandular things. When one is in fear and has the impulse to run, one’s endocrine system will make the body do things. But a person can take command, and change the fear to something more positive, but even at fear, as you suggest, one can take command and use the fear. Run or run faster, or run intelligently as in a controlled retreat. A ‘route’, people running about madly, may be a an uncontrolled retreat. But one could ‘retreat’ intelligently and still be in fear or terror. In terror one is more likely to be incapacitated and not be able to move.

        ‘It seems the only way we could determine a level is by external actions’ No, one can observe this directly, personally.

        ‘and those depending on the individual was (would) differ greatly.’ Ones actions could vary, but one could also learn to do things more effectively by choosing other emotional levels, or choosing to retreat more intelligently, one could for instance create more courage and thus handle a larger volume of fear with that. Courage is very positive, but seems to be related to fear. When one is not creating ‘courage’, then they tend to drop into or down to an emotional level of fear. At an emotional level of fear, one might create more courage and move up in emotional level, or control their actions more intelligently. You may have other words for such things, I am not trying to change those things, just meaning to explain things as I understand them.

        “My wife would say, she was trying to teach them to obey. Probably, her method was probably not so different from what you were doing.” How we developed them was first setting boundaries and letting them live within those boundaries until the(y) learned to use those boundaries in their thinking, as they develop risk/reward into their thinking the boundaries were lower(ed) accordingly. Obey was not the driver for our dictatorship it was developing their thinking in a secure environment. They were expected to challenge the boundaries and when those challenges demonstrated the reasoning behind the boundary, the boundary was lowered/removed.’ She would do that. She is a country girl. We often lived in the city, like Glendale California. She and the kids would have to walk down the street where there was traffic and other hazards. She wanted positive control at certain times. I tended to emphasis the observations so they knew their own limitations and recognized the risks before they happened. Glendale had a large earthquake one day. So I took the kids downtown and showed them how the glass from the windows had blow out into the street. ‘Is it a good idea to stand in front of windows like that during an earthquake. They didn’t have to answer it verbally, but they knew what to do. My wife became a Red Cross volunteer and learned to teach disaster courses. So then she taught the kids about earthquakes. When we had one they would let out a hoot like laughter and run to the doorways. As soon as the trembling let up they knew they could go out and into the neighborhood and help the old lady down the street that lived all alone. They could use their calmness to help others who were afraid. They quickly became leaders because they knew what to do. My wife was at an awards ceremony for public school kids that had volunteered so many hours for the Red Cross. The regional manager came over to her and commented, ‘Your son’s have more hours than all of these kids together…’ She knew this. She knew how well prepared they were. (and I might say, how well prepared she was.) I was trying to do some international things back then, and was on a phone call from Glendale, CA to Appleton, WI. I just stood in a door and described things to the person on the other end of the line. I held up the phone so the other person could hear the freight-train sound of the earthquake. The kids and the wife were all doing the right things and were calm, but the kids were excited about going out later to help folks. They never failed to miss how devastated emotionally others were during such large quakes.

        “‘Why would a child with seemingly all the physical resources and opportunities fail,’ They have no purpose, or worthy purpose, or one important enough to themselves, to do.” I agree having purpose can be a valuable drive to success, a purpose to learn can be extremely important to a student for overcoming barriers to learning. I believe their (there are) many barriers that they face and whether they overcome them or not is a significant factor in their learning. That is why I believe we should be asking the students why and how they learn and what barriers they have had to overcome.’ I guess knowledge is important too. The kids knew what to do in quake or most any emergency and were willing to help others. I guess we could add ‘willing’ as well.

        ‘Why do student succeed in spite of the barriers?’ If they have the correct knowledge and useful skills to anticipate the barriers and handle them effectively, I have found that to be very effective.

        ‘Why did you succeed in spite of your brothers efforts?’ I had an interesting experience you might like to hear of, about five years after high school, after I had left this area of the world for a few years, and had succeeded in a couple of things. I had come back to Michigan in 1975, and about 20 young people came to me one by one. It was odd in the extreme. They did not say much of anything. They just came to the house one by one. They came one by one over about a year. Very quietly, they just said, ‘thank you.” They did not ask me how I had succeeded. They said they had seen me in the distance. They said they knew what I had gone through, (I have no idea how they could know that.) had also been in a very dark place in life, without hope. One had committed a very serious crime, and confessed that to me. I have no idea why. They said they had seen me go off and make a success of things, and they had taken my example, and done off and done the same thing. They had gotten out of a nowhere, hopeless place. They each one, boys and girls, simply wanted to shake my hand quietly, and tearfully, thank me, to let me know I had made a difference. Then they left and I never saw any of them again. I only knew one of them, in any way. They were all completely unknown to me. I didn’t know what to say, really. So I didn’t. I had no idea how they knew me, but they did seem to understand the situation well enough. I had apparently, simply set a good example. That is what I take away from the experience. Probably, this experience, is the reason I work so hard on these standards. I don’t know quite why, but I know have to make the effort to help others.

        ‘I am interested in the why and how of such success so we can learn how to provide others with similar tools for success.’

  17. Leon L. Hulett, PE

    Duane April 9, 2014 at 11:42 am

    ‘This is another example of how we may talk pass each other, “He had a certain way of thinking,” A way of thinking doesn’t help me understand your point. A way of thinking can be ‘confidence’, can be looking for the good or looking for the bad, looking for the opportunities or the barriers, it can be how an individual gather information, how they process information, there are any number of way it can be interpreted.’

    All of the ways he is currently thinking, taken together, at one time. I am trying to lump all of that together and call all that a certain way of thinking, to compare it to his way of thinking later. Then I plan to show how his current thinking can be improved. So then we would have a new way thinking, that is different than his previous way of thinking. I have the student read a true definition. Then I have the student do a little something. He demonstrates a little better understanding of that thing. I have him demonstrate a new ability. I have him demonstrate this new ability in many ways. So now his thinking, about that just this one thing, is different than when we started. But it is a very basic thing. So it may affect his whole life.

    A confusion such as this occurs now and then when a student is moving through one of my courses. I have everything written out in sequence, so it is easier to go back and find where the student got confused. We then clear up that specific area and move forward from there, so the student understands and can demonstrate all of it. He should not be confused after we do this.

    ‘If you are talking about seeing things through ‘rose colored glasses’ or through very dark lenses, and I might be thinking about how they gather and process information those undescribed difference we can significantly skew the discussion.’ That is true. I just meant to refer to the way he was thinking before in a general way, to then say how the student might do specific things to improve a specific ability.

    My courses are designed to avoid confusions like this as much as possible. One example of when this did come up, was when a fifth-grader, on her own, without my knowledge, spent about 4 to 5 hours helping her second grade sister with her course. They got off onto many things and many upsets. I just took the second-grader back through the course found where she was had trouble, fixed that, and moved forward to where she was doing well and where she had caught up to where she wanted to be.

    There are at least a dozen ways to do this: Have the person read out loud – till then can read easily and smoothly. Go back to where they were last doing well and come forward with them doing well all the way. Go back in the subject to find the first word that was causing trouble, get a return of understanding of the subject, then restudy the subject. One could ask the student if he had gone past any words he did not know, if so, have them go define the words they did not know.

    1. Duane

      Leon,

      There are a few aspects to thinking that we could be talking about and this why I am concerned if we are talking about the same thing when talking about thinking.
      There is the process or the mechanics of how a person thinks, one maybe methodical gathering information weighing it and making choices, another maybe more of spontanious method not thinking pass the moment.
      There is the perspective, it could be consider the biases that a person uses when thing about issues or even facts.
      There is the technical knowledge that can influence how a person thinks, they may change their thinking as they gain more technical knowledge.

      Do see all of these being included when you talk about how students changes their thing as they progress through the courses of yours or is there one of these that is more likely to be impacted?

      I maybe wrong here so please correct me, it seems you return to a point when the student was doing well and repeat the lessons. I am interested in why the change from doing well to not doing well, I would be asking the student what changed that may have influence their performance. It maybe as straight forward as the information was difficult and simply needed to be repeated. However, there may have been something else, such as where they study became distrupted, they couldn’t relate the topic the way they had previously, the may have been distractions, etc. This may best happen after the third try especially if each of the previous tries took a different approach.

  18. Leon L. Hulett, PE

    Duane April 13, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    ‘There are a few aspects to thinking that we could be talking about, and this why I am concerned if we are talking about the same thing when talking about thinking.’ I noticed I was making corrections mentally, when I was re-reading this, so I just included those. Please excuse any errors on my part.

    ‘There are the processes, or the mechanics, of how a person thinks: one may be the methodical gathering of information, weighing it and making choices, another may be more of a spontaneous method, not thinking past the moment.
    There is the perspective, it could be considered the biases that a person uses when thinking about issues or even facts.
    There is the technical knowledge that can influence how a person thinks, they may change their thinking as they gain more technical knowledge.’

    I’m sorry, it may be even more complicated than that, or simpler as the case may be for you. Let me be philosophical for a moment. I consider that a person has the capability to know things. Now, this is a very high level kind of ‘knowing’, where the person is capable and certain and has a certain altitude. You may not have learned about such ideas philosophically. When someone communicates to him, there are far, far too many mechanical things to think about for the person to actually be cognizant of all the details during the communication. He comes to know something. That is simple. When he communicates to another, he intends that they come to know something. They come to know something. That is simple. I consider the mind has two parts. One part is perfect and one part is not. The part that is perfect, is perfect already. I could not improve its ability to think. The part that is not perfect, operates on data that is not true. That part I can change. I can provide concepts that are true. When the student fully understands what is true, he is using the perfect part of the mind. I need do no more. I understand that he or she has reclassified a small portion of the mind that is not perfect, and perfected it, perfected that concept. He knows the truth. I understand that everything in the perfect part of the mind then re-aligns itself. When he uses this perfect part of the mind, its use is instantaneous. So I sort of drill the student up to being near instantaneous when he applies the concept to many things in life, and I call it good from there.

    ‘Do you see all of these being included when you talk about how students change their thinking as they progress through the courses of yours or is there one of these that is more likely to be impacted?’ I see all of these being included. But how they work is probably different than your view. I include emotions, and all perceptions. I include direct observation, using all perceptions, where the person comes to know something from the observation, and this may influence the not perfect part of the mind, and that may cause a shift or realignment of his view of all things. The mind is a very powerful thing. I like to respect it.

    ‘I may be wrong here so please correct me, it seems you return to a point when the student was doing well’ This is a key part of the process. He may feel this is the point, but he may not be so certain. But his certainty does improve, and he may realize he must go earlier, or he may realize where more specifically. As he learns the process this may become like a flash, instantaneous.

    ‘and repeat the lessons.’ That is not what I do. At this point one looks for a word that is not understood. Where exactly did they lose track of things? There may be more than one word. Usually, the person will just notice it. He might say, Oh, I remember now, someone came in and there was a distraction. I was going to look up this word, but I forgot to. Now I am fine, I remember now, I will just do it. I will ask, ‘Is there a word there you do not understand? Once they find and clarify each of the words they went past, you have them look over the material again quickly. Have them redo any demonstrations they did before. Also, you verify they are winning. Does it make sense to them now? Are they now doing well? Are they getting what they should be at that point? You might do spot checks, to see if they can apply specific things before and after the point they had trouble.

    ‘I am interested in why the change from doing well to not doing well,’ I believe, 90 percent, or more, of the time it will be a word or symbol. Once that is clarified all the other things more or less vaporize. They will always think it was something else, or say it was something else. It is as if they have been trained to answer that way. They will say they are tired, didn’t get enough sleep. They have been staying up too late. They yawn like this all the time. Once the word is found, all that vanishes like a fog in the bright sun, or an aircraft flying out of the fog into the bright sunlight. Don’t buy into it. Find the word or symbol, and the twinkle will return to their eyes. Accepting something like ‘I was up late last night’ just slows down the course.

    ‘I would be asking the student what changed that may have influenced their performance.’ I think you are opening the door to a wrong or poor solution here. I would ask, is there a word there you are not certain of? ‘It may be as straight forward as the information was difficult’ This usually vanishes instantly when the right, exact words are clarified. Before…difficult…after ‘that’s so simple!’, ‘is that all there is to that?’ ‘Why was I having all that trouble?’ and simply needed to be repeated. However, there may have been something else, such as where their study became disrupted, they couldn’t relate to the topic the way they had previously, there may have been distractions, etc. This may best happen after the third try, especially if each of the previous tries took a different approach.’ I think, over 90% of the time it is simply words. But once that is checked over well, I would have them demonstrate things with actual objects; like pencils, pens, coins, keys, erasers, cups or whatever. This usually works out to developing the idea into a bigger or higher concept. They start out with a simplified idea of it. Then as the understanding builds in their minds, they can add more detail, relate it to more things, realize more things, see the wider picture of things, comprehend more implications of it. Now that being said, my little courses have to do with just learning how to learn things. These things may be very difficult to learn, but can finally be applied instantaneously. Then they will have a tool bag of things or ways to learn things they want to learn for everything they study in their life. So I wouldn’t expect much teaching would be needed at that point. If they are not motivated, or motivating themselves, then there is a study error from my course. If they can not get themselves out of trouble then there is an error in my course. If they are unwilling to study, it is an error on my course. If they have a bad attitude, it probably is an error in my course. If they feel bent, have an upset stomach, feel squashed, are sitting bent over or supporting there heads with their hands or slouching, or bored, they missed something on my course. Most of my barriers have physiological things that are very observable that happen, that the student should have learned how to fix on my course. I have six barriers to study on my course, if any of those are barriers to a student a teacher has, or if they come up, then I would have to recheck my course to see what was missed. Hopefully, that never happens. If I have done my job, that never happens.

