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Mark Treadwell
www.MarkTreadwell.com
How the Brain Learns
Learning
The world is changing at an unprecedented rate and the
ability to learn is the single most important capacity we can
gift to someone. This resource presents a model of how the
human brain learns, based on the latest neuroscientific
research, and this has been leveraged to create a universal,
optimised Learning Process. Research suggests the brain
has four integrated learning systems that make use of the
interaction between the brain’s dominant cell type, astrocytes
(75%), and neurons (7%) to create the most extraordinary
learning instrument on the planet – the human brain.
#

Mark Treadwell Consultancy
mark@work.co.nz -
www.MarkTreadwell.com
Mark works with school systems, jurisdictions and individual
schools that are coming to terms with a world that is changing
at an unprecedented rate; a world where the ability to learn is
now the most important capability that we can gift to anyone.
Schools are now transforming their purpose to meet these
new and demanding requirements of their communities.
This resource presents a model for how the brain learns based
on the latest neuroscientific, psychological and sociological
research. From that research Mark is suggesting a new model
for how the brain learns, forms memories and learns efficiently.
In this model the human brain is unique in having four
integrated learning systems with each learning system having a
unique associated memory system. From this model Mark has
worked with a range of schools to develop and trial a universal
Learning Process. This model allows learners to leverage how
their brain best learns. The Learning Process allows learners
the capability to take significant responsibility for their own
learning, allowing them to contribute towards their own
personalised learning pathway.
Each brain and every mind has the potential to change the world in ways we cannot
imagine. This is the magic that is learning. By applying the Learning process all learners
are able to learn far more equitably. So many of the talented and successful people who
have changed their world and ours found school a problematic journey. They struggled
with remembering arcane facts and mathematical equations that they could see little
relevance for. However, everyone can learn at school at about the same rate if they learn
and apply the Learning Process. The job of the educator is to introduce the Learning
Process and let the learners find that bit of magic, exploit it to explore their world and
marvel at their own discoveries.
Mark has presented keynote addresses to numerous international and national
conferences, as well as national and regional principal and educator organisations and
associations. To access an overview of the presentations Mark is available to speak on
see http://www.marktreadwell.com/Mark_Treadwell
For a list of recent conference addresses you can visit
http://www.marktreadwell.com/presentations


“The object of
education is to
prepare the
young to
educate
themselves
throughout
their lives.”
Lev Vygotsky,
1930



##
Dedication
This text is a synthesis of many peoples’ knowledge and understanding, as well as their
presentations, research, books and conversations. To list all of those who have
contributed accidently or intentionally would quadruple the size of this resource. My
thanks to you all and I hope in some way by making this resource freely available, it feeds
into that same growing pool of expertise on the science that underpins learning.
I am particularly indebted to educators (and that includes numerous younger learners) in
New Zealand schools, without whom none of this resource would be possible. My thanks
also to the Australian contingent for their input and enthusiasm and allowing me to trial
so many ideas with you.
My thanks to my two girls (young women now) who are both carving out their own world
and discovering so much about that world and their role within it. My thanks also to my
extended family across New Zealand, Australia and around the world, and in particular to
my ever-supportive parents.
A special dedication to Graham (my brother-in-law), who sadly passed away early in
2013, and to my sister Alison whose strength of character through his illness is a
testament to the resilience of the human spirit. For Graham heaven would involve
everyone riding vintage Vespas … to his impeccable standard of course!
Mark Treadwell
-----------------------------------------------
“Learning – How the Brain Learns”
First Published 2014
Diagrams – M. Treadwell
Photos and Images – Licensed from Shutterstock www.shutterstock.com
Editing: Katrina Rainey katrina.rainey27@gmail.com
This resource can be purchased as a physical book online from
www.MarkTreadwell.com/products
-----------------------------------------------
This resource is an updated summary of three 400pp literature reviews that
investigated the future of education, the development of a global conceptual curriculum
and a review of current neuroscience thinking regarding how the brain learns. These can
be purchased from: www.MarkTreadwell.com/products
There are three online Prezi’s associated with this resource
1. Learning http://prezi.com/4smfpbefsy3j/learning/
2. The Second Education Paradigm: http://prezi.com/ayl8i9aeejry/the-second-
paradigm-overview/
3. How the Brain Learns: http://prezi.com/pknwcny1hl1e/how-the-brain-learns/



###
Introduction











Section Title Page
Section 1: Learning 101 1
Introduction 2
01 Inquiry & the Learning Process 8
02 Our Inner Voice 12
03 How Our Brain Learns: 1. Our Senses 15
04 How Our Brain Learns: 2. Learning via Rote 20
05 How Our Brain Learns: 3. Understanding 22
06 How Our Brain Learns: 4. Imagination & Creativity 26
07 Memory & Remembering 31
08 Learning2Learn 33
Section 1 Summary 38
Section 2: The Learning Process 39
Introduction 40
09 Stage 1: Data & Knowledge 42
10 Stage 2: Ideas 48
11 Stage 3: Concepts 51
12 Stage 4: Concept Frameworks 56
13 Creativity 60
14 Stage 5: Innovation & Ingenuity 63
15 Learning Process Developmental Levels 66
Section 2 Summary 67
Section 3: The Competencies 78
Introduction 79
16 Competency 1: Identity 82
17 Competency 2: Thinking & Questioning 88
18 Competency 3: Collaboration 97
19 Competency 4: The Language of Learning 102
20 Competency 5: Managing Self 110
21 Competency 6: Connecting & Reflecting 114
22 Concept Frameworks for the 6 Competencies 117
Section 3 Summary 120
Section 4: Capacity Building 122
Introduction 123
23 Action Learning 124
24 Intelligence Revisited 128
25 The Concept Curriculum 139
26 The Role of ICTs 152
Section 4 Summary 158
27 Overview of this resource 160
Appendices
Appendix 1: Learning: Executive Summary x
Appendix 2: Flipped Classrooms: A Cautionary Tale xvi
Appendix 3: Christian Identity xvii
Appendix 4: Driving & Reading xviii
Appendix 5: Standardised Education xix
CONTENTS



#$
Rote
Learning
Concept
Formation
Creativity
Consciousness
Thinking
Learning


In 2012 an extraordinary experiment
1
was carried out by a group of
scientists. They injected some human brain cells, called astrocytes, into
mice embryos. When the mice were born their brains had a high
proportion of human astrocytes and had noticeably changed in structure.
When the scientists tested these mice for intelligence they were stunned
to discover that the speed at which they learned had increased by 300%.
2

Most people are familiar with neurons being critical to learning and thinking, but for every
two neurons in our brain we have at least three astrocytes – a type of glial cell – and in
some brain regions there are 5–10 astrocytes for every neuron. Contrary to common
perception humans have the lowest ratio of neurons of any species.
3
Research points to
astrocytes being pivotal in providing our unique capacity to learn and remember new
ideas and concepts, and these cells also appear to provide us with the capacity to be
creative, innovative and ingenious. These two capabilities are two of four autonomous but
integrated learning systems within the human brain, and understanding how those
systems work opens up the potential for us to learn far more efficiently.
This emerging model for how the brain learns proposes that these four learning systems
each use unique cell processes and have unique systems for forming and storing
memories. Humans are the only species to have all four learning systems, with other
species only having 1 &/or 2.
The four proposed learning systems are:
1. Our processing and remembering of sensory data from our 23 senses
4
is very
efficient, as we have been doing this forever.
2. Learning via rote (off by heart) is the least efficient of our four learning systems as we
have only really used this system to any great degree over the last 200 years, courtesy
of our need to learn to read and write. Our capacity for rote learning appears to be
predominantly inherited from our parents.
3. We are all great at creating ideas, concepts and concept frameworks as we have
been doing this for millennia and so this learning system is relatively equitable for
everyone. People we consider as intelligent do not learn the concepts that underpin
driving a car any better or more quickly than those that society might consider less
intelligent, yet driving is one of the most complex thinking tasks we ever attempt.
4. Our capacity to link our knowledge, ideas, concepts and concept frameworks into new
combinations is what allows us to be creative. This learning system appears to be
equitable for almost everyone.

1
Han, X. et al. “Forebrain Engraftment by Human Glial Progenitor Cells Enhances Synaptic Plasticity and Learning in Adult
Mice”; http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1934590913000076 Accessed October 2013
2
ibid
3
In comparison rats have one astrocyte for every six neurons. Human astrocytes are far more complex than rat astrocytes.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301008210001322 Accessed November 2013
4
Come to Your Senses: http://www.meditation24-7.com/page18/page18.html Accessed Jan 2013
1. Processing of our sensory data 2. Learning knowledge via rote – off by heart
3. Generating ideas and concepts 4. Creativity: being innovative and ingenious
- an overview



$
It turns out that it is possible to make learning a lot more equitable for more
learners by emphasising the building ideas and concepts rather than
focussing on remembering a lot of facts and figures that can be accessed at
will, from any device. However, you cannot understand new ideas and
concepts without having some knowledge to work with. The critical issue
then is keeping the initial body of rote-learned knowledge, including the
required vocabulary, to a minimum and then adding new knowledge and
vocabulary, just in time rather than just in case we may need it. Once we
have the minimum knowledge required to create ideas and concepts then
additional knowledge is learned as required – ‘just in time’. If we learn in this
way, everyone learns at about the same rate.
If our mandate as educators is to prepare learners to be independent lifelong learners,
we must provide them with increasing agency (responsibility) over their own learning and
its assessment. But that agency is only possible if learners can apply the competencies
5

that enable them to:
• Think and question,
• Reflect and connect,
• Manage self,
• Build a language of learning,
• Collaborate and
• have a sense of personal Identity.

Ultimate independence occurs when learners understand how they learn
and they have the capability to exert agency over that learning to the point
where they become independent lifelong learners. That agency is dependent
on the learner understanding and being able to apply the competencies.
The Learning Process brings together learner agency, our emerging understanding of
how the brain learns and the application of the competencies, and provides a process for
how learning can be achieved in the most efficient and effective manner possible. The
fundamental mission of educators is to adapt our practice to leverage this new
knowledge and understanding. This resource presents a theoretical framework and
background to those changes. Accompanying this (as a separate resource) will be an
implementation guide that provides the frameworks for transitioning each school into a
learning institution that will fully prepare all learners for the vibrant and ever-changing
world that both they and we now live in.
6

We can illustrate the Learning Process in a diagrammatic form and in one sense it is a
simple progression from accessing knowledge, and building ideas and concepts by
applying that knowledge and those ideas in a number of contexts. It is then a matter of
taking that knowledge, ideas, concepts and concept frameworks and applying them
creatively so as to be innovative and ingenious.

5
Competencies may be referred to as key skills, general capabilities, citizenship, work-related learning, . . .
6
Weissman, T., Harvard University; “Brainbow”; http://www.cell.com/Cell_Picture_Show-brainbow Accessed January 2014



$#
In reality it is far more complex, with numerous feedback and feed-forward loops, and we
are constantly using our intuition and understanding of learning to guide that very
convoluted process we call learning. This text seeks to add clarity and process to
learning, while at the same time understanding that every learner will add their own
nuance to the Learning Process.

Being able to define the Learning Process has only become possible in the last few years
as we have better understood how the brain learns. Although it may be difficult to believe,
without knowledge of how the brain learns, understanding the Learning Process would be
only guesswork and based on trial and error.
But accompanying this new understanding about how
the brain learns is a paradigm shift
7
in education that
is also taking place right now. In a paradigm shift, the
entire way of thinking about contributing processes
changes. New technologies have ensured that
information is now cheap, abundant and easy to
access. Knowing anything is now just a thumb or
finger movement away. That shift allows us to focus
on having all learners build understanding of ideas,
concepts and concept frameworks, accessing the
knowledge we need ‘just in time’.

7
Treadwell, M.; “The Paradigm Shift”; http://edtalks.org/video/school-v20-paradigm-shift Accessed June 2012
.
associated
concepts
The Learning
Process
Associated
concepts
Prompt
Start Here
Rote
Learning
Concept
Formation
Creativity
Consciousness
T
h
in
k
in
g
Feedback &
Feed-Forward
Inspiration
Innovation
& Ingenuity
Need or
opportunity
Curiosity
Ideas
(to be understood)
Concepts
(to be understood)
Conceptual
Frameworks
Creativity
Knowledge
(the minimum)
Emotion
Applied to
contexts
Applied to
a context
Thinking &
Questioning
The Language
of Learning
Connecting &
Reflecting
Collaboration
Managing
Self
Identity



$##
The Learning Process allows anyone to leverage those rich information
resources that we now have access to, in order to build knowledge, and then
use that knowledge to create new ideas and concepts. Once knowledge,
ideas and concepts are learned we can then be creative with these building
blocks of learning and apply them in order to be innovative
8
and ingenious.
9

The world we inhabit today is a very different place to the one most of us grew up in. Life
is changing at an unprecedented pace and gone are the days when 20% of people told
80% of people what to do and the 80% were taught to never question authority. Now
80% of people are predominantly managing their own world and they are expected to be
constantly learning new processes, concepts and applications. They are expected to
apply that learning so as to be more effective and efficient, and in more advanced
societies they are also expected to apply their creative talents in order to be innovative
and ingenious. Fantastic; BUT we need to provide all members of society with the
competencies and the capability to learn efficiently to be successful in that world.
What is extraordinary from an education perspective is that
this is the first time in the history of human learning that we
have had a scientific model for how the brain learns.
The model is not perfect, no scientific model ever is, but having a model allows
researchers and practitioners to refine that model. The scientific model presented here
is consistent with many of the good practices that have been derived from sociological
research over many years. What is unique to this model is the proposition that we have
four integrated semi-autonomous learning and memory systems and astrocytes may well
not only outnumber neurons but they may also be our brains dominant thinking cell type.
We are the only species to have all four learning systems. This understanding allows us
to adapt our education practices in such a way as to make learning in our institutions far
more equitable. Having a small group of people succeed within school systems may have
been acceptable (or not) when 20% of people told 80% of people what they needed to be
doing in the work place, but in a world where almost everyone needs to manage their
ever-increasingly complex social and working lives this is definitely no longer acceptable.
Driving a car in a city is probably one of the most complex cognitive tasks we ever
attempt in our lives, unless you fly a jet, design nuclear reactors or carry out brain
transplants. The fact that everyone that learns to drive does so at about the same rate,
and that people we have previously labelled as more intelligent do not learn any quicker
or better or have less accidents, gives us a working model for good learning pedagogical
practices. Try teaching a chimpanzee to drive and see how far you get! With only two of
the four learning systems, it is simply not possible for chimps to learn to drive.
It is now a clear priority for us as educators to bring our practice in line with this model,
to adopt technologies that allow an improvement in the Learning Process, provide
learners with greater agency over their learning, develop their competencies and modify
how we set out and manage classroom spaces … now for some detail!

Mark Treadwell
mark@work.co.nz

8
Creating new ideas, concepts and concept frameworks
9
Creating new products, systems and environments from those new Ideas, concepts and concept frameworks.



$###
www.marktreadwell.com
The Learning Outcomes
for this Resource
This resource is designed to provide all learners with the capacity to learn in the most
efficient and effective way possible. Being able to apply the Learning Process underpins
the capacity to be a lifelong learner. The Learning Process relies on the learner being
able to successfully apply the core competencies to their learning. The competencies
embody the key strategies that enable learners to learn whatever they need to learn,
when they need to learn it, with anyone, anywhere, just in time.
This paradigm shift in education sees the teacher-dominated, limited information access,
text-based teaching paradigm of the last 200 years giving way to an overwhelmingly rich,
multimedia, collaborative, learner-based paradigm of learning. In this paradigm everything
in education changes, including what and how we learn and assess, who has the agency
over the learning, what a learning space/classroom looks like and how it functions. Our
emerging understanding of the neuroscience of learning means we can now leverage the
way in which our brain learns more efficiently and effectively and couple this with greater
clarity as to what the purpose of education is.
The learning outcomes for this resource are simple but they will require substantial
rigour and resourcing if schools intend meeting the needs of learners in our society
today. Without exception everyone is a learner as well as an educator in today’s world.
No matter where we live, how wealthy the school is or what our beliefs may be, we are
helping others learn and they are helping us, every hour of every day. The intended
learning outcomes for this resource are:
1. Learning is a process and this process can be learned and applied.
2. Our brain’s four learning systems can be leveraged more efficiently
and effectively.
3. Effective learning happens when the learner has agency over his or
her own Learning Process.
4. Everyone is a leaner as well as an educator of others.
5. Being able to learn efficiently requires a set of core competencies.
These include being able to: Think and question, Reflect and connect,
Manage self, Build a language of learning, Collaborate and have a
sense of personal Identity.
6. Creativity allows us to leverage our knowledge, ideas, concepts and
concept frameworks in order to be innovative and ingenious.
7. Intelligence lays in our ability to learn and apply the Learning Process
in any situation we find ourselves in.
Everyone, no matter how old or how expert, must now live a dual life, as an educator and
a learner; it is now impossible to be one without being the other.

%
Learning 101



LEARNING
Section 1



&




In a world that is changing
at an unprecedented rate
(see video
10
), almost
everyone is required to be
constantly learning,
understanding and
applying new knowledge,
ideas and concepts to
solve increasingly complex
problems. This underlying
intellectual raw material,
coupled with the Learning
Process, provides us with
the capacity to be creative,
possibly resulting in the
creation of innovative ideas
and concepts. Innovative
ideas and concepts can be
applied to create ingenious
applications.
If the purpose of learning is to provide the learner with the capacity to contribute to
society, it is each educator’s responsibility to enable every learner to want to continue
learning in the most effective and efficient way possible while at school as well as
throughout their lives.
We all need to be able to apply the Learning Process to a wide range of domains in our
lives, whether it is working out how to use our smartphones, coming up with innovative
pedagogical changes that improve learning outcomes or deciding on how we can best
create sustainable practices and conserve our resources for future generations.
In this emerging new model of learning, our brain has four semi-autonomous but inter-
operable learning systems, but these four learning systems are not created equal.


10
;“Play, Passion, Purpose”; Tony Wagner at TEDxNYED; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvDjh4l-VHo Accessed July
2013
Introduction:
Learning 101
“Logic will get you from A to B – Imagination will take you
everywhere.” Albert Einstein

LEARNING
Section 1
Video Link



'
If we take two common learning tasks that most people engage in and compare them,
we begin to see how the brain uses different learning systems to achieve different
learning outcomes. Learning to read and write is a very different task from learning to
drive a car, however from a cognitive perspective they are both equally demanding, but in
very different ways. Interestingly, after only a few hours in the driver’s seat the learner
driver is managing the driving process with relative ease (which may not the case for the
parent instructor!).





After the same amount of time, our emergent reader/writer is still struggling to
remember the shape of just a few letters of the alphabet. One process takes 50–100
hours to comprehend and apply and the other takes over 5000 hours! What could
possibly explain the vast difference in the speed and success of these two learning
processes? And no, it has little to do with the respective ages of the learners or their
desire to learn. It would appear that one of the learning processes is very efficient and
the other is quite inefficient.
As well as this conundrum we also need
to have a better understanding of
creativity and how this is powered by our
imagination. Can we all be creative in all
domains or equally creative but in
different domains? Is creativity about
our attitude or an inherited capability, or
both? Why does creativity sometimes
decrease as we age and how does
creativity relate to us using our
imagination? What this resource
attempts to do is define many of the
words we use when we talk about
learning and create a scientific model
for learning. that we can apply and thus
improve the quality of the learning as
well as improve the efficiency and
effectiveness of the learning.
Our ability to apply the Learning Process efficiently and effectively underpins our capacity
to survive. Our ability to survive depends on our unique human capability to be able to
make increasingly accurate predictions and therefore predict what our future needs and
opportunities may be. By being able to successfully make predictions we can anticipate
and prepare for those predictable, possible futures. This capacity is unique to humans as
only we have all four integrated learning systems that enable us to predict and plan
ahead.



(




Our four learning systems
11
are our ability to learn via:
1. Gathering sensory data about our world using the 7%
12
of cells in our
brain called neurons.
2. Rote learning (learning by repetition – ‘off by
heart’) principally using neurons to create
knowledge elements.
3. Building ideas, concepts and concept
frameworks, making use of a combination of
brain cells called astrocytes (75% of our
brain cells) and neurons. The tripartite
relationship between these two cell types
across synapses allows us to create ideas,
concepts and concept frameworks.
4. Creativity, which allows us to associate
knowledge elements, ideas, concepts and concept frameworks to build
new knowledge, ideas, concepts and concept frameworks uses
brainwaves that are managed by structures in the brain known as the
amygdala and the hippocampus.

11
A 400pp literature review “Whatever! Were we Thinking?” covering these four learning systems can be ordered from
http://www.marktreadwell.com/products
12
Surprisingly these numbers are not known quantities. It turns out that counting the various numbers of each cell in our brain
is a lot trickier than anyone imagined.
“I am always ready to learn although I am not
always ready to be taught.” Winston Churchill

Other than humans, all other species only have one or both of the first two
learning systems and they primarily rely on genetic habits (instincts). These
are passed down genetically from one generation to the next. Squirrels
collect nuts in the warmer months and store them away for the winter but they
have no idea why they are doing this. Instincts are genetic instructions. They
are not consciously thinking to themselves “I must store away these nuts
because in the winter there will not be enough food available in order to
survive.” Birds do not sit around as autumn approaches thinking “you know
what; we really should fly north/south, where it will be warmer and where we
will be able to find enough food to survive.” Humans alone can make
conscious predictions because we can create new concepts ‘on the fly’ and
apply these to make predictions about our future. As a result we have the
potential to adapt almost instantly to changing conditions. Treadwell

Rote
Learning
Concept
Formation
Creativity
Sensory
Data
L
e
a
r
n
i
n
g



)

Definitions are critical in education practice. It
is not uncommon when someone talks about
‘knowledge’ to an audience for almost every
member of that audience to interpret the word as
something quite different. If we say a learner has
knowledge about something, do we mean they
have some facts, understand that knowledge, know
that knowledge, have a concept of that knowledge,
can apply that knowledge, can be creative,
innovative or ingenious with that knowledge?
Definitions clarify what we mean when we use
particular words.
The Learning Process is initiated by a prompt that the learner is engaged with. The
prompt, which can be an experience, event or need, provokes a personal emotional
response. This emotional response incites us to ask questions. It is the combination of
emotion and questions that then trigger our curiosity. As an experienced learner we
then ask and apply additional clever questions, and the solutions to those questions are
generated through the design and research processes. At each stage of the Learning
Process we are constantly invoking the reflection and connecting competency in order to
build a relevant knowledge base that will provide initial answers to our questions.
Knowledge is defined here as a sequence of sensory data that is
interpreted and remembered as facts or information, or
developed into discrete actions (skills), some of which are
acquired instantly or learned via rote (repetitive) learning.
By applying further clever questioning and interrogation to our knowledge we are able to
form ideas.
Ideas are defined here as a relationship between two or more
processes (variables) that are dependent on each other, and
where the relationship is understood within one context only.
If we want to do a hill start in a car we have to gently press the accelerator as we take
our foot off the foot brake as we release the handbrake. We initially practice this on a
slight incline. We now have an idea about how hard we must press the accelerator and
how quickly to take our foot off the brake for that particular incline (context). By applying
further questioning and interrogation we can apply our idea to a range of different
contexts (different inclines). With each additional incline/context that is experienced, the
quality of the idea improves. By continuing practicing hill starts on an increasing number
of different inclines we eventually form a conceptual understanding of the relationship
between the variables (slope, surface, brake/accelerator and handbrake) that underpin
successful hill starts.




*
Concepts are defined here as a relationship between two or more
processes (variables) that are dependent on each other, and
where the relationship is understood across multiple contexts.
Once we have a concept for hill starts we can predict the pressure required to be applied
and released on each pedal accompanied by the rate of release for the handbrake for
any incline/surface. Once the concept is formed we are able to predict the pressures on
the respective pedals for any incline. This is a very efficient learning system. The
alternative would be to rote learn every single incline of slope from 0 to 90 degrees (okay,
maybe 0 to 30 degrees in practice). This learning system, using concept formation, is
extraordinarily efficient and effective – it is how our brain learns best.
By reviewing existing ideas and concepts, the brain uses brainwaves to form permanent
links between different combinations of knowledge, ideas and concepts to create concept
frameworks of understanding:
Concept frameworks are defined here as an interlinked network of
knowledge, ideas and concepts bound together via the
interference/resonance of brainwaves.
Having a network of ideas, concepts and concept framework allows us to predict and
create new possibilities for additional contexts we may have never experienced before.
In this emerging model these networks are managed via the tripartite relationships
between astrocytes–synapses–neurons, and they can be turned into non-conscious
processes and automated. This means they can be operated without conscious thinking.
Hence, you cannot consciously draw a map for someone to get to your own home from
another location!
Imagination and creativity are often confused, but imagination differs from creativity in
several ways. It is not possible to see pictures in our head
13
so defining the imagination
process is quite challenging. Essentially, the imagination is the process that underpins
creative outcomes.
Imagination is the process whereby the brain combines our
knowledge, ideas, concepts and concept frameworks in new and
unique ways to build creative outcomes. We use the process of
being imaginative in order to be creative.
Creativity is the outcome of applying clever questioning and reflective and contemplative
thinking processes in a non-conscious manner such that we can come up with totally new
ideas, concepts and concept frameworks.
Creativity is defined here as the end result of applying the
imagination to come up with new ideas, concepts, or concept
frameworks that are valued by someone.
Creativity is the outcome of applying our imagination in order to synthesise and distil
our experiences and what we know and understand, as well as interrogating others and

13
This notion will be a challenge to most people. To take up the discussion see the notes associated with this Reith Lecture
by VR Ramachandran http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/reith2003/lecture2.shtml Accessed June 2013



+
our self, using clever questions. These questions interrogate and remix the knowledge,
ideas, concepts and concept frameworks we have developed, so as to create totally new
knowledge, ideas, concepts and concept frameworks. There is a lot of science sitting
behind the creative process, but the raw material (knowledge, ideas and concepts) has to
be in place. Creativity requires contemplation, sleep and the willingness to let the mind
drift (daydream) for periods of time (from seconds to a few minutes), allowing the
hippocampus and amygdala to check out different combinations of knowledge, ideas and
concepts for possible productive outcomes.
It is quite possible to come up with the imaginative idea that we can fly, and while we may
consider this to be creative, this imaginative idea has no practical outcome other than
allowing us to enjoy the notion of being able to fly.
Creativity can result in innovation:
Innovation is defined as the creation of new ideas, concepts and
concept frameworks that have the potential to become new
products, systems and environments that may not have existed
before.
Ingenious people see the connection between theory and practice, and quite often it is
the pursuit of ingenuity that drives us to be innovative, as well as creative processes.
Ingenuity differs from innovation:
Ingenuity is defined as the process of taking creative and innovative
notions and crafting them into practical outcomes that meet
needs or opportunities.
The Learning Process is by its nature a very ‘messy’ cognitive process and it is by no
means linear and totally predictable. Above all, the Learning Process requires creative
educators to stimulate curiosity through the imaginative and creative application of
prompts that, in turn, encourage the learner(s) to want to learn. These expectations
require a substantive change in contemporary pedagogy applied in most schools BUT the
consequences of not making these changes will be tragic for many learners and our
society.
This resource provides new insights to the story of learning and how we can
learn far more efficiently and effectively. Let the story begin …



,
.


