Notice how I did NOT write K-12. In most states and countries now, if we do a little digging, we will find early learning standards that put a heavy focus on social and emotional learning. That ‘P’ stands for Preschool, which is apparently where the transformation to new values and a new kind of mind and habits of thinking, must begin. A GERG (General Evolution Research Group) associate of Csik’s, Bela Banathy, and Ervin Laszlo and husband of Riane Eisler discussed in this post http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/rigor-relevance-and-relationships-the-new-3rs-to-get-to-a-caring-economics/ , David Loye, was kind enough to explain in a 1991 book that the systems thinkers had a new ‘schema’ for the mind. The mind could be programmed via education to become the “evolving guidance system for each person and for humanity as a whole.” From a book Ervin Laszlo edited called The New Evolutionary Paradigm that was a part of the World Futures General Evolution Studies, Loye wrote:
“Mind in this schema is further defined by viewing our time, the late 20th century, as a pivotal evolutionary dividing point between the dominance of the Truncated Mind and the crucial emergence and spread of Actualizing Mind, in which guidance sensitivities are more fully operative.”
Truncated Mind is a new term for what I have previously nicknamed the Axemaker Mind, but to build on what is laid out in my book Credentialed to Destroy , phonetic fluent reading and traditional Algebra build that Truncated Mind. Critical Thinking as defined now by P21 or Richard Paul, Excellence in education, and Competency help build that Actualizing Mind, even if none of the educators implementing its tenets in the classroom have never heard of GERG, any of the Laszlos, or David Loye and Riane. Since the last post I also managed to get my hands on a 1966 lecture the creator of General Systems Theory (GST), Ludwig Von Bertalanffy, gave at Clark University. Titled “Toward a New Image of Man,” Bertalanffy stated that the purpose of GST was to create a model for a new psychological theory suitable for psychosocial change–people, economies, cities, societies.
In other words, it fits perfectly with the Social Systems Redesign work we have encountered in the last several posts and also with John Dewey’s vision laid out in my book. Loye was darn forthcoming as well about the need to “focus on human cognition, which shapes human action” in order to create a normative social theory that could close the gap between reality as it now exists and the “ideal developmental forms that must be the prime concern of all policy makers.” From what I can tell the politicians and policy makers at every level and both parties are glad to oblige now in 2015, but no one is being honest about what is up.
I think the vision of Heart-Core Learning we met in the last post is Loye’s Actualizing Mind. When Lucien Vattel writes about “a society that grossly overvalues the mind above the heart” and seeks an “education system that values both how we feel and behave, as much as what we ‘know’”, he is laying out the current form of the same argument as Loye and all the rest of the social transformationalists. Move away from the Truncated Mind and the P-12 education that produces it. Go for Deeper, experiential, Whole Child learning achieved through collaborative Projects and authentic role playing experiences–what Vattel called “interacting, playing, and making”–to build that needed Actualizing Mind.
Everything I have read from GEFF and any of the systems scientists and out of the Fuschl and Asilomar Conversations is all supporting this same vision. It is the inner workings of the mind that is Ground Zero for the needed transformation and a P-12 education centered in Competency is the way in. Loye started his discussion with citing several Club of Rome reports from the early 70s and ends with the 1977 one that Ervin Laszlo was in charge of that called for “the need for accelerating a fundamental shift in values.”
When I read that, it was hard not to think of the now ubiquitous Positive School Climate mandates and the suggested remedies to supposedly combat bullying. Getting at the inner workings of the student’s mind and personality even more directly though is the ASCD-sponsored 16 Habits of Mind push that aligns with the developing Thinking Skills push from the 80s and early 90s. ftp://download.intel.com/education/Common/au/Resources/EO/Course_Resources/Thinking/Habits_of_Mind.pdf
Empathy, cooperation, “having a disposition toward behaving intelligently when confronted with problems, the answers to which are not immediately known” sounds like just the very traits needed to implement a transformative theory of normative social change. Just the habits needed to persevere with actions to push for change whatever the difficulties encountered in the real world. If any of us were designing Habits of Mind suitable to create an exuberant change agent, one could hardly do better than what Costa and Kallick developed or what Critical Thinking and Thinking Skills (Marzano’s 1985 Framework for McREL) actually turn out to be fostering. http://www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/journals/ed_lead/el_198604_jones.pdf from 1986 also laid out creating such “higher-order thinking and metacognitive strategies at all levels of schooling” and for all students and sold it under the appealing title of “Quality and Equality Through Cognitive Instruction.”