  19. Duane

    Leon,

    It seems we have different perspectives on thinking. It seems they can be complimentary, however, it one is take at the expense of the other it seems that can create a barrier to learning.

    The means and methods of teaching, the desire and expecation to laern, and the acceptance (thinking) of what is to be learned are all significant factors in learning.

    As an example of the acceptance to learn, back in the mid-1970s I was involved in the conversion of a process (chemical) from manual to computer control. The operating personnel had no exposure to computers, their mindset was to take something apart, learn on it worked, and reassemble it (mechanical thinking). That thinking was a barrier to learning how to operate with a computer. The mechanical thinking was not possible with the compurter, so it created a barrier to learning. The ‘words’ were learned, but the application wasn’t until the thinking move to control with the tools and knowledge available.
    The thinking was critical to the learning and application of what was learned, ignoring that prevented the necessary learning and application from happening. The definition of the words maybe known and yet if it doesn’t fit the thinking nothing is effectively learned.

    Just as the means and methods of teaching need to be dynamic so do I believe the approach to thinking and its development need to be dynamic. The method of teaching that worked in the mid-70s would not be as effective today.

    1. Leon L. Hulett, PE

      Duane April 15, 2014 at 12:11 pm

      I believe my standards anticipate shifts in career paths like you describe, and the mindsets or types of thinking a person might have that might block learning. I expect that people will change career paths seven or more times over their lifetimes. Students need to be better prepared for that. There is a basic working principle that it (the inability to learn) is never because of the principle, it is a misunderstood word. When the word is found and cleared one can then learn the principle. I believe this applies to the mindset, ‘the acceptance (thinking) of what is to be learned’ you describe. I believe we could look at this in two ways; the first one where the teaching methods you describe are most important. The second is where the learning methods of the student are most important. If we are trying to prepare students in Michigan to be better prepared for learning, for learning at college, for learning at work, and for learning when changing careers, which shall we emphasize?

      With what we have in mind to do, I do not think we have a disagreement.

  20. Duane

    Leon,

    I don’t feel what I am offering as a teaching method, I see it as an approach to recognizing the individual and their unique issues and addressing them.

    It appears to me that you have develop teaching methods. That is why I don’t see a conflict, but am concerned about focusing on one at the expense of the other.

    I think we differ on how we see learning, where you focus on the trigger, word, being found and understood.

    I look to the environment and help the student addressing those specific issues/barriers to the student learning.

  21. Leon L. Hulett, PE

    Duane April 16, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    Did you locate a copy of ‘Effective Study’ by Francis P. Robinson?

    Sorry for the delay, I was not happy with what wrote the first time.

    ‘I don’t feel what I am offering as (is) a teaching method, I see it as an approach to recognizing the individual and their unique issues and addressing them.’

    I view the individual as the most fundamental unit of ‘understanding.’ When you approach their understanding, from their ‘unique issues’ you are as far as it is possible to be from their most basic view. This is the view from their heart, their soul, there most fundamental point of understanding. One could get further from this view of the student by leaving understanding altogether and addressing only issues in the environment. That would be even more distant. I feel you are addressing only the most superficial, and you, that is teachers in general, can not see beyond that. You do not see ‘the forest’ for ‘the trees.’ ‘The trees’ represent the most immediate environment to the teacher, and the most apparent unique issues the student may present to the teacher.

    I do not understand how your views are distinct from the views of teachers in Michigan that seem to be ineffective? Those views seem to be the views presented in the study booklet sold by the National Middle School Principals Association, to Middle Schools in America.

    ‘It appears to me that you have develop(ed) teaching methods. That is why I don’t see a conflict, but am concerned about focusing on one at the expense of the other.’ From the view of improving a student’s understanding and his abilities, I see this as focusing on the bathwater, whilest throwing out the baby. The baby is all important, the bath water is the most unimportant and vanishes at the end of each bath. Only the baby continues onto greater understanding, the bathwater never understood anything. I don’t see this as ‘one’ at the expense of the ‘other.’ ‘One’ also handles the problems of the ‘other’. The ‘other’ does not touch the problems of the ‘one’. The ‘other’ has a track record starting with Dewey in 1892 and gives us the methods teachers are using and failing at using for 120 years. The ‘other’ seems to have the goal of the General Education Board of 1903: I’m saying ‘one’ is a new emphasis. ‘One’ is different. The ‘other’ is dynamic and changes year to year, but the results are always the same.

    Here is the Goal of the General Education Board of 1903:

    “In our dreams… people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present education conventions fade from their minds, and unhampered by tradition we work our own goodwill upon a grateful and responsive folk.”

    “We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or men of science. We have not to raise up from them authors, educators, poets, or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians, nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we have an ample supply.”

    “The task is simple. We will organize children and teach them in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way.”

    As far as consulting the student’s basic understanding, how do your methods differ from the General Education Boards intentions?

    ‘I think we differ on how we see learning, where you focus on the trigger, word, being found and understood.’ I have 10 standards possibly 15 little courses, with the six most basic barriers to study, That all consult the students basic understanding, and some other little courses for special issues like Attention, Emotion, and Applying Knowledge. I believe 90 percent of the problems a student will have with his basic understanding and ability to apply things to life, do stem from ‘the trigger word’, as you say. But you seem to ignore this most important ’90 percent’ that solves nearly all the issues you raise, and you seem to concentrate on unique issues that each resolve automatically when the lynch pins, ‘the trigger words,’ are recognized and fully defined as a concept the person can use freely for the rest of his life. You not only ignore these few most important words from the viewpoint of the student’s basic understanding, you institutionalize and validate the troubles they cause, and condemn the student’s basic understanding to a dark place where it is never consulted, never addressed. As I understand what you say, only the most obvious, superficial issues are addressed.

    ‘I look to the environment and help the student addressing those specific issues/barriers to the student learning.’

    I challenge you to a test, a test of my construction, not a ‘multiple guess’ test of the most superficial.

    1. Alexander’s soldiers set off as a unit to conquer Asia, or the world. His line of soldiers is three miles long. They march at 3 miles per hour. Alexander, on Bucephalus his war horse, moves at twice their speed. Alexander starts at the rear of the line and moves to the front of the line, and returns again to the rearmost point. How far have the soldier’s advanced when he reaches that point?

    I understand this would be at the level of Arithmetic before 1903, say ‘third grade’ then. I would say it is at the level of fifth-grade Arithmetic or common core, now, where the student understands. It is from CalTech in the 1950’s and is one, possibly the easiest, of the so-called Strong Problems, the ones the Dean of Mathematics, Professor Strong, gleaned from the testing of Freshmen in 1950’s, where they commonly failed to answer this question, and 156 others. I have re-written it a little so it easier for fifth-graders to read. In the Robinson Home School Curriculum it takes their 15 year-old students 2 to 4 hours to solve such questions.

    2. Is there a simple test anyone can learn and use anywhere, to test the basic understanding of any student on something they should be able to apply to life? Describe how such a test might be used by an employer.

    3. Is there a simple test any student may learn and use anywhere, to check or develop, his own understanding of something, he or she might want to be able to apply to life? Describe how such a study skill might be used by a student to learn or demonstrate something that may be too difficult to learn otherwise. Demonstrate the purpose of the subject of Arithmetic to the satisfaction of a Tutor.

    4. Take any definition of ‘study’ and demonstrate how one may or may not be able to use it to acquire any knowledge and skills one might want to learn in one’s life. Work out an ideal definition for such a concept of ‘study’.

    5. What is the most important study skill? Demonstrate its use, or lack of use, in any subject or topic, even one that contains no words. Include what happens to the student’s willingness to learn, to be there, and what happens in their mind.

    6. Demonstrate a student noticing physical symptoms of stress while studying like; feeling heavy (holding head with both hands, or with one hand, or on an arm as if napping.) or squashed, bent, sick to their stomach, stiff, bored and so on. Demo how the student effectively handles these symptoms and returns the student to brightness and alertness without stress or strain.

    7. Demonstrate the physical symptoms that happen to a student when he or she tries to progress too quickly. Demonstrate how the student resolves this issue, learns that level of difficulty and moves on to higher skill levels with certainty.

    8. Demonstrate a child being taught to select the way he learns best and selecting out ‘listening’. Then what they do when on the first day of work at their career their new employer sets them down with a three-inch manual that says how the company works.

    9. Demonstrate three examples one has personally observed of a person studying History and having no personal reason to learn about it? Did it make sense for people? Which makes more sense; the student learning the skill of how to work out a personal reason to learn about something, or a teacher lecturing them again and again on how important History is and why they should learn about it.

    10. Compare the world of a tyrant to the world of a student by using demonstrations. Demonstrate the idea that there is a tyrant placing his ambitions above those of all others. He has unlimited wealth and influence, and a hundred years to prepare things. He purchases the University of Chicago in 1890, the first of many, to teach the teachers of the next century how and what to teach. He endows it, just this one university, with $70 million just in case. He hires John Dewey in 1892 to be his leading light of education to speak for his university, to influence all teachers, and teachers of teachers, to come. He funds Dewey’s Laboratory School, based on Wundt’s from 1879 (funded by another tyrant – Otto von Bismark, The Institute for Experimental Psychology at Liepzig. Wundt viewed politics as, “…the active participation in the interests of state and society” as the “most
    powerful motive” of his life). He hires other academics to influence others, he funds other Laboratories. He funds Journals, that document the latest research on educational matters, to influence education. He influences Congress to pass a bill/law to influence all education in America for the next century, The General Education Board. He has a goal, it has a goal, ‘We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or men of science’. He makes direct payments to teachers, $46 million in 1906 alone. What aspect of education is left to the ambitions of another? Now demonstrate the world of a student. What should he expect to learn from such teachers and such schools, and such educational Journals and such universities? Will they value his ambitions at all, or will they value the ambitions such tyrants have carefully laid before their minds, laid before his teacher’s teaching schools, for a hundred years? What knowledge and what skills should he first learn to prepare himself, to begin to study in such an environment, for such a life?

    1. Duane

      Leon,

      You use ‘basic understanding’ and that cause me difficulties in a couple of ways; I don’t comprehend what that entails and so I don’t know how to explain how I can relate to it.

      If it has to do with the mental capabilities/capacities, then I would offer that even with our capacities we have to interact with the environment and the environment can create or possess things that establish barriers that prevent or discourage the fulfillment of our ‘basic understanding’. I wonder why students sitting in the same classroom will have different levels of academic success, is it because they have different ‘basic understanding or is it that they have different barriers or different tools to use.

      I don’t claim my views are distinct, only that they are mine and arrived at though my process of thinking, perspective, observation, listening. I doubt I have ever had an original thought, something someone else hasn’t already arrived at and shared. At best I might present it or marry it with another though in a way that others may have not heard before. If what I think is similar to other I would not doubt it, what I haven’t seen is it practiced in other then isolated cases. It reminds me of the old saying that ‘there is much that slips between the cup and the lip’. What one says and ones does may not be the same.

      I agree with much of what was said in 1903. As I recall you mention that people’s purpose was established very early, before formal education. That would suggest you also agree with at least some of what was said about turning people in so something such as philosopher or scientists.

      I also suspect that each of us has a different ‘basic understanding’; if that is the case then I believe your question have shown me the limits of mine.

      Question 1, my best guess is 4 miles.
      Questions 2-10 after reading each I had no idea what the answers might be. I had a brief thought on a few while reading the question and then realized once competing the question I really didn’t know what the answer could be.

  22. Leon L. Hulett, PE

    Duane April 21, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    ‘You use ‘basic understanding’ and that cause me difficulties in a couple of ways; I don’t comprehend what that entails and so I don’t know how to explain how I can relate to it.’ I was not using this as a compound word, or in the way you suggest. ‘Basic’ means ‘basic ideas or skills are the ones you must know or learn in order to understand or do something.’ Example sentence: Once you’ve mastered the basic principles of using a computer, you can move on. [onelook.com] ‘Understanding’ means ‘to have a clear and true, idea or notion of a thing, or full and exact knowledge of the thing.’ Usage: this use of ‘understanding’ is used with skills and is intended to convey something is a skill and is intended to be used as a skill. [from Webster's Dictionary of Synonyms 1942]

    ‘If it has to do with the mental capabilities/capacities, then I would offer that even with our capacities we have to interact with the environment and the environment can create or possess things that establish barriers that prevent or discourage the fulfillment of our ‘basic understanding’. It has little to do with that. It has to do with a teacher teaching a skill, or a student learning a skill, or not having learned it. If he has not learned something well enough to demonstrate it, he will not be able to demonstrate it. If he has used a memory pattern only to ‘learn’ the skill, that pattern may shatter, or suddenly leave the person with a feeling of ‘I don’t know how to do this!’ That being said, yes, ‘we still have to interact with the environment and the environment, and they can create or possess things that establish barriers that prevent or discourage the fulfillment’ of the skill in actual use. But still, part of the ability to effectively use the skill would include the capacity to use it while interacting with an environment and within the challenges of an environment.