Once upon a time …

The inquiry process is embedded within the Learning Process and the lines of
demarcation between these two processes can appear vague. Each educator views
inquiry learning differently and there is a range of definitions for the inquiry process. For
some educators inquiry will be seen as the Learning Process, and for others inquiry will
be seen as a contributing process. Needless to say, the notion of inquiry is fundamental
to the Learning Process. In the model presented here we incorporate the notion of
inquiry within the Learning Process; the Learning Process subsumes the inquiry process.
As we age, there can be a tendency to become more
suspicious of change, and we become increasingly
concerned about not knowing and not keeping up with
everything! The graph below demonstrates the
exponential growth in digital information over a decade.
It is not possible for the learners in our classrooms and ourselves to keep up with
everything ‘just in case’ we may need to know it sometime in the future. We can learn
dynamically, accessing information ‘just in time’. Part of our education heritage is that
educators were expected to know most things, at least within their domain of expertise.
This ability to know most things in any domain is no longer possible for anyone, let alone
frantically busy educators. It is now critical that all of us, everyone, understands the
Learning Process and how that can be applied in the most efficient and effective manner.
When we need to know something, we can access that knowledge via a device almost
instantly. Knowing is no longer the end game in education. Google, YouTube and endless
online collaborative tools allow us to ‘cheat’ and find information when we need it.
“Buckminster Fuller
created the
‘Knowledge Doubling
Curve’; he noticed that
until 1900 human
knowledge was
doubling every 25
years … But on
average human
knowledge is doubling
every 13 months.
According to IBM, the
build out of the
‘internet of things’ will
lead to knowledge
doubling every 12
hours.”
David Schilling

Inquiry & the
Learning Process



-
One of the emerging capabilities of contemporary learners is our ability to be
constantly learning and constantly reflecting, reviewing and iterating our understanding of
our world. Sometimes this requires undoing some of our previous learning and iterating
some of our more stubborn learning and teaching habits. We now need to become ‘just
in time’ (JiT) learners. Teachers are slowly adopting a new set of competencies and
pedagogies, and we are witnessing the transition of teachers into educators.
Educators are concurrently both educators and learners. Learner-educators apply the
Learning Process to learn as effectively and efficiently as possible in their own lives as
well as in the lives of the learners they work with.
From a learning perspective, curiosity is very difficult to define. It is not a
feeling or an emotion, but rather a passionate sensation that drives us to
want to learn and understand our world. Curiosity is an instinct embedded
within us all. We cannot control curiosity and everyone is affected by it.
Educators can leverage this universal instinct and engage learners through
prompting them to be curious so that they want to learn, rather than them
feeling that they have to learn. Educators are increasingly leveraging
curiosity and giving learners greater agency over their learning.
If we do not consciously challenge ourselves to become learners
we can easily become fearful; afraid of possibilities, harm or
embarrassment of not knowing how to learn. Curiosity should be
cultivated in everything we do. It is important that we see our
world for its intrinsic beauty and actually see the fascinating
elements that make it up and how those elements are composed
of so many smaller but no less complex elements. The complexity
we live amongst is astonishing, if not at times completely bizarre. If
you want to see something really wonderful and bizarre sit back
and watch a group of 5-year-olds or teenagers for a while!
Learning is always exciting; sometimes overwhelming, sometimes
scary, but we are always the richer for the experience.
Being a learner is a state of mind.
It is important that learning is focused on what is relevant to the learner. Real world
mathematics can be just as tedious and traumatic as abstract mathematics if it has no
relevance to the learner.
“More than they need ‘real-world’ mathematical experiences these students need
math to make them feel powerful and exhilarated and full of potential. These (math)
videos are effectively commercials for math. Commercials are useful if someone is in
the market for the product. They're useless if someone already has the product and
has found it defective, which describes how many of our students feel about math
right now. The pursuit of real world math can lead to lots of positive outcomes but
one outcome it leads to is effective commercials for a defective product. We need
fewer commercials. We need a better product!” Dan Myer



%"
I occasionally have the luxury of working with groups of learners, and in a recent interview
two learners described their learning journey in this way:
14

This is the joy of learning; being in the pit and knowing how to get out by
applying the Learning Process, and then looking for the next pit. As
educators we must take every measure possible to ensure that we do not
steal the opportunity from the learner to learn, and ensure they have that
sense of satisfaction when they experience the “aha!” moment. Not having
an answer is a joy as it sets in motion one of the great quests in life: to
discover the answer to a problem that intrigues us and to then own the
solution, should we find one. Not knowing is not a negative position but
rather one full of hope and opportunity, and we may not always find a
solution.
The transition from teachers to educators and from students to learners signifies a new
paradigm in education. This paradigm shift has the learner taking increasing agency over
their learning and it invokes a new relationship where the educator, through effective
questioning, stimulates the learner to find the answers rather than always providing them
for them. The role of the educator requires a deeper understanding of what the learner
will be learning and a new pedagogical approach that requires a new set of practices.
This new set of pedagogical practices embodies a learner and learning focused
approach to education.
Andragogy
15
is a term that is
used to describe this
approach to the Learning
Process. Andragogy is the
art and science of helping
learners learn using ‘adult
learning strategies’. This
new paradigm for learning in
schools calls for a balance of
both pedagogy (direct
instruction) and andragogy.
This results in more effective and efficient teaching and learning practices based on the
science of learning that we refer to as epistemology.

14
Tobias & Jamie; Stonefields School, Interview 2012; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGbGiMeLk_M Accessed June
2013
15
Conner, M.L.; “Andragogy + Pedagogy”; http://agelesslearner.com/intros/andragogy.html Accessed May 2007
Design
Process
Research
Process
Learning Knowledge Creativity
“In the Learning Process, there is a different attitude to being stuck. If you are stuck it is
an okay thing; you are not failing. So when we are stuck we are in something called ‘the
pit’. Sometimes it can be a bit like, you know … (not great) and you might want to give
up but we have a set of tools, which gives us clarity about how to get out of the pit. The
Learning Process is the main tool that we use. So the Learning Process is divided up
into stages … ” Tobias & Jamie (11 & 12 years old at the time of interview)




%%
The Learning Process is built around how the brain learns and involves two discrete
processes that are intertwined. The two processes are the research process and the
design process. Both of these processes offer distinct elements that contribute to the
Learning Process. The research process provides the capacity to find and establish
relevant knowledge that lays the foundation for creating ideas, concepts and concept
frameworks. That understanding is then manipulated creatively through the design
process to develop new understandings, as well as innovative and ingenious solutions to
the question or the problem that has been identified.
IDEO is a design company based in the US that develops innovative solutions to problems
for a wide range of companies throughout the world. By completing thousands of
innovation and design challenges, IDEO has developed a set of rules for creating an
environment to facilitate innovation. Educators can learn from their use of multi-
disciplinary teams, dedicated spaces and the setting of finite timeframes to provide a
framework for successful outcomes.
Another of IDEO’s notions is developing the
intersection between desirability, viability and
feasibility of solutions, and this simple design
framework can be applied in classrooms.

IDEO has developed an excellent resource for
educators entitled “Design Thinking for Educators”
that can be downloaded from
www.designthinkingforeducators.com/
MULTI-DISCIPLINARY TEAMS
This team will work best if it consists of a core group of 3–8 individuals, one of
whom is the facilitator. By mixing different disciplinary and educational
backgrounds, you will have a better chance of coming up with unexpected solutions
when these people approach problems from different points of view.
DEDICATED SPACES
Having a separate project space allows the team to be constantly inspired by
imagery from the field, immersed in their post-it notes, and able to track the
progress of the project. If possible, find a dedicated space for your design team to
focus on the challenge.
FINITE TIMEFRAMES
Many people notice that they work best with
deadlines and concrete timelines. Likewise, an
innovation project with a beginning, middle, and
end is more likely to keep the team motivated
and focused on moving forward.



%&


We have to make hundreds of predictions every day and to
do that we need to be conscious of the world we live in and
conscious of our own thinking and the processes that underpin
that thinking. Our unique capacity to be able to talk to ourselves
and use our ‘inner voice’ to question and interrogate our world
is another uniquely human capability. We can take our inner
voice and use it to guide how we apply our four learning
systems in order to develop new knowledge, ideas, concepts
and concept frameworks.
Our inner voice is also used to interrogate our knowledge, ideas, concepts and concept
frameworks in order to create entirely new knowledge, ideas, concepts and concept
frameworks. The more knowledge, ideas, concepts and concept frameworks we have in
our learning retinue then the greater the number of unique combinations of that
knowledge and those ideas, concepts and concept frameworks we are able to create.
It is our inner voice and our four learning systems that enables us as humans to be
conscious of our own thinking processes, as well as being aware of who we are and who
we may want to be. In the emerging model of how the brain learns, humans are a unique
species in having all four learning systems.
What integrates these capacities is our
ability to interrogate each of them and
construct new concept frameworks of
understanding. This draws on unique
combinations from some or all of our
learning systems. Learning is based on
our ability to use our inner voice to
interrogate our thinking metacognitively by
asking clever questions and having
conversations with ourselves. These
questions and the conversations we have
interrogate each of our learning systems
that in turn build an integrated picture of
our world.
By having conversations with ourselves we can test and reflect on the veracity of our
thinking and also probe the assumptions we may be making. Being conscious of our own
thinking is again unique to the human species and it allows us to synthesise our many
thinking processes into an integrated model of understanding.

I think - therefore I am
Descarte
Our Inner Voice
Rote
Learning
Concept
Formation
Creativity
Sensory
Data
L
e
a
r
n
i
n
g
Video Link



%'
Our ‘inner voice’ is what we use to reflect on what we do, how and why we
behave in the way we do, how we critique ourselves and how we connect the
knowledge, ideas, concepts and concept frameworks developed using each
of our four learning systems. It is the voice that challenges us to strive
further and the voice that condemns our foolishness.
To achieve a deep level of thinking and learning we need to be constantly developing our
language surrounding learning and our questioning in order to increase the quality of the
interrogation of our learning. Interestingly, our inner voice applies that literacy in a far
more efficient manner than when we apply it using spoken language. We have the ability
to have ‘conversations’ using the actual knowledge, ideas, concepts and concept
frameworks without converting them into words. This is achieved through the use
brainwaves to link knowledge, ideas, concepts and concept frameworks directly.

If we had to articulate our thoughts in
spoken words, our responses to many
situations would be very slow. “Ah yes I
need to slow down quite quickly as the car
in front of me has stopped suddenly or
maybe I could swerve around it, or better
still …” Too late! These communications
with ourselves makes use of our
imagination. Imagination therefore needs a
clearer definition. Our imagination is the
three-dimensional canvas on which we try
out different combinations of our
knowledge, ideas, concepts and concept
frameworks. BUT our imagination has one
further and somewhat unique
characteristic; that being that the
ridiculous, the impossible and the bizarre
are all possible. In our imagination we can
fly, or be in exotic places and at the time
these perceptions feel as real any event we
experience in reality.
This notion is what we refer to as our consciousness – being consciously
aware of our own thinking and our ability to reflect on that thinking.
Throughout our lives we are consciously, non-consciously and sub-
consciously creating, refining and iterating our identity.

“It's like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own
head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We
build ourselves out of that story.”
Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind




%(
Concurrent with this are the conversations we have with others, where we merge
differences in their perspectives and worldview into our worldview, or not. These
conversations may result in us ‘changing our mind.’ It is the richness of these
conversations with both self and others that ultimately provides us with the capacity to
build our concept framework of our world; our worldview.
Memories in the form of
knowledge, ideas,
concepts and concept
frameworks are not
stored as words or held
in our head as text or an
oral recording.
Memories are
electrochemical in
nature. Because they are
electrochemical, our
thinking processes are
constantly emitting
electromagnetic
radiation that we
generally refer to as
brainwaves.
Brainwaves travel at the speed of light (300 000km/s). In this format, our knowledge,
ideas, concepts and concept frameworks can be connected to each other in unique
combinations, and this can happen in a fraction of a second. Our brain’s efficiency is due
to our brainwaves being able to connect knowledge, ideas, concepts and concept
frameworks and experiment with different combinations of these with extreme speed and
extraordinary efficiency.


The hippocampus and the amygdala in
the brain appear to be the conductors
of this rampant musical symphony
that we collectively refer to as our
ability to apply our imagination in order
to be creative.


“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do
it.” J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan




%)



Thinking, creating and recalling information, ideas, concepts and experiences are very
distinct processes. Our senses
16
provide us with data that we interpret via our situation
and previous experiences, and that in turn informs and iterates our worldview. It is how
we interpret what we sense that results in us all having a unique worldview. Much of that
interpretation happens via the emotions we attach to those sensory inputs. Most of
those resulting associations have to do with the experiences we have been exposed to
during our life.
Even trying to remember a shopping list alters our worldview. Just the thought of the ice
cream on the list changes our attitude towards shopping. Strictly, just remembering a
shopping list would not constitute thinking if you were to do that without any emotion
whatsoever, but that it is highly unlikely. Our senses and our emotions are inextricably
linked. Once you start thinking about the order in which you would buy the items on your
shopping list it has become a thinking task. What we have done here is separate
remembering without any emotion, feeling or contextual application and thinking into two
quite distinct tasks that the brain carries out.
As can be seen from
the quote at the top
of the page, the
amount of data that
our senses process is
extraordinary. Our
brain does not
remember all the
data that our senses
take in, but it does
process that data as
an integrated data
stream.

16
Bruce Durie, New Scientist, 29 January 2005: The expanded list of senses includes but is not limited to: Sight (colour,
brightness), Hearing, Taste (sweet, sour, bitter, salt, umami), Smell, Touch, Thermoception (internal and external),
Nociception, Equilibrioception, Proprioception, Pressure, Hunger, Thirst, Spatial orientation (located in the ears), Body
movement (kinaesthesis), Balance, “Feelings” (such as that associated with a full bladder), Pheromones, Pain (surface,
internal), Position within electromagnetic fields, Thirst, Hunger, Blood pressure, Blood oxygen, CSF acidity, !. Another list
can be found here: http://stonetable.livejournal.com/15610.html Accessed July 2009

“In a recent lecture at Harvard University neuroscientist Jeff Lichtman, who is
attempting to map the human brain, has calculated that several billion
petabytes of data storage would be needed to index the entire human brain.
The Internet is currently estimated to be 5 million terabytes (TB) of which
Google has indexed roughly 200 TB or just .004% of its total size.”
David Schilling


How Our Brain Learns
1. Our Senses

Video Link



%*
We can now define thinking as any process that alters our worldview.
All of our 23 senses provide the data that allow us to form memories, and subsequently
to learn. Sensory inputs (sight, balance, touch, pain, smell, balance, hearing, taste, etc.)
combine to form an overall concept of our world – our worldview. Cognitively reflecting on
our thoughts alters our worldview, so this too is learning and creates memories.
Recalling or re-experiencing a specific combination of sensory data can initiate the recall
of emotions associated with previously formed memories that may be associated with
past experiences.
Our senses, in combination with our emotions, thoughts, ideas and
imagination, allow us to interact with and interpret our world. This produces
memory elements that we combine in numerous ways to form a concept of
our world, and thus make it navigable. Our worldview provides us with a
framework via which we manage and make sense of our world. Our
worldview is a version of what actually exists and it is certainly not an exact
replica of reality. Our senses allow us to create ‘our’ personal version of the
world, and for most of us that version allows us to a place of significance
within the world that we inhabit as well as the world we have created.
Our senses, emotions, thoughts, ideas and imaginative thinking processes are our
gateway to our world, and they all represent instances of the process of learning, but we
can only learn if we can form memories of what we experience.
When we are driving we are inundated with
sensory inputs and our mind selectively sorts
through these inputs, ‘discarding’ most to a
sub/non-conscious level so the conscious mind
can process the ‘really important’ and
unexpected sensory inputs. For example, we do
not notice the noise of the car tyres on the
road, but if that sound changes due to the tyre
going flat we immediately recognise the new
sound and take immediate action.
The amygdala in our brain coordinates the different senses so it can focus on working
within the same ‘operational framework’ to create a coordinated view of driving or any
other activity we are carrying out. This requires an almost instant response and
extremely high levels of sensory interoperability. If each sense was processed at a
specific location in our brain, how could we possibly coordinate our thoughts and actions
in such short time spans (typically less than 0.01 second) and present such an
integrated response?
The present model of brain functionality views the brain as a collection of
thinking parts that work together like a mechanical system. Another quick
thought experiment indicates that this may not be the case. Can you really
see pictures in your head? If you can, then look at this page, close your eyes
and now read the words on the page using the picture of the page you have
captured in your brain! If we could see pictures in our head we would all have
a photographic memory, and despite appearances no-one actually has, as it
is impossible to see pictures in our head!



%+
People then say “Oh yeah; but it is a fuzzy picture”.
But even some of the most obvious things cannot be
deciphered, such as how the eyebrows of your best
friend meet above the bridge of his/her nose. None of
us have any idea of this feature, even though we think
we can see that person in our head. But you are right –
there is something there, but it is not a picture. What
we can sense in our brain is hard to describe because
what is occurring in the brain cannot be replicated
outside our head in the ‘real world’. Therefore we use
terms such as “I can see a picture”, as this is the
closest correlation to something that exists in our
physical world that we can use as a metaphor, even
though the metaphor is not valid.
This emerging model of how the brain learns proposes that we are not seeing an image
in our brain, but we are possibly recalling the integration of all the data from our 23
senses.
17
We therefore end up with an ‘essence’ of our grandmother, including the
smells, taste, sounds, movement etc. rather than a discrete image. We cannot distil an
integrated image despite attempting to interrogate the ‘image’, but we definitely sense
that person, place, event or feeling. This is far more powerful than storing an image.
Imagine your grandmother and you do not see her as a picture, but you have a far more
profound essence of her; compete with emotions, her charm, warmth, thoughtfulness
and strident adherence to routine (be wary of the gun). This is a far richer view of your
grandmother, a far better ‘image’ than any picture. If we need detail, we can always look
at the photograph.
So what is happening in our brain? What this model proposes is an entirely new
framework for how the brain learns. This model helps explain a range of phenomena that
were previously inexplicable. The model, however, does not explain everything. Within the
scientific process a framework is built, the outside cladding added, new things are then
discovered, some cladding comes off, new framework material is added and then re-clad.
This is the process of scientific discovery; it is an iterative process with many false starts
and dead ends. There are many questions that are currently beyond our understanding
and the scope of this work. That may not always be the case, but at the moment all of our
models for how the brain learns are quite poor, just like most of the scientific models for
gravity.
Quite possibly, most models we use to explain how our brain functions are still too
mechanistic, but the door has opened a little wider, and someone may close it, remodel it,
or decide to tunnel under it; only time will tell. This work increasingly suggests that the
brain does not compartmentalise thinking as much as we previously thought. As this
model of thinking unfolds we start to see a more distributed/integrated model, with
some brain areas (where each capability was thought to be specifically located) acting as
critical, busy neural pathways, or as regions of complex interaction rather than the place
where each sense is processed within a confined region.
Our senses are extraordinarily comprehensive and losing capability in just one of them is
terribly frustrating. BUT everything we sense is filtered by our ever increasingly
sophisticated worldview that may not bear much resemblance to reality. We really do
construct our own version of the world we inhabit.

17
“Come to Your Senses”; http://www.meditation24-7.com/page18/page18.html Accessed January 2013



%,
Despite the different organs that detect and sense our world, all sensory information
is processed in a similar manner within the cortex
18
of the brain. After all, when the optic
nerve picks up signals from the back of the eye, those signals are not pictures, but
electrochemical data. Theoretically, each of our sensory organs should be able to carry
out the sensory processing of any other organ. Dr Paul-y-Rita
19
first proposed
20
this theory
in the 1960s.
21

To test this idea, researchers at The National Institute of Health placed a miniaturised
set of cameras in a set of glasses that were worn by clinically blind volunteers. The
digitised information was then passed to an array of 144 sensors embedded on a small
plastic paddle. When the volunteer placed the plastic paddle on their tongue, and after
some practice, they were able to make out shapes and forms. Following further training
and practice they were able to navigate around a complex maze and even shoot
basketball hoops! The volunteers were able to see using their tongue! How is that
possible?
“A program director at the National Eye
Institute at the National Institutes of
Health in Bethesda, Oberdorfer has worked
for years to find ways to overcome loss of
vision, and is currently supporting ground-
breaking research into an unlikely detour
to get visual signals to the brain: the
tongue. … Scientists and researchers such
as Oberdorfer hope that eventually, the
device will allow people walking down a city
street to read signs, or walking down a
trail to follow someone. Oberdorfer said.”
22

Gazette.Net
As a large percentage of our input to form memories comes from our sensory system,
mapping, remembering and manipulating this information is a critical learning system. It
appears that an organ in the brain called the amygdala primarily carries out this complex
sensory processing. In this model we are proposing, one of the amygdala’s roles is to
group memories together that relate to specific sensory events.

18
The cortex is the extensive outer layer of the brain, sometimes referred to as our grey matter.
19
Abrams, M.; “Plasticity and The Senses: Paul Bach-y-Rita”; Discover Magazine; June 2003;
http://discovermagazine.com/2003/jun/feattongue Accessed April 2009
20
Kendrick, M.; “Tasting the Light: Device Lets the Blind ‘See’ with Their Tongues”; August 2009;
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=device-lets-blind-see-with-tongues Accessed September 2009
21
Kirsch, H.; “Slow Brainwaves Play Key Role In Coordinating Complex Activity” as reported by Science Daily;
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060914155903.htm Accessed December 2006
22
Ujifusa, A.; Gazette.net; April 8 2009; http://ww2.gazette.net/stories/04082009/kensnew204526_32485.shtml Accessed
September 2010
“We used to think that one little patch of cortex takes care of this function and
another little patch takes care of that function, but now we see it's more about
systems that are cooperating on one task, then they switch over and cooperate
on another task. On the fly you want to link these areas to do a task, and when
the task is over, you want to decouple them and let them link up with someone
else. Ryan has shown that the theta waves allow this coupling and uncoupling
by locking into phase.” Heidi Kirsch, UCSF





%-
It is also critical that we are able to associate the correct sensory information with the
right event. It would be very confusing if my voice were associated with the fridge or vice
versa. It appears that another of the amygdala’s roles is to merge the sensory data to
give us a holistic sense of the event we are experiencing (see the upcoming section on
brainwaves to see how this is achieved). If this process was not carried out, all our
sensory inputs would appear disjointed and we would not be able to make sense of our
world. An additional role of the amygdala may well be to filter out ‘noise’, i.e. background
sensory data that is extraneous to the brain’s needs at any given point in time.
It is common to be completely unaware of background noise until someone draws our
attention to it. People who live on busy roads sleep through all the noise effortlessly as
the amygdala has identified this as a background noise of no consequence, but if that
noise changes in some way we become aware of it immediately. An example of this is
when our tyre gets a puncture and then we are immediately aware of the change in
sound the tyre is making and we quickly pull over. The amygdala is very exact in what
sensory data it decides to let us ignore, so that even a very small change in sensory
information can bring an event to our attention immediately.
What we sense depends on what we are looking for, as this video clip quite clearly shows.
Our senses collect the raw material
that is then filtered through our
worldview and we use that modified
data to create our new
understanding. Hence, from the very
beginning of the Learning Process
we are working with a tainted data
set. It is no wonder then that when a
group of people all describe the
same event, they all have a different
view of what took place.
23

Each of our four learning systems relies on sensory data as the raw material that our
brain then weaves in with existing knowledge, ideas and concepts, as well as emotions
and feelings,
24
allowing us to make sense of our world.

23
The Gorilla Illusion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGQmdoK_ZfY Accessed June 2013
24
Feelings are emotions linked to a particular stimulus or event. “I feel sad when I think about the loss of life and the damage
the cyclone has caused.”
"A neuron collects inputs from senses and combines these inputs together to
decide when to output a spike to other neurons. A typical neuron can do this and
reset itself in about 5 milliseconds. This may seem fast but a modern silicon based
computer can do one billion operations in a second. This means the basic
computer operation is 5 million times faster than the basic operation in your brain
…. The neurons are slow, so in a half a second the information entering your brain
can only traverse a chain 100 neurons long." Jeff Hawkins




&"
How Our Brain Learns
2. Rote Learning





We generally think of our brain as being mostly made up of neurons
but this is not the case. In the average adult only about 7% of the cells in the brain are
neurons;
25
quite different from the 90%+ we are born with. There is increasing evidence
that our ability to learn via rote (repetitive practice) is mostly managed by the neurons
26
in
our brain.
Surprisingly, 500 years ago we did not have to remember much rote learned knowledge,
as most people did not have to memorise the letters in the alphabet and manage a
written vocabulary in order to write or read, and we did not need to remember numerous
addresses, passwords, phone numbers, hundreds of names or the capital cities of
numerous countries, etc. As a result we had few evolutionary or genetic drivers trying to
improve our rote learning capacity other than what we required to support the
development of oral language. As a result of this, our rote learning is still very inefficient
today. It would also appear that our capacity for rote learning is mostly inherited from our
parents, hence it is important to choose our parents wisely!
In reading and writing, the sounds and shapes of
the letters of the alphabet are random and they
have to be learned by rote as those shapes and
sounds cannot be predicted from what they look
like. The same is true for words. Once we have
learned the sounds and shapes of letters and
we have a vocabulary of words, only then can we
can start playing around with words creatively
and applying concepts to them. But building a
vocabulary must come first.
The brain has a number of associated memory systems for each of our learning systems.
Sensory and rote learned memories are referred to as episodic memories, and episodic
memories can be stored as temporary, short-term or long-term. Temporary and short-
term episodic memories appear to be created within the nuclei of the neurons through a
process known as epigenetics. Long-term memories may well be stored using memristic
memory systems that make use of biological, holographic storage systems. This would
account for the fact that it is possible to have half the brain removed (a
hemispherectomy) without any loss of long-term memories.
Memories have historically been divided into two distinct groups:
• Declarative – conscious memories that can either be semantic (concept based)
or episodic (recall of knowledge or rote- learned information).
Procedural – this is a non-conscious process such as driving the car, throwing a ball or
eating dinner.

25
Bizarrely, the actual numbers of each type of cell in the brain is still unknown, so these are approximations.
26
Brainbow: Transgenic strategies for combinatorial expression of fluorescent proteins in the nervous system by Jean Livet,
Tamily A. Weissman, Hyuno Kang, Ryan W. Draft, Ju Lu, Robyn A. Bennis, Joshua R. Sanes & Jeff W. Lichtman, Nature
450, 56–62 (1 November 2007); http://www.conncad.com/gallery/brainbow.html Accessed September 2013
Video Link



&%
As our senses experience a learning event, nerve cells (specialist neurons) carry that
information to other neurons in the brain. In the busy world of the neuron’s nucleus, part
of our DNA is regularly uncoiled, exposing our DNA. While the DNA is exposed, chemicals
produced in response to the sensory information can make their way into the neuron’s
nucleus. These molecules could attach themselves to the exposed DNA. This does not
change the genetic code, but what they do is make their presence known and they can
change the types of molecules that are created in that particular cell or group of cells.
This process is called epigenetics.
These additional molecules alter the proteins produced by the cell and as a result this
changes what the cell does. These subtle changes may alter the neural connections
between that particular neuron and the neurons in that memory sequence. Multiply this
by millions of neurons and we have a very complex memory system that may well be
overwriting itself every time new sensory data is received by each neuron. Due to the
somewhat temporary nature of this memory storage system it would appear that
epigenetics would only be suitable for temporary/short-term memory formation.
Repetitive, rote-learning processes
engage the hippocampus and it makes a
series of connections so that the memory
can be recalled at a later time. The key to
remembering that particular memory is
to start at the beginning of the entire
memory sequence.
27

It is this sequencing structure that allows
us to remember the whole song if
someone sings the first few bars. The
important aspect is that memories are
sequences, and once initiated the whole
memory flows intuitively, without the need
for conscious thinking processes. The
more sensory data we can use in forming
the memory, the more ‘keys’ the
hippocampus has at its disposal to locate,
extract and apply that memory.
Sequencing letters to make words is random and there are no underlying conceptual
frameworks we can use to predict them. That is why we find words so hard to remember.
We can remember a song with words better than a sentence of words without music.
The melody of the song contains a predictable musical component and a sequence of
words. As the music has an underlying concept basis, this allows us to recall the
accompanying words courtesy of the predictable music.

27
Levine, A.; “Unmasking the Memory Gene”; Scientific American; June 2008
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=unmasking-memory-genes Accessed November 2010



&&




It is a different story though when it comes to explaining how the brain creates and
stores ideas and concepts. This is our third learning system. Over thousands of years of
human development we have always required an understanding of numerous ideas and
concepts. This includes hunting, relationships, understanding and managing risk,
navigating around the spaces we inhabit, judging time, interpreting body language,
recognising social status, building structures to live in, as well as how we celebrate
events, process food, keep warm, protect the tribe/town/city, etc. We required
concepts to apply all of these capabilities. Understanding concepts provides us with the
power to predict possible courses of action. This potentially creates safer futures and
provides us a greater chance of successful outcomes, improving our chances of survival.
Because humans have been creating and developing concepts for tens, if
not hundreds, of thousands of years, this learning system underpinning
development of ideas and concepts is extremely efficient.
The most common type of cell in the brain is the astrocyte (the
photo shows one type of astrocyte). Up to 75% of all cells in
the brain are thought to be astrocytes
28
and these cells belong
to a family called glial cells. In this emerging model for how the
brain learns it is thought that concepts are mapped via a
relationship across connections formed between neurons and
astrocytes in the brain. The role of the astrocytes in the brain
has been contentious for some time, with many
neuroscientists insisting that the role of astrocytes was minor
and their primary role was to provide support for neurons.
In March of 2013 the role of astrocytes and their impact on learning was given huge
support via the release of a research paper entitled “Forebrain Engraftment by Human
Glial Progenitor Cells Enhances Synaptic Plasticity and Learning in Adult Mice”.
29


28
Photograph courtesy of Drs Edward Nyatia and Dirk Lang; Title: Mammalian astrocyte cell
http://www.saasta.ac.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=165&Itemid=165 Accessed June 2012
29
Han, X. et al.; “Forebrain Engraftment by Human Glial Progenitor Cells Enhances Synaptic Plasticity & Learning in Adult
Mice. Stem Cell 12(3), 342–353, 7 March 2013; http://www.cell.com/cell-stem-cell/retrieve/pii/S1934590913000076 Accessed
July 2013
How Our Brain Learns
3. Understanding

“We are on the cusp of a new understanding of the brain that transforms a
century of conventional thinking about the brain, specifically the role of the
brains neurons. . . . . In contrast, the cellular glia, free to wander and probe at
will through the tangled knotted network of nerve fibres in our brain, make brain
tissue come alive with cellular motion. As they probe they physically remodel
our brain changing the connections between neurons. The other brain,
operating entirely outside our conscious mind shapes the circuitry of the
neuronal brain.”
R. Douglas Fields (The Other Brain 2011)




&'

By injecting stem cells of human
astrocytes
30
into the brains of
embryonic mice the young mice
developed fully functional human
astrocytes within their brains. The
astrocytes coordinated neural
activity in the brains of the
chimeric
31
mice and as a result
the mice dramatically increased
their capacity to learn.
32
The
implications from this research
are extraordinary. This research
confirmed the critical role of
astrocytes in enabling humans to
carry out conceptual and creative
learning processes.



