A Learners’ View (ALV) Is Of Choices On The Shortest And Fastest Path To Learning, The Oxygen Of Social Life.
Status: Published as ALV Preliminary Notes
Last Edited: March 14, 2018
Theme: Attention gives focus to learning as social processes.
ONE OF MY EARLIEST MEMORIES is of my father telling me, Pay attention, and don’t bother others. I was about 2 and a half years old sitting next to Mrs. King in church.
Most of the time she sat quietly. Other times she and other people in church stood up and read something out loud briefly after the minister talked. Still other times everyone sang songs, sometimes standing up and other times sitting down.
It made no sense to me.
To fill the time, I banged my new ‘Sunday Best’ shoes against the wooden pew to a rhythm I made up as I went along. Shortly, I saw Dad stand up alone in the choir, walk behind the minister and up the isle toward the entrance to the church.
I remember thinking at the time, ‘He has something to do.’ About that time he reached across Mrs. King and snatched me up, held me tight, and we left the church.
The next thing I remember was a firm clap of his hand on my buttocks as he said, Pay attention and don’t bother other people in church.
That episode introduced me to the first part of learning as a social phenomenon: Pay attention.
The second part is to pay attention to patterns in social life and participate; don’t just indulge in my own activities.
The third part of attention is that it requires payment (spending) of time, effort, and other personal/social resources in order to observe and participate in activities with other people.
That episode started my intentional quest to identify, describe, and manage learning as social patterns and processes. These are the fundamental elements of teaching and learning.
A learners’ view uses the vocabulary of experimental behavioral and social science to describe these elements and their relationships to teaching, learning, and society.
It was with great glee that I discovered in college that other people had full time employment studying and reporting social patterns and processes and that still others used these reports to organize and operate schools and businesses.
Fortunately, I learned from faculty ways to distinguish how much confidence to have in such reports and in uses of them.
Once I started looking and listening, I as have others found social patterns and processes throughout life.
Sometimes patterns are apparent as in rows of produce on farms and in grocery stores. Other times their presence seems hidden behind something else as in the sophisticated operation that people enjoy at Disneyland.
Learning as social patterns and processes, not as cognition, emotions, etc., is one of those parts of daily life. It gives structure, stability, and something to change.
One of the common elements of learning that experimental behavioral and social scientists describe is attention. They report that all of us attend first to whatever we learn.
Teachers require attention for students to learn lessons in classrooms. That requirement rests not in arbitrary teachers’ rules, but in the social processes learners use to learn teachers’ lessons.
Hopefully, you too will find use in attending to learning as social processes, so that learners may learn all of your lessons.
Related Front Matter
Last Edited: July 21, 2016