    ‘I wonder why students sitting in the same classroom will have different levels of academic success, is it because they have different ‘basic understanding’ or is it that they have different barriers or different tools to use.’ I would guess that in most classrooms there is no real expectation that each student would have 100% success, and that each teacher may not have the skills to make that happen. (Let alone that students may not have the prerequisites, or readiness to be in that course and ready to begin learning a specific thing.) On my little courses, that (100% success) result is what I insist on. The format of my step-be-step method lends itself to that end. I have the students demonstrate all the important ideas of the course. It accounts in advance for all of the basic barriers of study that I know of. Now the student obviously does not know the barriers at any point, and does not have very many study tools of their own to solve such problems. At first, such things are 100% my responsibility. But as one moves through the course and acquires the tools and knowledge of study barriers, one should acquire the ability to have 100% academic success in most subjects, in the classrooms of others. On my courses, ‘words’ are about the only thing that was come up as a barrier.

    Now in most classrooms one would still have students that were not adequately prepared and teachers that would not have the skills to assist 100% of students to achieve 100% results. From my viewpoint, it is only the lack of tools, the knowledge of the barriers to study and the skills to use them effectively. Schools should manage the other factors. Obviously, these tools do not solve the lack of student preparation for a subject, nor the teacher skills needed to achieve 100% success without the knowledge of such study tools.

    ‘I don’t claim my views are distinct, only that they are mine and arrived at though my process of thinking, perspective, observation, listening. I doubt I have ever had an original thought, something someone else hasn’t already arrived at and shared. At best I might present it or marry it with another thought in a way that others may have not heard before. If what I think is similar to others I would not doubt it, what I haven’t seen is it practiced in other than isolated cases. It reminds me of the old saying that ‘there is much that slips between the cup and the lip’. What one says and ones does may not be the same.’ I understand. Likewise, I do not claim my views are distinct.

    ‘I agree with much of what was said in 1903.’ I disagree with ‘1903’ and reject the whole notion utterly.

    ‘As I recall you mention that people’s purpose was established very early, before formal education. That would suggest you also agree with at least some of what was said about turning people into something such as philosophers or scientists.’ I see your point. But, that is not how I read that goal of the General Education Board from 1903. I read it as ‘none’ will be included. NO philosophers, and NO scientists. NO men of learning, NO men of science. We have NOT to raise up from them authors, educators, poets, or men of letters. We shall NOT search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians, nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen…” NO educated people as we understand the notion, will be raised up with that goal.

    ‘I also suspect that each of us has a different ‘basic understanding’; if that is the case then I believe your question have shown me the limits of mine.’ As I said above, that is not what I said there. I was talking about learning specific skills and testing the ability to apply them quickly.

    ‘Question 1, my best guess is 4 miles.’ That is correct. I’m impressed!

    But why did you say ‘best guess’? I would have a student show me how they worked it out to bring their confidence up. Then I would ask variations of it and see if they can solve it more or less instantaneously. What if the line of soldiers were six miles long?

    Are you ready to go down to Ann Arbor and present your case?

  23. Duane

    Leon,

    This demonstrates the limits of my ‘basic understanding’, for the impression I had of how you were using ‘basic understanding’ suggested to me it was about innate ability/intellect that each of us is born with rather then something learned and built on.

    That lack of expectations seems to be a barrier to learning. I wonder why they have that barrier and if it is an influence of their environment. If we recognize that barrier then we may be able to help the student overcome the barrier, raising their expectations. Where you take full responsibility I am concerned that that ignores the role and responsibilities of the student in their learning. I understand how repetition can be an effective tool for certain subjects, and that repetition can overcome many barriers to learning those particular subjects, I am concerned that if that becomes the preferred method it creates an expectation in the student that they have no responsibly to learn and it will be forced on them.
    Whether the student recognizes, will admit to, or even understand what the barriers might be that doesn’t mean they don’t exist and are influencing the students learning. That brings me back to the classroom where some succeed and other don’t while being exposed to the same education. If we ignore the barriers and their impact we have little likelihood of significantly changing their learning. With your methods there is still reason to believe that those barriers can have such an impact there will not be equal learning results.

    I see people being more than their skill or learning capacity. I see people needing to draw on more than existing knowledge and skills to deal with the elements of their environment so they can fill their learning capacity. I wonder why people sitting in the same class with similar abilities succeed differently or ones with less capacity succeed when others don’t? If it isn’t because of their capacity what contributes to the difference? I want to why and how those who succeed did so. My limited experience has to do with barriers, but I am will to be wrong it there is another reason for success.
    Currently it seems to me that it is something different in each student and I look at it to see the environment and how people interact with it, to see if people facing barriers and wonder why some overcome them and others don’t, to see why people with the necessary capacities failing to utilize those capacities while others do and wonder why? People experience the same methods of learning and respond differently, why? It seems you have developed methods that are designed to overcome much of that and yet I wonder can it be so straight forward and independent of the individual. Maybe it is my habitual skepticism, but I wonder, I would like to see it part of a discussion on education by a diverse group.

    I don’t know what others may want or enjoy in their lives so I can see the K-12 education trying to develop the students in to particular focuses. I see the being of education providing a minimum of knowledge and skills so the students can decide whether they want to be philosophers, lawyers, or even engineers since all of those take more than what can be provide in K-12.

    You didn’t ask about how I arrived at my answer, you simply asked for an answer. Does it matter how I got there or is it more important that I got the answer you were expecting? You have mentioned your work with engineers, which is more important the right answer or the way they got to the answer? Now if you are interest in verifying the accuracy or the reproducibility of the answer then their method may become important. However, if you are most interested in results then it would seem the source of the answer becomes most important. The method for the answer may important to you as based on your expectations for a particular method may be a determining factor if you use the answer. Also if you want to leverage the person’s work to other application then the method has value.
    As for my method tried to visualize what the activity would look like and them applied my high school algebra (5th grade algebra for my granddaughters). As for the other questions I could not visualize how they could apply so broadly so I was unable to conceive of a universal answer. Using your experience with engineers as an example, the nature of each type of engineering seems to create a different mindset, similarly the application of the technology can also affect the mindset/approach (research, design, application).

    I am almost ready to go to Ann Arbor; my hesitation is what the case might be to made. Is it what we were discussing when that idea of involving bridge was first mentioned or has it evolved? You and I have different perspectives on the educational process and I think that is good to develop a more effective approach. What I would like to do is bring together a few more people adding diversity to the discussion and the development of a process map (I do like visuals to help present ideas and as a tool to their implementation). I would also like to develop a better understanding of the learn process.

    I would like to develop some means and methods that local schools, parents, students, and communities could use to improve the learning in their areas.

  24. Leon L. Hulett, PE

    Duane April 22, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    Thank you for the opportunity to discuss these things with you. I rarely get to talk about these ideas in such detail.

    It sounds like you are about ready to visit Bridge and are formulating what and how you would like to present things. I remember going through such a thought process in Engineering each time when I laid out sort of a plan to do a proposal with a new client, like Boeing for the first time.

    I will try to summarize my views and provide helpful recommendations for you from my viewpoint. I expect you may find them helpful, but you will be on your own from there.

    ‘This demonstrates the limits of my ‘basic understanding’, for the impression I had of how you were using ‘basic understanding’ suggested to me it was about innate ability/intellect that each of us is born with rather then something learned and built on.’ In that instance I was talking about a specific skill one might learn, but more generally I did talk my beliefs where a person at their essence is ‘understanding’, or ‘the individual’, or ‘the person’ in that sense. To continue on that line I believe the individual, in that sense, has a mind and a body. The mind has two parts one part is perfect, and one part is not. I might say also, that the body acts like it has a separate mind, a mind of its own. This body mind is a literal record, instant by instant, of what has happened to the body as a living organism. At conception there are two living cells, one sperm cell and one egg cell. Two living cells that combine to form the body. The body contains the genetic record of both these living cells. From conception to birth this genetic record is combined. At or near, birth the individual appears and his or her mind is possibly thousands of times more powerful than the body mind, which is a literal record only. The mind of the individual, contains a literal record of the activities of the individual, and when he dreams, or imagines, or thinks this may be quite different than the record the mind of the body has. All this is quite beyond the scope of my standards, which are intended to be recommendations from industry or the community on how how a student might study to better match the needs of the community, industry, politics and life.

    ‘That lack of expectations seems to be a barrier to learning. I wonder why they (teachers) have that barrier and if it is an influence of their environment. If we recognize that barrier then we may be able to help the student overcome the barrier, raising their expectations. Where you take full responsibility I am concerned that that ignores the role and responsibilities of the student in their learning.’ The intent in terms of responsibility is set an example of responsibility and invite the student to assume such a role. I start with 100% as my part of it, and continue through relaying that role to the student as an individual, where the student then comes up to taking 100% from some point onwards. So as this student enters or returns to public education he has the choice and ability to learn anything he wants, or not.

    ‘I understand how repetition can be an effective tool for certain subjects, and that repetition can overcome many barriers to learning those particular subjects, I am concerned that if that becomes the preferred method it creates an expectation in the student that they have no responsibly to learn and it will be forced on them.’ I have described the essence of the individual as ‘understanding’. This essential individual also has an innate ability to duplicate, it is a part of his being. For that matter; responsibility, beauty and ethics are also innate. The ability to know, the ability to observe and the ability to make decisions are also innate. We might describe this ability to make decisions in terms of Life, Liberty and The Pursuit of Happiness and personal Choice or Self-Determinism. Now these are things innate, I can not increase these things, but one might reduce them. So I try not to reduce them. I think many teachers, all teachers I know, seem not to understand such things or respect them. I do not take responsibility from the student, even at the beginning, I simply try to do nothing that might reduce it.

    I am not in favor of ‘repetition’ as it is used in schools to create mental patterns in the absence of understanding. The student’s understanding must be consulted.

    ‘Whether the student recognizes, will admit to, or even understand what the barriers might be that doesn’t mean they don’t exist and are influencing the students learning.’ Ideally the student is flying along, at a high emotional level above enthusiasm with lots of action, with full ability to apply the materials and is completely willing to be there and participate. Jefferson said that he had, ‘A canine appetite for books.’ I use that as a metaphor for when the student is wanting to absorb the materials as fast as possible. If that is not happening, I would expect that at least one of my six barriers to study is influencing the student and he should do something to correct the situation, so the influence of any of the barriers is not present.

    ‘That brings me back to the classroom where some succeed and other don’t while being exposed to the same education. If we ignore the barriers and their impact we have little likelihood of significantly changing their learning.’ That is true.

    ‘With your methods there is still reason to believe that those barriers can have such an impact there will not be equal learning results.’ I would expect a student that completes my standards courses would be able to effectively handle these six barriers to study and be able to apply what he has been learning. That would include; sorting out what is false, evaluating what is important, connecting what he is learning to what he will be doing and being willing to be there and willing to look at a subject as ‘there is a subject there to study.’ I would expect he would do well on tests, but I would not expect the learning results to be equal. If I understand what you mean by that.

    ‘I see people being more than their skill or learning capacity.’ I do to. I have suggested; Responsibility, Ethics, etc.

    ‘I see people needing to draw on more than existing knowledge and skills to deal with the elements of their environment so they can (ful)fill their learning capacity.’ They have imaginations, personalities, personal goals and purposes, objectives. They can, or someone else can arrange, meetings with business people. They can have their own tasks and projects to do. They can work and have their own businesses.

    ‘I wonder why people sitting in the same class with similar abilities succeed differently or ones with less capacity succeed when others don’t?’ I think we have discussed this.

    ‘If it isn’t because of their capacity what contributes to the difference?’

    ‘I want to (know) why and how those who succeed did so.’ I have found many Engineers who will not tell you. I have found many students who couldn’t say. I have found parents that didn’t know, and when they asked the daughter how they did it, the daughter said, ‘Well, one day there was this substitute teacher that came in…and it all seem to make sense.’ The mom asked me at a Christmas Party if I had taught such a class at that school, and I had to fess up, yes, I had.

    ‘My limited experience has to do with barriers, but I am willing to be wrong it there is another reason for success.’ Do you have the right barriers? And the right observations of them and the methods to overcome each of them?

    ‘Currently it seems to me that it is something different in each student and I look at it to see the environment and how people interact with it, to see if people facing barriers and wonder why some overcome them and others don’t, to see why people with the necessary capacities failing to utilize those capacities while others do and wonder why?’

    ‘People experience the same methods of learning and respond differently, why?’

    ‘It seems you have developed methods that are designed to overcome much of that and yet I wonder can it be so straight forward and independent of the individual.’

    ‘Maybe it is my habitual skepticism, but I wonder, I would like to see it part of a discussion on education by a diverse group.’
    ‘I don’t know what others may want or enjoy in their lives so I can see the K-12 education trying to develop the students into particular focuses. I see the being of education providing a minimum of knowledge and skills so the students can decide whether they want to be philosophers, lawyers, or even engineers since all of those take more than what can be provide in K-12.’

    ‘You didn’t ask about how I arrived at my answer, you simply asked for an answer.’ That is because this is a continuing conversation. There is time to ask additional things and to explain what I was looking for with the question.