30
Asytrocytic stem cells (protogenic) are stored in gyrus in the human brain.
31
Chimeric: A single organism that is composed of two or more genetically distinct cell types.
32
Kurzweil; March 2013; “Support cells found in human brain make mice smarter”; http://www.kurzweilai.net/support-cells-
found-in-human-brain-make-mice-smarter Accessed August 2013


The mice were tested to see how quickly they learned and responded to a particular
threat. Their first intelligence test was learning to associate a sound with a small
electric shock to the foot. As can be seen from the left-hand graph, the freezing of
the activity of the mouse that had been provided with human astrocytic material (the
chimeric mice) was far greater than the control mice over the four days of testing.
The chimeric mice also demonstrated a significant learning advantage, as reflected
in a shorter latency (speed) and fewer errors in solving the maze puzzle that they
were given (middle and right-hand graphs). Once again this demonstrates that the
chimeric mice were learning far more quickly and were making far fewer errors. The
same significant improvement in results occurred in the enhanced recognition of
the ‘novel displaced object’ test. These were very smart mice and no; you can’t buy
them at the local pet store!



&(

What is the role of astrocytes in enhancing our learning capacity? It is
known that astrocytes have a tripartite (three-way) relationship across
synapses with neurons. In this relationship the astrocytes are chemically
looking for repeating patterns in the neural circuitry of the brain. When they
detect these, a complex set of processes kick in.
33


As humans we take it for granted that we can multi-task, but this is very rare in other
species, and humans excel at this. The brain manages to carry out multiple tasks at once
– multi-tasking – by using a very clever mechanism. We saw earlier that concepts allow
the brain to make predictions and that some of those predictions are conscious but most
are non-conscious, which means we are making predictions without consciously thinking
about them. We non-consciously eat our dinner, throw a ball during a sports game the
exact distance, ride our bike or navigate a roundabout when driving a car. We often say
we have automated these conceptual processes, but what do we mean by that?
When we learn a new concept n this model of learning, such as steering a
car, the excitement of learning to drive releases hormones in the brain.
Hormones are what underpin the emotions that we feel.
34
The release of
these hormones informs astrocytes which repeated patterns they should
map and how quickly they should be automated. The more intense the
hormones detected, the more quickly the astrocytes map that pattern. The
emotion we feel and the associated release of hormones tell the astrocytes
to map that pattern into permanent, long-term memory – immediately!
The reason for astrocytes taking over these thinking tasks is that our brain can only think
consciously about one idea or concept at a time. If you are unsure about this, try adding
and subtracting two numbers simultaneously!


33
Franklin, R.J.M. & Bussey, T.J.; “Do Your Glial Cells Make You Clever?” 2013;
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1934590913000581 Accessed February 2014
34
If we take particular drugs, they also cause hormones to be released in the brain. This is possibly the basis for addiction.
“Glial cells – a family of cells found in the human central nervous system and,
until recently, considered mere “housekeepers” – now appear to be essential
to the unique complexity of the human brain. Scientists reached this conclusion
after demonstrating that when transplanted into mice, these human cells could
influence communication within the brain, allowing the animals to learn more
rapidly. The study suggests that the evolution of a subset of glia called
astrocytes – which are larger and more complex in humans than other species
– may have been one of the key events that led to the higher cognitive
functions that distinguish us from other species.” Ray Kurzweil




&)
Each of these automated processes (automaticity) has an underlying pattern or concept
even though eating each meal and navigating each roundabout is a unique event. The
brain uses our knowledge of the concept of roundabouts to predict how each roundabout
should be navigated. The first time we approach a roundabout we have to think very
carefully about roundabouts, but after experiencing several roundabouts the astrocytes
recognise the general pattern of how to navigate them successfully. Astrocytes map this
pattern and turn navigating roundabouts into an automated process that the brain no
longer needs to think consciously about
Many astrocytes have a range of hormone receptors on their surface and these
receptors can sense how exciting or valuable the underlying pattern/concept being
experienced is. In this model it is proposed that the hormones associated with
excitement, danger and possible success, chemically drive astrocytes to identify and map
the pattern that is associated with that response.
The more intense the hormonal response, the more quickly the concept is mapped and
stored as a long-term conceptual memory. The underlying patterns provide the
foundation for all the concepts we learn and we apply most of them non-consciously.
Once we have the concept of sitting down mapped and automated we never again have
to consciously think about sitting down on anything, even a seat we have never sat on
before. From that point forward we carry out the sitting down process non-consciously,
courtesy of the interaction of the tripartite relationship between astrocytes–synapses–
neurons. This process provides humans a huge efficiency gain in learning compared to
other species.
Extraordinarily, many of our concepts and concept frameworks are automated and
applied non-consciously, including driving our cars, playing sports, eating dinner and
predicting how much we can expect to save when we are offered a 33% discount! The
tripartite relationships between hundreds of millions of neurons, synapses and astrocytes
allow our brain to predict how we should steer and non-consciously drive the car. It is this
unique capacity that allows us to non-consciously drive a car while consciously talking to
the passenger next to us.
This non-conscious application of concepts allows the brain to then carry out
multiple tasks at once and this is the basis for multi-tasking.
Multi-tasking involves one conscious thinking process and a range of
automated non-conscious thinking processes based on concepts being
applied simultaneously. About 90% of all our thinking is carried out non-
consciously and we often refer to these non-conscious thinking processes as
habits.
The increase in intelligence of the chimeric mice was considerable. The ability of
the mouse brain to adopt human astrocytes and for those astrocytes to then
manage a range of neural processes in the mouse brain and improve its
intelligence is nothing short of astounding. The multitude of implications of this
research is still being assessed, but what it does do is provide educators with some
significant evidence that astrocytes have a significant role to play in the human
brain being able to construct new ideas and concepts ‘on the fly’. Treadwell



&*





Our fourth learning system is our ability to think creatively.
Creativity is the outcome of applying our imagination in order to ‘create’ new
knowledge, ideas, concepts or concept frameworks that have value.
What do we expect when we ask someone to be creative? How do they interpret that
request? While it may be a universal question, almost no one seems to be able to explain
what that request means in an even remotely meaningful way. Despite our lack of clarity,
creativity happens for us all every day. Every prediction we make is an act of applying our
creativity that is underpinned by our imagination. We synthesise incoming sensory data
and make a prediction that we will need a coat later in the day and that is an act of
creativity. To say “I am not creative” is tantamount to saying “I am not human”. Everyone
is creative; they have to be. But how are we creative?
Being able to comprehend the process of creativity is a completely different capacity to
being able to explain to someone what to do in their mind in order to be creative. The
difficulty of explaining what is happening in our mind is due to the absence of a reasonable
analogy or metaphor that we can use to explain how we are creative. We can tell
someone what we did and what may have helped stimulate creative outcomes, but we
are unable to explain the actual process that took place in our mind.
In an insightful study highlighted in the book “Breakpoint and Beyond”
35
a group of 1500
learners were tested to see how creative they were. Each of the learners was tested for
creativity by being asked to find as many creative applications of small objects, such as a
paperclip. Those that could come up with more than 50 applications were considered to
be operating at a genius level.
Interestingly, these learners were all
preschool learners and in a stunning
result 98% of these preschool
learners were found to be operating
at a genius level for creativity. In a
longitudinal study the same learners
were then reassessed at the ages of
10 and 15. At age 10, 50% were
found to be operating at a genius
level, and at age 15, only 28% were
found to be operating at a genius
level. These dramatic decreases in
the ability to be creative would be
the opposite outcome of what any
school or community would desire.

35
The FarSight Group; www.farsightgroup.com Accessed January 2011
How Our Brain Learns
4. Imagination
& Creativity

Video Link









&+

What happened in those 10 years that contributed to the decrease in our ability to be
creative? Is it that we are no longer willing to take risks? Do we become more afraid of
getting the wrong answer? Do we value factual information over our imaginative
processes and their creative outcomes? Or is it because as we get older we naturally get
less creative? There are many other questions surrounding creativity; such as whether it
is possible to increase creativity or apply it across a greater range of contexts. Is
creativity a genetic or environmentally influenced quality or the result of needing to be
creative? Can creative people be creative in all disciplines and aspects of life?
Answers to these and many more questions all require us to first understand what
creativity actually is. What this section is trying to create is a model for how the brain
creates new ideas. The challenge is then to take this model and turn it into an instructive
model that will possibly increase the creativity of all learners. Creativity is a wonderfully
human capacity, and as such it is one that is highly valued by every society.
Creativity is the construction of completely new knowledge, ideas, concepts and concept
frameworks that have value, and that have been constructed from unique combinations
of existing or innovative knowledge, ideas, concepts and concept frameworks via our
imagination. There are two potential ways in which this could happen. The standard
explanation for creativity is by the development of new dendritic connections forming
across synaptic junctions. In this new model an alternative explanation is presented.
Considerable distances within the brain separate the location of the neural/astrocytic
cells that contribute to new ideas, concepts and concept frameworks. This would mean
that unless these connections were permanent, every time we wanted to apply our new
ideas, concepts and concept frameworks we would have to reconnect all of the cells and
this would simply be too slow. An alternative possibility that would overcome this tyranny
of distance is that our brain makes use of brainwaves.

In this emerging model, each idea, concept and concept framework has an associated
brainwave profile. A brainwave profile is the sum of each of the component brainwaves
related to the signalling processes that make up each idea, concept or concept
framework. When we are trying to find a solution to a problem, the amygdala filters
interference and/or resonance patterns in the brain and decides which of these
connections have the potential to create an outcome that may be the solution being
searched for. This process is extremely fast and offers an alternative mechanism for the
creation of new ideas, concepts and concept frameworks.



&,
Ideas, concepts or concept
frameworks each have a specific
brainwave profile. The resulting
pattern of the combined brainwave
profiles that may be productive can
be identified by specialised neurons
within the amygdala in the brain. The
amygdala is able to select productive
associations of knowledge elements,
ideas, concepts and concept
frameworks.
36


The amygdala is known to also be
involved in processing associative
memory so we can associate a particular voice with a particular individual. It is assumed
in this model that the amygdala uses similar processes to identify productive outcomes
from our application of the imagination to form innovative new ideas, concepts and
concept frameworks.
This is a critical capability as the sensory system is constantly receiving vast quantities of
disassociated sensory data and the correct data needs to be associated with what is
being perceived. Creativity takes place when curiosity, external questioning, reflection
(internal questioning), or a particular need or opportunity causes us to interrogate our
internal library of knowledge, ideas, concepts or concept frameworks. Our interrogation
can create new links between existing knowledge, ideas, concepts or concept
frameworks as well as the need for new knowledge, ideas, concepts or concept
frameworks.
This does not take place in a linear fashion, but rather in a dynamic, complex and chaotic
three-dimensional ‘washing machine’ of knowledge, ideas, concepts or concept
frameworks interacting across the cortex by way of brainwaves. Brainwaves are the
active agent looking to link knowledge elements, ideas and concepts via feedback and
feed-forward loops based on complex interference and/or resonance patterns.

36
The science behind this probably involves interference and/or stochastic resonance processes. These processes create
resonance/interference patterns that are picked up by the specialised neurons in the amygdala. It is quite possible that the
hippocampus also has a role to play in this process..
“How is it that when we are deep in thought we seemingly shut off everything in
the environment around us? In this theory, neurons are tied to our muscular
action and external senses. We know astrocytes monitor neurons for this
information. Similarly, they can induce neurons to fire. Therefore, astrocytes
modulate neuron behavior. This could mean that calcium waves in astrocytes
are our thinking mind. Neuronal activity without astrocyte processing is a simple
reflex; anything more complicated might require astrocyte processing. The fact
that humans have the most abundant and largest astrocytes of any animal and
we are capable of creativity and imagination also lends credence to this
speculation.” Andrew Koob




&-
There are many theories about how the imagination underpins creativity and how that
can be encouraged, but while there is no recipe for creativity there are some practices
that can be put in place that may increase the potential for creativity.
• The more concepts, ideas and knowledge that are known, understood and practiced
through different contexts, the more potential exists to be creative as there are
more possible combinations of knowledge, ideas and concepts available as raw
intellectual material.
• The willingness to take risks and be wrong is an essential element underpinning
creativity. Assessing risk requires a good understanding of what would or could be a
good outcome. By looking at what may appear to be an unlikely outcome can
sometimes yield highly creative results.
• Personality also plays its part. Being confident, focused, open, agreeable, extrovert
and optimistic are all personality traits that assist in facilitating effective creativity.
The capacity to delineate between when collaboration is an advantage and when
working independently is required is also helpful.
• Creativity takes time, but it can also respond to a degree of time pressure. The need
to find a solution to a problem within a limited timeframe tends to encourage
creativity and from that, innovation can also evolve. Small amounts of fear,
uncertainty and angst can generate hormones in the synaptic region that increase
the brain’s sensitivity to the effects of brainwaves interacting with each other.
• Having a mind and a personality that are curious and are looking and desiring to
discover new ideas are also very beneficial. We are curious as learners, but through
a variety of experiences that curiosity can be dampened over time. As educators we
should always be encouraging curiosity by encouraging learners in the belief that
they can learn and they can be creative.
• Having time to allow the mind to wander and daydream also increases the potential
for creative outcomes. This may seem counterintuitive to being focused and on-task
but in fact, part of being focused on developing creative solutions requires that we
spend time allowing ideas to connect in different and possibly unplanned
combinations.
• The use of analogy and metaphor is another approach to developing creative ideas.
A metaphor is a direct comparison between two concepts/objects (life is a beach –
his arrogance is his Achilles heel – the river of life). A metaphor provides a scaffold
allowing us to equate a body of knowledge/understanding we have understanding
about with one we understand less.
• Whenever there is change (this may be political, environmental, technological
innovation or societal), there are opportunities for new creative ideas. Interrogating
each change to look for the opportunity or need is a very creative practice. The iPod
spawned a whole new music industry in terms of downloading music to load onto an
iPod/MP3 player. With change always comes opportunity and new needs.

“I believe this passionately: that we don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of
it. Or rather, we get educated out if it.” Ken Robinson




'"





The ability to be creative via
imaginative processes and subsequently
be innovative has at its core the ability to
synthesise knowledge elements, ideas
and concepts in new ways and in new
combinations. Confidence and practice
underpin the success of this process.
As brainwaves connect knowledge, ideas
and concepts with other knowledge,
ideas and concepts, memories link
interconnected networks of those
knowledge elements, ideas and
concepts. Once again, each knowledge
element or idea, concept or concept
framework is not restricted to
contributing to or being involved in just
one concept or a single concept
framework but rather each is reusable.
This modular approach to thinking allows
the brain to create and store billions of
sensory feelings, ideas, concepts and
concept frameworks.

The speed at which creativity takes place is extraordinary, and this is because brainwaves
can scan the brain looking for possible outcomes in hundredths of a second. The
amygdala and the hippocampus combine to connect knowledge, ideas and concepts and
create new or possibly more complex ideas, concepts or concept frameworks in fractions
of a second. Similar ideas, concepts or concept frameworks have similar brainwave
profiles. In this model for how the brain learns, creative thinking relies on the brain
trialling different combinations of brainwave profiles associated with different ideas and
concepts until an “aha!” moment is achieved; or we give up.
While it is possible to come up with new ideas and be creative in a conscious state, it
appears that the process of creativity is far more productive when we are in a non-
conscious, daydreaming state. What we can all relate to is that after not being able to
find the connections we are trying to create or find the solution we need, we drift off into
that daydreaming state and suddenly the solution just ‘pops into our head’. Our brain
uses our imaginative processes to continue the searching process ‘non-consciously’ while
we are awake and also while we are asleep.

“Rather, creativity is a necessary component of
prediction.” Jeff Hawkins
In this proposed model, each
concept is composed of numerous
knowledge elements, each with its
own specific resonant brainwave
frequency. This is a critical feature
allowing knowledge elements
within each concept to combine
with other combinations of
knowledge elements within other
concepts to form new and unique
concepts. This process provides
the capacity to develop new
concepts/ideas from the individual
knowledge elements within each
concept. Once again this modular
approach enables the vast number
of ideas to be developed, stored
and accessed dynamically through
the activity of the brainwaves.
Treadwell




'%




While it is true that human beings have been learning for hundreds of
thousands of years, the required rate of learning on a daily basis, out of
necessity or opportunity, has skyrocketed over the last ten years. Learning in
order to know something is important, but learning in order to understand
and create completely new ideas, concepts and concept frameworks is
something that is deeply rewarding and a capability unique to humans.
Creating memories is a complex aspect of learning and emerging research indicates that
there appears to be different memory systems for each of our four learning systems.
What follows is a theoretical framework for memory.
1. In this model it is proposed that rote-learned material
and data from our senses are stored as episodic
memories. Episodic memories can be temporary,
short term or long term and each type involves a
different set of processes and storage. Storage of
temporary and short-term memories appears to be
epigenetic. This is a process that happens within the
nucleus of neurons that we described earlier. There
seems to be a choice of two systems for long-term
memories. The first is biological memristic memory.
Memristors could potentially form the basis of an
extraordinarily efficient biological memory storage
system. The second possibility is that long-term
memories are stored using holographic memory.
37

2. Learning, creating and remembering ideas and concepts are stored as semantic
memories. The brain does not appear to store temporary memories for this
learning system. Short-term memories may be stored within astrocytic networks
but this is contentious. Long-term memories may be stored in the same way or via
memristic or holographic
38
processes.
3. Creative memories involve different combinations of episodic and semantic
memories and appear to be stored via the interference of brainwaves known as
stochastic resonance, or they are possibly stored holographically.
4. Associative memories are formed when we associate particular elements of a
memory and link them to form a single memory, such as when you remember a
range of memories associated with your grandmother. These complex memories
also appear to be stored via the interference of brainwaves known as stochastic
resonance or possibly holographically.

37
Treadwell, M.; Reading 78 Model 3: The Memristic Model of Memory “Whatever! Were we Thinking?” For detail on
memristic memory; http://www.marktreadwell.com/products Accessed October 2013
38
An operation called a hemispherectomy involves one of the hemispheres of the brain being removed. Following this
operation the patient may lose temporary and short-term episodic memories but does not lose any long-term episodic or
semantic or creative memories. This seems to imply a holographic memory system as displayed in biological memristors.
Dendritic spines may have the characteristics required to act as nodes for memristic/holographic memory storage systems.
How Our Brain Learns
Memory &
Remembering

“In true memristive
fashion, Chua had
anticipated the idea
that memristors
might have
something to say
about how our
biological
organisms learn.”
29

New Scientist


Video Link



'&
How our memories are stored is contentious and this is an area of research that is
going through an extensive review of late. The table below shows some possible
associations of learning systems and memory systems.
The proposal that each learning system has its own memory system is consistent with
the notion that the brain has multiple learning systems. If we only had one learning
system then it would be more likely that each learning system would have a temporary,
short-term and long-term memory progression, but this does not seem to be the case.



The structures that
are responsible for
managing each of
our memory
systems in our
brain are
highlighted in the
diagram.



Episodic
(knowledge)
Semantic
(concepts/frameworks)
Creative
(imagination)
Associative
(sensory
association)
Temporary
(working/fleeting)
Epigenetic
(process I)
Astrocytic (maybe)

Stochastic
Resonance
(probably)

Holographic
Interference
(possibly)

Stochastic
Resonance
(probably)

Holographic
Interference
(possibly)
Short term
(minutes to
several
hours/days)
Epigenetic
(process 2?)
Long term
(days to years)
Memristic
(probably)

Holographic
(maybe)
Astrocytic
(probably)
Memristic (possibly)
Holographic
(maybe)
Process/organ
responsible for
memory
upgrade
Hippocampus Hormonal Amygdala (hippocampus?)



''



So yes, we have always been learning, but the rate of learning now necessary and the
amount of learning we are doing has grown dramatically. Simply purchasing a mobile
phone requires you to learn how to use the camera function, send text messages, use
Skype, synchronise your device with iTunes to download music, movies, video clips from
YouTube, TED talks, etc., as well as setting up the phone to upload your photos to G-drive
or Dropbox, download a GPS and learn how to configure that, synchronise your online
banking, load your regular bill payments, and of course you will also have to use it to make
phone calls, connect to the wireless Internet in your home and anybody else's wireless
Internet, set up a hotspot for the unlikely situation where there is no free Wi-Fi access,
download and use Viber, as well as decide which friends you want to put on ‘find my
friend’ and who you might follow on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Then you will have
to download and learn how to use Evernote. Kindle, eBay, Google maps, Shazam, Bump,
Find My Phone, Dragon Dictate (just in case you don't have Siri onboard), and one of the
most useful apps ever – Torch! All of this for half the price of the digital camera that we
bought in 2005!
39

That of course is just one of our
learning challenges. Learning how to
learn as efficiently as possible is now
critical for everyone due to the
volume of learning we are doing. Once
we learn how to learn efficiently and
we can learn independently without
needing to be told how, then learning
anything becomes possible and
learning anything opens up the doors
to innovation and ingenuity once we
have our own creativity key to open
that door.
Everyone has the potential and the right to gain the capability of becoming an autodidact!
Providing learners with an understanding of the Learning Process bestows them with the
gift of the fishing rod rather than them needing educators to find and feed them fresh
fish every day. This capability is fast becoming the focus of schooling systems across the
globe. This is a critical capability as we cannot possibly know what learners will need to
understand in the next five years, let alone the next 20 or 30 years.



39
Fullan, M. & Donnelly, K.; “Alive in the Swamp: Assessing Digital Innovations in Education”; July 2013;
http://www.nesta.org.uk/library/documents/Alive_in_the_Swamp.pdf Accessed September 2013
Learning
2
Learn
Once we can learn independently
and do so efficiently we become an
autodidact and we have the most
important capability for the 21st
century. Treadwell

Understanding how to learn is now the most critical
outcome for schools and is fundamental to the purpose
and the mission that underpins the vision of all schools.
Treadwell




'(
This model for how the brain learns proposes
four discrete thinking systems:
1. Perceiving and storing sensory data.
2. Learning and remembering knowledge
via rote.
3. Developing ideas, concepts and concept
frameworks.
4. Applying knowledge, ideas and concepts
creatively to develop new knowledge,
ideas and concepts that are innovative
and ingenious.
Learning knowledge is essential in the Learning Process, but it is not the end
point of learning. It is not possible to develop the capacity for reading and
writing without learning the sounds and shapes of 26 letters and then
developing a vocabulary of words so that you can communicate effectively.
One of the challenges with current pedagogical practice in schools is that the body of
knowledge that learners are expected to know and remember is expanding exponentially.
Unfortunately, the ‘learning knowledge via rote’ used for remembering knowledge is our
least efficient learning system and it is largely dependent on the genes we inherited from
our parents. So if you didn’t choose your parents wisely it is quite possible that you will
have struggled with reading and writing. This is due to reading and writing being based on
a lot of rote learning of letters, sounds, words, grammar, etc. However, you did not
necessarily struggle to learn to set up your mobile phone, download apps or take
wonderful photos. Despite what you might have been told, everyone is intelligent and that
includes you!

Almost everybody learns to drive a car
and passes the practical test, regardless
of how intelligent school may have judged
them to be. Driving is quite possibly the
most complex cognitive task we ever
attempt. How is it possible that everyone
passes that test, even if it may take
more than one attempt? Why don’t
smarter people pass that test more
quickly or become better drivers?

Every idea and concept that we have ever developed sprang from a body
of knowledge, no matter how small. Knowledge is the raw material that
ideas, concepts and concept frameworks are crafted from! Treadwell




')
The answer to this question provides an explanation for why some subjects in school
are easy and some are hard to learn. If we separate out subjects in school systems into
the hard subjects and soft subjects we discover some similarities in the way each of
these two groups of subjects are taught.
Soft subjects start off with a small amount of knowledge and then the learner is quickly
presented with the opportunity to practice what they have just learned to build underlying
ideas and concepts. Hard subjects on the other hand begin with large bodies of
knowledge and then at the conclusion of the topic, having learned and remembered all
that knowledge, the learner may be given one or two examples of applications for that
knowledge.
The reason why soft subjects are easy to learn is because they leverage the
way in which the brain learns most efficiently. This approach focuses on
introducing a small amount of knowledge and then applying that to create
ideas and concepts. New knowledge is added as it is required, rather than
just in case it may be needed in the future. The hard subjects could become
soft subjects by changing how they are taught, but that will require
increased rigour in the understanding that educators have of the underlying
concepts for the specialised disciplines/areas that they have responsibility
for.
The exception to this idea is reading and writing, as these tasks require a
massive amount of front-loaded knowledge before ideas and concepts can
be developed.
So how do learners learn these ‘hard’ subjects without requiring a large body of up-front
knowledge to be learned and remembered before they look at applications of those ideas
and concepts? An example may help. If you ask people whether they ever use the algebra
that they were taught at school, they will quickly reply “No; never!” However that is simply
not the case. We all apply algebraic processes every day, every few minutes, we just do
not realise we are doing it. To understand algebra what we need is an appropriate
prompt:
When you get up in the morning, there are a number of
things that determine what clothes you wear on any
given day. We refer to these things that affect our
decision-making as variables, because they can change
from day to day. ‘Variables’ may seem a big word for 6-
year-olds but they have no problem with words such as
Tyrannosaurus rex, so they will probably manage it.
There are a number of variables that have to be taken
into account before you decide what clothes you will
wear on any particular day.

40
Contemporary music studies as opposed to learning to read music or play an instrument.
41
Technicafts.
Hard subjects History Mathematics Science English Computing
Soft subjects Drama Social Science Art Music
40
Technology
41




'*
Those variables (things that could change and influence your decision of what you
would wear) could include:
A. How am I feeling?
B. How important is looking fashionable?
C. What clothes do I have available?
D. Which clothes are clean?
E. What is the temperature outside and in my place of work?
F. What accessories will highlight what I wear?
G. What particular clothes are appropriate to my position?
H. What are the expectations of my peers and bosses?
I. Which items match?
J. What clothes need ironing!
Each of these variables will have a different level of importance for each of us. If we ask
someone: “Which one of these variables is the least important?”, they may respond with
variable (E). Now we have a baseline for judging the relative importance of the other
variables. The next question we ask our test person is “Are the clothes being clean twice
as important as (E) or possibly three times?” We can then work through each variable
and make relative judgements as to their importance. We can apply the same thinking to
each of the variables until we end up with the equation for what clothes they will wear
today:
What I will wear = 1A+3B+4C+3D+1E+5F+3G+2H+4I+6J
The variables are generally the same for most
people but the weightings could be quite different
and this is why we all dress differently; because we
each have a unique equation for getting dressed
and that changes every day. Everyone can
understand this type of algebra; we apply this
process for the trips we plan, the meals we cook,
the choice of book we download, the car we buy,
the people we like and take on as friends, who we
sit next to on the bus, and we compute these
algebraic equations very quickly. We are
essentially walking algebra experts. Once we
understand ‘concrete’ variables and how they
affect outcomes, we can predict possible
outcomes because we understand the concept.
Once concrete variables are understood, learners
can begin to come to terms with abstract
variables and make sense of them.
The same applies to the concept of number and measurement and for every
mathematical concept, but these must be introduced with minimal pre-
loaded knowledge and that knowledge is immediately applied to contexts that
the learner can relate to. The task of all educators is to keep the concepts at
the forefront of their mission and to not burden learners with knowledge just
in case they may need it some time in the future. Smartphones are far
better at remembering things like that – let the mind play with concepts as
that is what it is designed to do.
“There is a great danger
in the present day lest
science teaching should
degenerate into the
accumulation of
disconnected facts and
unexplained formulae,
which burden the
memory without
cultivating the
understanding.”
J.D. Everett, 1873




'+
Mathematics is absolutely critical in life. In
school getting the exact answer is very important,
whereas in life it is far more important to be able to
approximate and that requires the ability to predict. In
order to predict approximately what ‘15% off’ might
mean in a supermarket store, you have to understand
the concept of number and percentage. The
extraordinary thing about learning a concept is that
once you have understood it you can predict what the
discount will approximately be for anything.
Understanding the concept of algebra and the concept
of number are fundamental to life in the complex world
of decision-making that we inhabit.
It is time we started evaluating and looking at
how we teach what is worth learning. Educating
for understanding allows us to focus on learning
to learn rather than remembering scores of
inane facts or processes that neither the
learners nor we will remember after the test.
Many of the facts we learned have little relevance in an era when we carry the world’s
most complex and dynamic library in our pockets, courtesy of a smartphone. What is
important to work out is what knowledge we do need to remember and make sure the
learners in our schools and classrooms have this knowledge.
To be worthy of having to remember some knowledge we need to be quite
sure it underpins ideas and concepts that are essential for learners to
understand. This must be the gatekeeper for establishing what knowledge
learners must learn. The randomness of learning inane facts about Aztecs,
the size of planets and photosynthesis at 10 years old has to be removed
from the curriculum.
Buried within this notion is one of our greatest
challenges as educators – we have to revise the
very notion of what we consider intelligence to be.
Intelligence in the previous learning paradigm was
all about how much we could remember and then
recall in any given test. Intelligence now is being
redefined far more in line with having the capacity to
be able to learn and unlearn and to be able to do
this as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Mathematics may well underpin the exotic and
beautiful symmetry of the snowflake and while it is a
good example of the application of symmetry, how
much more powerful it could be as a great prompt
coupled with the question: “What is this and how is
it formed?”