Everybody, it turns out, wants to create those very traits of minds the systems thinkers intent on transformational social change globally say they need. How should we feel when we discover that the Convergence Center’s Advisory Board on Re-Imagining Education included a medical doctor known for creating the area of Neurobiology whose vision for ed fits perfectly with Loye’s Actualizing Mind? http://kripalu.org/article/322/ Now when you look at “Awakening the Mind–Neurobiology and You” and its constant references to Mental Well-Being necessary practices, remember all the mandates in the ESEA Rewrite to providing for students’ mental health needs and whatever promotes mental well-being. Does that translate into a legal mandate from Congress to extinguish the Truncated Mind and build the Actualizing Mind in its place?
Siegel is at UCLA, which is also where the federally-funded School Mental Health Project is located. Anyone believe Siegels’ references to mental well-being are not designed to turn his desired practices into a legal mandate for all schools? Let me add one more tidbit: there are numerous stories on the Internet that Senator Lamar Alexander’s favorite book is called A God Within by Rene Dubos. Now I recognized Dubos as being frequently in the bibliography of references for most systems thinkers. In its Chapter called “On Being Human” Dubos explained that ‘The God within mankind is the spirit of purposeful and creative adventure.” That certainly sounds like a transformational mindset, especially with all the hype over purposeful behavior and envisioning the future.
Maybe Lamar as an ex-Governor really liked the vision from the previous page that “Over most of the world, the homeostatic feedbacks of supply-and-demand economy are giving way to new systems manipulated by government intervention.” Yes, that is unfortunately true and the date of the book’s publication in 1972 also coincides with an overall decline in mass prosperity with plenty of people wondering what has happened since. Note: crony interventions by governments and ‘systems redesign’ starting at the level of the human mind do not work very well, apart from enriching politicians, former ones, and their friends.
Loye did detail some tidbits I want to pass on because I can see their continued relevance now. In discussing programs for the needed fundamental shift in values, Loye mentioned that: “”for well over a decade, psychologist Milton Rokeach and associates throughout various parts of the world have been carrying out experiments using Rokeach’s Value Scale to explore value structural stable states. This work includes the induction, via cognitive dissonance, of the psychological equivalent of chaos states, and testing the effectiveness of interventions designed to produce fundamental and enduring values change.”
And we wonder why we have had an uptick in school shootings. What Loye did not say, but I know, because I have several of Rokeach’s books and have written about him and his links to Tranzi OBE is that Rokeach created the educational use of the term Competency to obscure the values and non-mental skills focus of this shift. We can see why the euphemisms ‘Objectives’ and “Outcomes’ also get used to hide the nature of this shift.
Anyone else read about Linda Darling-Hammond retiring as a Stanford ed prof to start a Learning Policy Institute recently? Here is a useful fact to keep in mind that Loye just happened to mention right after the Rokeach paragraph.
“The most comprehensive and well-financed study of ‘chaotic’ or transformational values change has been carried out over the past six years [about 1985 then] by California-based SRI International [Stanford Research Institute goes by just an acronym now], one of the world’s largest research institutions. Basing its VALS (values and life styles) program on the work of psychologist Abraham Maslow, SRI social scientists regularly update a data bank on more than 100,000 Americans to predict changes in attitudes, values, and preferences that will affect the American and world economic, social and political systems.”
Wow, how’s that for a confession? One of those SRI social scientists, Marina Gorbis, now heads the same Institute for the Future that works with KnowledgeWorks to develop visions for education in the future.
That would also be the same Maslow that the NEA hired back in 1962 to create its desired new vision of education grounded in psychology. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/psychological-approach-to-a-humane-politics-restructuring-the-west-quietly-and-effectively-via-ed/
The truth is that the same vision has now been pursued for decades by people who turn out to be connected to each other and the same institutions. Only the names for the vision seem to change.
Changing the functions and structure at the level of the human mind and then locking it in physiologically.
No wonder there has been such deceit.