    ‘Does it matter how I got there or is it more important that I got the answer you were expecting?’ Actually, you are the first to answer correctly. I was not expecting you to have the ability to answer at all. Your discussion is that of a teacher, and the situation teachers presented to my kids and my wife. I look first of all, to see if the person is actually attempting to solve it. Do they understand it? In your case, the case of a person that answers, I would look to how long did it take to answer. The number of seconds, minutes, hours or longer. How long did it take you to understand it and to solve it? With others and with the wording from Dr. Strong, it was very difficult for them to understand, and for me to understand for that matter. So I made the wording as simple as I could. I only solved it with arithmetic, where others I used Arithmetic, Algerbra and Calculus. I did something like that for a demonstation I do that demonstrates what happens when a person goes past a word they do not understand. I used it on film, as a demonstration having to do with the cause of ADD for a TV show. She, the reporter got the ADD symptoms I was trying for instantly, and I made my point. She made her point by not putting it on air and sort or positioning me as the person who opposes ADD treatment with drugs. With students I made it easier and easier, and put less and less stress on the situation I was presenting, until a middle school student could actually see through it and not become confused and unable to learn. I was surprised there as well. But I found where the demonstration would be effective and where it might miss. Back to your question, I tell students most any math question can be solved with Arithmetic, Algerbra or Calculus, or lots other ways. It makes no difference to me if someone answers it correctly or incorrectly or used a certain method. I use it as a ‘teaching moment’ and try to encourage the student to have confidence and certainty. I try to get them to solve such questions instantly and with confidence. I present this as how ‘a Professional Engineer’ might solve such a problem. I encourage them to know there are different ways it can be solved and that some teachers may want it done ‘their way.’ That might not be the best way to solve it or approach it in their life.

    ‘You have mentioned your work with engineers, which is more important the right answer or the way they got to the answer?’ I have done the stress analyses for the engine mount systems for 20 major aircraft programs like the Boeing 737. Such analyses have to pass the scrutiny of Boeing Engineers, (the client) the FAA or the JAR in Europe, has to meet FAR or in Europe DIN standards, and most importantly 30 or more years of actual service flying 13 or more hours a day, transporting possibly 150 passengers for an average flight of about an hour. So for 7 days a week for 30 or more years with a fleet or 1500 or so aircraft, using just one mount system, that is a lot of people at risk. So, in such a case what would be your answer? The right answer or the way you got there? I was once in a meeting with Boeing Engineers and their Sales Team, with my stress consultant. We were asked a simple question about changing loads and we each whipped out our calculators and instantly calculated what the critical stress might be resulting from the proposed new load. It was a simple question, but we got different answers….I was taken aback that we got different answers, he was embarassed for me thinking I had done it wrong. I asked him what might be the problem, and he said that is simple, ‘You did it wrong?’ I tackfully said, well, I want to know more specifically what went wrong. I found that we had each worked the problem exactly the same way…and got different answers. I had an expensive HP calculator and he had used a cheap Texas Instruments calculator. I had us go through it step by step and found his was truncating the answer when we multiplied two large numbers. Then there was a subtraction and two different answers. Mine was right. It was not the procedure at all in that case, it was the tool. I had a routine of walking through the shop to all the work stations that were doing anything on any of my parts. I found an Inspector doing some simple calculations, long-hand with a pencil. It took him four hours to do such a calculation, he was protesting not being given a calculator by the company. I got him a calculator. He worked a lot faster after that. I got my jobs done on schedule.

    ‘Now if you are interest in verifying the accuracy or the reproducibility of the answer then their method may become important. However, if you are most interested in results then it would seem the source of the answer becomes most important. The method for the answer may important to you as based on your expectations for a particular method may be a determining factor if you use the answer. Also if you want to leverage the person’s work to other application then the method has value.’ You get the idea.
    ‘As for my method I tried to visualize what the activity would look like and then applied my high school algebra (5th grade algebra for my granddaughters).’ Thanks. I expect the CalTech Freshmen from the 1950’s probably tried to use their Algebra and failed. You did great.

    ‘As for the other questions I could not visualize how they could apply so broadly so I was unable to conceive of a universal answer. Using your experience with engineers as an example, the nature of each type of engineering seems to create a different mindset, similarly the application of the technology can also affect the mindset/approach (research, design, application).’ I worked these three areas in Aerospace, Space, Military, PetroChem, Environmental Engineering. At Rolls-Royce I was also a Cost Account Manager (CAM) with 10 projects in various disciplines to project engineer. I used to have lunch with the Manager at Rolls-Royce that installed all the production machines on the floor of their buildings. That’s about 120 acres of floor space. He also ran the National Bureau of Standards for Indiana at the site as well. He tried to put me on the spot one day, by asking me to ask him about the installation procedures for any production installation at the plant. He was very confident. I asked him how he set up the unit that tested the fan for the F-18. It has a 50,000 kw motor that drives it. He had to think a moment and admitted he had a contractor do that one. They have to call the power company and do a special scheduled start when starting that big of an electrical motor.

    ‘I am almost ready to go to Ann Arbor; my hesitation is what the case might be to made. Is it what we were discussing when that idea of involving bridge was first mentioned or has it evolved?’ I think Bridge’s agenda has evolved. They announced a year long initiative to promote the policy and funding methods of Massachusetts and Tennessee. I commented that I could not go there. I don’t recall you commenting on that one. It was sort of a foot note in the one about Detroit and Myths. I think we understand better where each is coming from. I suggested a possible survey thing where we get people to construct a survey to get students more active in the discussions at Bridge. But I do not see anyone but us doing much discussing. So that goes nowhere. I suggest you orgainize your ideas and go talk with Bridge. They have presented a start to an issue with Kary Moss’s article. I think there is a rejection of the premise that international tests say America is last, by schools. I don’t think schools accept the idea, nor that anything needs to be done. A Bridge staff member could call a few Principals or Superintendents and get an idea of this picture. The way I see it they, schools, conceive there is no problem so why do anything about it? I think this may be the view of the NEA, but I haven’t checked that out. When I talk to local schools they say they don’t believe it and bury me with why they think that is so or otherwise try to shut me up. I think there is an issue with industry or business telling schools what they need and want. To me the issue may have to do with many Engineers don’t want to train new Engineers. At one company, I an 5 other managers reviewed 200 resumes. I selected 12 to discuss further. They had rejected all of them. No experience. So we have this question, ‘How does a student get a job with no experience, when all the jobs require experience!’ I’m sure students have this question and would love to see a discussion and might even look forward enough to an answer.

    ‘You and I have different perspectives on the educational process and I think that is good to develop a more effective approach. What I would like to do is bring together a few more people adding diversity to the discussion and the development of a process map (I do like visuals to help present ideas and as a tool to their implementation). I would also like to develop a better understanding of the learning process.’ I might offer suggestions on the learning process. Possibly we could make a Picture Book of how to study, or the learning process, of some sort.

    ‘I would like to develop some means and methods that local schools, parents, students, and communities could use to improve the learning in their areas.’ I understand. See if Bridge has a common interest. I had an idea once about working with the National Honor Societies to help them learn to be better tutors. They do a little tutoring but don’t really seem to have a high purpose or the kind of results one might expect from the tuturing. I also tried to work with a group that was promoting mentoring with local businesses and teachers. I went to the meeting with about 200 others and the speaker they chose used hypnosis on the group. I looked around and everyone had their heads down and were out of it. I was so mad I nearly went up to the podium and did something to that speaker. I was incensed. I never went back and to my knowledge that mentoring initiative just vanished.

    1. Duane

      Leon,

      I am ready to present an approach/method; my struggle is with framing the topic. We have talked about our approaches to student learning, but I am so confident on what we have discussed is in a form that would be presentable and readily applicable. I realize what you have done is already be field tested with successful results. However, I am not sure that it would be easily accept in a stand-alone offering.

      I believe that the leaning/education processes need to be better defined and presented in so others will have a common understanding and will be able to see how the various elements (such as your methods) fit and can be implemented. I feel a definition of learning success, the desired outcome of the process, needs to be developed.

      To be most effective in developing this package I would want it produced by a diverse group in a public forum (Bridge).

      “Ideally the student is flying along”, I feel it is important to have a vision of the ideal, but I have never seen actually happen. I see it as a reference point to test reality against, but we need to be prepared to deal with the reality. As much as my wife and I want our children to be students flying along in the ideal, the reality was we didn’t understand enough to help the achieve the ideal so we prepared them for what we knew and tried to help the with their realities. My concern that too much is based on the ideal and that prevents helping individuals deal with reality. Strive for the ideal and include the recognition and practices for reality. To do that I believe the student has to be included in the process both as the beneficiary and as a provider. They need to be allowed to evolve just as the process needs to evolve with them. If we may want them to have the hunger for learning then we need to help them develop it and provide them the tools for learning along the way so when that hunger strikes they are able to feed it. My hunger didn’t start until I mature and decide on the future I wanted. I wasn’t properly prepared and still have at least one tool still at the beginning level of my learning, with that reality I have still been able to learn. I had spurts of interest early on but I wasn’t prepared to address the barriers that prevent my feeding that hunger back then. Reflect on those in my classroom of those times and recall how others (few had their hunger grow) but most we like me and some were even resistant destroying any hunger they may have had. I have since seen that around me and my children and now my grandchildren and I see that reality is unique for each and our system is built on and for the ideal. Even with you band of engineers I have to believe they were individuals and as much as the system was designed for all to be the same each succeed if they were aided as individuals. I believe it is the marrying of the ideal and reality that is needed for a more effective process and better success.
      That returns me to the idea of an open process where a diverse group tries to develop a learning process from a new perspective. We have different perspective with the same goal, and I can see how they can complement the process and help the students, but still we are missing opportunities and variations on our ideas that could make them more effective.

      I see individuals have more to offer or bring to their learning process then is what is easily defined, such as learning capacity, basic understanding, ethics, etc. They can have such things as respect, drive, desire, persistence, and many other intangibles, but even these can be learned. It is these intangibles that need more than the traditional teaching. These are things that are part of the environmental factors that needs to be part of their learning.

      You mention a less then strong purpose in tutoring. I feel that is an example where they have been told to have a purpose, but weren’t taught how to develop their purpose, the value of purpose, and the impact they can have with purpose. I see that as another part of the environmental learning and acting students can gain from. The tutoring purpose is another example of how they never felt ownership of the purpose; similar to what I see in learning (the students seldom have ownership of their learning).

      Would you like to talk about developing a proposal for Bridge on education?

  25. Leon L. Hulett, PE

    Duane April 25, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    ‘I am ready to present an approach/method; my struggle is with framing the topic.’

    ‘Would you like to talk about developing a proposal for Bridge on education?’ Yes, we could talk about that.

    My most successful action when writing proposals, is to find six things that ‘ace out the competition’. That means six different things that the customer wants, or may want, so much that they will not be willing to let this opportunity pass. So I feel, we need six great ideas that support your topic well.

    I have been most successful with companies, students and parents, and to a degree with newspapers. I have not been so successful with teachers, schools and TV. You, I think, fall into the ‘teacher’ category. So I think I will bow to your lead here.

    I think we should ask ourselves, ‘What does Bridge want to do?’

    The best answer I see, is, their announced year long initiative, ‘Bridge is launching a year-long examination of Michigan’s declining educational fortunes and what steps lawmakers, schools and others can take to improve student performance, including the study and adoption of policies proven to work elsewhere.’

    That is from the 3 April 2014 article, ‘My School is Great…and Other Myths.’

    I commented at that article about the seeming mismatch between this initiative and their current Mission Statement and compared that to their original Mission Statement. I said I could not follow the path of simply copying the policies Massachusetts and Tennessee used.

    Here is the jist of it. The tests being used in these comparisons, that I see, are the TIMSS, NEAP, ACT and others. If these tests measure ‘the ability to apply what one has learned to life’, then I do not feel these tests report the facts of that measurement well. Years ago someone pointed out to me his evaluation of the 1993 TIMSS data for Math and Science. He looked at the raw data somewhat later. He took the 27 questions in Math and 29 questions in Science that actually required one to apply something. They were multiple choice, so he also looked at the odds of getting one in four correct as a statistical ‘zero’. How well did people do relative to that? He found American Girls performed at a statistical ‘zero’ on TIMSS 1993. American Boys performed at 11%. In terms of their ability to apply such ideas.

    So one ‘great idea’ might be to ask Bridge if they are interested in using their computational skills to investigate this idea that American girls may actually be scoring ‘zero’ on these tests, in terms of the their ability to apply, but the tests maybe saying they are doing far better. Let’s say that the Ed Trust – Midwest mentioned, in the other article, has the capacity to do this easily. Bridge could simple ask them for which questions do require the ability to apply, and to supply the results of these specific questions. One could then compare Mass, Tenn, Mi, Ohio, Indiana, and Wis, or any state or nation. We may have to step back a little and ask ourselves, if Mass and Tenn and the others are not achieving the result of girls, and boys, being able to apply what they are learning then maybe something else is needed rather than to simply follow them (blindly) down this path?

    Now a second ‘great idea’, is this. Is there a simple test that can measure this ‘ability to apply’ that we all seek? Yes, there is. It is to quickly show a student how to demonstrate something with simple objects like coins in one’s pockets, or paper clips. Then ask him to demonstrate how he would apply some of the things in his curriculum to specific situations in life. Give him some life situations and see how well he applies himself to them. A teacher could do this. But a School Board member could also do this simple test. A parent could do this. An employer could do this. The student could, and in my opinion should, actually do this himself, with each important thing he studies.

    We just need to find four more things, four more ‘great ideas’ to support your topic.

    Now what ‘topic’ does this add up to? I think Bridge would accept a guest article from either of us on most any topic, at least once. Now starting another year-long initiative, as a topic, I think probably not. But we might contribute to their Mission Statement and year-long initiative by clarifying just what it is, intended, to achieve.’ I will leave that to you for the moment.

    ‘We have talked about our approaches to student learning, but I am not so confident that what we have discussed is in a form that would be presentable and readily applicable. I realize what you have done is already been field tested with successful results. However, I am not sure that it would be easily accepted in a stand-alone offering.’ The field testing does not meet my standards yet, and I agree it would not be easily accepted.