',
Learning is far more complex than ever imagined, with four learning systems that
each have a degree of autonomy but work together in an integrated manner. Of the four
learning systems, our ability to learn via rote is the poorest and most dependent on our
genetic inheritance. By minimising the need for learning by rote and encouraging learners
to access and remember knowledge ‘just in time’, we can minimise this effect.
Unfortunately, emergent reading and writing capability requires large amounts of rote
learning and there is no way around this. However, with new technologies we can now
offer those learners who struggle to remember large amounts of information via rote-
learning processes the opportunity to record their understanding using video rather than
having to record it in a written format. Likewise, we can now also offer learners the
opportunity to watch and listen to a video rather than having to read large amounts of
text. This does not imply the demise of reading and writing per se, but rather educators
have a new set of tools that can allow those learners who struggle with reading and
writing to express their understanding using technological tools that make the expression
of learners’ understanding far more equitable.
Through the application of the learning process, learning becomes far more equitable for
all learners. The challenge here is ensuring that educators have a thorough
understanding of the underlying concepts and concept frameworks that form the
foundation of each of the disciplines. Framing learning intentions in terms of concepts
rather than contexts fundamentally changes the way in which learning has been
approached over the last 50 years.
This approach also changes the standardised unit length that is allocated to each
thematic unit taught. Learning can now be personalised, with each learner progressing
through the different levels of understanding at their own pace.
The shift to far greater learner agency (responsibility) over their learning and far greater
responsibility for their own assessment and the assessment of their peers changes the
role of the educator. The role of the educator now requires a greater level of
sophistication and understanding of the learning process and the disciplines,
competencies and literacies that they are responsible for.
Questions to reflect on:

1. How does this new approach to learning resonate with your 'gut feeling' as an educator?
2. What are your immediate concerns as you contemplate the implementation of the changes
that are now required?
3. What are your immediate resourcing issues?
4. What are the implications for the technological environment that is now required in order to
implement this approach to learning?
5. How do you feel about the notion of teachers becoming educator-learners?
6. How do you think these changes will affect community perceptions and the status of
teachers within your community?
7. Do you think this revised approach to learning will better prepare learners for the world that
they will live, work and play in?
8. Is the investment of your time and energy in making these changes worthwhile considering
your answers to the above?
9. What do you consider to be the greatest challenges in making these series of changes over
the next three years?
Section 1 Summary & Questions




'-





LEARNING
Section 2
The Learning Process



("






The brain is a learning instrument – this is what it is primarily designed to do.
Developing a model for how the brain learns provides the first step in being able to define
what the optimal Learning Process should look like. Section 1 provided an overview of the
emerging model for how the brain learns and now we can unpack the Learning Process
stage by stage. The Learning Process will require iterations and additional research to
refine it further but it provides a framework that we can begin trialling in schools. This
resource represents a first draft of the emerging model for how the brain learns and a
framework for the Learning Process that allows us to optimise learning.
Learning is central to our profession as educators and it is extraordinary how little
science we have access to that informs us about how the brain learns. This is partly due
to how little neuroscientific effort has been applied to what has been a predominantly
sociological based approach to learning. When asked, it not uncommon for most
educators to struggle to provide a coherent theoretical framework for how learning takes
place or how it could be improved. The foundation for the Learning Process provides
educators with a framework to enable learners to take increasing agency over their
learning. The framework must have an underlying rigour and discipline surrounding the
acquisition of knowledge and the subsequent development of ideas, concepts and
concept frameworks.
The Learning Process is initiated by a prompt that the learner is engaged with. The
prompt, which can be an experience, event or need, provokes a personal emotional
response. This emotional response incites us to ask questions. It is the combination of
emotion and questions that then trigger our curiosity. As an experienced learner we
then ask and apply additional clever questions and the solutions to those questions are
generated through the design and research processes. At each stage of the Learning
Process we are constantly invoking the reflection and connecting competency in order to
build a relevant knowledge base that will provide initial answers to our questions.
By applying further clever questioning and
interrogation of our knowledge it is possible to
establish the relationships between two or more
events that change over time (variables) to form a
new idea. For example, we may make an
observation that as it gets cooler as autumn
approaches (a variable), a particular tree outside
the classroom loses its leaves (another variable).
We develop the idea that this seems to happen at
the same time each year. Now we have an idea that
this tree loses its leaves at a particular time of each
year.
We can now make a prediction for this particular
tree. A prediction is based on a pattern that
repeats and is far more reliable than a guess!
However, knowing this for one tree does not make it
true for all trees.
Introduction:
The Learning Process

LEARNING
Section 2



(%
By studying more about trees we realise that only some trees lose their leaves. Further
research soon uncovers that trees can be deciduous or evergreen with only deciduous
trees losing their leaves each autumn. Additional knowledge is then needed regarding
how to tell the two types of trees apart. Once this knowledge is discovered we are able to
form a general concept for all trees. Deciduous trees originally lived in very cold climates
or in tropical climates and lose their leaves as a survival mechanism to conserve water
and energy, growing new leaves when the sun returns in spring or when moisture
returns in the wet season. We are now starting to develop a general concept about trees
and why some lose their leaves. Understanding a concept allows us to make more
complex predictions for almost any type of tree (context).
A concept such as this can then be linked to other concepts such as gathering and
storing food. This concept may also be part of the concept framework of how plants and
animals generally conserve their resources. We may then come up with the innovative
idea that we could plant deciduous trees for shade in the summer and they would allow
the light through into our homes in the winter. An ingenious application may then be
developing some guards for the house rain gutters that stop the leaves blocking the
water flowing off the roof and being taken to the storm-water system.

The diagram above represents stage 3 of the Learning Process, which would be used by
experienced learners to work through the Learning Process. Two additional levels of
complexity are presented later in this resource. The Learning Process is by its nature a
very ‘messy’ cognitive process and it is by no means linear and totally predictable. Above
all, the Learning Process requires creative educators to stimulate curiosity through the
imaginative and creative application of prompts that in turn encourage the learner(s) to
want to learn.
.
associated
concepts
The Learning
Process
associated
concepts
Emotion
Prompt
Start Here
Rote
Learning
Concept
Formation
Creativity
Consciousness
T
h
in
k
in
g
Feedback &
Feed-Forward
Inspiration
Innovation
& Ingenuity
need or
opportunity
Applied to
a context
Curiosity
Applied to
contexts
Knowledge
(the minimum)
Ideas
(to be understood)
Concepts
(to be understood)
Conceptual
Frameworks
Creativity
Thinking &
Questioning
The Language
of Learning
Connecting
& Reflecting
Collaboration
Managing
Self
Identity



(&




Learning involves a collection of inter-related processes. Once we understand the
Learning Process and understand how to learn more efficiently and effectively we can
apply that process to any learning situation – anything we would ever want to learn –
AND we can then apply that understanding creatively or imaginatively to be innovative or
ingenious; or NOT! The Learning Process is made up of developmental stages but these
are not necessarily locked into a set of predictable linear processes.
So what does the Learning Process look like?
The first step in the Learning Process is the
creation of knowledge.
The naturally occurring learning experiences
that happen spontaneously for billions of us
every day are almost always initiated by a
prompt of some form that causes us to feel
an emotional response. That emotion
engages our curiosity and that is expressed
in the form of asking questions of self or
others. That feeling of intrigue born of our
curiosity inspires us to want to learn and
understand our world and to satisfy that
curiosity. Applying the Learning Process
means adjusting our present pedagogy to
replicate the natural Learning Process as
much as possible.
A prompt can vary from watching the night sky and
seeing a falling star, to reading a passage of text,
listening to a debate between two people on a bus,
seeing a piece of art, smelling a fragrant rose,
watching a video clip on YouTube of a skateboarder
doing a double somersault to reading a newspaper
article about a robotic explorer landing on Mars …
the list is endless, but each of these prompts does
something unique.
A prompt creates within us a range of emotions such as amazement, awe,
surprise or even anger, and these in turn can initiate our sense of curiosity.
It is this notion of curiosity that drives our desire to better understand what
it is that we have experienced.
Prompts
can include:
- objects
- events
- YouTube clips
- news items
- ePals.com
- quotes
- needs
- opportunities
- speakers
- virtual worlds
- images
- diagrams
- visits (real)
- experiments
- skits
- jokes
. . . . .
The Learning Process
Stage 1: Data &
Knowledge

Video Link



('
It is our senses
42
and the data they collect about our world that allows us to interact with
our environment and stimulate us to think “That is amazing!” or question our world –
“How could that be?”, “Why did that happen? or “Could I do that?” It is our senses and the
emotions that are initiated by those senses that invoke our curiosity. It is this process
that drives us to want to learn. We dealt with the role of the senses in the ‘How Our Brain
Learns’ section. By leveraging this very natural curiosity to want to learn, all learners can
be inspired to learn and learn far more efficiently when they are inspired to want to learn.
Curiosity is unusual in that it is not an emotion or a feeling, but rather it is an innate
instinct that is genetically embedded within us and one that we have little control over.
Levels of curiosity can vary from person to person and context to context.
The data collected by our 20+ senses informs our
brain of what is happening outside our skull. The
senses tell our brain about our needs, such as
hunger, as well as a sense of balance or how warm
or cold we may be. The senses gather data about
the world outside of our bodies that allows the brain
to make informed decisions about how we should
dress, who to spend time with and what music we
will listen to.
A structure in the brain called the amygdala mediates all this data and associates each
data element with other data elements that are associated with the same event being
perceived. This is an extraordinarily complex operation and without it we could not make
sense of our world. Gathering and associating data from our senses is an extremely
important learning system, which we are completely reliant on.
In order to replicate the natural prompts that initiate learning, educators need to become
increasingly creative in developing prompts that stimulate learning. We can strategically
introduce prompts into the learner’s environment that cause them to feel an emotion
and which in turn trigger the desire to learn more. Once we have experienced the prompt
we then automatically ask questions and by asking simple, rich, open, fertile, high-order or
Socratic questions of self or each other our learning is driven deeper. What we feel when
we are learning has a lot to do with how well we engage in the learning and how quickly
we understand what we are attempting to learn.

42
“Come to Your Senses”; http://www.meditation24-7.com/page18/page18.html Accessed January 2013
“’The best thing for being sad,’ replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, ‘is
to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old
and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the
disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world
about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the
sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn
why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing, which the mind
can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or
distrust, and never dream of regretting.’”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King




((
In this first stage of the
Learning Process, the feeling
of emotion releases hormones
in our brain. Some astrocytes
have hormone sensors on
their surface and in this
model, particular
combinations of hormones
prompt astrocytes to map,
remember and automate
ideas and concepts. How we
feel (due to the hormones
released in our brain), tells our
brain how quickly we should
learn and remember the
underlying concepts behind
what is being experienced. In
this emerging model, the
release of hormones tells our
brain how important the
experience is and how quickly
and permanently the concept
should be mapped.
When it comes to learning ideas and concepts, the speed of learning is determined by
what combination of hormones are being released in our brain. This does not appear to
be the case for learning by rote, as neurons on their own do not appear to have the
cellular mechanisms to sense the presence of hormones.
When you say, “That is amazing!”, what you are really doing is asking a series of questions
all at once, such as: “How can that be?”, “How did that happen?”, “How did they do that?”,
“Can we keep that?”, “Why have I not realised that before?” In the classroom we want to
encourage these emotions that drive learning. Everyone wants to learn, as we are all
innately curious, but teachers can sometimes steal the opportunity from the learner to
be amazed by giving them the answer or giving them a textbook with the answer in it. We
must ask the learner appropriate questions so they can find and own the answers!
An example: (Stage 1: DATA & KNOWLEDGE) You are about to go on holiday
after a really tough year at work but you need to know where the hotel you are
staying in is located. Knowing the address of the hotel will allow you to get a taxi
to the exact address. This knowledge is very specific to where you will be
holidaying. In this notion of a Learning Process we define knowledge as factual
information that you either learn through active or passive research via your
senses. Facts are highly contextual. It is very cold in Iceland in the winter if you
are standing outside on a glacier without thermal protection and there is no
artificial heat source nearby. Knowledge really is very contextual because you
could be very hot in Iceland if you happened to be sitting in a sauna. Treadwell




()
Learners, and that would be all of us, rarely want answers given to us. We like finding
answers for ourselves. Sometimes we like to do that on our own and sometimes we
prefer to carry out the searching for answers collaboratively, learning with our friends or
colleagues. Learning involves going on a voyage of discovery and experiencing the
emotional reward of the “aha!” moment when we understand something for the first
time.
Even the most reluctant of young people love learning, when it is done on
their terms. Have a look at a teenager performing in almost any YouTube
clip and they are choosing to learn in their own time, using their own
resources and their peers are ‘marking’ their work using ‘likes’! That is
so cool! Compared to this, the learning that takes place in the traditional
school setting is often dominated by content that has to be
remembered and this can be tedious, to say the least. Sadly, because we
struggle to remember lots of content for a 1–2 hour exam, many learners
think that they are not very intelligent, and this is simply not the case.
In this new approach to learning, well-designed prompts inspire and create an emotional
response and subsequently learners have questions they want answers to. This happens
very quickly and the culmination of these elements initiates our curiosity. Curiosity drives
learners to discover the initial knowledge required to find answers to their questions.
When educators prompt learning
using a range of media and
processes, the learner chooses to
learn and they own the subsequent
learning journey. Ownership of the
Learning Process is what we refer
to as agency and this is one of the
greatest drivers of personalised
learning. The video clip here is a
good example of how a prompt can
be used to stimulate a learners
curiosity to work out whether it is
possible to do this prank, or
whether this is a photo-shopped
fake?
One of the reasons that many learners find learning difficult is that educators have
tended to use a thematic approach to constructing units of work. Topics such as famous
mathematicians, transportation, plants, Aztecs, healthy eating, volcanoes, etc. all have
large bodies of knowledge that are required to be remembered before any understanding
is possible. Educators ask learners to work through these units of work that inadvertently
include numerous ideas, concepts and concept frameworks that are not clearly
articulated or worked through using an appropriate developmental sequence.
At the beginning of the unit of work, the learner will be expected to remember a
substantial amount of content just in case it might be needed some time later. Most of
that content will be learned by rote.




(*

In most cases, the knowledge
will rarely be needed again,
and even if it were needed
again it would be unlikely that
we would be able to recall it
and it would possibly be out of
date! Last century it was
important to remember a
certain amount of knowledge,
as knowledge was rare and
expensive and fortunately it did
not change very quickly.



In just 40 years the volume of knowledge has become overwhelming, cheap and easy to
access when you need it, ‘just in time’ (JiT); and all that knowledge sits in our pocket. The
world’s most complex and easy to use library ever created is essentially free BUT it takes
a raft of competencies and a deep knowledge of the Learning Process to make sense of
all that knowledge and develop it into increasingly deep understanding.
Following the prompt, the learner may not have much knowledge about the topic they
have been prompted to learn about, but their curiosity will drive them to want to discover
and learn that knowledge. The important distinction here is that knowledge needs to be
researched and discovered. Because it is required, rather than ‘just in case’ (JiC), it may
be required some time later. Knowledge requires the context of the prompt to be
meaningful. If we are looking for knowledge because we want to understand our world,
then the excitement driven by our curiosity increases our engagement, our level of
persistence and also our willingness to learn from each other.
These dispositional characteristics associated with learning are critical while we are
developing sufficient knowledge to be able to create an idea about what is being
researched. This may quickly lead to the development of a concept surrounding what we
have observed, researched and discussed. The understanding of a concept is usually
accompanied by an “aha!” moment as we realise we now understand something new. The
“aha!” moment releases hormones in the brain that develop into emotions that we find
very pleasurable. This is what we define as learning success; experiencing the “aha!”
moment. The “aha!” moment encourages us to want to continue the Learning Process.
The competencies underpin this phase of the Learning Process, enabling it to be
successful. The ability to think and question, develop a language for learning, collaborate,
connect and reflect, manage self and, importantly, come to terms with our own identity
are all foundational to successfully carrying out the research and being able to distil and
synthesise that research into new ideas and concepts.



“Any fool can know. The point is to
understand.” Albert Einstein
Knowledge
(the minimum)
Prompt
Stage 1
Emotion
Curiosity
Start Here
Further
questioning
Identity
Thinking &
Questioning
Collaboration
The Language
of Learning
Managing
Self
Connecting &
Reflecting
Questioning



(+
The prompt and the resulting curiosity
encourage us to learn sufficient knowledge
to get us started with our thinking in order
to obtain some initial and quite simple
answers to our questions. Within that
process we build the knowledge we require.
We traditionally ‘front-load’ units of
work in classrooms with a large
amount of extraneous knowledge
that is simply ‘stuff’ that has little
value or relevance to the
immediate need that the learner
may have. Introducing too many
new words, facts and labelled
diagrams simply overwhelms
most learners. The rationale for
front-loading lots of knowledge via
thematic based units is purely
historical and it needs to be
challenged.
Keeping the amount of front-loaded knowledge to an absolute minimum
enables most learners to maintain their engagement. Remembering all that
knowledge via rote requires our weakest learning system and associated
poor memory systems.
As a learner that has agency over our Learning Process we will identify what knowledge
is required to develop our initial ideas. As learners, we will return to this phase of the
Learning Process often, as and when we need to develop additional knowledge to build
whatever new understanding we require, to the depth that we require. We will do this out
of our desire to understand our world. The drive to understand our world is driven by our
curiosity, and to satisfy that we will need to steadily increase the depth of our body of
knowledge. It is not possible to build understanding without first developing an initial body
of knowledge. The difficulty in the past has been that the body of knowledge educators
introduced was overwhelming rather than being helpful, and unfortunately textbooks
encourage this knowledge acquisition just in case it may be required.
The important pedagogical shift here is allowing the learner to develop
knowledge as it is required, with them taking increasing ownership of this
process as they develop the necessary learner dispositions via the
competencies.



(,





Ideas are created when we realise that when something changes or varies
(a variable), this can cause other things to change in a particular way within
a specific context. A good example of a variable would be weather
forecasting, and if the weather forecaster predicts rain for the week when I
am on holiday then I may feel grumpy. The weather is one variable and my
mood is another one. In this context my mood is dependent on the weather.
From my knowledge of weather and mood I can form a connection between
the two variables and an idea can form. The idea I now have is that this
upcoming holiday may not be as exciting as I had hoped because the
weather is forecast to be bad.
Additional ideas that might spring to mind now may include “Can I change the date for
this trip?” and “Is it worth the extra cost to have a holiday without rain?” The context is
being on holiday. In this context, rain is a nuisance. If we had just planted some lawn seed
and we heard it was going to rain then we would be happy. The forecast of rain and how
we feel depends on the context of how it affects us. We cannot generalise the
relationship between the two variables (weather and feelings) to develop a concept that
rain is always great or always a nuisance. It is just an idea for this one context.
Context dependent relationships between variables are defined as ideas.


What ideas do is allow us to make some limited predictions – but usually only for the
context we have experienced or ones that are very similar. I can predict I will probably be
happy if the sun shines next week while I am on holiday in the town of Ronda in Spain. If
the forecast for Ronda is for fine weather this does not mean that I can predict the
weather for other small towns in other parts of the world.




Back to our example: (Stage 2: IDEAS) The second stage of the Learning Process is
understanding the idea that the predicted weather may affect how our traveller feels
about his upcoming holiday. The idea is that when he hears the weather is going to be
terrible while he is on holiday he will probably be grumpy or if the weather is going to
be warm and sunny he will probably be happy. The idea is that weather affects his
mood when he goes on holiday. Treadwell

The Learning Process
Stage 2: Ideas

Video Link



(-

Our universal sense of
curiosity and
wonderment often leads
us to interrogate our
observations more
deeply. This is achieved
through asking additional
questions that increases
our existing knowledge.
When we ask
increasingly clever
questions,
43
the clearer
and the more precise
the developing idea
becomes.

We may investigate other wet-weather opportunities or discover how
extensive the poor weather will be. We can then apply that new knowledge
to possibly modify the original idea.
Asking increasingly clever questions will set us on the path to developing an increasingly
rich understanding of an idea, concept or concept framework. If the learner has not
developed this thinking and questioning competency they may well struggle to ask
appropriate or sufficiently challenging questions of the right type to be able to work
through this stage of the Learning Process successfully.
In our holiday example I may want to ask the question: “Was the weather forecast for
Ronda predicted by an independent person or was it a forecast predicted by the people
who run the hotel that I am staying in?" Socratic questions can assist us to interrogate
our own assumptions. The ability of the learner to ask the right type of question is a key
competency. The type of question required may be one that is simple, through to one that
may be rich, open/closed, Socratic, or involve high-order thinking across each of the four
types of questions.
44



43
Lupton, M.; http://inquirylearningblog.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/collecting-questions/ November 2011
44
Primary questions: The initial primary question – open/closed/fertile, rich, high-order thinking, Socratic, etc.
• Secondary questions: Questions that help unpack the primary question
• Tertiary questions: Questions that help find the most appropriate information resources
• Quaternary questions: Questions that help synthesising and distilling the research
See http://www.marktreadwell.com/products for details – Whatever: School 2.0 for the full reading on this topic
“He explained to me with great insistence that every question possessed a
power that did not lie in the answer.” Elie Wiesel, Night

Knowledge
(the minimum)
Applied to
a context
Ideas
(to be understood)
Stage 2
Start Here
Identity
Thinking &
Questioning
Collaboration
The Language
of Learning
Managing
Self
Connecting &
Reflecting



)"
It is not uncommon for a number of ideas to be created in a very short
period of time. Ideas are an extension of knowledge and by definition ideas do
not allow us to accurately predict how that idea may be expressed in other
contexts. If we attempted that, it would be more of a guess than a prediction.
A guess is when we suggest a possible outcome for another context when we have only
experienced or understood that idea in one or two contexts. Ideas help us guess, but they
do not help us predict with any surety. What can happen next is the development of
additional ideas that may be related to the first idea. These additional ideas are often
drawn from the same generic knowledge but then applied to different contexts. Being able
to build new ideas provides us with the raw material to create new concepts, just as
knowledge provides the raw material for creating new ideas.
The formation of ideas
from knowledge builds a
foundation for creating
concepts, and from
there we have the ability
to predict and be
creative. Machines are
increasingly replacing
not only some blue-collar
jobs
45
but also many
white-collar jobs. The
jobs that are not being
replaced by machines
are those that demand
high levels of cognitive
ability and those that
require high levels of
skilled workmanship.
Jobs that will not be taken over by machines in the near future require capabilities such as
creativity, and the application of the competencies coupled with the ability to apply the
Learning Process. In addition to these factors, those jobs that require perception and
manipulation tasks and those that require social intelligence are also difficult to replace
with machines.
46



45
McAfee, A.; “The Machines are Coming”; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0g8DDsv1MM Accessed March 2013
46
Frey, C.B. & Osborne, M.A.; “The Future of Employment: How Susceptible are Jobs to Computerisation?”
http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/downloads/academic/The_Future_of_Employment.pdf Accessed December 2013
“… captures the essence of the current trend towards labor market polarization,
with growing employment in high-income cognitive jobs and low-income manual
occupations, accompanied by a hollowing-out of middle-income routine jobs ….
According to these findings, non-susceptible labor in-puts can be described as …
perception and manipulation tasks, creative intelligence tasks, and social
intelligence tasks.” Carl Frey & Michael Osborne



)%




The process of developing a concept from ideas forms the next stage of the
Learning Process. This process is generally not made explicit to learners. By
leveraging the prompt we can take our idea that we understand within a
particular context and apply that idea to other contexts. By applying the new
idea to a number of different contexts we develop a ‘meta-idea’ – and we
define this ‘meta-idea’ as a concept.
By applying the idea that has been learned to additional contexts, we are increasingly able
to predict possible outcomes for contexts we have not experienced before. The ability to
understand the concept comes from applying the initial idea to a wide range of contexts,
all the time the brain is looking for the underlying pattern that is common to each context.
As the idea is applied to an increasing numbers of contexts, the underlying concept
suddenly becomes clear. An example may help:
NB: Prompts are there to stimulate questioning and the hyperlinked prompts provided above are chosen to encourage
learners to question what they think and do, rather than convince them of a particular viewpoint.
Social
Science
Concept
frameworks
Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
Needs,
wants and
opportunitie
s drive
commerce
We all have needs
such as food,
shelter, warmth
and safety
We need other
people to help us
get what we need
or want
As well as items we
need, there are
items we want, that
are driven by
fashion, social
trends or
marketing
Everyone has needs
and wants and this
drives us to trade,
in order to obtain
the goods and
services we need or
want
Innovation and
creativity can be
drivers for a socially
equitable system of
trade and
commerce
Learning
intention
There are some
things we need to
have otherwise we
will not survive
Parents and other
people help us
obtain what we
need or want
There are some
things that we do
not necessarily
need but we may
want to have
One of the
purposes of work is
to earn money to
trade goods and
services
Purchase of goods
and services must
be based on
sustainable
systems
Prompt Sudanese refugees Listen to me Consumerism
Don't Just Follow
Your Passion:
What do we really
NEED?
Contexts
! Foods we eat
! Drinks we need
! Our bedroom,
classroom,
! Clothes we wear
! Being safe at
home, on the
Internet, in the
car, walking
home
! Sports teams,
friends, family,
educators and
leaders
! Being a good
friend and
listener
! Individual, family,
friends, local and
global
! Cultures value
needs and wants
differently
! Different ages
value needs and
wants differently
! Marketing
contexts that
influence our
choices
! Personal needs
and wants
! Societal needs
and wants
! Ethical needs and
wants
! The contexts in
which we can be
creative; social
service, arts,
science,
technology
! Ingenious,
services/system
s, environments
and products
Content
! How we get the
food we eat, the
house we live in
and what we
need
! Keeping
comfortably
warm
! Safety rules
! Listing our needs
and our wants
! Things we can
trade – helping
whenever we can
! Active listening
! Listing the wants
we do not really
need
! What influences
our choices
! Prioritising our
wants
! How marketing
affects choices
! Understanding
our needs and
wants
! Work can enable
us to make a
difference
! Passion, social
needs and our
capability drive
what we do
! What do we
really need: the
BIG picture
! Creative and
Innovative
systems that are
fair
! Sustainable
trade can drive
innovation
The Learning Process
Stage 3:
Concepts



)&
It is important to start this process with ‘safe’ contexts. A safe context is one where the
learner has a degree of literacy and familiarity with the context that the idea is being
applied to. Gradually, the idea can be applied to increasingly sophisticated contexts. The
sophistication is measured against the required literacy and familiarity with the context.
The Learning Process constantly requires new knowledge to be learned in order to apply
the same idea to additional contexts so that a concept may be formed. The more
contexts the idea is applied to the more likely we are able to develop a generic concept
that is well founded, and from that we can make increasingly accurate predictions via the
application of that concept.
Once the underlying pattern within a concept has been identified by the
astrocytes, our brains identify the trigger and the concept is mapped. This
process is almost always accompanied by an “aha!” moment. After
establishing the underlying concept, we can begin to make more accurate
predictions about how that concept may play out in contexts we may not
have yet experienced.
At this juncture the more clever the questions that we ask and the deeper the
interrogation of the concept via the reflect–connect process, then the more accurate
and wide ranging are the predictions that can be made. Using the Learning Process we
can reflect–connect on our conceptual model, tweaking and adjusting it to better reflect
our increasing knowledge and range of contextual ideas. The result is an ever-deepening
understanding of the concept, and increasingly more powerful predictions can be made
from that model.


By creating new
ideas and
concepts we have
now increased our
capacity to make
accurate
predictions. Our
ability to make
accurate
predictions allows
us to prepare for
the predicted
changes. This
increases our
ability to adapt
and ‘survive’ more
successfully.

Applied to
contexts
Concepts
(to be understood)
Stage 3
Ideas
(to be understood)
Start Here
Identity
Thinking &
Questioning
Collaboration
The Language
of Learning
Managing
Self
Connecting &
Reflecting



)'
When we consciously understand a concept for the first time we
experience an “aha!” moment. The “aha!” moment generates a brief but
powerful emotional ‘high’. The hormones that are released inform the
hippocampus to immediately store the framework for that concept in
permanent long-term memory within the brain.
47
There are no temporary or
short-term memories when it comes to the formation of concepts.
A simple example: We begin to develop the concept of sitting down on a chair when we
are between 10 and 16 months old. Developing this concept means that we do not have
to learn how to sit down on every possible type of chair – we sit down without consciously
thinking because we create a general concept for sitting down and from that our brain
predicts and adapts that concept to different types of chairs (contexts).
1. The astrocytes and neurons form a tripartite relationship across millions of
synapses and it is this relationship that allows the astrocytes to map the
neural patterns that underpin each concept and then automate them.
2. For the concept (pattern) to be mapped, it is necessary to create more
astrocytic cells. Stem cells from the gyrus, a small area in the centre of the
brain, are released and follow hormone markers to where they are needed to
map the pattern underpinning the pattern/concept.
3. The third stage of this process is for the astrocytes to identify the trigger for
that concept and then automate that pattern/concept into a non-conscious
process, relieving the neurons of being required to consciously process the
concept.
This three-stage process increases the efficiency and effectiveness of human
thinking dramatically as we are able to carry out most of our day-to-day
processes non-consciously, allocating the one conscious thinking process we
are capable of to the most unpredictable scenario we are experiencing.
Many concepts get automated to the point
where we have no memory of the process or
the event. The entire process is carried out non-
consciously. An example of this is eating. Have
you ever gone out to dinner with the firm
resolve that you will not order dessert?
Halfway through the crème brûlée you
suddenly remember that you were not going
to have dessert. This is NOT your fault! Long
ago those astrocytes, in concert with the
neurons, automated eating so that you could
talk and eat at the same time. You are not
thinking about the eating because eating is
highly predictable and the conversation is the
highlight of the evening. Even though the
intent was good, the routine of entrée, main
and dessert is pre-configured – not your
fault. You are the victim of your brain’s
relentless thirst for efficiency and effectiveness!

