Inspired by The Universal Traveller, compatible with The Five Stage Model, this simple notion could empower self-organised learning anywhere
Tell us about your idea
In the 70's I read The Universal Traveler by Dan Koberg and Jim Bagnall and, as an Ergonomist, simplified it to four simple ideas. Bad, Good, If I, We Should ...
(What follows is a distilled version of my longer (more rambling) version which is attached.)
When any learning challenge had to be faced these thinking tools helped me reimagine every aspect of my personal and professional life. They helped me steer my career, helped me raise my four children, and helped me with the administration and organization of adopting our fifth. It helped me conceive new design methodologies.
In the final phase of my career they helped me educate MBA students and externally examine four MA Design courses.
I never had the chance to influence the mainstream education sector so I never had to upend any established system.
They even helped me design the Security Control Room at The Bank of England!
In my attachment, I've explained how a teacher could organise a learning together culture and I've outlined the elements of a learning together platform. I've also floated an intergenerational idea which could introduce grandchildren to the grandparents of their friends (or vice versa) and help both learn.
The technique is compatible with The 5 stage model conceived my Prof Gilly Salmon at The Center for Educational Futures at The University of Western Australia. This Approach sees the student at the center of the learning process. Her video is attached
How it could work in a traditional classroom?
The notions are embedded into simple Prompts which are completed in silence by the student. The answers are shared.
For Example: A set of Prompts about Maths. Q1-3 are completed in silence.
Q1, I find maths hard to learn because ...
Q2, I find maths easy to learn because ...
Q3, My ideal way of learning maths would be to ...
Q4 Our ideal way of learning maths would be to ...
If 30 children answered the first two prompts with three answers and one answer to Q3, 210 perspectives would be gained. Maybe five groups of 6 students would agree on their answer to Q4 Imagine how a flexible teacher could facilitate their learning.
Imagine if, after a suitable interval, they evaluate their progress via a new set of prompts.
Q1. I'm not confident about my progress because ...
Q2. I am confident about my progress because ...
Q3. To continue to improve I'd like to focus on ...
Q4. We should ...
A traditionalist would ask the question 'Who is running the class?'. But does that matter? We, that is the teacher and the students are working together!
If Covid continues, children who live in the same street could answer the prompts, share them with buddies either locally or internationally and then work with their Buddy to learn. Parents could monitor, support and facilitate learning without getting too involved with the subject knowledge.
The essential idea is disruptive because it enables freedom of speech.
Goals, targets, plans, ambitions, freedoms, the world is going to create a new normal. Gone are the old goals, the old targets, the old ambitions. Freedom will remain but it will be a new freedom with the old certainties removed. Limitations will remain but they will too will be different.
Before the pandemic we thought we knew where we where but now we need a thinking and planning language which enables each of us, young and old to shape our future based on our new values, judgements and priorities. The shared yet individually experienced reaction to the virus gives a new perspective to our attitudes, demands, desires.
The simple activity of privately bringing to mind the bad, good aspects of anything sets the mind up to combine them in a novel, realistic, yet aspirational way. Within the bubble of our silent thinking we conceive a way of going forward which suits our new situation. It's more powerful when done in sync: real time: each inventive mind capturing prompted thoughts.
When these are shared with a close student or fellow inventor the first steps of a change is brought to mind. Combine again and again in a consultative style and you start to define the characteristics of the new normal.
The early adopters to our new normal will use their natural creativity to invent and conceive their new normal but the enlightened agencies will look for a simple system to bridge this new devide: this learning together culture is one.
Privileged children are being taught creativity and entrepreneurship This simple tool creates a level playing field with other people. Its a language and a process that can inspire any joint endeavour across previous barriers.
I modeled my rhythm on the foundations of Barn Dancing where, turn taking, pair work and small circles lead to full engagement at the plenary level. The teacher can be viewed as ‘The Caller’!
I’m proposing an educative environment which has a clear purpose and it achieves this by helping individual students get together to form a self organising learning community.