    ‘I believe that the learning/education processes need to be better defined and presented, so others will have a common understanding and will be able to see how the various elements (such as your methods) fit and can be implemented. I feel a definition of learning success, the desired outcome of the process, needs to be developed.’

    ‘To be most effective in developing this package I would want it produced by a diverse group in a public forum (Bridge).’ I have not seen this happening at Bridge.

    “Ideally the student is flying along”, I feel it is important to have a vision of the ideal, but I have never seen that actually happen.’ Have you seen a two-year old playing, all-out, really into it?

    ‘I see it as a reference point to test reality against, but we need to be prepared to deal with the reality. As much as my wife and I want our children to be students flying along in the ideal, the reality was we didn’t understand enough to help them achieve the ideal so we prepared them for what we knew and tried to help them with their realities. My concern that too much is based on the ideal and that prevents helping individuals deal with reality. Strive for the ideal and include the recognition and practices for reality. To do that I believe the student has to be included in the process both as the beneficiary and as a provider. They need to be allowed to evolve just as the process needs to evolve with them. If we want them to have the hunger for learning then we need to help them develop it and provide them with the tools for learning along the way so when that hunger strikes they are able to feed it. My hunger didn’t start until I mature and decide on the future I wanted. I wasn’t properly prepared and still have at least one tool still at the beginning level of my learning, with that reality I have still been able to learn. I had spurts of interest early on but I wasn’t prepared to address the barriers that prevent my feeding that hunger back then. Reflect on those in my classroom of those times and recall how others (few had their hunger grow) but most were like me and some were even resistant, destroying any hunger they may have had. I have since seen that around me and my children and now my grandchildren and I see that reality is unique for each and our system is built on and for the ideal. Even with your band of engineers I have to believe they were individuals and as much as the system was designed for all to be the same each succeeded if they were aided as individuals. I believe it is the marrying of the ideal and reality that is needed for a more effective process and better success.’ I believe there is the ‘existing scene’, and there is the ‘ideal scene’. One strives to move the existing scene up to the level of the ideal scene. If there are no higher ideals, then one simply maintains the existing scene. Ideal Scenes are similar to Mission Statements, Purposes and Goals, Vision Statements, and sometimes, Statements of Our Values.

    ‘That returns me to the idea of an open process where a diverse group tries to develop a learning process from a new perspective. We have different perspective with the same goal, and I can see how they can complement the process and help the students, but still we are missing opportunities and variations on our ideas that could make them more effective.’ I think we could say this is your ideal scene. This is what you want to bring into existence. I have asked possibly 500 people how they study, how they learn things. One day, long ago, I realized I had been going to various schools for 26 years straight. I decided it was time I started applying some of the things I had learned. I realize you probably have not gone through that process yet.

    ‘I see individuals have more to offer or bring to their learning process than is easily defined, such as learning capacity, basic understanding, ethics, etc. They can have such things as respect, drive, desire, persistence, and many other intangibles, but even these can be learned. It is these intangibles that need more than the traditional teaching. These are things that are part of the environmental factors that needs to be part of their learning.’

    ‘You mention a less than strong purpose in tutoring. I feel that is an example where they have been told to have a purpose, but weren’t taught how to develop their purpose, the value of purpose, and the impact they can have with purpose. I see that as another part of the environmental learning and acting students can gain from. The tutoring purpose is another example of how they never felt ownership of the purpose; similar to what I see in learning (the students seldom have ownership of their learning).’

    ‘Would you like to talk about developing a proposal for Bridge on education?’

    1. Duane

      Leon,

      I have to admit before I take an interest in those I want to engage I first have to decide on what I want to achieve. What I have learned is that once I have identified what is within my interests then I try to understand those I am seeking support from and use that information to help me frame the idea or project I would like to see implemented.

      Since I have no formal training as a teacher, much my efforts have been to help others develop to become more effective. That was aside from specific operating responsibilities. That lack of educational training causes me to want to better understand the learning process. To help me (and I believe others), I would like to see the elements of the learning process, I do believe it is a process, laid out in a map that presents each element and how it relates to the others in the process, I would like to see if a purpose of learning would be develop by the group . With that in hand, I believe people could be more effective in identifying what elements to focus on and determine what activities are more effective.
      I would like this to be an open process to help provide a diversity of perspectives and ideas.

      I appreciate the Bridge initiative and I believe this would fit into it. However, I would like to better understand what they see a successful performance and how the measure it. If the Bridge’s purpose is to engage the public, to get the public thinking about an issue, to trigger comments, those would be things I would incorporate in the proposal. I would also the mechanics of the project as part of the proposal, the nature of comments (early stages all comments are new ideas no challenging of proposed ideas, no over working a proposed idea), no personal comments, the collection and the development , presenting of the process map, etc.

      You mention the tests currently available I would rather see the process develop and let the team decide what they would see as being valuable to measure, they would determining what activities to measure, deciding how to measure them, and they survey the available surveys to determine if they are appropriate for providing the needed information. I have found when you start with a list the ideas narrow to fit the list rather than looking for other items that may be more effective than the initial list. I have found that if you want to change things you need to start with a question at the top of a blank page and allow everyone to have input rather then start with answers and try to make them fit whatever question arises.

      I do see Bridge having the more traditional approach of the media and less about drawing in the public. The approach of an open discussion to develop an issue and propose new ideas would be a change in how Bridge operates.

      The few two year olds I have watched play never seem to do it the same way, each seem to have their unique approach to ‘flying along’. There may aspects that one would like to look for and encourage, but to say that is a ‘norm’ seems to create a risk to over control and disrupt the individuality of the child.

  26. Leon L. Hulett, PE

    Duane April 28, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    Just an observation. You have been discussing things like someone that is doing things democratically. You are describing my actions in a way that looks like a benevolent dictator. I may have told you this story, but I will summarize briefly. In college in an ROTC course we were asked to do a demonstration (secretly to show the advantages of an authoritarian approach, that is the Air Force way, over a democratic approach.) Of the 25 or so student officers doing this demonstration, I was the only one that was able to demonstrate the democratic approach at all. All the other officer cadets simply blew it off. We were asked to accomplish a number of tasks in a very limited amount of time. With the authoritarian approach one had only to understand and settle things by giving an order. With the democratic approach one had to communicate, listen, and talk through objections to get a consensus. I was able to get 6 out of 10 of the tasks completed. I realize that none of the cadets had ever been trained in democratic processes and I had not been trained either, but that was the way I usually led an activity; like class president and captain of the basket ball team. I would just like to point out that the way I do things is not as a dictator. For example; when I have the student define a word and use it in a sentence, he usually takes some time to compose his thoughts. That might be 10 seconds before he begins to say the first sentence. He is actually breaking down certain barriers or a certain inertia in his thought processes. Then I have him do it again. This time it may be 5 seconds till he starts to say the answer. I have him do it again and he can do it more or less instantly. Now what I have in fact done is to invite him to overcome the hesitations and resistances in his thought processes. Now at that point he understands well enough so he can use that definition of the word at a high emotional level and has acquired the knowledge and skills of its use. I believe this skill will be effective for the rest of his life. So on just this one issue, I brought him up to the level of those two-year olds, we used as example of my ideal. He is free. (on that one issue.) He is not subject to my will or my choices thereafter.

    ‘I have to admit before I take an interest in those I want to engage, I first have to decide on what I want to achieve.’

    Who do you want to engage? I assume you intend to engage students, parents, Bridge, schools, school boards, school districts, the Michigan Department of Education and the Governor’s Office, and possibly some other benefactor.

    What to you want to achieve?

    ‘What I have learned is that once I have identified what is within my interests, then I try to understand those I am seeking support from, and use that information, to help me frame the idea or project I would like to see implemented.’ It seems to me you could do what you have described to me in a single guest commentary. It would have to be masterfully written. But I believe you could present a case for one of your topics; and receive comments back and forth, and continue a dialog much like this one. You could engage education leaders and knowledge sources, and guide them through the things you would like to attain from such a group.

    ‘Since I have no formal training as a teacher, much of my efforts have been to help others develop ways to become more effective. That was aside from my specific operating responsibilities. That lack of educational training causes me to want to better understand the learning process. To help me (and I believe others), I would like to see the elements of the learning process, I do believe it is a process, laid out in a map, that presents each element and how it relates to the others in the process.’ You will have to work that out with your audience.

    I will try to put together a graphic, or map, or PowerPoint, and place it in my Facebook account, or Drop Box, if I can figure out how to do that. I don’t know how to do that here. It would go something like this, with an 8 1/2 x 11 paper landscape view. Each box might have a dialog box to explain content, with hypertext words linking to their conceptual definitions:

    At the left center in a 1 1/2″ square box, ‘Understanding.’ Dialog, ‘The individual is considered to be at their essence understanding. This individual is self-determined. He can understand new things well enough to evaluate them, and to acquire them as new knowledge and skills.

    At the left top, a line upward from ‘Understanding’, up to a right arrow box, ‘Observe’. Dialog, ‘One may observe with any of several dozen perceptions. Visual, Tactile, Audio, Smell, Taste, Time(Temporal and Mental), Sense of Motion, Emotion, Location, Importance, Emotion of Others, Humidity, Temperature, Relative Size, Motion of Body Parts, Level of Self-Determinism, Etc. He may observe things in his environment, body or in the mind.

    At the left top, a line upward from ‘Observe’, up to a right arrow box, ‘Decide’. Dialog, ‘The individual may understand what he observes and decide, or observe something is just knowledge, or he may decide to acquire something observed as a skill.’

    At the left top, a line upward from ‘Decide’, up to a right arrow box, ‘Act’. Dialog, ‘The individual may understand and decide to act with the physical body, the environment or the mind.’

    At the left bottom, a line downward from ‘Understanding’, down to an oval, ‘Not a Body’.
    At the left bottom, a line downward from ‘Understanding’, down to an oval, ‘Not the Environment.’
    At the left bottom, a line downward from ‘Understanding’, down to an oval, ‘Not the Mind’.

    At the top center, a line to a 1″ sq box, ‘Skill’, from a line from ‘Observe’, and a line from ‘Decide’, and a line from ‘Act’.

    At the top center, below ‘Skill’, a line to a 1″ sq box, ‘Knowledge’, from a line from ‘Observe’, and a line from ‘Decide’.

    This will have to be developed more, but each concept can be demonstrated by a student and observed by a student.

    ‘I would like to see if a purpose of learning would be developed by the group. With that in hand, I believe people could be more effective in identifying what elements to focus on, and determine what activities are more effective.’ I have written several versions of Mission Statements, Goals, and the True Goal of Education. I find a key factor is to NOT reduce intelligence, initiative and imagination while increasing the positive things envisioned.

    ‘I would like this to be an open process to help provide a diversity of perspectives and ideas.’ I understand this will be your personal presentation to Bridge, or guest commentary, or whatever. I agree.

    ‘I appreciate the Bridge initiative and I believe this would fit into it. However, I would like to better understand what they see as successful performance, and how they measure it. If Bridge’s purpose is to engage the public, to get the public thinking about an issue, to trigger comments, those would be things I would incorporate in the proposal. (I think they have made this clear. Maybe not successful performance.) I would also see the mechanics of the project as part of the proposal, the nature of comments (early stages all comments are new ideas no challenging of proposed ideas, no over working a proposed idea), no personal comments, the collection and the development , presenting of the process map, etc.’ I believe all of these factors are under your control.

    ‘You mention the tests currently available. I would rather see the process develop and let the team decide what they would see as being valuable to measure, they would be determining what activities to measure, deciding how to measure them, and they survey the available surveys to determine if they are appropriate for providing the needed information. I have found when you start with a list, the ideas narrow to fit the list, rather than looking for other items that may be more effective than the initial list.’ I understand.

    ‘I have found that if you want to change things you need to start with a question at the top of a blank page, and allow everyone to have input, rather than start with answers and try to make them fit whatever question arises.’ I understand. I understand you are looking at the process, and not at the end game during this discussion. At one company I was at, they would put a person in charge of the change and gave him a budget. I found with projects that it usually took three meetings to solve a problem, make the change.

    ‘I do see Bridge having the more traditional approach of the media, and less about drawing in the public. The approach of an open discussion to develop an issue and propose new ideas would be a change in how Bridge operates.’ That being said, I think you may already have the capability to do this at Bridge.

    ‘The few two year olds I have watched play never seem to do it the same way, each seem to have their unique approach to ‘flying along’. There may be aspects that one would like to look for and encourage, but to say that is a ‘norm’ seems to create a risk to over control and disrupt the individuality of the child.’ Would you like to discuss some options? I understand this activity of two-year olds represents ‘freedom’, and ‘democracy’. That is what I strive for, and I would point out that it is most important to recognize this state. I have been able to achieve this level in only two classrooms out of 300, in a 50 minute class period, while substitute teaching. I was able to achieve a lower level with about 50% of the classrooms, in a 50 minute class time. That resulted in getting the Lesson Plan done in about 20 minutes, or 2X as fast. I like to think it is important, that such a change can occur quickly. Another way to think of these high emotional levels is to think of them as the best measure of survival, the most easily observed measure. If we want to increase the survival potential of the individual, then we can observe it, or measure it, with their emotional level.

    1. Duane

      Leon,

      I am not sure I see a democratic or autocratic involvement in what I am suggesting. It would seem the drawing in of other ideas and perspectives in nothing more than that. I don’t talk about a selection process, I am simply encouraging the engagement of diverse thinking. As for what you offer, I simply recognize you have more knowledge of the methods and how they are being applied, I see it no differently than how I would do then when I turned to a knowledgeable person on any topic whether it be a surgeon, a mechanic, an analytical chemist.