47
For the compete framework on how the brain learns, see http://www.marktreadwell.com/products



)(
Developing concepts is an extraordinary way of increasing
the efficiency and effectiveness of learning, as we do not have to
learn every single contextual application of each concept via rote
(off by heart); we can simply predict what we should do and we do.
Most of this predicting is non-conscious – amazing! Conceptual
understanding is also the basis of our ability to approximate. The
simple way to test the conceptual understanding of a learner in
any domain is to have them predict an approximate answer
involving a context they have not experienced before. The closer
the prediction they make, the more refined the concept has
become. Testing conceptual development is actually a very simple
task, especially if we make use of video to record a learner’s
progress in their ability to predict.
The development of a concept is not a linear process and it often takes
numerous cycles of the knowledge–idea–concept development stages
before we develop a concept that can allow us to make predictions that have
a high degree of accuracy. The more contexts that we apply our idea to, the
more rigorous the concept becomes and the more accurate the predictions
we can make.
Learners need to be introduced to strategies in order to carry out the brainstorming,
synthesis and distillation processes, as well as understanding the strategies that
underpin these processes and dispositions. Practicing these strategies embedded within
the competencies and realising which strategy is more likely to yield the best result in
each situation are important capabilities.
A concept is a generic understanding that is context independent. What this
means is that once the concept is formed, the learner can apply the newly
formed concept and predict how that concept will play out in numerous new
contexts, without having to relearn the concept for each context. The billions
of tripartite neural–(synapse)–astrocytic partnerships in the brain seem to
be responsible for creating these concepts and automating many of them so
they become non-conscious thinking frameworks.
Back to our example: (Stage 3: CONCEPTS) After checking that the forecast for
Ronda was from an independent source, our traveller expands his interest to other
towns in the region to see whether they have a similar forecast. After checking a
number of different towns in the region, he finds that they are also forecast to have
fine sunny weather for the week that he is away. In fact most of Spain has fine sunny
weather for that whole week. By checking some Internet records he finds that this has
been the case for the past 5 years. He now has formed a simple concept: “That
during the month of July the weather in Spain is mostly fine regardless of where you
are.” By checking a number of different contexts and investigating the other variable
of the changing climate over a number of years, our traveller is able to make a range
of additional predictions that have a good chance of being correct. Treadwell




))
The brain is an extraordinarily dynamic environment and astrocytes and neurons are
able to morph into either cell type depending on the requirements of the brain at the
time. The brain is also creating millions of new brain cells as they are required. This is
what we refer to as the plasticity of the brain. The plasticity of the brain is phenomenal
and highly under-valued. The brain can repair itself, but we have to tell it to do that. It is
possible to think about the repair process and this thinking stimulates the brain to make
the required repairs. However, this is a contentious notion and is also suspected of being
involved in the placebo effect, and as such requires far more study and interrogation.
The brain can only think about one conscious
process at a time. The capacity to form
concepts and automate them allows both
genders to multi-task! Multi-tasking is
consciously thinking about only one task while
other tasks are being carried out via our
ability to predict and adapt concepts and
concept frameworks to new contexts. This
explains why we often do not remember
turning off the motorway, sitting down on
chairs, eating our dinner, watching the
predictable ‘chick flick’, etc., as they are all
highly predictable processes.
The power of being able to predict outcomes that seem unknowable via any
other means is extraordinary. The ability to form new concepts ‘on the fly’ in
this way is unique to the human species. It is why we run the planet – for
better or worse.

Developing each learner’s learning competency and ability to the point where they are
able to express an increasing degree of agency over their ability to build conceptual
understanding is now a critical education issue. It is more critical now than it was 10
years ago for two key reasons:

1. Everyone needs to be able to develop an understanding of new concepts in an
age where new knowledge, ideas, concepts and concept frameworks are
being developed and needing to be understood at an unprecedented rate. This
is now required so we can predict how to make use of everything from online
banking to accessing, downloading and using the latest app.

2. The Internet now hosts the greatest intellectual resource ever created in the
history of the Earth and embedded within that is the greatest set of
collaborative tools ever assembled. All this is available to almost everyone at
almost no cost. The ability to learn new concepts ‘on the fly’ has never been
more possible.
BUT
To take advantage of this potential we have to know how to learn.




)*






When we drive a car we are applying a range of concepts simultaneously in order to
be able to drive safely. Many of these concepts are completed without any conscious
thinking processes being engaged! Driving can include concepts such as hill starts, 3-
point turns, navigating roundabouts, changing lanes, calculating stopping distances,
selecting the right gear, giving way … the list is considerable. The combination of all these
concepts and the interactions between them are mostly applied non-consciously, and that
is nothing short of amazing! This interconnected network of concepts is called a
concept framework.
We will use some of those underlying concepts such as judging distance or opening the
car door etc. in many other non-driving situations (contexts). Concept frameworks
contain a range of concepts, ideas and knowledge that all work together to manage a
complex operation. Interestingly, in this emerging model of learning, numerous iterations
of each concept are not stored in the brain for each context but rather a single generic
concept is stored and re-used when necessary with other concepts that are constructed
‘on the fly’. The brain is extremely
efficient.
Concept frameworks are
created when a number of
concepts are required in order
to either consciously or non-
consciously think through or
act out a particular process.
Most of our everyday thinking
is done via non-conscious
concept frameworks.

By applying competencies to new knowledge, ideas and concepts, new
concept frameworks can be created. We apply the resultant concept
frameworks both consciously and non-consciously every day, every hour and
every minute of our lives.
Sport is a good example of this process. In cricket or baseball it is not possible to think
consciously about what shot you will play when the ball is travelling at more than
140km/h, so it is necessary to predict the path of the ball and do this non-consciously.
48

We do this by looking for visual clues, including the pitcher/bowler’s stance, how they are
holding the ball and the motion of their arms and feet.

48
Yahoo Answers; http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090311030723AAi8LmE Accessed September 2013
The Learning Process
Stage 4:
Concept Frameworks
associated
concepts
Concept
Frameworks
Stage 4
Concepts
(to be understood)
Start Here
Identity
Thinking &
Questioning
Collaboration
The Language
of Learning
Managing
Self
Connecting &
Reflecting
Ideas
(to be understood)
Knowledge
(the minimum)



)+
The important issue with these non-conscious
(reflex) processes is that we have to make a
conscious effort in order to make changes to what
amounts to a group of interrelated habits. Part of
the reason that habits are so hard to break is that
they are carried out non-consciously. You are
literally not thinking when you apply habits, so it is
hard to change or get rid of them. And here is a
warning – teaching is a very complex concept
framework; practiced and automated over many
years.
Try changing the way you teach and you will
soon feel how your ‘habits of teaching’
overcome your good intentions. This
applies to all professions but to teaching in
particular because of the sheer volume of
interrelated concepts that make up the
very complex concept framework of
‘teaching’. The reusable nature of
knowledge, ideas and concepts means
there are an almost unlimited number of
possible concept frameworks that we can
create.
Every knowledge element, idea or concept that we map can be a part of any number of
concept frameworks, with each framework making use of different combinations of
knowledge, ideas and concepts. It is the alphabet soup of the brain. The number of
possible combinations of all the knowledge, ideas and concepts that we host in our brain
is phenomenal. It is no wonder that we are developing new ideas, concepts and concept
frameworks on such a regular basis.
There are two potential ways in which knowledge, ideas or concepts could link with other
knowledge, ideas or concepts within our brain.
1. The standard approach is that this happens via synaptic junctions linking neurons
across the brain. However, this process is very difficult to justify once we examine
the finer details of just how that process creates our thoughts. In most cases, the
locations of the required knowledge, ideas, concepts or concept framework
elements that need to communicate with each other are a considerable distance
away (biologically speaking). The time it would take for neural processes to link
these would be too long for the brain to react ‘instantly’ as is our experience.
2. An alternative that would overcome this tyranny of distance is to make use of
brainwaves. Brainwaves are produced every time electrochemical signals are
produced by any of the cells in the brain. The frequency of the brainwaves
produced is dependent on the type of electrochemical activity produced.
49



(-
Kitajo, K., Nozaki, D., Ward, L.M. & Yamamoto, Y.; “Neural Synchrony in Stochastic Resonance, Attention, and
Consciousness”; http://prl.aps.org/abstract/PRL/v90/i21/e218103 Accessed November 2010
“The reaction time of
batsmen is really under-
rated. Most people who
don’t play professional
cricket will find it extremely
difficult to face pace
bowling at the speed of
90km/h. Imagine facing
140km/h–150km/h! These
batsmen are highly skilled
and rely on reflex and their
natural reaction time.
When facing those speeds,
you do not have time to
think about the shot you
are going to play, so most
shots you play are cause of
natural reflex reactions.”
Yahoo Answers





),
Interference and/or resonance effects may possibly be picked up by specialised
neurons within the amygdala. It is possible that astrocytes or neurons may be actively
responsible for generating these brainwaves to search out possible contenders for new
and useful knowledge, ideas, concepts or concept frameworks.

In this model, the result of brainwaves connecting knowledge elements, ideas and
concepts with other knowledge elements, ideas and concepts and then remembering
those linkages results in massive numbers of networks of the constituent knowledge
elements, ideas, concepts or concept frameworks. Once again, each knowledge element
or idea, concept or concept framework is not restricted to contributing to or being
involved in just one concept or a single concept framework, but rather each is reusable
and could be used in innumerable distinct knowledge bases, ideas, concepts or concept
frameworks. This modular approach to thinking could explain the brain’s capacity to
create and store billions of sensory feelings, ideas, concepts and concept frameworks.
50



There are two possible
ways brainwaves could
manage this complex
coordination process and
they are through the
application of resonance
and/or interference
patterns. As brainwaves
are a form of
electromagnetic radiation,
these two processes are
both possible ways
brainwaves could be
involved in creating new
concept frameworks. On
their own,
electrochemical brain
processes are simply not
fast enough to carry out
this process.


50
Thomson, H.; New Scientist; “Brain Beat”; 10 July 2010; via subscription online;
https://subscribe.reedbusiness.com.au/details.asp?offergroup=OO08WB01&pubid=160&articleid=in14 Accessed July 2010
“The brainwaves may provide clarity in the electrical storm by synchronising all the
activity corresponding to a single stimulus – the words of this page, say – to a
particular frequency while neurons attending to another stimulus fire at a different
frequency.” Helen Thomson
Back to Our example: (Stage 4: CONCEPT
FRAMEWORKS) Having created the concept that
the forecast for most regions of Spain is for sunny
and warm weather this liberates our traveller to
merge that concept with other concepts. Our
traveller realises that his interest in food and wine
could be expanded on and he could visit a number
of villages while he was there. He also enjoys
cooking and he realises that he could do a short
cooking course while he is there as well as visit
some small, local restaurants that come highly
recommended by other travellers. Reflecting on
these opportunities he also thinks it may be
possible to import some authentic local food, wine
and cooking equipment and sell the equipment
back home as a small business. Suddenly the trip is
looking like an investment opportunity as well as a
holiday. A totally new concept framework has
emerged from his capacity to take knowledge and
form ideas and then develop those ideas into
concepts and integrate a range of other concepts to
form a totally new concept framework. Treadwell




)-
The role of brainwaves in controlling brain–body activity has been demonstrated vividly
in a series of experiments over the last couple of years. Research teams have had
volunteers wear non-invasive caps that pick up brainwaves associated with certain
actions (such as clenching a fist), and then the researchers coded these brainwave
profiles and linked that code to a particular action. This has been applied to enabling
paraplegics and quadriplegics to operate robotic limbs using their thoughts. In the video
below, volunteers are able to control the movement of a model helicopter just by thinking
about making it turn one way or the other.
51

The theoretical role of brainwaves
being proactively produced by
neural–astrocytic activity in order to
map ideas and concepts is gaining
momentum. Astrocytes, in
combination with neurons, could
possibly create specific brainwave
frequencies to activate certain
activities. Their role in the Learning
Process is probably far greater
than we presently perceive and we
look forward to further research
results as they become available.

The formation of concept frameworks that draw from
our reservoir of knowledge, ideas and concepts gives
us the capacity to not only multi-task but also to create
complex understandings that allow us the
extraordinary luxury of not only being able to predict
possible required actions non-consciously but also
consciously predicting future outcomes. Once
understood, the Learning Process becomes our most
powerful tool in not only the game of survival but also in
the capacity to be creative and in allowing our
creativity to generate innovative and ingenious
outcomes that can benefit others in numerous ways.




51
He, Bi., University of Minnesota; “Mind controlled robot helicopter takes flight”;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5LsfWS_QRM Accessed November 2013
“Thinking can be explicitly taught. Don’t expect it to occur via osmosis. It doesn’t
just magically occur overnight. These Thinkers Keys will still require direct
instruction. What matters, though, is that the instruction occurs in the context of
the learning.” Tony Ryan



*"
52



Recently society has once again come to terms with the strategic and personal
importance of creativity and our resultant penchant for ingenuity and innovation.
However, it is still remarkably difficult to explain to someone how we are able to be
creative. In this emerging new model of how the brain learns we view creativity as the
result of resonance and/or interference
53
of brainwaves. Creativity requires a minimum
baseline of conceptual understanding but the more knowledge, ideas, concepts and
concept frameworks that the brain has available, the richer the library of resource the
brain has at its disposal to be creative with.
In this emerging model, brainwave ‘profiles’ are generated within the brain for each new
idea, concept and concept framework that we create. This profile is the result of the
unique electrochemical activity of a vast array of brain cells (predominantly astrocytes
and neurons) that are associated with a particular idea, concept or concept framework.
Creativity is the ability of the hippocampus and the amygdala (structures within
the brain) to sense productive combinations of brainwaves and manage and
store memories of these productive outcomes. Productive combinations
create resonance and/or interference profiles that the amygdala is able to
sense and map. These resonant and/or interference profiles are indicators of
possible productive combinations of ideas, concepts and/or concept
frameworks that may meet the solution criteria we are searching for.
Creativity requires the amygdala to scan for brainwave profiles that represent resonant or
interference patterns that in turn represent a mixture of tight and loose connections
between ideas, concepts and concept frameworks.
One of the key strategies and conditions for being creative is allowing the brain
to be in a state of non-consciousness and this can occur naturally during the
day (daydreaming) or while falling off to, or during sleep! Most of our
inspirational ideas come to us while we are not focused on specific, conscious
thinking tasks such as when we are daydreaming.

52
Ryan, T http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5LsfWS_QRM “Thinkers Keys”;
http://tonyryan.com.au/download/Thinkers%20Keys%20booklet.pdf Accessed September 2013
53
The stochastic resonance and/or interference of brainwaves. For details and the full literature review on how the brain
learns see “Whatever! Were we Thinking?” http://www.MarkTreadwell.com/products
“You hear a song that you have never heard before, your brain experiences a
pattern it has never experienced before, and yet you make predictions and can
tell if something is wrong. The basis of these mostly unconscious predictions is
a set of memories that are stored in your cortex. Your brain can't say exactly
what will happen next, but it nevertheless predicts the (musical) note patterns
which are more likely to happen and which aren't.”

Jeff Hawkins
The Learning Process
Creativity

Video Link






*%
The reason for this is that if we are engaged in conscious thinking processes we can’t be
creative, as the brain can only carry out one conscious thinking process at a time and being
creative is very much a conscious thinking task. The process the amygdala carries out is a
conscious one but in order to interpret the resonance/interference effects there needs to
be minimal background electrochemical noise from other conscious thinking activities. It
would appear that one of the key purposes for sleep is the trialling and sorting of potentially
new and productive associations of knowledge, ideas and concepts. When awake, sensing
productive associations of brainwaves appears to be a balance of non-conscious and
conscious processes in order to be able to recognise new knowledge, ideas, concepts or
concept frameworks that have value.
Creativity is involved at every stage of the Learning Process so it is important
to provide the time and space for the reflective process to be regularly applied.
To optimise creativity we need to engage daydreaming prompts and triggers to
take our knowledge, ideas, concepts and concept frameworks and reconfigure
them in new ways. This is a critical process, as creativity is the gateway to
being innovative and ingenious.
The daydreaming effect can be turned into a habit by returning to the same place and
focusing on losing full consciousness for a set amount of time and then reflecting on the
thinking that took place during that time. In this process it is common to discover that
additional knowledge, ideas, concepts or concept frameworks need to be developed in
order to provide more resource for the brain to be creative with in order to develop the
required solution.
There is often no rational, conscious thinking process for knowing which connections of
ideas, concepts or concept frameworks will be fruitful and it is a stunning tribute to our
intelligence that we can process hundreds, if not thousands of possible connections in
one creative session and we only consciously acknowledge the ones that have value.
These combinations that have value arrive accompanied by our “aha!” moments and
these are the ones that prove most fruitful. But where did the inspiration come from for
these “aha!” moments?
Hunches and intuition are extremely valuable in this space as they represent our brain
attempting to draw connections, often from other contexts, and applying those
connections to new context we are exploring. Many of the great insights over millennia
have come from lazing in the bath (“Eureka!” shouts Archimedes), daydreaming, zoning
out, absent-mindedly poking a stick in a fire or staring out to sea.
The role of inspiration is its capacity to act as a
precursor to creativity. Unless we are inspired
we will probably not be in the mood to be
creative. Mood is about the creation of the right
hormones in our brain that alert a range of glial
cells (including astrocytes) to seek out new
combinations of knowledge elements, ideas,
concepts and concept frameworks. What
inspires us are prompts and one of the greatest
prompts we have available to us is to see a need
or an opportunity and believing that we may be
able to find a solution to that need or opportunity.



*&
That confidence in ourselves inspires us to “give something a go.” This means taking
intellectual, social and possibly financial risks. It is important that the risk factor and the
emotion associated with that risk does not overwhelm the emotion and initiative
associated with the belief that we are able to make a difference.
It is important to note that imagination is the process and creativity is the
outcome. The imagination is similar to the inquiry process and while not
consciously structured, it can be consciously sought after. With practice it is
possible to fine-tune the management of our brainwaves in order for us to
become increasingly more productive in this realm.
The creative process requires the mind to wander, daydream and consider thousands of
potential new connections. We are constantly seeking to be inspired via self-reflection
and this can become a powerful prompt in its own right. This ability to strategically
daydream is fundamental in seeking the inspiration for new ideas, concepts and concept
frameworks. It is the kindling that lights the fire of inspiration and the resulting actions
and the effort we need to apply.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that
has made all the difference.” Robert Frost
There is not a single type of learner that we want schools to mass produce. Each
childs place in their world will be unique. There genetic dispositions will have a
significant influence but as the quote above makes clear, our experiences in life also
have a significant influence on whom we become. The previous mass production
model of school must now give way for the individualised approach. This can ONLY
happen through if the learner is competent to drive their own learning and the learner
has access to rich information landscapes. Treadwell
“Human beings cheat the process of evolution by evolving our brains after we
were born. In this way we each developer brain that best suits the particular
environment we find ourselves born into before it is time to reproduce. This
remarkable capability of our brains to form through childhood and into adult
heard maximises the probability of each individual's survival, success and
reproduction in its present environment, rather than the environment that was
present in prehistoric times and recorded in our genes three heredity. In the
ice age as in the space age, it is this ability of the human brain to mold itself
uniquely to the environment early in life the separates man from animals
whose brains outcast at birth. Plasticity of our brain prior to adult hood is the
reason human Revolution has exploded so far beyond that of any other
organism.” Douglas Fields



*'





Countries often view increasing their levels of innovation as a solution to their
economic woes, and to a degree it can be part of a solution. Innovation is the first part of
a two-part solution to creating new products, systems and environments.
Innovation is the result of applying creatively composed combinations of
knowledge elements, ideas, concepts and concept frameworks to meet
particular needs or opportunities.
It is our ingenuity that allows us to take the innovative ideas, concepts or
concept frameworks and develop those into new products, processes or
environments that have value.
Innovation requires a
composite set of personal
qualities and thinking
strategies that are
encapsulated within the
competencies. We need to
be aware of and practice the
competencies in order to be
innovative and ingenious.
Innovation and ingenuity are
responses to the needs and
opportunities that are
present within our
community. There are many
innovative and ingenious
solutions that the
community does not
respond to and so not all
innovative and ingenious
solutions are economic or
social success stories.
Stand-out successes such as Facebook and Twitter may well inspire us to mimic their
success, but every day there are hundreds of innovative and ingenious solutions that do
not make the major headlines.
The set of human qualities that bring definition to creativity and lead to the development
of new products, systems and environments include personal vision and self-confidence,
an effective range of thinking approaches and strategies, persistence (as well as knowing
when to give up), the ability to lead and collaborate, strategize and synthesise, along with
being able to distil the results of the synthesis process in order to create products,
systems or environments that meet a distinct social and/or economic need or
opportunity.
The Learning Process
Stage 5: Innovation
& Ingenuity

.
need or
opportunity
Inspiration
Innovation
& Ingenuity
Concept
Frameworks
Stage 5
Start Here
Identity
Thinking &
Questioning
Collaboration
The Language
of Learning
Managing
Self
Connecting &
Reflecting



*(
Learners also require a range of strategies so they know what to do when they:
• cannot find the physical, financial or intellectual resource that they require;
• lack motivation/perseverance to begin/complete the tasks required;
• cannot think of a possible solution;
• do not get along or cannot agree with other team members;
• lack the project/time management capability or a specific production or thinking
skill or capability;
• are unsure of how to accurately test and/or market their prototype/product,
system or environment.
The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts in the UK has developed
‘The Youth Innovation Skills Measurement Tool’.
54
This tool is designed to be an
instrument to support the development of the skills and attitudes that young people
require if they are to become the innovators of tomorrow.
Having the brilliant idea, concept or concept framework is just the beginning of the
journey. The subsequent part of the journey is often referred to as the technology or the
design process. This is the art of taking the creative ideas, concepts and concept
frameworks and turning them into something people want to use, purchase and then
recommend to others. Creating sustainable products, systems and environments is a
critical process within any economy and society. The underlying processes that form the
foundation for innovation need be understood by all learners. Developing a sustainable
society and economy so that each citizen’s self worth can be achieved happens when we
work in a field that is rewarding for both our community and ourselves, whatever that
passionate endeavour we pursue, be it paid work or a voluntary commitment.


54
“The Youth Innovation Skills Measurement Tool”; National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA);
2009; http://eprints.kingston.ac.uk/5985/2/Chell-E-5985.pdf Accessed September 2013
“The Tool measures the skills needed to be innovative. The Tool measures
five generic skills that underpin innovative behaviour and form a set of
attributes that are clearly linked to the innovation process:
• Creativity (imagination, connecting ideas, tackling and solving
problems, curiosity);
• Self-efficacy (self-belief, self-assurance, self-awareness, feelings of
empowerment, social confidence);
• Energy (drive, enthusiasm, motivation, hard work, persistence and
commitment);
• Risk-propensity (a combination of risk tolerance and the ability to take
calculated risks);
• Leadership (vision and the ability to mobilise commitment).”
The UK Youth Innovation Skills Measurement Tool



*)
Entrepreneurs require wisdom and that includes knowing when to give up on an
idea or change the approach to solving a problem or add new features. Additional
personal qualities such as being able to assess and manage risk, be analytical,
resourceful and having the willingness and capability to ask for assistance (collaboration).
As well as this, entrepreneurs require the ability to leverage a range of technologies and
business connections and these are instrumental in being innovative and ingenious.
These strategies are all embedded within the competencies. If learners do not develop
these competency dispositions and have not refined them to the level required, then they
will default to the educator and expect them to provide the answer to whatever it is they
need help with, or alternatively they will simply give up on trying to find solutions.
Whenever change happens there are always new opportunities. Change in almost every
aspect of life has never been so rampant and hence the opportunities for innovation and
ingenuity have never been greater. Countries that explicitly provide the capacity for
their citizens to be innovative and ingenious will dominate this century.
The video
55
may be an advert BUT it
captures that moment when
inspiration strikes. Inspiration and
“aha!” moments are critical in being
creative. Creative people
understand that innovation is 99%
perspiration and 1% inspiration. But
that is only 50% of what is a
somewhat simplistic equation.
Inventive people realise that
ingenuity is also 99% perspiration
and 1% inspiration. To be creative,
innovative and ingenious is generally
more successful when it is a
collaborative enterprise, where
teamwork is 99% perspiration and
the remaining 1% is inspiration.
However, it is important to note that neither
process can begin without that 1%.

55
“When Innovation Strikes”; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrOWrN_np8A Accessed September 2013
Back to OUR example: (Stage 5: INNOVATION & INGENUITY) Maybe our traveller
could live in one of the villages in Spain and manage his business from there. On the
Internet no-one knows where or who you are and if it turns out to be a nice place to
live and they can combine quality of life with a good income – why not do it? A
concept framework created from a single and quite innocent question has opened up
new opportunities. Such is the power of our ability to learn, be creative and do
something that is derived from what you are passionate about! Being passionate is
not enough though. Passion must be matched with capability, as well as making sure
there is a need for what it is that you are passionate about, at a price that people are
willing to pay. Treadwell




**




There are many elements that underpin the introduction of the Learning Process,
including:
• Increasingly transferring agency for the learning to the learner over time.
• Explicitly developing the learner’s capability across each of the six competencies.
• Making use of prompts to start the Learning Process.
• Introducing a rich information and communication research landscape across the
school.
• Developing a learning literacy across the school so that there is a consistent
language of learning.
• Introducing an ongoing and focused Professional Learning programme for
educators.
From a developmental perspective the learner should cognitively be able to
apply an increasingly sophisticated Learning Process to their learning as
they develop increasing cognitive capacity. Each learner develops additional
cognitive capacity at different rates and it is important that educators do not
let our historical view of intelligence guide our expectations regarding a
learner’s potential. Our direct observations of the learner’s capability should
guide us as to when the learner should be challenged to move to the next
level of the Learning Process framework.
Three levels of sophistication are presented below:
Level 1: The first level
56
of
sophistication of the Learning
Process uses the term ‘building
knowledge’ to represent the creation
of a knowledge base and that
provides the foundation that is
required. Knowledge is accrued, as it
is required rather than just in case it
may be required. The next phase is
making meaning and this
incorporates the processes of
forming ideas and concepts and
developing them into a
comprehensive understanding.

Applying understanding covers the capability of taking the meaning that is now
understood and applying that using the dual processes of innovation and ingenuity via our
capability for creativity.

56
Adapted from the learning model as used by Stonefields School, Auckland, New Zealand; http://www.stonefields.school.nz
Accessed January 2013
The Learning Process
Developmental
Levels
.
associated
concepts
The Learning
Process
Emotion Prompt
Start Here
Rote
Learning
Concept
Formation
Creativity
Consciousness
Thinking
Applied to
contexts
need or
opportunity
Inspiration
Curiosity
Applying
Understanding
Making
Meaning
Building
Knowledge
(the minimum)
Feedback &
Feed-Forward
Creativity
Thinking &
Questioning
The Language
of Learning
Connecting
& Reflecting
Collaboration
Managing
Self
Identity
Video Link



*+
.
Level 2: The second level of
sophistication of the Learning
Process uses the term
‘knowledge’ to represent the
acquisition of the data and
information that is required. In
order to create one or more
ideas, the learned knowledge is
applied to a single context. Once
that relationship between the
variables is understood then the
next phase of applying that
knowledge to form ideas can
take place. Taking those ideas
and applying them to a number
of contexts develops the ideas
into one or more concepts.
The next phase of the Learning Process covers the capability of taking the knowledge,
ideas and concepts that are now understood and applying them creatively to needs and
opportunities to develop an innovative and ingenious solution to the problem or question
that is being tackled


Level 3: The third level of
sophistication of the Learning
Process applies the term ‘knowledge’
to represent the discovery of the
critical information that is
required to develop the necessary
ideas. In order to create one or
more ideas, the learned
knowledge is initially applied to a
single context. The next phase is
to take those ideas and apply
them to a number of contexts to
develop a broader conceptual
understanding. The next phase of
the Learning Process takes the
knowledge, ideas and concepts
the learner has developed to
create concept frameworks of
understanding.
The final phase of the Learning
Process covers the capability of taking the knowledge, ideas and concepts that are now
understood and applying them to defined needs and opportunities. The final stage is
applying creativity to develop innovative and ingenious solutions that are guided by the
design process brief.
.
associated
concepts
The Learning
Process
Concepts
(to be understood)
Ideas
(to be understood)
Applied to
contexts
Curiosity
Emotion
Prompt
Applied to
a context
Knowledge
(the minimum)
Start Here
need or
opportunity
Inspiration
Rote
Learning
Concept
Formation
Creativity
Consciousness
T
h
in
k
in
g
Feedback &
Feed-Forward
Innovation
& Ingenuity
Creativity
Thinking &
Questioning
The Language
of Learning
Connecting
& Reflecting
Collaboration
Managing
Self
Identity
.
associated
concepts
The Learning
Process
associated
concepts
Emotion
Prompt
Start Here
Rote
Learning
Concept
Formation
Creativity
Sensory
data
T
h
in
kin
g
Feedback &
Feed-Forward
Inspiration
Innovation
& Ingenuity
need or
opportunity
Applied to
a context
Curiosity
Applied to
contexts
Knowledge
(the minimum)
Ideas
(to be understood)
Concepts
(to be understood)
Conceptual
Frameworks
Creativity
Thinking &
Questioning
The Language
of Learning
Connecting
& Reflecting
Collaboration
Managing
Self
Identity



*,

There are some essential infrastructure and policy initiatives that need to be in place
so that the Learning Process can be implemented successfully. These include:
• Ensuring there is an effective and efficient, online formative assessment
environment that allows for effective feedback and feed-forward commentary and
questioning from all stakeholders.
• The adoption of a concept-based curriculum.
• Developing effective data collection processes in order to effectively qualitatively
and quantitatively assess learner achievement across numerous facets of their
learning.
• Reporting and assessment becoming dynamic, ‘just in time’ and personalised.
The essential infrastructure
and policy initiatives that
support the implementation of
the Learning Process are
substantial, as can be seen in
the bullet points above. We
are not recommending a
slight modification to teaching
and learning practices but
rather a systemic change to
how teaching and learning is
practiced in schools, to better
ready our young people to
enter a very different society,
work and social place than we
may have experienced.
Introducing the Learning Process by senior managers requires project, strategic and
change-management processes and systems. This implementation process will be dealt
with in a second publication that will be made available in late 2014.
The adoption of a concept curriculum is central to the increased efficiency of learning.
Having a clear understanding of what concepts are needed to be understood focuses
both educator-learners and learner-educators on specific knowledge that provides the
underlying foundation for building ideas and subsequently concepts. The historical 3-4-5
week units of work used by school systems have vague outcomes and unclear learning
intentions. Once the concepts are articulated that need to be understood it is not unusual
for the 2-4-5 week unit of work to be completed in 1-2 weeks. This frees up the time
required to build competency and apply the concepts innovatively and ingeniously.
Through the application of clever questioning and reflection (R-R-I), as well as synthesising
and distilling at any point during the Learning Process, we will undoubtedly require
additional knowledge, ideas, concepts and concept frameworks to be developed. As a
result the Learning Process can return to any other stage at any time. The Learning
Process often appears to be chaotic and messy, but there is an underlying structure that
guides the learner.




*-
The Learning Process is never a linear process, as feedback and feed-forward
processes create a very rich learning pathway that may last from seconds to a lifetime.
While this theoretical framework may make the Learning Process more efficient and
effective, it is a simple model of what is actually a very complex process. As we apply the
Learning Process, we create an increasingly sophisticated toolbox of competencies,
which over time develop into dispositions. These competencies underpin our capacity for
learning success. This toolbox of dispositions also enables us as learners to have
increasing agency over our learning as well as the ability to apply that learning to an
increasing range of contexts.
Level 1 Educator Diagram

Level 1 Learner Diagram

.
associated
concepts
The Learning
Process
Emotion Prompt
Rote
Learning
Concept
Formation
Creativity
Consciousness
T
h
in
k
in
g
Applied to
contexts
need or
opportunity
Inspiration
Applying
Understanding
Making
Meaning
Building
Knowledge
Feedback &
Feed-Forward
Creativity
Start Here
Curiosity
Thinking &
Questioning
The Language
of Learning
Connecting &
Reflecting
Collaboration
Managing
Self
Identity
Feedback & Feed-Forward



+"




Level 2 Educator Diagram

Level 2 Learner Diagram

.
associated
concepts
The Learning
Process
Concepts
(to be understood)
Curiosity
Emotion
Prompt
Knowledge
(the minimum)
Start Here
need or
opportunity
Inspiration
Rote
Learning
Concept
Formation
Creativity
Consciousness
T
h
in
k
in
g
Feedback &
Feed-Forward
Innovation
& Ingenuity
Applied to
a context
Ideas
(to be understood)
Creativity
Applied to
contexts
Thinking &
Questioning
The Language
of Learning
Connecting &
Reflecting
Collaboration
Managing
Self
Identity



+%

Level 3 Educator Diagram

Level 3 Learner Diagram

.
associated
concepts
The Learning
Process
Associated
concepts
Prompt
Start Here
Rote
Learning
Concept
Formation
Creativity
Consciousness
T
h
in
k
in
g
Feedback &
Feed-Forward
Inspiration
Innovation
& Ingenuity
Need or
opportunity
Curiosity
Ideas
(to be understood)
Concepts
(to be understood)
Concept
Frameworks
Creativity
Knowledge
(the minimum)
Emotion
Applied to
contexts
Applied to
a context
Thinking &
Questioning
The Language
of Learning
Connecting &
Reflecting
Collaboration
Managing
Self
Identity



+&

The Learning Process always begins with
the educator or the learner being clear about
the learning intention of the Learning
Process. In this example, the learning
intention is that learners would develop an
understanding about the Learning Process by
investigating how learning takes place. This is
designed for 9–11-year-olds who are
investigating the Learning Process for the
first time but have some understanding of
the competencies. The skateboarding cat
video can be found at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRbakPKgU5Y

Learning Process elements Some of the associated competencies
The prompt: The most important aspect of a
good prompt is that it stimulates a range of
emotions. In the case of the skateboarding cat,
(above) these emotions can include delight,
disbelief, intrigue, suspicion and surprise. The
outcome of these feelings should be that they
initiate our sense of curiosity.
• Managing self: Managing my
emotions: What emotions am I feeling?
What is making me feel that way? Do I
have the confidence to find possible
answers to my questions?
Curiosity: Curiosity is not a feeling, even though
it is often described as such. Curiosity is an innate
response, an instinct that is wired into our DNA.
When we see something that does not make
complete sense or challenges our worldview then
we get curious. While curiosity may well kill the cat,
more often than not curiosity drives us to
investigate the clash that the prompt initiates with
our worldview. We now want to discover how the
event took place. The instinct of curiosity should be
one of educators’ primary tools for engaging
learners to carry out independent investigations of
their own.
The principle outcome of curiosity is the raft of
questions we generate in quick succession. Those
questions if followed through then generate an
expanding body of new knowledge, idea and
concepts.
• Questioning: The second trigger is our
own curiosity driving us to ask lots of
questions:
! How long did it take to teach the
cat to ride the skateboard?
! Did it really happen or was that
‘photo-shopped’?
! Is that cat just really smart?
! Could I teach my cat to
skateboard?
! Could my dog skateboard?
! Should we have ‘cat skateboarding’
competitions?
! Is the cat enjoying being on the
skateboard?
! Does the cat skateboard because
he likes it or because it gets a
reward every time it does it?

An Example of the Learning Process




+'
Learning Process element Some of the associated competencies
Knowledge: The questions we ask drive a desire
to find answers either independently or
collaboratively. The knowledge we learn when
driven by curiosity is remembered quickly because
it is relevant to solving the puzzle that our curiosity
is pursuing and it is being driven by emotions that
tell our brain to map those patterns/concepts
quickly. If we have agency over our learning then
the new knowledge we develop is its own reward
and this generates greater confidence in our ability
to learn. This is the same principle behind the
success of online gaming and why learner-
educators will spend hours attempting to reach
the next level.
• Asking questions that generate new
knowledge.
• Managing our resources of time and
accessibility to resources that may
provide answers.
• Critical thinking processes that begin
to connect some of the discrete
knowledge elements into connected
bodies of knowledge.
• Applying primary, secondary and
tertiary questions.
• Collaborating with others and being
more efficient in finding possible
answers/outcomes.
• Applying our learning literacy to
develop effective questions.
Ideas: By applying the knowledge that has been
learned to the context of riding the skateboard
begins to make the skateboarding cat seem more
plausible. Ideas that have been developed from the
knowledge that may have been discovered and
remembered include:
• Having a lower centre-of-gravity makes it easier
to maintain balance.
• A smaller weight reduces gravitational forces
and momentum.
• Having four legs to balance on means that the
weight is distributed over a larger surface area.
• The cat's ability to jump and catch quick moving
birds is applied to jumping off and onto the
moving skateboard.
Ideas are relationships between variables (things
that can change, such as centre-of-gravity, weight,
surface area, momentum, friction, etc.) within a
single context.
• Critical thinking – evaluating the quality
of the knowledge.
• Connecting knowledge elements within
the context to form ideas.
• Applying primary, secondary, tertiary
and quaternary questions.
• Effective management of resources.
• Building trust and confidence in sharing
ideas via collaborative activities.
• Listening to others’ ideas and
connecting those to existing ideas.
• Managing our impulsivity while
encouraging enthusiasm.
• Connecting knowledge that exists in
different media types.
• Managing our self-awareness.
Concepts: Once we have a collection of ideas,
our curiosity and our associated and innate
perchance for asking questions prompts us to
start applying those ideas to other contexts.
• Can I teach my dog to skateboard, what about
the pet goat? The guinea pig? Mouse?
• Can I teach my dog to ride a bike?
Concepts allow us to make predictions and this
provides an intellectual short cut, allowing us to
make connections between new knowledge, ideas
and existing concepts.
• Lateral thinking to link the knowledge
and apply it to a specific context.
• The reflection (R-R-I) process to build
critical evaluation.
• The use of appropriate literacies that
in turn creates clarity.
• Applying different types of thinking for
different types of thinking tasks.
• Knowing there are times for
cooperation and times to work
independently.





+(
Learning Process element Some of the associated competencies
Concept frameworks: This is where the
concept of animals on skateboards starts to be
linked with other concepts surrounding how
skateboards work. In general terms, movement with
a low centre-of-gravity combined with a significant
amount of physical contact between the
person/animal and the skateboard makes for a
stable ride. A skateboard with smooth wheel
surfaces rolling along on a smooth floor surface has
less friction to overcome than on rough surfaces.
Further questioning and the resulting research build
new knowledge, ideas and concepts, and also opens
up a broader range of potential contexts and areas
of interest and subsequent curiosity. Can we change
the design of skateboard wheels to reduce the
amount of contact with the ground and thus reduce
friction?
• Synthesising and distilling of ideas
and concepts refines our
understanding.
• Complex thinking processes that
require rich metacognitive language.
• Effective listening and reviewing of
others’ thoughts.
• Sharing ideas requires trust and
flexibility in our thoughts.
• Being metacognitive in order to be
self-aware and critical of our thinking.
• Knowing when to give up, when to
strive further, and learning from our
mistakes.
Innovation: Coming up with a totally new idea or
concept that may or may not be entirely related to
the original idea (pets riding skateboards). This is
lateral thinking and requires creativity, drawing on
existing knowledge, ideas, concepts and other
concept frameworks. Questioning and collaborative
discussion can create completely new ideas, such as
“Could we use remote-controlled, GPS-enabled
skateboards to move things around in factories?”
“Can we reduce the amount of contact the
skateboard wheels have with the surface it is running
on?” or “Could we use different shaped wheels?”
• Applying creative processes to
develop lateral solutions to questions
and problems.
• Applying integrity that comes from
being self-aware.
• Communicating knowledge, ideas,
concepts and emotion with clarity.
• Having the difficult conversations
with those we care about.
• Connecting knowledge, ideas and
concepts via a non-conscious state of
mind.
Ingenuity: Taking an innovative idea and pursuing
this to create a new product, system or environment
defines ingenuity. Designing and building square
wheels that would have less contact with the ground
seems improbable, but what if that were possible?
What would that look like? Someone thought that it
was worth pursuing and here is the result
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LE8PSqpCMY
• Creatively remixing knowledge, ideas
and concepts to be innovative and
ingenious.
• A rich media vocabulary that
creates the potential for deep
communication.
• Clarity of purpose, which defines
the most effective media
combination.

The Learning Process may be focused on finding specific outcomes to specific issues
or, as in the case above, it can generate outcomes that were totally unintentional. As
educators we have been quite good at encouraging learners to develop intentional
solutions to specific problems, but we have been less adept at allowing learners to
engage in ‘free thinking’ processes, without defining what a successful outcome may look
like.
The Learning Process requires a high level of confidence on behalf of the learner and
confidence comes about when learners know they are being assessed according to
particular criteria as opposed to being told they are wonderful, exceptional and brilliant.
Commentary without justification can lead to learners being less confident and being
fearful of not being brilliant and wonderful all the time.



+)

Interestingly, the cat has
learned to skateboard via rote with
constant practice, and the process
also leverages existing ‘cat skills’.
The cat is unable to apply its
skateboarding knowledge and make
predictions for another context
(such as surfing) as cats cannot
create new concepts ‘on the fly’.

Cats do not have the capacity to create a square wheel to improve the ride on a
skateboard!
57
Square wheels that provide the rider with a far smoother ride are cool, but
what about the hoverboard from the movie ‘Back to the Future 2’ – now that would be
really cool!
Surely someone could have
invented that. After all, the New
Zealand designed and built
Martin Jetpack has people flying
much higher BUT with a far
larger and far more powerful jet
unit. In February 2014 the HUVr
58

was released via an all-star
celebrity line-up all ‘riding’ a
hoverboard! Alas, a quick
calculation of the power this
would require renders its viability
very low. That is especially true
when you see the thickness of the
HUVr board and the height that it
is lifting a 100kg person! Critical
literacy is critical, but the dream
lives on.
Innovation and ingenuity thrive when there are high levels of change, as change of any
sort offers up new opportunities and new needs. These changes can include changes in
our:
• Physical world, (volcanoes, tsunamis, floods),
• Leadership (government, institutions, systems),
• Scientific advancements (new materials, processes or understandings),
• New cultural perspectives (fashion, perceptions or trends)
Needs and opportunities are the stellar nurseries
of innovation and ingenuity.

57
“Kickstarter Project Reinvents Skateboard Wheel”; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7Tq3Gsj6lY Accessed February
2014
58
“HUVr Tech”; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4vE_vpkr90 Accessed February 2014



+*
The learning process optimises how the brain learns most efficiently. By using this
approach to learning all learners learn far more quickly and equitably. This is achieved by
the learner accessing and remembering information just in time as opposed to just in
case. Our brain retains knowledge, ideas, concepts and concept frameworks much more
effectively if there is a strong context for the learning and when the learner is excited by
the prospect of developing their own understanding.
The learning process begins with a prompt. The idea of the prompt is to engage our
curiosity. Curiosity is not an emotion but rather it is a human instinct. Curiosity releases
hormones in the brain that encourage the formation and retention of the memories
surrounding knowledge, ideas and concepts. Once curious the learner requires the
capacity to ask a range of different types of questions in order to develop their knowledge
and understanding more deeply. That knowledge and understanding must be relevant to
what the learner is curious about and needs to be at a level that the learner is able to
comprehend. Increasingly this means accessing multimedia resources such as video,
infographics, presentations and audio clips as well as text. Questioning, driven by our
curiosity builds knowledge very quickly.
Applying that knowledge to form relationships between different knowledge elements
allows us to form ideas. Ideas are relationships between different knowledge components
within a single context. Having ideas allows us to start making some limited predictions. In
order to make more accurate predictions we need to apply that idea to a number of
different contexts. This results in the formation of a general concept. Once again, the
more contexts we apply that idea to, the more powerful the concept becomes and the
more accurate are the predictions we can make.
Concept frameworks result from us linking different concepts together within a
framework that allows us to carry out complex tasks. Having a conversation with
someone always involves a concept framework as we try and weld together how
interested the other person is in the conversation, what they might be thinking about
what we are saying, as well as developing our next piece of conversational talk. Most
activities we are involved in rely on concept frameworks.
Knowledge, ideas and concept frameworks are the raw material to which we can apply
our creativity in order to come up with both new ideas and concepts that have extrinsic
value – innovative new ideas and concepts and some ideas and concepts that have only
intrinsic value which we refer to as our imaginative ideas and concepts.
If we take the ideas that have value and turn them into products, systems or
environments then we are being ingenious. The learning framework has been developed
across three distinct levels with increasing cognitive expectations.


Section 2 Summary & Questions




++
Questions to reflect on:
1. Can you identify three key differences between your present teaching and learning
strategies and the Learning Process as described here?
2. What do you expect to be your greatest challenges in implementing this approach
to your teaching and learning?
3. How do you think you will address these challenges?
4. What are your immediate professional learning requirements?
5. What do you think is the most efficient and effective way in which you can address
these challenges given the multiple demands on your time?
6. What role do you think your peers will play in assisting you to come to terms with
this different approach to teaching and learning?
7. What are the immediate technology challenges that you face that may inhibit the
change in practice you now desire?
8. How will you overcome these challenges?
9. What form of resistance might you expect from parents/caregivers and possibly
learners to these changes?
10. How do you think you will address some of these challenges?



+,

The Competencies

LEARNING
Section 3



+-



Before we can implement the Learning Process we first of all have to appreciate the
significance of the competencies that a learner requires in order for them to learn
efficiently and effectively. The competencies are a comprehensive set of capabilities that
need to become dispositions that constantly will be being refined throughout our lives.
The competencies provide learners with the capacity to think and question, develop a
growing language underpinning their learning, collaborate, manage self, connect and
reflect knowledge, ideas and concepts and, importantly, come to terms with their own
identity. Additional learning competencies include building a language to describe our own
and others’ learning, and the ability to connect and reflect on our thinking, constantly
reviewing it and making modifications where necessary.
The competencies must be taught explicitly and never assumed. The
absence of the required depth of understanding by educators and learners
of the competencies has been a key reason why inquiry learning,
differentiated learning, the flipped classroom and personalised learning have
not been as successful as they were expected to be.
59

Our focus on learning should have us asking the key question: “What does the Learning
Process look like?” BUT rarely do we ask this critical question as we generally assume
we know how to learn and we know how we learn efficiently. BUT actually what most of us
know something about is how we were taught and how we learned, and that may not
have been a particularly effective or efficient way of learning. Whether you struggled to
learn at school or not, we will explain why that was and how everyone can learn, and learn
far more effectively and efficiently.
The competencies are a collection of fundamental capacities that with practice develop
into personal dispositions. Learner dispositions are our inherent qualities of mind and
character that allow us to take increasing agency over our learning. With experience we
can apply these dispositions without thinking consciously about them. Once we have a
measure of competency and these competencies become dispositions we are able to
apply the Learning Process in a manner that allows everyone to learn successfully.


59
Hattie, J. & Yates, G. “Visible Learning and the Science of How we Learn”; Routledge; 2014;
http://www.amazon.com/Visible-Learning-Science-How-Learn/dp/0415704995 Accessed November 2013
“Too often students were expected to cope with problems that demand
high-level thinking and decision-making, but have not been given
instructional opportunities to develop appropriate tools. Both studies
illustrate how strategic thinking was taught explicitly through group
instruction using both modelling and direct exhortation. In both cases
significant gains followed from instruction targeting thinking tools
students can apply to complex problems.” John Hattie & Gregory Yates
Introduction: The
Competencies




,"
Up until recently we assumed learners were already in possession of these
competencies and many schools have explored making use of an inquiry-learning
framework, but generally this approach has had limited success. The reason for this lack
of success is the absence of the necessary dispositions that come from an
understanding of the competencies. This has meant that in most cases, educators have
had to fill in these competency gaps.
If we were to film an inquiry process we would find that almost 90% of the questions
asked and the difficulties that the learners had were due the lack of competence in one
or more domains. We would also find that the learner was unable to learn independently
and needed the teacher to tell them how and what to learn. This is a dependency
relationship and both parties encourage that dependency. The result is the teacher
racing from team to team of inquiry learners, sorting out the issues, and while this is
possibly useful in improving teacher fitness it does not assist the learners becoming
learning-fit, becoming learners and managing the Learning Processes themselves.
The competencies have been derived from
a number of international reports, including
the OECD DeSeCo (Defining and Selecting
Competencies) report
60
, the Mayer Report
61

and The Eurydice Report: “A Developing
Concept in General Compulsory
Education.
62
Universally, the competencies
are seen as a set of foundational capacities
that act as a precursor to effective
learning. Increasingly, the development of
curriculum within many countries is seeing
the inclusion of the competencies or the
resulting dispositions in the foundation
statements that underpin curriculum. In
the work completed within this project, six
key competencies have been identified.
The competencies include:
1. Identity
2. Thinking and questioning
3. Collaboration
4. Having a comprehensive language of learning
5. Managing self
6. Connecting and reflecting (R-R-I) on existing knowledge, ideas and
concepts to create new knowledge, ideas, concepts and concept
frameworks

60
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; 2002; “P7; Definition & Selection of Competencies (DeSeCo).
Theoretical & Conceptual Foundations”; http://www.portal-stat.admin.ch/deseco/deseco_strategy_paper_final.pdf Accessed
December 2006
61
Mellor, S., Lokan, J. et al.; ”Research Monograph No. 51: Literacy and the Competencies”; ACER, 1996;
http://shop.acer.edu.au/acer-shop/product/A510BK;jsessionid=6B7455D4499F313A6BC2BBBDDCD4F337
62
European Commission Eurydice; “A Developing Concept in General Compulsory Education”;
http://www.eurydice.org/Documents/survey5/en/FrameSet.htm Accessed June 2007
Thinking &
Questioning
The Language
of Learning
Connecting
& Reflecting
Collaboration
Managing
Self
Identity



,%
The development and practice of these competencies result in the competencies
becoming automated dispositions that are foundational to learners developing agency
over their learning and becoming independent learners. Under the guidance of an
educator, these competencies underpin the ability of a student to become an
independent learner and develop self-efficacy. This ability to gain autonomy over one's own
learning from an early age and become an independent learner is now possible, desirable
and, one would argue, essential in order to be ‘just-in-time’ learners.
The competencies become a set of
dispositions that learners apply, as
required, during the Learning Process.
With appropriate guidance, educators and
the learner's peers can guide each other
as to how to apply each of the
competencies. Developing an innate sense
of which combination of the competencies
are required at any given point in time
during the Learning Process takes time.

For each of the competencies there are:
1. Underlying concepts we need to understand
2. Techniques we apply to develop each competency
3. Dispositions that we would demonstrate for each competency
Competencies are not discrete entities and each competency contributes to the others
in complex ways. Educators will require considerable professional learning to develop an
effective understanding of each of the competencies, as well as effective pedagogical
approaches in order to ensure that learners are able to express each competency.




“… by stretching yourself beyond
your perceived level of
confidence you accelerate your
development of competence.”
Michael J. Gelb
“Teaching is the only major occupation of man for which we have not
yet developed tools that make an average person capable of
competence and performance. In teaching we rely on the ‘naturals’, the
ones who somehow know how to teach.” Peter Drucker



,&



Identity is the development of the distinct
personality of an individual.
63
Our concept of our own
identity and how others perceive our identity can
vary significantly. Providing feedback on how we
view each other’s identity is critical in coming to
terms with the nature of self. Having an honest
understanding of our own identity and reflecting on
that is key to growing self and increasingly aligning
our own perception of self with how others
perceive us.
The root of our identity lies within the genetics we
are gifted from our family line and the experiences
that we encounter in life. Our identity and the
dispositions that express this competency will
change over time. It is important that we
appreciate that we can modify our identity by
working with self to become more aligned with
whom we want to be. Our genetics and
experiences do not place us on a railway track in
life that we cannot deviate from.
To make changes to our personal dispositions that
we express non-consciously requires us to be
sufficiently self-aware in order to modify our habits,
that may have become entrenched over many years.
While modifying our habits is difficult, it is not
impossible.
Identity is about being self-aware.
Understanding self is a life-long quest and aligning the self we are and the self we may
wish to be can cause much angst, but aiming for perfection is a guarantee of failure.
There are some fundamental traits that underpin managing and developing our identity
and these are expressed via three key words we can choose to use in life. Each of these
words reflects aspects of our identity. These three key words reflect the effective
development of our identity and are please, sorry and thank-you. Each of these words
should be used often, as they represent three key qualities of a fulfilled life: humility,
forgiveness and grace. To use the word “please” invokes a degree of humility; that we
need the help of someone else. Saying “sorry” asks someone to bestow forgiveness.
Interestingly, those who struggle to say sorry often do so due to a lack of forgiveness of
self. Being able to be sorry for what we have done generally makes us more able to
forgive others. Using “thank-you” demonstrates a foundation of grace, as usually whoever
it is we are saying thank-you to has already completed the deed we required to be done.
The application of these words underpins the disposition of thankfulness.

63
Identity Formation; Wikipedia; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identity_formation Accessed September 2013
Is it possible
for a day so still
that I could see myself
for whom I am?
Competency 1:
Identity

Video Link



,'
Principle Formation
Identity is a complex notion and its foundation lies
within the formation of our principles and character.
Principles are the idealistic, net effect of applying
culturally appropriate attitudes, qualities and values to
our knowledge, understanding and actions. Principles
are the result of the interplay between attitudes,
qualities and values. Schools are constantly looking at
how they can better encourage a set of principles,
positive attitudes, qualities and values, and many
programmes are being marketed that attempt to frame
up how to teach these desired traits. At the core of this
process is the degree to which an individual sees
himself or herself as having a distinct and unique
purpose. Just as the adage “without a vision the people
perish” may apply to our physical state, so too the
saying “without a sense of purpose, potential will never be
realised” applies to our sociological/spiritual state.
Character Formation
Having a sense of purpose allows almost any social or
physical barrier to be overcome, and it provides a secure
platform for the development of positive attitudes, values
and qualities to be displayed with confidence and
assurance.
Our character is built on a foundation of our morality,
ethics and spirituality, and these are three terms that
are used and interchanged casually. However, each of
these terms has its own distinct meaning and it is
important to unpack these as each has a significant role
to play in the formation of character in the learners who
inhabit our classrooms.
• Morality: of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behaviour
64
as applied
to others
• Ethics: a set of moral principles; a theory or system of moral values
65
as applied
to self
• Spirituality: sensitivity or attachment to religious values
66
either personally or
corporately
If we are to fully recognise the potential of learners, we need to understand more about
how the learner’s morality, ethics and spirituality contribute to their character, how their
character influences their learning, and how they apply that learning, as attitudes,
qualities and values give rise to principles. In the same way, the formation of character is
derived from a learner’s morality, ethics and spirituality.

64
Merriam Webster Dictionary; http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/moral Accessed September 2008
65
ibid
66
ibid



,(
The awareness of morality, ethics and spirituality can be externally developed via social
and cultural drivers, but a full understanding of each will not be achieved without a
significant amount of metacognitive reflection. The capacity to reflect metacognitively on
such ideas develops with age, but the understanding of these concepts appears to be
within the scope of anyone who has the capacity to imagine. Using our imagination and
applying it to thoughtful reflection about the actions of self and others, combined with the
capacity to learn and be taught, are foundational in developing character. As with all
concepts, the depth of understanding we may have depends on the quality of the inquiry
and our willingness to challenge our place in our world.
Character fundamentally requires taking ownership of one’s actions and carefully
balancing the tension between privilege and responsibility. Unfortunately, victims often
lack the character to deal with the issues they face and look for others to blame. By
empowering our learners and assisting them to develop character, we are building their
capacity to deal with the issues they will inevitably face.
The ability to use agile thinking processes
allows the two domains of principle and
character formation to merge into a set of
virtues.
67

The foundation defines the integrity and scale of the
building that can be built. This simple metaphor
defines the quality and depth of the life that can be
built on a foundation that has been laid down on given
degrees of character-building and principle formation.
Poor foundations can bear little weight, and lives built
on poor foundations have little chance of being anything other than small. The stronger
and the deeper the foundations built from character and principles, the more weight a life
can bear and the more impact it can have on the world. However, regardless of the depth
of the foundation there is no guarantee that an earthquake will not strike.
The application of our innate gifts and
talents to change our world provides
meaning to our lives and allows us the
opportunity, through the variety of life
experiences we encounter, to examine
and refine our principles and character
and to take control of and enjoy the life
with which we have been endowed.

Our non-conscious dispositions, how we naturally respond to situations, develop in
tandem with the development of our principles and character. The intersection of our
character and principles creates our virtues, which provide a framework for our decision
making across all aspects of our lives. Dispositions are the non-conscious application of
the ideas and concepts that we have developed at this intersection. The true assessment
of our virtues is how we react to situations without any conscious thinking processes
taking place.

67
Cowan, J. & Roberts, A.; “Hauora: A Handbook for the Whole Person”; Parenting with Confidence; 2003.
“Most people are other people. Their
thoughts are someone else's
opinions, their lives a mimicry, their
passions a quotation.” Oscar Wilde
“Beauty is nature’s gift.
So is intelligence. But
you build your own
character.”
Ian Grant



,)
Virtues
Virtues are defined by the manner in which we apply our character and principles to
our daily decisions and actions. Very young learners appear to express virtues, but they
are more than likely not understood as concepts, but rather their actions are a response
to learned rules. Internalising virtues as concepts makes us far more adaptable and able
to deal with new and complex contexts as they arise. This assists in the development of a
consistent framework for decision-making, actions and thoughts which, when achieved is
interpreted as wisdom.
• Virtues are defined as: “Conformity to a standard of right”
68

For virtues to become an intuitive response and integrated into our personality, we need
to be conscious of what underpins our character and principles. Virtues are concepts
and not rules and must always be interpreted through context. Honesty is a virtue but to
always be honest would cause far too much grief. When asked: “How do I look in this
dress?”, the answer is always “Gorgeous!” The truth can unnecessarily cause anger and
insult if we are too honest. All virtues are tempered by the context, the body language
they are presented through and the intent behind the message or action.