      Your ROTC experience does raise a though independent of our conversation; how would you describe/manage a situation in which arrived at your first command assignment and 4 combat hardened veterans took you aside and told you that they would never form a skirmish line to assault and enemy position across an open rice paddy? And to emphasize their resolve that told you that you could start typing up their court martial papers right then. Would you see that as a challenge to you authority, an exertion of democracy, an informed recommendation by knowledgeable experts, or just a few tired soldiers wanting to avoid combat?
      Considering you technical background let offer one from my manufacturing experience (saw it happen more than once), a young engineer has idea/project that he has been assigned to implement and he was put into a production plant directly from his/her research/engineering department. The engineer was given responsibility and the associated administrative authority to get results. Upon showing up in the process control room and being introduced to the first shift of operators who will be making your idea happen those operators start by pointing out how it has been tried before and failed, how it will not help them do their job which is to make pounds, how it will cost more time and will not work. How would you think that engineer should respond? To give you a sense of when I was learning to operate a process the controls and charts were mostly pneumatic. In fact I was shown how when an engineer wanted straight lines on the charts how it could be achieve with a couple of rubber bands.

      Back to the topic at hand, who would need to be engaged would happen in stages; first is Bridge if theirs is the platform to be used, next is the team who will be doing the development, once there is a usable product then it will be those who will be participating in the application or testing of what was developed, then as results are provided those who will be involved in expanding or leverage the work. It is about two levels of attention and providing the effort accordingly. There is the at hand that is necessary for what be done now and there is the overview that looks to the broadest application

      What I would like to achieve; “understand the learning process… elements of the learning process… laid out in a map that presents each element and how it relates to the others in the process…a purpose of learning would be develop by the group .”.

      I have found that an ideas, especially ones that are breaking form consensus, develop like a seed; they are planted, fed and water, allowed to germinate, and as they grow are allowed t adjust to the environment and then the fruits those ideas will be ready for consumption. What we hear today is conventional wisdom that has had years for people to grow accustomed to, as on Bridge we have the ideas as pronouncements with no expectation of adjustment, we watch then become battle lines either defended or attacked. There are a couple of reason I see this taking more then one or two postings. There is the change to a forum where it isn’t about lines being drawn, it is about open unchallenged presentations of personal perspectives, it is about discussion of the reasoning behind the ideas, the questioning to draw more thought on the ideas, identifying the barriers to those ideas being successful, the willingness and openness to present what one feels without having to expect to have to defend it. That process is most likely different from what most have experienced and will take some time and nurturing for it to be effective. The other is the changing how the issues are looked at, how they are thought about, talking about the ideas before trying to fight the application battles, about the modifying of ideas. If we were talking about simply trying to garner support for a particular method it may only take one article. When we may be talking about developing a new approach to education/learning in Michigan it would not seem to be unreasonable to expect to take an extended period of time, especially with it being an open forum. IN addition it would take time to capture the ideas and put them into a form that would aid people in better understanding their potential impact. The more diverse the group the time for conversation will also take more time.
      With a group of subject matter ‘experts’ there are many assumptions made and concepts accept, never being questioned. This makes for efficient discussions, but it does not lend itself to innovative discussions.
      I lean toward no more than 15% of the discussion group be subject matter ‘experts’.

      I am not sure what you are planning to map, is it the process for the discussions or a map of learning/education. If it is about learning/education process, as you mentioned purpose is important than would seem to be the needed before a there would be any need of a map to get there.
      I have to admit I have no Facebook account nor do I recall using DropBox.

      With regard to change and how it is achieved, even how long it takes to achieve it will be affected by the nature or level of change. Changing a practice, changing a procedure can be much easier to discuss, layout, and implement than a change in approach or in thinking. While a change in culture will most likely take the longest, though each can be a step feeding into the next level of change.

      Just as you mentioned using DropBox for sharing graphics, I would be more effective if that could be presented on Bridge. I would see some need for an administrator/facilitator for the process and I am not sure how Bridges mechanics works on that. I could see how even with an open discussion there would be value in having a core/designated team members. These and other issues may not have been put in place or there may be alternative methods, all of which would seem to suggest more than the current article format.

      I would like to hear more of how you achieved your results. One of the barriers I suspect that is preventing a broader application of is how it may differ from the current wisdom or accepted ‘norm’, more details of how you establish the ‘norm’, what barriers you had to overcome. It seems that the ‘norm’ is the desired outcome, I wonder how close to the that ‘norm’/outcome you see as success. I view the ‘norm’ as a reference with the expectation of success being in the shadow of the ‘norm’ rather than performing at the ‘norm’.

      If we were to put together a proposal to Bridge how would you describe the purpose or outcome? My leaning is to, development of a better understanding of the learning process and the development of a process map that would describe the learning process from the students perspective.

      1. Leon L. Hulett, PE

        Duane April 30, 2014 at 8:33 pm

        This is a most excellent comment!

        ‘I am not sure I see a democratic or autocratic involvement in what I am suggesting. It would seem the drawing in of other ideas and perspectives in nothing more than that. I don’t talk about a selection process, I am simply encouraging the engagement of diverse thinking. As for what you offer, I simply recognize you have more knowledge of the methods and how they are being applied, I see it no differently than how I would do then when I turned to a knowledgeable person on any topic whether it be a surgeon, a mechanic, an analytical chemist.’

        ‘Your ROTC experience does raise a thought independent of our conversation; how would you describe/manage a situation in which you arrived at your first command assignment and 4 combat hardened veterans took you aside and told you that they would never form a skirmish line to assault an enemy position across an open rice paddy? And to emphasize their resolve they told you that you could start typing up their court martial papers right then. Would you see that as a challenge to your authority, an exertion of democracy, an informed recommendation by knowledgeable experts, or just a few tired soldiers wanting to avoid combat?’

        Just for your information, I was an Air Force Officer, and it was AFROTC, and I am a Viet Nam Era vet, but I accept your question as is. I would never have seen such a situation as, ‘just a few tired soldiers wanting to avoid combat.’ I think I have talked with enough WWII and Viet Nam veterans to know that many new officers, particularly ’90 day wonders’, would take the short view and consider this as a challenge to their authority and wisdom. I would not. Firstly, the situation doesn’t say I had given them any orders at all, at that point. Secondly, they took me aside privately, so they did not present a case of mutiny. It seems to me they merely presented their earnest concerns about what was to be a life and death necessity in a few hours. To me this is quite routine in the Engineering world, and I would not expect it to differ much in this situation. Even when I go into classrooms, a few students tell me privately, who is going to cause trouble and what issues should not be taken further. I’m not saying I take their orders, but I do listen. And they do tell me privately, when they think I should have listened better. Back to your scenerio. As you have said previously, you have given me a list, and implied that I should politely select from the list rather than provide a wider view. I have not been trained as a teacher, but I do teach. I have been trained as an Air Force Officer, but I never acted other than on my own responsibility. Even when directly threatened personally with Court Martial in the service. The obvious answer from your list is ‘an informed recommendation by knowledgeable experts.’ This is very much like one of the engineering situations I mentioned above, where I had to get a project done in 21 days, but my three technical experts said it could not be done. In fact they told me this emphatically, nearly every day when I gave them the specific instructions for that one day. I call my actions there, ‘Why Finding.’ When my experts made a stand, I simply and quietly asked my experts, why? And they were only to happy to tell me the exact ‘Why’, it could not be done that day. I quietly made it my business of the day to handle their ‘Why’. I had the authority and priority to do such things. So the next day, the ‘Why’ from the previous day, was not there. But because I was pressing them hard, there was always a new ‘Why’. We were effectively changing the way the company did such business. So, possibly 10 out of the 21 days of the project, I was faced with a situation similar to what you proposed here. I suppose this model may apply directly to changing the education patter in Michigan. We will encounter a multitude of ‘Whys’. Total certainty, just as you outline in your example, of why it can not be done. That may be our task for the day. Now you also had one more item, or option, on your list, ‘an exertion of democracy’. I would like to discuss ‘democracy’ and how Pericles of Athens, said that ‘everyone should participate’, everyone is responsible not just a tyrant, everyone should be educated, but I would like to paint a bigger picture. Imagine a painting with images on it. The images could be of tyrants, of democracies. One I like is the schools paint of ‘economic systems’. Their image is one of capitalism, socialism and communism, with the logic of each fitting together into a pattern for all possibilities. I think it is important to distinguish some basic concepts. These are ‘political systems’ not economic systems. So there must be some confusions on what ‘economics’ means. I would define economics as, ‘Those things one produces to get the things one needs from others.’ Or something like that. Now that extends to a family, where most definitions begin and begin to get complex. Now beneath all these images is ‘the canvas’. I think of the canvas like the ‘individual’ in my model of the learning process. He is the one doing the learning. He is the one building a family. He is the one building a state. He is the one making things to exchange with others for what he needs. He is the one secretly being talked about when politicians refer to ‘the means of production.’ I don’t believe he is owned by a capitalist or a state or anything else. The individual is free. He is the canvas on which all else is placed. Now in ‘Democracy’ I see such things discussed but not realized. So back to your four reluctant soldiers. Are their actions ‘an exertion of democracy’. That might be a possible answer, but I choose to think of each of them, and you and I, as ‘the canvas’ and the painter.

        ‘Considering your technical background let me offer one from my manufacturing experience (saw it happen more than once), a young engineer has idea/project that he has been assigned to implement and he was put into a production plant directly from his/her research/engineering department. The engineer was given responsibility and the associated administrative authority to get results. Upon showing up in the process control room and being introduced to the first shift of operators who will be making your idea happen, those operators start by pointing out how it has been tried before and failed, how it will not help them do their job which is to make pounds, how it will cost more time and will not work. How would you think that engineer should respond? To give you a sense of when I was learning to operate a process the controls and charts were mostly pneumatic. In fact I was shown how when an engineer wanted straight lines on the charts how it could be achieved with a couple of rubber bands.’

        Good example. I’m not trained in the technology of process control, either. But it sounds like the advice to you about rubber bands is probably funny at this point looking back, but I’m guessing was not offered that way back then, and probably no options were offered with it. Remembering back myself, I did have sort of a process control job once, back when I was working my way through college. I worked with electronic sorting machines, sorting 100 million pounds of tart cherries before I was done. I and another college guy, were part-time, in the summers, and there were full-time maintenance men all year around. They would tell me things about what could not be done like that. All of them worked with the other college guy during the day and I worked the night shift alone. Most days I would come in and find two or three machines not working. I would get them working and sit back and watch all 28 machines, in three production lines, run all night long without too much trouble. I was able to tweak up the production to a ton an hour each. I also kept track of the conveyor belt systems that brought the cherries to each machine, the vibration mechanism that fed the cherries from the belts into each machine, and the mechanical systems that moved the cherries and positioned them so a vacuum drum could pick them up one by one, scanning each of them twice for sorting, by two optical systems. There was a compressed air system to blow the rejects into one chute and the rest went into a water conveying system to move onto somewhere else. As an Engineering Manager at a Space Company I had Designers and Senior Project Engineers, and Manufacturing people that I had to see through the types of situations you describe. I started by having them estimate the tasks involved with a project, then estimate the hours to do the task. I trained them how to do this if they didn’t know how already. Often it would come up that they would not have a clue how to do a task.

        Possibly this is similar to your question. ‘How would you think that engineer should respond?’ Not to over simplify, but that information is ‘the existing scene’. He must thoroughly understand this existing scene and these people. His idea is, or will lead to a new ‘ideal scene.’ This ideal scene is the embodiment of his idea where he takes the existing scene and moves it to the ideal scene, of his idea. Again, not the most ideal scene, just his idea in practice with these men, and this equipment plus any changes needed. I would coach new Engineers or Project Engineers on what to expect. He needs a project plan, at least mentally and confidence. I tend to break things, from the project plan, down to what each work center needs to know. I call this an MRP, a materials resource plan. Yes, I start with ‘a blank sheet of paper’, and just write out the whole thing. There might be better words for such things in the process world. I tend to talk with each of the participants involved each day. I see how they are doing on each thing they are supposed to be doing. I find out what their problems are. They might say, ‘I was not going to say anything, but since you are here…’ It becomes the topic of the day. Now the people below me that I give an order to, or set a target for, will tell me their ‘whys’. Sometimes, even people more remote to the focus of the activity, tell me ‘why their something won’t work to.’ I listen. I solve it, if I can. Often right on the spot. Sometimes, my plan needs an update.

        Now, I feel, and you may feel, I may have side-stepped the real issue a little. Possibly this is the toughest issue, the emotional issue. There is that first moment of confrontation when ‘the first shift of operators’ gang up on the new, the unsuspecting, the unprepared, Engineer. ‘How do I think that engineer should respond?’ He should smile.

        When doing substitute teaching for five years, I worked out three rules, to replace all the pages of rules I saw in at least 13 different schools from day to day. Rule #1 was this idea of ‘Smile’. I wrote these three rules on the board before students came into the classroom. I pointed them out to students. I told the students each day what I meant by these three Rules. ‘To smile at someone, is not just something one does with the face, it is a confidence, a certainty. It is a communication to someone that you are competent. It radiates, like a glow from the heart, from the soul, from you! I tell the students when I walk into a new company as an Engineering Consultant, I never know what they might say, or what the situation will be. That really does not matter. I start with a smile, and know in my heart I can solve any problem, any situation. I didn’t say to the students, there is something about admiring people and problems, that I think helps dissolve the problems and that brings people together. I ask the students to ‘smile’. All of them could, one took a little coaching to do even that part.

        Now, as I said what I meant by ‘Smile’ is different, and may not be what most people would define as a smile. I have also found another factor in that. That is willingness. My wife and I, with one of my sons, volunteered at a Boy’s Ranch for a year. This was more of a half-way house, really. These boys, and girls, each one, were only half a step away from reform school. They tended to get into fights and guess who had to break up the fights? I found I had acquired a certain attitude that was magnetic for getting hurt in such fights. It took a while to wise up to just what it was. I had the attitude that ‘I should not hurt the students, but it was alright for me to get hurt instead.’ I got hurt a lot, and that specific attitude did not lower the number of fights at the Ranch. I finally noticed the game such kids were playing. It was, ‘Who ever does the most damage wins!’ So I decided to consciously change my attitude, and see what happened. I assumed the attitude of, ‘I am willing to harm such students.’ Now I am saying ‘willing to’, not that I did harm anyone, and I did not. I found instantly, that there were no more fights with me. Or around me. It was this ‘willing’ thing. I had changed from ‘willing to be hurt’ to ‘willing to hurt’ and suddenly there were no more situations to handle. So I think this is part of the ‘Smile’ thing. Is your new Engineer with the new idea ‘willing’. I think this is similar to admiration. It is something one can sort of radiate to others and to problems. It helps.

        ‘Back to the topic at hand, who would need to be engaged would happen in stages; first is Bridge, if theirs is the platform to be used, next is the team who will be doing the development, once there is a usable product then it will be those who will be participating in the application or testing of what was developed, then as results are provided those who will be involved in expanding or leverage the work. It is about two levels of attention and providing the effort accordingly. There is the at-hand that is necessary for what needs to be done now and there is the overview that looks to the broadest application’

        ‘What I would like to achieve; “understand the learning process… elements of the learning process… laid out in a map that presents each element and how it relates to the others in the process…a purpose of learning would be developed by the group .” I would suggest that each of the ‘elements’ should be demonstrable. Is it just theoretical, or is it workable?

        ‘With a group of subject matter ‘experts’ there are many assumptions made and concepts accepted, never being questioned. This makes for efficient discussions, but it does not lend itself to innovative discussions.’ I found at Barry Wright Corporation, when they formalized an Innovation Program, that I was producing about 40% of their, the corporation’s, innovations. I was typically assigned responsibility for something by management, or sometimes by a customer like Boeing Aircraft or Aerospatiale, and the problem was mine to solve. I contacted the technical experts like you describe here, usually one-on-one, like we do here.
        ‘I lean toward no more than 15% of the discussion group be subject matter ‘experts’.’

        ‘I am not sure what you are planning to map, is it the process for the discussions or a map of learning/education. If it is about learning/education process, as you mentioned, purpose is important, that would seem to be needed before there would be any need of a map to get there.’ I would like to keep this learning process map a separate thing from your discussions at Bridge, like on Facebook. Then you can encourage people and ideas to come forward. I’m finding that working it out, seems to be the same as doing a demonstration of something when trying to figure it out. I found that I should also include a suggested demonstration for each vital part, to show that such things can be demonstrated. I would expect competing philosophies might fail on that point alone. Something that is not true, or less true, probably can not be demonstrated without a lot of handwaving. You had not suggested that you wanted a purpose included previously, but I could include that. How would you like to review this ‘map’, when it is done?

        ‘Just as you mentioned using DropBox for sharing graphics, I would be more effective if that could be presented on Bridge. I would see some need for an administrator/facilitator for the process and I am not sure how Bridges mechanics works on that.’ I once did some petitions for various things on change.org, and they could include graphics into a similar sort of text content there. That might work here. I never really worked it out there, like you said we may need an administrator to help with such things. On change.org three years ago one petition had to with growing the US economy, and suggestions to do that. One chart I wanted to display was the GDP growth in America compared to China showing when China’s economy would exceed ours. I calculated 2015 back then. I noticed a couple of words on that on the evening news last night saying it was going to happen sooner than they expected.

        ‘I would like to hear more of how you achieved your results.’ My son had trouble reading, so I bought 25 hours of tutoring for him and that solved it. That success is my inspiration. So I have kind of carried the idea forward that my part in this might be capsulized in 25 hours of tutoring for a student, or group of 10 students. Can I make the tutoring so effective I can do the same for most any student in 25 hours, for all subjects. My son was able to raise his reading level 2 years per year on his own after an initial burst with the tutors, I expect most students will need more help than he did. I got a study course for him and his brother, and recommended them to others with great results. But I felt I needed to do something myself, rather than just have others knowing how to do such things. I wanted to do something for all American children. I once had a Chief Engineer in from Shawa Electric in Japan, and showed him around our company. He could not speak English, so we just wrote out our questions and answers. When I described our computers capacity, he didn’t say anything. So I asked about Shawa’s computer capacity. It was about 10,000 times greater. I had an epiphany, for three days. It was totally strange to describe. I was slapping my head as things I had accepted blindly came unstuck. I almost could not catch my breath some times. I was so humbled, I could not believe that I had been so arrogant This idea had been on the study course my sons had taken stated so simply, but I seemed not to be big enough to get around this idea. Suddenly it made a miraculous change in my life. I was so surcharged with energy I conceived of a new computer program that was not only 10,000, but more than that, more powerful than the one we had been using. Virtual technology was generally know way back then. This program competed with what Boeing and Aerospatiale/Airbus were doing. I won 7 major international programs around the world with that little computer program. I made the idea, my Standard #9. I volunteered at a local School To Work, STW, activity. I wrote 10 standards and they funded my proposal, but put sort of a poison-pill into it. They had 25,000 students that needed the standards, but they required me to supply the students, my students. I was completely stunned! How could such a thing be? I don’t know if that is a success, or a crushing defeat. I presented my standards to the public school board with 25,000 students, and got no interest. They gave me a copy of their school planner, that was given to each student. It contained the sort of superficial study tips that one might find in ‘Effective Study’ or the workbook from the national association of middle school principals. I guess they had newly incorported ‘study skills’ to that degree, but were not receptive not mine. I also presented to my local school board, and got some cooperation at first, but mostly organized resistance. The school board president told me privately, ‘You can talk till you are blue in the face, but if no one is listening what good will it do?’ The Superintendent took me aside and told me what it all boils down to, ‘We all have to agree, or we can not get anything done.’ I determined that is the most basic principle at that school. It excludes all criticisms, all arguments, all objections, and all initiative. Who determined what was agreed to? I decided to work with parents and kids for the most part. I conceived a plan to give my first course to 10 parents and see how things went. In the first hour and a half about half the parents had some kind of miracle occur. I got frightened and decided to step back a little and see what this was all about. I decided that what had happened was not so much a miracle as these people just sort of attained a natural state of being at a high emotional level for a short time. I had asked them to demonstrate a simple skill, I thought. I simply asked them to be in enthusiasm. But they actually did this in a big way, and were able to be at this level for some time and it changed their lives. They accomplished things they had not dreamed were possible. I concluded this just happens some times. But as you talk about it, I seem to have come to the conclusion that this really is a natural state, that if one is studying well, using A certain few study skills, he may be at this level while studying. If he is not, one could use one of the standards, to bring him up to or back to that level.

        ‘One of the barriers I suspect that is preventing a broader application of is how it may differ from the current wisdom or accepted ‘norm’. I think so to, along the line of the local school superintendent.

        ‘more details of how you establish the ‘norm’? I am not so familiar with ‘norm’ as I am with ideal scene. I found when students were learning the concepts, by using them in sentences a few times, or making their own examples, or doing their own demonstrations that they tended to at first be hesitant and uncertain, and finally came to be confident and could make the idea their own and seemed to be able to apply it to anything. So I thought this is a natural stopping point. They’ve got it!
        ‘what barriers you had to overcome.’ I said quite a few above.

        ‘It seems that the ‘norm’ is the desired outcome, I wonder how close to the that ‘norm’/outcome you see as success.’ As I said above, I expect my part in this is limited to just 25 hours per student. I don’t think I have said, but that is with 10 students at a time. That would be a great long term success. If a student completed the first 10 litte courses, that would be huge win for me. Just having a student finish the first course, I think is a major thing for them. That is about 10 hours. Finishing my Applying Knowledge course takes about an hour, and that is big thing for me. As I said, about half of the students have achieved a level of enthusiam on the first course. Each of those is a miracle as far as I am concerned. On my Applying Knowledge course I go higher than that and ask for Exhileration. My long term success would be when a student takes another student through a course all by themselves. That means I could create an avalanche so to speak. One student could do ten, and ten could do a hundred, and so on.

        ‘I view the ‘norm’ as a reference with the expectation of success being in the shadow of the ‘norm’ rather than performing at the ‘norm’.’ On each of the steps, the student gains an ability, that he can finally do instantaneously and apply to many situations. That is good enough for me. The ‘norm’ you speak of, is probably the miracle I talk about that occurs about half the time, so far.
        ‘If we were to put together a proposal to Bridge how would you describe the purpose or outcome? My leaning is to, development of a better understanding of the learning process and the development of a process map that would describe the learning process from the students perspective.’

        I lean more to working with students directly, or with parents or groups. The process you have outlined and the purpose you propose seems the same as the way I would approach something, at the very outset. When I do not have much of a handle on it. I did this with a problem Boeing asked me to solve on their 767 engine mounting system. I found that each of my subject matter experts felt it was impossible to solve. So I just went ahead, after the consultations with them and solved it. I may sound pessimistic here, but I think your purpose is fine as it is. I do not think Bridge is up to solving it. I hate to say, but the prevailing wisdom will tell you the same answer S. L. Vygotsky gave to Stalin, back in 1927. The plot will have three boxes connected with two straight lines, and it does just that, in his book, ‘Society and Mind.’ [Stimulus] – [Mediation] – [Response] I think he would say that is intended to be the model of the student view. That would be mediated stimulus-response. Now the guy, a teacher trainer, from U of M education told me he is using three philosophies now, and he adds in Jenner and Skinner. I do not know their models. Now, since that is what has been in use these last 20 years in America, you might want to emphasize ‘a better understanding’.

        1. Duane

          Leon,

          I as I recall your comment about the ROTC and how the training session to get as many tasks done as possible was a lesson in authority. The two scenarios I offer were examples of how the environment, both in the workplace and the military is changing. There is a democratization of both, and it is being driven by the higher expectation of the individual and how they are being provided more information/training so they can take more independent actions in fulfilling their roles/responsibilities.
          In the workplace setting it had much to do with your interest in the why, but it also was an indication of expectation associated with roles/responsibilities for each person in an organization. In a chemical plant the CEO may come and order a process to be shut down, but the act of shutting it down will be the responsibility of the operating technician. Similarly, if the operating technician deemed it necessary to shutdown (i.e. safety concern) the CEO would not by the workplace structure have the authority to override the safety decision.
          The military scenario was about the reality of independence and democratization in the battle field. The soldiers were not questioning strategy they were simply stating what tactics they would not do. It was not meant as a challenge of the officer’s authority it was simply a clarification of what soldiers were willing to accept in place of a particular tactic. Those soldiers felt so empowered that they opening described the reality the officer would have to deal with.
          I believe democratization is also happening in the classroom, and that students have more things in their environment competing for their attention and they are actually making choices away from classroom learning. That is why I think your point of asking ‘why’ needs to include the all-important environment.

          As for the philosophical point of democracy and expectation of participation (Pericles), I would offer that freedom is the foundation of democracy and that includes the choice of whether to participate or not.

          The confusion of the political systems and economic system, they are all created by man so none will be clear in reality. This makes living is in the ‘grey’ rather than the ‘black’ or ‘white’. Similarly whatever system we create including education/learning will be in the ‘grey’.

          “He must thoroughly understand this existing scene and these people. His idea is, or will lead to a new ‘ideal scene.’” This is something I never seem to hear mentioned with regard to teachers and education and it seems a critical point that should be part of teachers training and part of the knowledge and skills verification. It is the part, I see, that prepares the teacher to address the student’s environmental issues.

          I do agree that your experience as a substitute teacher was analogues to the engineer scenario, and each new class would create a whole new set of dynamics. Though I would suspect that as you described your methods for approaching each new class that is what most engineers did as they start off each new project in a new setting.

          I surely agree that the ‘smile’ needs to start deep in the person and it will make each situation better.

          Before something is demonstrable it needs to be identify, developed, and defines such that others can understand it and see the applicability of it. I see the team addressing each of these steps. Once it has reach that level of clarity then the means and methods of application and demonstrability will be addressed, most likely by a sub team or an ad hoc team charted by the development team.

          When I mentioned the process map is was to illustrate how I approach a project with some idea of what I see as beneficial before I start trying to formalize the purpose of such a project. This is a part of how I identify an issue/problem to address and when I am soliciting others input. I want to offer something specific to help other crystalize their thoughts. In this case I would see the project as taking a different perspective at looking at education. The change in perspective would be from the learning process viewpoint with focus on the student rather than the educational delivery system. Though in the case of the map, I can see it as a product of the project that will be available to others who want to expand on the project’s efforts.

          My view is that each project/process needs a purpose; it provides a destination so we know where we are going and when we have arrived. The map is simply a tool to help in getting there. I would create a project map, with the purpose to help people see how we could get to a desired outcome or product.