Wisdom
From a community perspective,
wisdom is the ultimate
application of creativity and
innovation as it relies on the
complex interconnectedness
between all the things we have
discussed so far and their
subsequent transition into non-
conscious dispositions.
Humility underpins wisdom. The
more decisions that are made,
the greater the probability that
mistakes of judgement will be
made, so one has to be able to
live with those mistakes and
keep them in perspective.
Wisdom sits beyond self-
interest; it is almost as if we
separate from self and apply our
virtues from a third person
perspective.


68
Merriam Webster Dictionary; http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/virtues Accessed October 2008



,*
The compensation for accepting responsibility for our own mistakes is the knowledge
that the only people who never make mistakes are those that never make decisions of
any consequence. Hence a function of wisdom is to have compassion for those who make
mistakes, and where mistakes are made to see these as the potential for learning rather
than a case of abject failure. This particularly applies to self. Forgiveness of self is crucial
to contentment, and contentment provides the peace that allows us to fulfil our purpose.
One of our truly unique capacities as human beings is our ability to reflect on our own
thinking and in so doing we begin to refine our principles and character with increasing
clarity. This process provides a reference point for how we may react and act in a wide
range of situations that we encounter throughout our lives. If we are encouraged to
reflect on our attitudes, qualities, values, morality, ethics and spirituality over time we can
begin to apply them with increasing appropriateness to each new situation. The capacity
to think both cognitively and metacognitively binds principles and character together to
craft virtues. This provides a unified framework for how we will potentially respond to
each unique situation we encounter via our dispositions. We say ‘potentially’ as it is only
with experience and much reflection that the application of virtues will become
increasingly wise.
Personality
Our decision-making processes are filtered through our personality as viewed through
the five personality domains, combined with the associated and perceived social risk.
Personality traits are subjective at best, but it is generally accepted within the sociological
community that they can be grouped into a set of five continuums:
• Focused–Unfocused
• Extravert–Introvert
• Agreeable–Disagreeable
• Open–Closed
• Optimistic–Pessimistic
Even though we may have all the qualities and attributes in place to make good decisions,
the final filter of social acceptance may well squander our inherent potential. This is
particularly true within youth culture. Every educator of youthful learners has faced the
dilemma of watching as the thoughts of their peers either to stall or amplify the quality of
their decision-making process.
The result of this integrated package of thinking
relationships is reflected through our personality. Not
surprisingly, as a result of the many variables within this
framework, every person’s personality is unique. Our
personality is further complicated by our desire to both
offer and receive love and respect. This too is complicated
still further by our human willingness to sacrifice our
principles and character in order to act in ways that we
think will gain us that love and respect. Our desire to be
loved and be shown respect as well as to love and respect
others is what brings out our passion and our humanity.
We are a complicated species!

“We know what we
are, but not what we
may be.”
William
Shakespeare



,+
Our decision-making processes are filtered through our personality based on perceived
social risk as viewed through the five domains expressed above. So even though we may
have all the qualities and attributes in place to make good decisions, that final filter of
social acceptance may well squander the inherent potential. This is particularly true
within youth culture. Every educator of youthful learners has faced the dilemma of
watching the capacity of that final filter to stall or amplify the quality of the learner’s
decision-making process based on the expected response of their peers/audience.
Increasingly, the media has a
tendency to dictate how we should
react in particular situations. We all
run the risk of bowing to that
pressure and as a result we are
tempted to trade in our principles and
character in return for the immediacy
of acceptance and what we hope is
the love and respect of our
peers/audience. Quite often though,
we can easily accept a set of norms
(established by the society/media) on
the behalf of special interest groups
or businesses that want us to aspire
to their set of principles and their
version of ‘good character’. This
desire for acceptance is another
aspect of our nature as human
beings.
The table depicts the concepts
that underpin the
understanding,
application/strategies and
dispositions that underpin the
formation of our identity.
Our identity is formed through
the formation of our principles
and character and expressed
via our virtues. The application
of our virtues via our personality
embodies our penchant for
making wise decisions and
acting in ways that define
wisdom. Our actions will be
skewed by our need for
acceptance by our peers and
the desire to express both love
and respect.

Identity
U
n
d
e
r
s
t
a
n
d
i
n
g

(
c
o
g
n
i
t
i
v
e
)

Effective identity development requires:
1. Authenticity that embodies our uniqueness as
a person.
2. Reflecting on our principles that are derived
from attitudes, qualities and values.
3. Reflecting on our character that is derived
from morality, ethics and spirituality.
4. Realising that tension between our ‘actual
self’ and our ‘aspirational self’ may evolve.
5. Integrity, which comes from being self-aware
(aligning beliefs with actions).
T
e
c
h
n
i
q
u
e
s

(
p
r
a
c
t
i
c
a
l
)

Effective identify application requires:
1. Knowing that our beliefs shape our purpose.
2. Building virtues that are the practical
outworking of our principles and character.
3. Applying empathy to enable us to act with
compassion.
4. Self discipline to be true to self.
5. Honest self-reflection, allowing us to review
and potentially change how we react.
6. A servant-heart that fuels thoughtfulness.
D
i
s
p
o
s
i
t
i
o
n
s

(
p
e
r
s
o
n
a
l
)

Effective identity dispositions requires:
1. Appreciating and applying gifts and talents to
build self-confidence.
2. Humility that tempers over-confidence and
extends grace.
3. Justice that desires actions in keeping with
beliefs.
4. Service that applies and builds character
formation.
5. Us to confront and have the difficult
conversations with those we work with.
6. Encouraging others to be the best they can
be.
7. Us being self-aware.



,,



Thinking and questioning appear to be two distinct competences, but in practice it is
almost impossible to separate them. It is impossible to think without questioning and
question without thinking. For practical reasons we will address these two concepts
independently. Thinking is the process whereby we take sensory data and construct a
personal worldview, and we take that worldview and through it process our emotions,
thoughts and questions in order to gain a perception of self within that worldview. The
brain is a learning instrument, and thinking is how we make sense of all we experience
and how those experiences relate to our worldview.
Metacognition is the ability to think about our own thinking and it is one of
the key concepts within the thinking competency that we need to address.
Metacognition allows us to think and reflect about our actions and our
interpretation of both our own and the thoughts and the actions of others.
Outward cognitive processes dominate our thinking, with precious little time
spent thinking about our own thinking. Most of our time is spent thinking
about how we will act, what we will say and how we feel, rather than
interrogating why we acted the way we did, why we said what we did and why
we felt the way we did. To know oneself is the most complex cognitive task
we will ever face.
Much of our thinking is not rational and it
is important that we do not dismiss the
fact that while we are capable of thinking
rationally, non-rationally and irrationally.
Non-rational thinking has a tendency to
dominate our thinking landscape.
Everybody thinks in each of these three
modes. The role of education is not to
eliminate any particular mode of thinking
but rather to assure learners that a part
of being human is that we can and will
operate in each of these different modes
at different times.
Intuition is another term for how our astrocytes automate many of our learned concepts
into non-conscious processes. At the same time, it is also important that we recognise
that a moment's reflection on our own thinking may guide us towards deciding on an
alternative mode of thinking that may have a more favourable long-term outcome than
making an intuitive response.
There are many different types of thinking and different authors address this issue by
applying different schema, varying from the simplistic to the extraordinarily complex.
What we would like is to identify a fairly simplistic schema, which acknowledges that
these different types of thinking are not discrete silos but rather they are parts that
contribute to a spectrum of thinking.
Competency 2:


Thinking &

Questioning


Video Link



,-
The four types of thinking we have categorised are:
• Creative thinking: Creating the future and generating
alternative perspectives or scenarios to address the
issue or opportunity that is being considered.
• Altruistic thinking: Considering and placing another
person’s needs above one’s own.
• Systems thinking:
69
Very rarely does a single action
result in a single outcome. Almost everything we are
involved in is part of a system, and a ‘systems thinking’
approach takes this into account. We can be part of a
personal system (relationships, etc.), a local system
(neighbourhood, sports group, workplace), regional
systems (representative groups, fraternities, local
councils/government) and/or global systems.
• Critical thinking: Critical thinking is the intellectually and
disciplined process of actively and skilfully
conceptualising, applying, analysing, synthesising and/or
evaluating information gathered from, or generated by,
observation, experience, reflection, reasoning or
communication, as a guide to belief and actions.
70

Very rarely do we think using just one of these types of thinking. Invariably
our thinking is a combination of some or all of these components. When we
think about going on holiday, we combine creative thinking, altruistic,
systems and critical thinking in different ratios depending on our attitudes,
values, principles and dispositions. Creativity draws on all these aspects of
thinking.
Within each of these modes of thinking there is a rational (thoughtful) and a non-rational
(intuitive) option. For example, when we apply altruistic thinking, thinking beyond our own
self-interest, we can do so passionately or logically. The same approach can be applied to
creative, critical and systems thinking.



69
“The Free Management Library: Systems Thinking”; 2008; http://www.managementhelp.org/systems/systems.htm
Accessed September 2008
70
Scriven, M. & Pau, R.; “The Critical Thinking Community”; 1997; http://lonestar.texas.net/~mseifert/crit2.html Accessed
September 2008
Thinking mode Non-rational Rational
Creative Intuitive [inspired] Thoughtful [researched]
Altruistic Intuitive [passionate] Thoughtful [logical]
Critical Intuitive [perceptive] Thoughtful [disciplined]
Systems Intuitive [discerning] Thoughtful [reasoned]
“Do not quench
your inspiration
and your
imagination; do
not become
the slave of
your model.”
Vincent van
Gogh



-"
We now have eight sub-modes of thinking that can be applied across our thinking
processes. But each of these eight modes is on a continuum and as a result there are
thousands of different combinations of different positions on each of these four
continuums. Imagine a four-dimensional graph! This realisation alerts us to the reality
that while compartmentalising thinking is useful as a model, it does not express the
reality of being human.
The fact remains that we think quite differently when we are
tired or angry or jealous or disconsolate or …. The list is
endless. Add to this, genetic components from two parents
and a range of forebears, as well as varying degrees of
knowledge, understanding, experience and wisdom, and the
end result is an individual uniqueness in the way we think
and how we apply our thinking in any given situation. This
does not diminish the value of the teaching of thinking,
however it is important to realise that there are
innumerable permutations of how these four thinking
modes may be expressed by individuals who are in different
emotional states, with different levels of experience,
knowledge and understanding.

Hopefully it becomes clear
now that when teaching
thinking we cannot apply a
simplistic thinking package
and say we have taught
learners how to think!
Thinking is a complex
process and what we now
need to do is to break this
process down into elements
that can be discovered and
learned in a practical way by
learners. To do this
successfully we need to see
the relationship between
thinking and the other five
competencies.

“I like nonsense – it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary
ingredient in living. It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a
telescope … and that enables you to laugh at all of life’s realities.” Dr Seuss



-%
The competencies all contribute to developing a platform for more effective thinking,
but that never comes with a guarantee that our thinking will always be operating at an
optimum level. We are passionate as well as rational creatures – usually more of the
former than the latter and that is a good thing.
It is notable that central to thinking is the
concept of wisdom. Wisdom is not
beyond the reach of any individual,
however old. In practice it is difficult to
apply wisdom consistently due to our
penchant for non-rational and passionate
behaviours. This is complicated further by
our inability to accurately predict the
future and in particular how people will
react in any given situation. As such,
consistency in acting wisely demands
considerable discipline and clear
understanding of complex social
scenarios – not our strongest suite as
human beings. One of the characteristics
of practicing wise actions (wisdom) is
knowing when to act non-rationally,
passionately and intuitively and when to
take the choice of working things through
rationally, logically and sensibly in order to
hopefully take a wise course of action.
The natural state of being human is that we are more likely to choose a non-rational and
possibly passionate approach, but we can and may be disciplined and choose the rational,
logical and sensible approach, particularly if you have little knowledge and/or experience
in the area in which you are making an important decision.
Questioning our thinking, motivation, understanding and emotions is critical
to building ideas, concepts and concept frameworks that we use to make
predictions. This model for questioning is based on the work of Trevor Bond
71

who has identified two layers of questions (primary and secondary), and we
have added a third (tertiary) and a fourth (quaternary) level to this model. It
should be noted that it is important that learners be able to ask simple as
well as more complex questions. Often a simple question is just what is
needed “What was that?”, “How did that happen?” and “Why did that
happen?” may be the perfect questions for the context we are experiencing.



71
Bond, T.; “The Importance of Questioning”; http://ictnz.com/questioning.htm Accessed November 2007
“Judge a man by his questions
rather than by his answers.”
Voltaire, 1778



-&
Our capacity to ask questions and find the solutions to these questions
underpins learning. This dual capacity we have allows the creation and
application of understanding to a myriad of situations. There are questions
that:
• Assist the learner to build core knowledge bases,
• Use knowledge to create ideas, concepts and
concept frameworks,
• Encourage the mind to explore new possibilities.

If you are looking to assist
learners develop questions that
address different types of
understanding, then making use
of Benjamin Bloom’s taxonomy
is an effective way of achieving
this. The video
72
opposite is a
great prompt to engage
learners in this approach. The
video uses clips from ‘Seinfeld’
(a history lesson may be
required here for your younger
learners) to explain Bloom’s.

We should not refer to Bloom’s as a hierarchy, as that implies some questions are more
important than others and that is not the case.
Once again, it is important to reiterate that a balance of questioning types is required in
order that foundational knowledge can be laid down and learning capacity can be built on
that foundation. These foundations enable learners to learn how to create new
knowledge, ideas, concepts and concept frameworks.
There are four broad types of questions that learners can ask.
• Primary layer questions: Trevor Bond identifies primary questions as ones that
“open or define the area of learning”. It is also important to be able to provide a
measure of capability around answering these primary questions through
effective understanding of the research process.
These are questions and/or prompts that initiate the learner’s curiosity and immediately
have them asking their own questions. The primary question and/or prompt needs to be
thought through carefully as it needs to engage the learner’s curiosity in a particular
concept that the learner/educator desires them to pursue and understand.
73


72
“Blooms Taxonomy According to Seinfeld”; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsBna5IVBYg Accessed June 2012
73
A source of some prompts can be found at http://www.scoop.it/t/new-paradigm-teaching-learning Accessed March 2014



-'
• Secondary layer questions:
Questions that allow the learner to
unpack the primary question
through a schema such as the
Modified Bloom
74
categories of
analysis, evaluation and
understanding. The Learning
Process involves the learner
responding to a prompt or
interrogating a question, reflecting
on the outcome of that
interrogation, brainstorming
possible interpretations, analysing
the critical elements of the
proposition and appreciating how
our personal worldview may distort
the interpretation of the proposition
and/or the research and design
processes. This category of
questioning is used to clarify the
primary question and provide the
learner with a scaffold that we can
use to structure their emerging
understanding.
• Tertiary layer questions: These are the questions that assist the learner in
researching the prompt/question via the chosen scaffold, such as Modified
Bloom categories of remembering, understanding, analysing and evaluating. These
questions involve the learner locating information, resources, knowledge,
experiences and points of view, and how the resulting understanding can be best
communicated to the identified audience. It also involves the learner being critical
of the information they come in contact with whilst developing their concept
framework of understanding.
• Quaternary layer questions: These
are questions that involve distilling and
synthesising the research/design
processes and looking for innovative and
creative applications of those processes via
the chosen scaffold, such as the Modified
Bloom categories of application, analysis,
evaluation and creativity.


74
While some may see the suggestion that Mr Boom may have been somewhat vague in his specifications around cognitive
dispositions verging on academic heresy, I am not alone in the suggestion for the need to revise this nomenclature and
structure. "In summary, the hierarchical structure of Bloom’s taxonomy simply did not hold together well from logical or
empirical perspectives." Robert Marzano & John Kendall (The New Taxonomy of Educational Objectives). While we use the
taxonomy provided by Bloom, we do so in deference to the fact that most educators know and use this taxonomy, rather than
due to its clarity and accuracy as a tool to explain the development of the complexity of thinking processes. Quite often a
"knowledge" question will require comprehension, application and analysis and quite probably synthesis and evaluation, and
hence categorising questions within these levels is somewhat simplistic in nature but quite practical considering the
circumstances and the influences of history on our understanding of educational practices.
“There is a secondary layer of
‘Inquiry Questions’ that are the
central core to learning. These are
the information seeking questions
a learner asks to obtain specific
information that will be utilised to
develop knowledge, deepen
understanding, solve problems and
create their solutions to the primary
questions or learning tasks.”


Trevor Bond



-(
These four layers of questioning involve the learner working with their team
to develop new applications of their existing and new knowledge, ideas and
concepts. The new knowledge, ideas and concepts can then be recombined
in unique combinations with what was previously known and that may result
in unique, innovative and creative solutions. The solutions that are developed
may meet ‘needs’ the learner or the group are investigating or they may
address or open up new opportunities.
Fertile/Open questions: Yoram Harpaz
75
and Adam Lefstein developed the idea of
fertile questions in order to encourage learners to investigate the knowledge, ideas and
concepts beyond just the facts, in order to find out what people understand and think
about topics where there is not necessarily a right or wrong or just one answer. Fertile
questions have six characteristics:
76

1. An open question. A question that in principle has no one definitive answer;
rather, it has several different and competing possible answers.
2. An undermining question. A question that undermines the learner’s basic
assumptions, casts doubt on the self-evident or commonsensical, uncovers basic
conflicts lacking a simple solution, and requires the critical consideration of
origins.
3. A rich question. A question that necessitates grappling with rich content that is
indispensable to understanding humanity and the world around us. Learners
cannot answer this question without careful and lengthy research; such research
tends to break the question into sub-questions.
4. A connected question. A question relevant to the learners, the society in which
they live, and the discipline and field they are studying.
5. A charged question. A question with an ethical dimension. Such questions are
charged with emotional, social and political implications that potentially motivate
deeper inquiry and learning.
6. A practical question. A question that can be researched in the context of the
learners, facilitators, and the school facilities, and from which research questions
may be derived.

Some examples of fertile questions include:
• Is democracy the best form of government?
• What is the cost/benefit relationship for the Large Hadron
Collider?
• Does competition bring out the best in people?
• If being cold is not painful why do we not like it?
• What drivers mould our character?
• What would our world be like if we were not curious?
• Should anyone be able to patent the human genome?
• Is there a logical argument for faith?

75
Harpaz, Y.; “Teaching and Learning in a Community of Thinking”; ASCD; Journal of Curriculum and Supervision; Winter
2005
76
Quoted from Learn2Inquire: a cluster of schools in Blockhouse Bay, Auckland, New Zealand, working together on a
Ministry of Education EHSAS (Extending High Standards Across Schools) contract. Learn2Inquire's project spans 2007–
2011. http://learn2inquire.wikispaces.com/Fertile+questions+and+Rich+tasks Accessed September 2013



-)
Socratic questioning challenges the accuracy and completeness of our and others’
thinking by interrogating the questioning process itself. Socratic questioning assists
learning by providing learners with the capability to use a range of questioning techniques
in order to develop deeper understanding of knowledge, ideas and concepts. To get the
best results, Socratic questioning needs to be accompanied by the application of critical-
thinking skills. Socratic questioning seeks to improve the clarity and accuracy of
understanding, as well as making sure that the learner has a precise understanding of
the issues and that this understanding is relevant to the Learning Process. Socratic
questioning also seeks to ensure that there is sufficient depth and breadth of
understanding and that this understanding is underpinned by a strong sense of logic and
reasoning.
This approach also requires that the questioning strategy has ensured that the learner is
focused on the central, most significant ideas and concepts within the Learning Process.

Questions about
viewpoints or perspective
Questions that probe
implications and
consequence
Questions about the
questions
What would someone who
disagrees say?
What is an alternative?
How are Mary and John's
ideas alike? … or different?
What are you implying by
that?
When you say ____ are you
implying ____?
But if that happened, what
else would also happen as a
result? Why?
Is this the same issue as?
Does this question ask us to
evaluate something?
Is this question easy or hard to
answer? Why?
Questions of clarification
Questions that probe
assumptions
Questions that probe reason
and evidence
What do you mean by ____?
What is your main point?
How does ____ relate to
______?
Could you put that another
way?
What do you think is the
main issue here?
Is your basic point ______ or
_____?
How does this relate to our
discussion/problem/issue?
What do you think John
meant by his remark? What
did you take John to mean?
Jane, summarise in your own
words what Richard has said.
Richard, is that what you
meant?
Could you give an example?
Would this be an example:
______?
Could you explain that aspect
in more detail?
What are you assuming?
What is _____ assuming?
What could we assume
instead?
You seem to be assuming
_____. Do I understand you
correctly?
You seem to be assuming
_____. How do you justify
this as your position?
All of your reasoning is
dependent on the fact that
_____.
Why have you based your
reasoning on ____ rather
than ____?
What would be an example?
Why do you say that?
Why do you think that is right?
What led you in that belief?
How does that apply to this
case?
What would convince you
otherwise?
How could we go about finding
out if that is true?
By what reasoning did you come
to that conclusion?
Who is in a position to know if
that is the case?
Are those reasons adequate?
Could you explain your reasons to
us?
But is that good evidence to
believe that?



-*

Bloom’s taxonomy is expressed on
page 103 and this provides us with a
language framework that we can use to
ask particular questions that are
relevant to specific aspects of the
Learning Process. Using this rubric,
learners are able to apply questions that
assist in building knowledge,
understanding, analysis and evaluation,
as well as creatively being innovative and
ingenious.
The rubric also provides scaffolding to
ensure educators and learners are
more specific in how they ask questions
of each other and themselves. Anderson
and Krathwohl also suggested some key
verbs associated with each of the
cognitive process dimensions to assist
educators in writing questions, which
are more specific in encouraging the
type of learning that is desired. When
creating questions, the noun will direct
the learner to the type of knowledge
being created and the verb will direct the
cognitive process they will apply to that
type of knowledge.
The schema to the right provides
a concept framework for
developing a set of dispositions.
Initially, a body of knowledge, ideas
and understanding must be
established, followed by a set of
techniques that establish the
application of the knowledge, ideas
and understanding.
Finally, by applying the knowledge,
ideas and understanding as well as
the techniques to a range of
contexts, the learner will develop a
set of thinking and questioning
dispositions.

Thinking and questioning
U
n
d
e
r
s
t
a
n
d
i
n
g

(
c
o
g
n
i
t
i
v
e
)

Effective T&Q processes require:
1. Us to think about our own thinking
and who we are.
2. Clever questions, to improve our
own thinking.
3. Prompts that initiate curiosity, which
in turn drives the Learning Process.
4. Clever thinking that re-uses
knowledge, ideas and concepts in
order to be creative.
5. The synthesis and distillation of
ideas and concepts that refines our
understanding.
T
e
c
h
n
i
q
u
e
s

(
p
r
a
c
t
i
c
a
l
)

Effective T&Q techniques require:
1. Knowledge, ideas and concepts that
can be combined to form new
concepts.
2. Complex thinking processes that
require rich metacognitive language.
2. Good thinking processes based on
clever questioning techniques.
3. Different types of thinking for
different types of problems.
4. Knowledge of the Learning Process
that underpins the discovery of
creative solutions.
5. The reflection (R-R-I) process to build
critical evaluation.
D
i
s
p
o
s
i
t
i
o
n
s

(
p
e
r
s
o
n
a
l
)

Effective T&Q dispositions require:
1. Interrogating our understanding to
create new concept frameworks.
2. Knowledge, ideas and concepts
being recombined in creative ways.
3. Applying a series of clever questions
to develop lateral solutions to
questions and problems.
4. Being critical of what we sense and
how we interpret all communication.
5. Applying ideas, concepts and virtues
to different contexts wisely.
6. Using questions to creatively remix,
knowledge, ideas and concepts,
seeking innovative and ingenious
combinations.



-+





We all experience a wide range of different events and
emotions throughout our lives and as a result we each have
a different view of how we see the world. This worldview is
unique to each of us. Our worldview conditions us to enjoy
different foods, films, events, people, colours, etc. Our
worldview has been moulded by what we have experienced
and also by what we may not have experienced.
Collaboration brings together a collection of different
worldviews all contributing to a common task. The
advantage and the disadvantage of this is that the group
gets exposed to a wider range of opinions, viewpoints,
ideas, concepts and concept frameworks as well different
areas of knowledge and experiential expertise. The
disadvantages are exactly the same as the advantages.
Each of our personalities contributes to the group a range of knowledge, ideas, concepts,
emotions and motivations. This interplay may not necessarily always be a congenial one,
but if we are willing to listen and learn from each other, the potential of a group of
learners to find solutions to complex problems almost always outweighs the potential of
an individual. The underlying condition is that we need to be willing to learn from each
other, regardless of the emotions we may feel towards the people who make up the
group. Collaboration is based on cooperation and hence the needs of the group outweigh
those of any individual. The opposing disposition to collaboration is assertiveness, where
the focus is on gaining one's own advantage. The purpose of the group needs to be
constantly refocused on the needs of the group as opposed to the aspirations of
individual members of the team.
It should also be noted that
collaboration is not the
answer to every single
problem that a learner is
faced with. The more
complex the problem and
the more ideas and
concepts underpinning the
problem, then the more
likely that collaboration
with others will yield more
beneficial results. Working
on one's own on a problem
can often be a more
efficient and effective
solution when solving less-
complex problems, but
these are guidelines rather
than directives.
Competency 3:
Collaboration




-,
The nuance required for deciding whether a team or individual effort is the better
solution may seem quite subtle for young learners, but once they are exposed to the
notion of big or little problems/questions they seem to be to apply the right approach
quite ably.
Our worldview is something that is constantly developing and changing as we are
exposed to new experiences, opinions, ideas, knowledge and concepts. Just because our
worldview is changing does not necessarily mean it is becoming a more accurate sense
of reality, but it is definitely changing. Reality is a very subjective notion and we build and
iterate our own reality, our worldview.
The aim of collaboration is to develop a common shared
understanding. This does not necessarily mean everyone in
the group will think in the same way, but we can agree to
differ and take the collective understandings of the group of
individuals and connect them into a more comprehensive
and shared understanding. In order for us to learn efficiently
and effectively, it is important to reflect on and understand
our own worldview and also get a measure of and
understand the worldview of each of the members of the
group that we are working with.
77

Critical to the collaborative process is the explicit expression of shared values and goals
that the group is expected to reflect. The shared values describe how we treat each
other and how we expect to be treated by others. Respect for each member of the group
is a critical aspect of collaboration. Those that do not feel respected and therefore valued
will soon stop contributing. Establishing a set of shared values in our early years and
slowly developing those into a culture of empathy provides an effective foundation for
valuing a culture of respect.
Collaboratively setting high standards
for research, review and reporting is
a specific developmental sequence
that will be worked on over the course
of many years. It is important for
everyone in the group to ask each
other and self, clever questions in
order to drive the learning of the
team deeper. Asking clever questions
should not be perceived as a negative
disposition and so it is important that
the tone they are asked in should be
collaborative and not one that asserts
the status of the individual.



77
Reeves, D.B.; “Transforming Professional Development Into Student Results”; ASCD; 2010;
http://www.amazon.com/Transforming-Professional-Development-Student-
Results/dp/1416609490/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384114734&sr=8-
1&keywords=Transforming+Professional+Development+Into+Student+Results+by+Douglas+B.+Reeves Accessed July 2011
“Collaboration, it
turns out, is not a
gift from the gods
but a skill that
requires effort and
practice.” Douglas
B. Reeve



--
Establishing competency within the area of collaboration enables us to more
successfully interact with people in the wide range of social situations we engage in
throughout our lives.
It is important that we appreciate the wide range of personalities each
member of our group projects and how their confidence affects their
influence within the group. In the dynamics of collaborative processes, it may
be necessary to encourage some members to contribute their thoughts
with greater confidence while at the same time encouraging other members
of the team to take time to listen to other points of view. In collaborative
processes it is important to both value the content of what is being said and
also be aware of the relational dispositions of each member of the team
when presenting our opinions, knowledge, ideas and concepts. Both these
aspects of communication are important, but they can be valued quite
differently in different contexts.
Another key to successful collaboration is ensuring that each person’s knowledge,
understanding, opinions and creative ideas are expressed openly and freely. These can be
recorded either by taking notes or making video/audio files. By synthesising and
distilling the diversity of knowledge and opinion the group can then look for connections
between the elements to form possible solutions. These connections may not necessarily
be obvious at first glance but may come from discussion and debate.
Conflict surrounding both the content under discussion and also between personalities
can be healthy and generate possibilities that might otherwise never have surfaced.
Accepting conflict as part of the Learning Process allows members of the team to react
less emotively and to take viewpoints less personally. Conflict resolution is yet another
important aspect of collaboration. Resolving conflict requires mediation and the role of
mediators in teams should be encouraged.
Learners of all ages need to develop effective strategies that allow them to see through
the emotion being portrayed by others in order to give full consideration to the ideas that
underpin what is being presented. Concurrent with this is each team member being able
to reflect on how what they are saying is being interpreted and to avoid absolutes such as
“you always” and “you never”, replacing these with “Sometimes I feel ….“
Communication within group structures is as much about ‘how statements are said’ as
‘what is actually said’. How we speak can either encourage or make people feel
inadequate, and this can be done without realising the effect it has on others. Difficult
conversations need to be had so others become more aware of how they speak and have
the opportunity to modify how they communicate. Avoiding difficult conversations
eventually leads to bitterness and decaying levels of trust.
Leadership within collaborative groups may be assigned to one person but generally
leadership is a shared process within the group. Each group member will have their own
leadership style and that comes with advantages and disadvantages. Goodwill and getting
the balance right between critique and accommodation of other people's leadership
styles, opinions and perspectives, as well as their knowledge and understanding, are also
important aspects of collaboration.