          One of the key elements of your son’s reading success was the role his parent played. I wonder if that is one of those elements of learning that could be a value part of the learning process and could be enhanced with specific tools, such as the tutoring program you utilized. My approach is to identify critical elements of a process and then expand the in detail what how and what can be done to make that element more effective.

          I am not surprised by the reaction/resistance you experienced at the school with your proposal. Especially when they probably didn’t see there was a problem that you were addressing. Your offering was significant change from their established wisdom, it wasn’t coming from an established source, and it provide no means for their ownership. When the source has no direct authority, then those with the authority need to become owners of the change or they need to see how they might be consider a barrier to proven success (widely recognized success).

          “I expect my part in this is limited to just 25 hours per student.” I disagree, I see what you developed as a latter piece in the project and learning process. I believe your perspective is unique so it would be beneficial to have it from the outset. I do have one reservation, with your successes I wonder how open you are starting with that project team’s blank page and not leaping to your answer. You have gone through the process of recognizing a problem and developing answer, but are you open to forgetting that problem and its answer until it appears in the project team’s development work.
          You have mentioned many of your experiences to show how you came to your solutions. Let me offer one of my experiences, I was part of incident investigation team, one of the challenges that I found we had to overcome was people knowing the answer before the questions were asked. It was extremely difficult it to shack people from their answers to gather facts about the event and what lead up to it. The individual who open and closed th wrong values went on for over half an hour staying how he did wrong and it was his fault, he had his answer and it was carved in granite. Even when he finally accepted we didn’t care and were interest in placing blame he continue to return to his answer to why the incident happened. After an agonizing after noon we finally found out that the piping was poorly laid out as there had been a demolition and he and others had been making an (unofficial) accommodation for that error culminating in a momentary distraction forgetting the practice and using commonly used procedure for such operations. That help sensitize me to how once someone gets an answer in mind how hard it is for the open up and consider other ideas, even other views of the problem.

          “I may sound pessimistic here, but I think your purpose is fine as it is. I do not think Bridge is up to solving it.” I am not expecting Bridge to solve anything, I am interested in Bridge being part of the process (the platform) to create a new approach, looking at the issue from a different perspective, so new ideas will be encouraged and developed. My view is that education has been left to the ‘experts’ to the exclusion of other approaches such as those who are working in other industries using different processes and experiences to address problems such as learning. Also to draw in the perspective of the parents, even students.

          I am not familiar with Jenner, but I believe Skinner was a key contributor to behavior process and modification.

          I will try to come up with some pieces for a draft proposal for your thoughts.

          1. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane May 5, 2014 at 12:38 am

            ‘I as I recall your comment about the ROTC and how the training session to get as many tasks done as possible was a lesson in authority. The two scenarios I offer were examples of how the environment, both in the workplace and the military is changing. There is a democratization of both, and it is being driven by the higher expectation of the individual and how they are being provided more information/training so they can take more independent actions in fulfilling their roles/responsibilities.’

            This is what I am trying to do with kids.

            ‘In the workplace setting it had much to do with your interest in the why, but it also was an indication of expectation associated with roles/responsibilities for each person in an organization. In a chemical plant the CEO may come and order a process to be shut down, but the act of shutting it down will be the responsibility of the operating technician. Similarly, if the operating technician deemed it necessary to shutdown (i.e. safety concern) the CEO would not by the workplace structure have the authority to override the safety decision.’

            That is the same way I handled the workplace setting. I did not attempt to over-ride safety or other practices, until it came up as ‘why’. Then I made that my business.

            ‘The military scenario was about the reality of independence and democratization in the battlefield. The soldiers were not questioning strategy they were simply stating what tactics they would not do. It was not meant as a challenge of the officer’s authority it was simply a clarification of what soldiers were willing to accept in place of a particular tactic. Those soldiers felt so empowered that they openly described the reality the officer would have to deal with.’

            ‘I believe democratization is also happening in the classroom, and that students have more things in their environment competing for their attention and they are actually making choices away from classroom learning. That is why I think your point of asking ‘why’ needs to include the all-important environment.’ “All-important environment” This is a red-flag sort of thing for me. From my viewpoint, the ‘why’ the employee gave me, whether it was the environment or something else, was most important.

            ‘As for the philosophical point of democracy and expectation of participation (Pericles), I would offer that freedom is the foundation of democracy and that includes the choice of whether to participate or not.’ True.

            ‘The confusion of the political systems and economic system, they are all created by man so none will be clear in reality. This makes living is in the ‘grey’ rather than the ‘black’ or ‘white’. Similarly whatever system we create including education/learning will be in the ‘grey’.’

            “He must thoroughly understand this existing scene and these people. His idea is, or will lead to a new ‘ideal scene.’” This is something I never seem to hear mentioned with regard to teachers and education and it seems a critical point that should be part of teachers training and part of the knowledge and skills verification. It is the part, I see, that prepares the teacher to address the student’s environmental issues.’

            I do agree that your experience as a substitute teacher was analogues to the engineer scenario, and each new class would create a whole new set of dynamics. Though I would suspect that as you described your methods for approaching each new class that is what most engineers did as they start off each new project in a new setting.

            ‘I surely agree that the ‘smile’ needs to start deep in the person and it will make each situation better.’

            ‘Before something is demonstrable it needs to be identified, developed, and defined such that others can understand it and see the applicability of it. I see the team addressing each of these steps. Once it has reached that level of clarity then the means and methods of application and demonstrability will be addressed, most likely by a sub team or an ad hoc team charted by the development team.’

            ‘When I mentioned the process map it was to illustrate how I approach a project with some idea of what I see as beneficial before I start trying to formalize the purpose of such a project. This is a part of how I identify an issue/problem to address and when I am soliciting others input. I want to offer something specific to help other crystallize their thoughts. In this case I would see the project as taking a different perspective at looking at education. The change in perspective would be from the learning process viewpoint with focus on the student rather than the educational delivery system. Though in the case of the map, I can see it as a product of the project that will be available to others who want to expand on the project’s efforts.’

            My view is that each project/process needs a purpose; it provides a destination so we know where we are going and when we have arrived. The map is simply a tool to help in getting there. I would create a project map, with the purpose to help people see how we could get to a desired outcome or product.’

            One of the key elements of your son’s reading success was the role his parent played. I wonder if that is one of those elements of learning that could be a value part of the learning process and could be enhanced with specific tools, such as the tutoring program you utilized. My approach is to identify critical elements of a process and then expand them in detail, what, how, and what can be done, to make that element more effective.’

            ‘I am not surprised by the reaction/resistance you experienced at the school with your proposal. Especially when they probably didn’t see there was a problem that you were addressing. Your offering was significant change from their established wisdom, it wasn’t coming from an established source, and it provided no means for their ownership. When the source has no direct authority, then those with the authority need to become owners of the change or they need to see how they might be consider a barrier to proven success (widely recognized success).’

            “I expect my part in this is limited to just 25 hours per student.” I disagree, I see what you developed as a latter piece in the project and learning process. I believe your perspective is unique so it would be beneficial to have it from the outset. I do have one reservation, with your successes I wonder how open you are starting with that project team’s blank page and not leaping to your answer. You have gone through the process of recognizing a problem and developing answer, but are you open to forgetting that problem and its answer until it appears in the project team’s development work?’ I can allow a child to work things out on their own. I can allow you to lead a team, with or without me. I can allow a team to come to a different answer, and allow them to go a different way. In one classroom, as a co-teacher, I watched that teacher lead students down a path that was not true. He took two students to the Principal’s Office the next morning because he had a fixed idea in his mind. I watched those two students receive an injustice, and we exchanged eye contact, they knew I knew it was wrong, but not my call. I can lose a battle and fight another day to win a war. Can you?

            ‘You have mentioned many of your experiences to show how you came to your solutions. Let me offer one of my experiences, I was part of incident investigation team, one of the challenges that I found we had to overcome was people knowing the answer before the questions were asked. It was extremely difficult it to shack people from their answers to gather facts about the event and what lead up to it. The individual who open and closed th wrong values went on for over half an hour staying how he did wrong and it was his fault, he had his answer and it was carved in granite. Even when he finally accepted we didn’t care and were interest in placing blame he continue to return to his answer to why the incident happened. After an agonizing after noon we finally found out that the piping was poorly laid out as there had been a demolition and he and others had been making an (unofficial) accommodation for that error culminating in a momentary distraction forgetting the practice and using commonly used procedure for such operations. That help sensitize me to how once someone gets an answer in mind how hard it is for them to open up and consider other ideas, even other views of the problem.’ As I said, once I spent three days letting go of paths I had taken up in error, of realizing I had been unspeakably arrogant in holding positions, that I then had to let go of. I don’t believe you have dared allowed yourself to go through that much self abnegation and humiliation. But I am willing.

            “I may sound pessimistic here, but I think your purpose is fine as it is. I do not think Bridge is up to solving it.” I am not expecting Bridge to solve anything, I am interested in Bridge being part of the process (the platform) to create a new approach, looking at the issue from a different perspective, so new ideas will be encouraged and developed. My view is that education has been left to the ‘experts’ to the exclusion of other approaches such as those who are working in other industries using different processes and experiences to address problems such as learning. Also to draw in the perspective of the parents, even students.’

            ‘I will try to come up with some pieces for a draft proposal for your thoughts.’ I look forward to seeing your proposal.

          2. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane,

            I left a question for you on Phil’s weekly column, and responded to you below. I didn’t know if you actually needed one here. -Leon

          3. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane,

            This graphic of ‘The Learning Process’ is getting complex.

            Maybe we should just go with:

            ‘Observe, Decide, Know’ and ‘Observe, Decide, Act.’

            Then people could just say; ‘I got this!’, or ‘I can do this!’

            And a Twin could say, ‘You got it!’ With a High-Five.

            And a Tutor could say, ‘I knew you could, all along.’

            Just kidding.

          4. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane May 11, 2014 at 9:41 pm I seem to have exceeded the available space on this site. I’ll be brief.

            Problem: The education system has lost or is losing public confidence in its ability to help students in the K-12 schools graduate having learned sufficient knowledge and skills for functional successfully into our changing society. [I don't understand the last sentence.] The perception is that students are not sufficiently prepared to become successfully employed, to manage their own household, to build a successful family home/environment, to continue to learn so they can keep pace with the changing communities. [and to build wealth in their communities.] The approach to education is constrained by conventional wisdom discouraging new or innovative approaches to and public involvement in addressing the issues.

            Duane, you might consider adding ‘Products’, ‘Staffing’, ‘Existing Scene’, ‘Ideal Scene’, ‘Goal’, ‘Organizational or Communications Chart’ and the evolution of this planning as project development continues, meeting by meeting. Good Job! – Leon

          5. Leon L. Hulett, PE

            Duane, did you get the comment from yesterday?

  27. Duane

    Leon,

    I apologize for the delay in getting back on this project idea, some everyday distractions.

    The following is a first draft for a project development;

    Bridge Project proposal:
    Problem: The education system has lost or is losing public confidence in its ability to help students in the K-12 schools graduate having learned sufficient knowledge and skills for functional successfully into our changing society. The perception is that students are not sufficiently prepared to become successfully employed, to manage their own household, to build a successful family home/environment, to continue to learn so they can keep pace with the changing communities. The approach to education is constrained by conventional wisdom discouraging new or innovative approaches to and public involvement in addressing the issues.

    Purpose: Open up the discussion on student learning to different perspectives from what is currently being presented in the public conversations. Reframe the issue, develop new ideas about how students can better learn and be supported as they learn, identifying the roles and responsibilities of those who can have an impact on the student and their learning, capture the ideas and elements from a different approach, and present them in a way that can be used by the public in future conversation and project development.

    Scope: Focus on student learning, identifying critical elements and associated barriers to successful learning and a successful student, develop a vision of a successful student and learning, identify opportunities for improving learning.

    Expectations: Engage readers and develop a diverse team (6-12 identify members) that will be committed to the project, describe expectations for learning, ask the challenging questions that will lead to a different perspective, to different ideas, to changes in the learning discussion.

    Metrics ( for project): Measure the level or participation, the diversity of participants, the new/different ideas, the identified barriers to learning, establish time line, milestones.

    Critical Activities: Describe the topic, frame the discussion, establish the process, recruit team members, establish process/guidelines, define product, discuss and develop topic (learning), development definition/expectations of learning, develop key elements of learning process, identify barriers to learning, develop vision of learning success/successful student. Identify barriers to project success, develop team roles/responsibilities, identify and develop needed/desired project resources (time, team make up, IT needs (display an update team work for posting, how to make Bridge article platform for group discussion), develop project map.

    1. Leon L. Hulett, PE

      Duane,

      Are you still there?

      1. Duane

        Still here. Any thought on my first pass at a project idea?

        1. Leon L. Hulett, PE

          Duane May 15, 2014 at 7:25 pm

          This is getting confusing. See my comment from: May 13, 2014 at 10:07 pm

          I do a Find or Cntl-F to find things on this page. – Leon

          1. Duane

            Leon,

            It seems we have reach a limit (trying to find where our comments are) and will have to revisit this on a different article.
            I found your May 13th comments, that last paragraph are things I would like to have addressed by the project team and not set by me.
            As for my remarks about loss of confidence in our education, it is about people not believing that the schools are educating our kids so they can properly function and succeed in today’s society.

            I will hold on to what we have talked about and we can revisit it later.

  28. Leon L. Hulett, PE

    Duane May 21, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Got it! See you then.

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