%""
Collaborative teams require a range of leadership competencies that contribute to
the development of a collective perspective. Some members of the group may be good
negotiators, while someone else may have skills in the area of paraphrasing what has
been said. Paraphrasing assists everyone in the group to better see connections
between existing knowledge, ideas and concepts and emerging new knowledge, ideas and
concepts. This process may also help what has been said or presented to have greater
clarity and be better understood by the group as a whole. Shared leadership is about
harnessing the attributes and competencies of all those in the group.
Effective collaboration requires each member of a group realising that what they are
communicating is being perceived from multiple perspectives due to each member of the
group processing what is being experienced via their own unique worldview. When this is
understood, each of these perspectives can then be negotiated into a collective
perspective. Therefore, clarification of what we think is being understood is very
important and this is achieved through reflecting back what is understood by each of the
team members.
78
The video below is a great example of effective collaboration.
Systems’ thinking is another cognitive approach that can help in removing some of the
negative emotion in the group by considering the issue from a third person, non-personal
perspective. Systems thinking also encourages people to view the larger context that the
problem may sit within. Understanding the implications of the decisions that are being
made on other systems or processes is also part of the systems thinking approach to
creating solutions.
Collaboration can both be a planned activity and a spontaneous one. It is important for
learners to appreciate the advantages of both approaches and how both contribute in
different ways to the development of solutions.
Connecting and reflecting is a competency that is aligned very closely with collaboration.
It is necessary to keep the focus of our perspective changing from the minor-elements
that contribute to a solution and how that solution may sit within the larger setting. This
regular shifting of perspective ensures that the minor elements fit within the bigger
picture and that there is an understanding of all the necessary connections that are
required for a solution to be successful.

78
Lotto, B. & O’Toole, A.; “TED Talks”; October 2012;
http://www.ted.com/talks/beau_lotto_amy_o_toole_science_is_for_everyone_kids_included.html Accessed February 2013



%"%
The competency of collaboration is made up
of key concepts that need to be explicitly
learned in order that each team member is
able to contribute towards the discovery of a
solution to the problem that are addressing.
The team requires knowledge and practical
skills, cognitive skills, a cognisance of shared
principles and character traits, as well as
positive underlying motivation and emotions
from each team member.





But above all, learning must be
based on trust and we must
nurture the desire for
uncertainty; to embrace change
and see both as an opportunity to
apply our imagination. These are
the dispositions that power
creativity. Yes, governments can
force learners to meet standards
and bind them up with rules and
academic hurdles, or you can let
them get involved in purposeful
learning, initiated by prompts,
and allow learners to drive their
own learning and have agency
over that learning. Building
lifelong learning in this way is
powerful and demands far
greater rigour in what learners
do, how they do it and in what
they achieve.
Collaborating
U
n
d
e
r
s
t
a
n
d
i
n
g

(
c
o
g
n
i
t
i
v
e
)

Effective collaborative processes
require:
1. Discussion, debate and reflection that
builds understanding.
2. Sharing ideas, which require trust and
flexibility in our thoughts.
3. Listening as an active process that
involves constant review.
4. Effective relationships that are based on
honest communication.
5. Effective listening and reviewing of
others’ thoughts.
6. Appreciating everyone can contribute to
the overall Learning Process.
T
e
c
h
n
i
q
u
e
s

(
p
r
a
c
t
i
c
a
l
)

Effective collaborative techniques
require:
1. Debate that can stimulate a review of
opinions, ideas and concepts.
2. Discipline, flexibility and creativity within
the team.
3. Relationships where trust, resilience,
respect and patience are shown.
4. The use of words please, sorry and
thank-you to overcome personal friction.
5. Roles in groups to be defined and have
appropriate success criteria applied.
6. Leadership roles to be shared and
constructive feedback provided and
received.
D
i
s
p
o
s
i
t
i
o
n
s

(
p
e
r
s
o
n
a
l
)

Collaborative dispositions require:
1. Actions that give life to new ideas and
concepts.
2. Mutually supportive learning
relationships, which require empathy.
3. Initiative, thoughtfulness and humility to
resolve differences of opinion.
4. Each member of the team to have the
capacity to be a lifelong learner.
5. An appreciation that “the whole exceeds
the sum of the parts” – Aristotle



%"&


The language of learning encompasses all
language domains, including visual, oral, text
and multimedia. The language of learning
includes the capacity to produce as well as
interpret within each domain. Increasingly,
learners will create rich multimedia artefacts
to represent their learning. The ability to
create artefacts that represent their
understanding requires a language of
learning across the four language domains.
As for all the competencies, this capacity
needs to be taught and demonstrated
explicitly.
The Emergent Literacies
As well as incorporating these four domains, literacy is increasingly becoming more
complex as we expose learners to a wider range of media genre and cultures. The result
is that when we talk about literacy we are no longer referring to simply basic literacy that
underpins oral, written, visual and multimedia domains but also specific literacy domains.


The range of distinct literacies now required is considerable. Basic literacy is well
recognised and scientific literacy is now accepted, but there are new emerging literacies.
• Critical literacy: The ability to identify key aspects of information validity such as
accuracy, objectivity, authority, currency and coverage.
• Basic literacy: Language proficiencies within the historical notion of text-based
literacy.
• Information literacy:
79
The ability to search for and access appropriate information
across a range of genres, formats and information systems. The ability to sift, scan
and sort information.


79
Queensland University of Technology; Free online Information literacy course; http://pilot.library.qut.edu.au/Accessed
November 2007

Produce Interpret
Visual Create Decode
Oral Speak Listen
Text Write Read
Multimedia Form Synthesise
“To be prepared for a future characterized by change, students must
learn to think rationally and creatively, solve problems, manage and
retrieve information, and communicate effectively.”
American Association of School Librarians, 2000

Competency 4:
The Language
of Learning

Video Link



%"'
• Technological literacy: The innate ability to discover how a new or modified
technology operates, recognising its limitations and benefits. The ability to choose
the most appropriate tool to access, process and present; new knowledge,
understanding and its creative expression.
• Media literacy: The ability to synthesise a wide range of
viewpoints/interpretations from a variety of media, and synthesise and distil these
to build a concise model of understanding of those ideas.
• Cultural literacy and global awareness: The ability to manage information and
communication systems within a ‘global village’. Creating an awareness of global
connectivity and interconnected systems.
• Scientific literacy: Having and being able to apply a scientific literacy.
• Cognitive literacy: The capacity to build cognitive models/frameworks of
understanding via self-reflection and questioning of one’s own knowledge,
understanding and creativity.
This is not the forum for a thorough dissertation on literacy, other than to call
educators’ attention to the heightened importance of literacy across the new domains,
media formats, genres and cultures. Each learning area has its own nuanced application
of language.
In order to increase the agency of the learner over their learning, it is imperative that
learners are constantly developing an increasingly sophisticated vocabulary surrounding
their learning. This developing learning literacy provides the learner with the ability to
reflect more precisely on their own and their peers’ learning. Reflection may take the
form of either comments or, preferably, asking questions of their own work or that of
their peers. It is important that the learner is increasingly able to describe their own
learning progress and understand how to apply appropriate sequencing of common
taxonomies of learning to the learning they are reflecting on. Each of the competencies
requires a specialised and nuanced vocabulary, depending on the context they are
applying the competency to.
The notion of a language of learning can be expressed using a variety of ‘taxonomies of
learning’. In the case of the SOLO
80
taxonomy, learners would require a vocabulary and
questioning capability that defines what surface, deep or profound learning might look
like, depending on the type of questioning being applied. In the table below, different
question types are expressed across different developmental levels. Using the SOLO
taxonomy, questions can be developed that represent surface, deep and profound levels
for each of the competencies.
The tables that follow provide a framework for how the SOLO taxonomy could be applied
to ask questions of different types including reflective, metacognitive, predictive and
future focussed questions. Each of these types of questioning is then developed to form a
surface, deep and profound question across three different levels of sophistication.


80
The Structured Overview of Learning Outcomes (SOLO) Taxonomy developed in 1982 by John Biggs and Kevin Collis.



%"(




Question depth
Question type
Surface Deep Profound
Level 1
Reflective
questions
Refining
What was the most
difficult aspect of the
Learning Process for you
this time?
What was one
refinement of the
Learning Process you
applied this time?
What was a key thinking
strategy that you used on
this project that you think
you will develop further?
Level 2
Reflective
questions
Challenging
What was the most
difficult part of the
Learning Process for you
in this research project?
What was the most
interesting aspect of the
Learning Process you
experienced this time?
Which aspect of the
Learning Process was
most intriguing and you
now want to now know
more about?
Level 3
Reflective
questions
Collaborating
What was your main
contribution to the
collaboration within your
team?
What was one strategy
you employed to more
fully engage one of your
team members?
What aspect(s) of your
character did you employ
to encourage the
members of your team?
Level 1
Metacognitive
questions
Engagement
Which of your
contributions to the
Learning Process did you
enjoy most? Why did you
enjoy that particular
aspect?
What was especially
satisfying for you about
either the Learning
Process or the finished
result?
What emotions did you
feel that drove you to be
curious and want to find a
solution?
Level 2
Metacognitive
questions
Roles
What was your major
role in your team?
How did the way you
worked in the team differ
from how others worked?
Have your roles been
consistent in each
research project? Why
do you think that was?
Level 3
Metacognitive
questions
Emotions
Turn your Learning
Process experience into
a story outlining five
different emotions you
felt throughout the
process.
Which part of the
Learning Process do you
think was the most
thoroughly worked on?

What role do you think
emotion played in you
being engaged in the
Learning Process? Give
examples of how your
emotions affected the
team’s performance,
both in a positive and a
negative way.



%")


Question
depth
Question type
Surface Deep Profound
Level 1
Predictive
questions
Strategic
planning
What are three
improvements you could
make in your planning in
your research process?
How critical is the
planning in your research
process? What are the
critical areas of planning
that decide the success
or otherwise of your
research project?
Can you identify three key
processes your team will
have to apply in the
research process? Can
you map your expected
progress by identifying the
critical success factors in
each process?
Level 2
Predictive
questions
Predictions
What was your best
prediction at the
beginning of the process
before you did any
research? Where did that
prediction come from?
How influential were the
predictions that your
team made during the
Learning Process? What
other factors could
improve your predictions
and save you valuable
time?
What personal
interactions within the
team affected the
predictions you made?
How do you think you can
influence those
relationships to achieve a
better outcome?
Level 3
Predictive
questions
Ingenuity
What was one ingenious
change you made that you
would make next time?
Were the same people in
your team that were
responsible for the
innovative idea also
responsible for the
ingenuity aspect? Why do
you think this was or was
not?
Does your ingenious
outcome have potential
beyond your present
environment? What
issues are stopping you
from applying your
innovation on a greater
scale?

Level 1
Future
focused
questions
Application
In what way could the new
knowledge you have
learned be applied to
other contexts?
What was the most
important concept that
you learned through this
process? What was one
implication of your new
understanding?
Diagram the concept
framework that you
developed in order to
show the relationships
between the different
concepts within the
framework.
Level 2
Future
focused
questions
Innovation
What was one innovation
you used in the Learning
Process this time? What
were the benefits of that
innovation?
What was the best “aha!”
moment in this research
project? What ideas
contributed to that “aha!’”
moment?
What strategies are you
now applying to increase
the team’s chances of
being able to come up
with innovative ideas and
concepts?
Level 3 -
Future
focused
questions
Creativity
What was one example of
when you took a
considerable risk that
may or may not have
worked well for you in this
research project? Would
you take a similar risk
again? Why/why not?
Reflecting on the creative
aspects of the Learning
Process, what specific
strategies did you apply to
maximise your creative
potential?
How did you achieve that
state of non-
consciousness in order to
allow that creativity to be
possible? How might you
refine that for next time?



%"*
The same approach can be applied to other taxonomies, such as Bloom's. However, it is important
that the domains are not seen as hierarchical or that they embody a linear developmental process,
but rather they are an ever-repeating improvement cycle. As we build new knowledge via the Learning
Process, all learners are able to analyse, synthesise, distil and create in ever-widening circles as our
language of learning increases in depth.
Thinking and the expression of our learning require the development of a vocabulary
within particular domains such as recall (knowledge), understanding (ideas and
concepts), applying, analysing, reflecting, synthesising, evaluating and creating. The table
above includes some of the vocabulary that may be applied using the Modified Bloom’s
categories. It is important that Bloom’s work is not seen as a definitive collection of
Learning Processes.
81



81
Clark, L.; “Thinking about Thinking”; http://www.laneclark.ca/thinking-about-thinking/ Accessed August 2013
Remember Understand Apply Analyse Evaluate Create
identify, recall,
retrieve,
name, relate,
recount,
share, tell,
communicate,
convey,
report, find,
locate,
uncover,
narrate,
describe,
recognise, list,
describe,
explain,
portray,
depict,
illustrate,
express.

interpret,
classify,
paraphrase,
interpret,
evaluate,
guess, judge,
balance,
envisage,
infer, forecast,
deduce,
contrast,
predict,
compare,
exemplify,
summarise,
restate,
explain,
reiterate,
debate,
describe,
distinguish, ,
clarify, confer,
discuss,
enlighten,
discriminate,
argue,
differentiate.
implement,
carry out,
solve, inspect,
study,
organise,
build, unravel,
explain, show,
make, order,
illustrate, sort,
scan,
conclude,
answer, use,
construct,
execute,
recite, create,
monitor,
classify, group,
finish,
examine,
survey,
arrange,
exemplify,
demonstrate,
complete.
attribute,
deconstruct,
sort, connect,
balance
analyse,
categorise,
label, explore,
characterise,
join, promote,
identify,
compare,
scrutinise, tag,
isolate, detect,
discern,
organise,
advertise,
group,
consider,
investigate,
equate,
distinguish,
compare,
evaluate,
weigh up,
contrast,
examine,
distinguish,
study,
ascertain,
associate,
separate,
relate,
market,
classify,
perceive.
critique, judge,
create,
produce,
construct,
contrive, write,
design,
fashion, draft,
enrich,
develop,
propose,
compile, form,
hypothesise,
offer, concoct,
devise, check,
conceive,
envision,
develop,
establish,
build, expand,
perfect,
invent,
compose,
advise,
assemble,
enhance,
brainstorm,
improve,
generate,
originate,
visualise, mind
map, imagine,
table,
recommend,
plan.
generate,
produce,
judge,
pronounce,
grade, reason,
appraise,
discuss, rate,
conclude,
review, prove,
maintain,
construct,
plan, design,
measure,
determine,
attest, decide,
advocate, talk,
authenticate,
argue, verify,
justify, rank,
mediate,
establish,
substantiate,
choose,
evaluate,
confer,
defend, select,
decide, settle,
assess,
recommend,
prioritise,
indicate, elect,
resolve,
confirm,
arbitrate,
corroborate,
counsel, vote,
urge, validate,
resolve.



%"+
Literacy is more that just having a vocabulary; it is also about being able to apply that
vocabulary to question, analyse, evaluate or interrogate the learner’s own learning or that
of their peers. Coupled with this is applying that language to effectively reflect (R-R-I) on
their Learning Process as well as their understanding. The competencies are interwoven
in that regard. The Learning Process requires an increasing literacy as the learning
demands become more complex over time.
The New Zealand Ministry of Education literacy progressions,
82
produced and online for all
to access and apply, are a great example of learner progressions that can be utilised by
learners if they are articulated succinctly and an appropriate cognitive sequencing
approach is taken into account. This resource is also available as a PDF download. These
progressions are an essential part of learning and developing a language of learning for
both educators and learners as they allow all stakeholders to describe the learning
progress of each learner.
If we partner with learners in their
learning and provide them with
genuine agency over their learning,
they will drive that learning ever
deeper. Providing the learner with
the same literacy that all educators
require, we empower them to
manage their own learning with
increasing efficacy. The greater the
agency the learner has, the greater
the investment that they can make in
their own personal development of
their understanding.
As soon as learners start to develop literacy around their learning, they are able to start
reflecting on their learning and gradually increase the agency they have over the learning
that they are involved in. Learners can start reflecting on their work and looking for ‘next
steps’ in their learning almost as soon as they arrive in the schooling system.
Having a literacy that underpins the Learning Process allows the learner to express their
learning and what it looks like as well as how they are progressing with it. This provides
the learner increasing independence and an ability to manage their self-directed learning.
It is critical that the learner understands the Learning Process at a level that is
appropriate to their development.


82
The New Zealand Ministry of Education; “The Literacy Learning Progressions”; 2011;
http://www.literacyprogressions.tki.org.nz Accessed August 2013



%",


An example of the
language of learning that
can be achieved when
programmes of learning
are put in place to
develop the
competencies to the
level that is required are
displayed by these two
young men.
83





Once the learner begins to take ownership of their learning, they are able to
start assessing their own learning formatively. In other words, the
assessment that they carry out directs the subsequent learning that is
required. This is where the learning progressions become so important.
If the learning intentions for each of the progressions are written in a format that the
learner can understand, then the learner can benchmark themselves and independently
work towards the next level in the learning progressions process. Making these learning
progressions available to the learner online and ensuring that they can upload evidence in
a range of different media to show that they have reached each level of capability
provides them with a formative assessment process that they can have agency over. We
now require software to allow learners to manage their progress in this manner.
A number of software developers are working in this space at present. This software will
be crucial to the self-management processes that the learner is engaged in. Increasingly,
video of the learner’s capacity will become the dominant media format for reporting
against the learning progressions. The reason for this is quite simple.


83
Jamie & Tobias; “Stonefields 2”; Stonefields School, Auckland, New Zealand;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGbGiMeLk_M Accessed July 2013

“The Learning Progressions are neither an assessment tool nor a
teaching programme; rather, they provide a reference point. … The
intention is that students will develop their literacy expertise (the
knowledge, skills, and attitudes described in the progressions)
purposefully, in meaningful contexts.” Te Kete Ipurangi (New
Zealand Ministry of Education)



%"-
Video is an extremely rich media format that demonstrates far more nuance and
subtlety than written responses can possibly convey. It also means that the written form
does not limit those learners who struggle with representing their learning using the
written form. There will be much debate around this notion as the written form of
reporting has been in place for centuries and some stakeholders will find it difficult to
accept the video format as an authentic vehicle for displaying understanding.
What this software will need to allow is continuous reporting by the learners on their own
learning progress. If the educator and the parents/caregivers are able to ask and create
video, audio, image or text questions and commentaries about the learner’s progress,
they can prompt the learner to look at additional strategies to develop their learning to
the next level. This provides a sophisticated feedback/feed-forward mechanism that
encourages the development of the learning and driving that learning deeper.

Using this software platform the
learner should be able to make
commentary on other learners’ work,
providing rich feedback and feed-
forward comments and questions.
This is an important capability as it
allows the learner to interrogate and
question others’ learning.

By interrogating each other’s learning, this reinforces each of the learners’ knowledge
and understanding of both the Learning Process and also the development of the
knowledge, ideas and concepts that other learners are working towards. Peer
assessment is a very powerful tool, but to be useful the learner has to have a functional
literacy in order to interrogate their own and their peers’ learning.




%%"



The rules of Monopoly are necessary but they do not provide the understanding that
will allow me to win the game. The strategy for Monopoly allows a player to win, but only
the ability to win Monopoly. The concept underpinning Monopoly is to invest early by
paying money to acquire property in the hope/knowledge that someone will land on that
property and pay me more rental money than I spent on buying the property.
In a time where knowledge is expanding exponentially, building an
understanding of concepts has three significant advantages:
1. Building an understanding of concepts allows us to predict possible futures.
2. Concepts allow us to apply the same concept to other contexts.
3. Concepts can be applied creatively to be innovative and ingenious.
In education we have been focusing on the rules of learning
rather than understanding underlying strategies. We have also
been focusing on the content underpinning themes rather than
the building of conceptual foundations within each discipline.
We have been using a top-down model rather than a
collaborative model of learning, and learners had little agency
over their learning. All these factors must change in order to
migrate to the new learning paradigm. It is these simple
understandings that sit at the core of the new paradigm
surrounding learning.
84

Managing self is a critical competency that allows us all to develop agency over our lives.
Being able to manage self, builds capacity as well as efficiency and effectiveness in
learning. Educators play a key role, as intermediaries between parents and their
children’s desire to manage their own world. John Hattie and Gregory Yates in their book
‘Visible Learning and the Science of How we Learn’
85
devote an entire chapter to the
significant role educators play in the learner developing the capability for self
management

84
Hipkins, R., “The Nature of the Key Competencies”; NZCER; 2006;
http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.115.8558&rep=rep1&type=pdf Accessed June 2012
85
Hattie, J. & Yates, G.; “Visible Learning and the Science of How we Learn”; Routledge; 2014;
http://www.amazon.com/Visible-Learning-Science-How-Learn/dp/0415704995 Accessed November 2013
“When a child has an unsupportive home environment, the school context
becomes a major source of social and cultural learning. It is within this
scenario that teacher–student relationships exert a strong role in personal
development. Individual teachers, without realising it, can serve as effective
role models for students who experience less than adequate adult models
within their wider social and family life.” John Hattie & Gregory Yates
Competency 5:
Managing Self




%%%
Managing self underpins the successful acquisition in becoming ‘lifelong learners’,
and as such the competency of managing self needs to be explicitly taught in a
developmental and cognitively appropriate manner. The competency of managing self is
about developing a reflective, metacognitive approach to how we better govern our
thinking, emotions, gifts, talents, future, resources and our virtual world. This allows us to
constantly take stock of how we are reacting to events and how we view our world. This
awareness means we can modify how we react to circumstances as they arise. Our
worldview is in constant flux, modified by our interpretation of what we sense and how we
process what we sense through our own worldview.
Interestingly, this is a competency that educators are
constantly reminding learners to develop capability
around. But once again, the historical approach to
teaching this capability has tended to be to criticise
learners for the lack of this ability without explicitly
teaching how the required capacity may be attained.
We now realise the necessity of teaching this
capability explicitly, by building a knowledge base
around the competency and then encouraging
learners to practice the competency within a wide
range of contexts.
Managing self can be expressed through the demonstration of persistence
through to the capacity to show initiative, so it is important that we identify the
core concepts that underpin managing self and build learner capacity within
those concepts. If we have a conceptual understanding of each of the concepts
that aggregate to create the concept framework for ‘managing self’ then we
can predict how those concepts will play out in contexts that we have never
experienced previously. In a world where new knowledge and concepts are
being created at an exponential rate, building conceptual understanding allows
us to better predict and deal with this extraordinary rate of change.
Managing self
Effective managing-self processes
require:
Effective managing-self techniques
require:
Managing-self dispositions
require:
1. Confidence, agency, active
involvement and wisdom to be a
learner.
2. Taking risks that are rarely
comfortable but always character
building.
3. Knowing there are times for
cooperation and times to work
independently.
4. Realising the Internet is not
benign.
5. Being metacognitive in order to
be self-aware and critical of our
thinking.
6. Applying the reflection (R-R-I)
process to improve thinking and
decision-making processes.
1. Challenging goals that drive
commitment and improvement.
2. Increases in effectiveness and
efficiency via planning and strategy.
3. Active management of our
impulsivity.
4. Effective management of conflict
points by having the difficult
conversations.
5. Applying critical literacy that
drives a more exacting
understanding.
6. Effective management of
resources that fuels efficiency and
effectiveness.
7. An appreciation that principles
and character shape personal
development.
1. Intellectual courage, which
challenges present understanding.
2. Being passionate, which drives
motivation, persistence and change
within.
3. An appreciation of our own
emotional, intellectual and physical
circumstance.
4. Understanding that
resourcefulness is far more powerful
than more resources.
5. Metacognition that interrogates
our thinking and improves our
perception.
6. Reflection on how we act in
different situations, allowing us to
refine behaviours.



%%&
Below is a sample of how a selection of the concepts for managing self (from the table on the
previous page in bold) is mapped over five developmental levels. The five levels displayed in the
tale are cognitive levels and do not refer to the age of the learner but rather to the potential
cognitive development of the learner within each concept. Some sample contexts have also been
included.
A concept framework for managing self is set out below and over the page. This is based on the
necessary processes, techniques and dispositions that are required to be developed.
Concept Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
Managing
self requires
confidence,
agency,
active
involvement
and wisdom
to be a
learner.
We are all
learning about
new things all
the time
Confidence
helps us learn
faster, and not
get too worried
when we find
learning hard
or when we
make mistakes
Having other
people to work
with means
learning is
more fun and
we can help
each other
Lifelong
learning
requires
working with
others and
being actively
involved in
solving
problems
Lifelong
learning is
about creating
new knowledge
and
understanding
Learning
intention
If we are
reasonably
confident then
we will ‘give
things a go’
Believing that
you can do
something
means you
probably will
achieve it
Working with
others
develops
social
awareness,
enabling us to
understand
the worldview
of others
We learn best
when we get
involved and
become active
participants in
the Learning
Process
We don’t know
what we don’t
know, so we
constantly
need to keep
inquiring
about our
world
Contexts
Learning new
games, rules,
places, ideas,
processes
Making new
friends, trying a
new sport,
learning a new
skill (drawing) ,
People like
different foods,
sports, people,
ideas, hobbies

Taking risks
that are
rarely
comfortable,
but always
character
building.
There are risks
everywhere
Managing risk
means
assessing the
risks we face,
then applying
strategies to
offset those
risks
Risk decreases
with increasing
knowledge
skills and
understanding
Risk can be
assessed, and
perceived risk
is often greater
than the real
risks
Wisdom is
required to
judge risk
Learning
intention
Life can be
dangerous
sometimes
Through good
planning we
can manage
risk
By
understanding
risk we can
prepare for
the outcome
of risk
Quite often
perceived risk
and the real
risk are quite
different
It takes
experience
and knowledge
to make wise
decisions
Contexts
Climbing trees,
making new
friends, trying
new foods

Building new
knowledge,
skills and
understanding
in careers,
study, sport,
hobbies, social
events




%%'


Concept Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
Knowing there
are times for
cooperation and
times to work
independently.

We need each
other for lots of
reasons
Sometimes we
work best on
our own and
sometimes
with others
Cooperation
requires that
each member
contributes
The
contribution of
individual
members to a
group is almost
never equal
Our worldview,
is unique and
that requires
cooperation
and
independence
Learning
intention
We enjoy
having lots of
friends and
family to talk
with
There are
times we like
to work on our
own and times
when we need
to work with
other people
Working
together
means that
everyone has
to contribute
Each person
contributes
different
resources,
ideas,
knowledge,
communication
and fun
Balancing
cooperation
and
independence
depends on
personality,
expertise and
feelings
Contexts
Teamwork in
sport, listening
as well as
speaking

School work,
employment,
research,
planning
events,
homework
Realising the
Internet is not
benign.
People can be
good or bad by
accident or on
purpose
Cyber-bullying
is wrong
Being careful
and thoughtful
will reduce
doing bad
things by
accident
Reporting
inappropriate
activity on the
Internet by
anyone is
expected
Any Internet-
enabled device
can be
potentially used
and accessed
by others
Learning
intention
People can be
good or bad
Being unkind
to anyone is
not right
Reflecting on
what we say
and write
before we
publish
Reporting
anything that
is unkind is
important
The Internet
potentially
allows any
device to
access any
other device
Contexts
Teasing,
gossip,
rumours,
uploading
embarrassing
photos

Accessing
music. films, or
software;
engaging in
online chat or
discussions
Active
management of
our impulsivity.
Being impulsive
can be good or
bad
Reflecting on
consequences
before acting
on intuition can
be important
Understanding
how our
behaviours can
affect others
negatively
Strategies to
manage
impulsivity can
help manage
more-extreme
behaviours
Wisdom is
knowing when
to take time to
reflect before
acting
Learning
intention
Doing things
without
thinking can
be fun but
sometimes
they can hurt
others or self
In most
situations we
need to reflect
on our thinking
before doing
something
We need to
realise when
our actions
cause other
people
distress
Everyone
makes
mistakes,
making the
same mistake
often needs to
be dealt with
Wisdom is
knowing when
to apply the
rules and
when to
disregard
them
Contexts
Crossing a
road, bullying,
buying
something
Making
Facebook
comments
Having a peer
life coach,
choosing our
words carefully,




%%(




Learners need to evaluate the Learning Process honestly and critically, not only
based on the output that is being created but also on the thinking and the processes we
are applying to the learning. Evaluation is a three-stage process, beginning by reflecting
on what has transpired and then reviewing our thinking and subsequently iterating that
thinking. This process opens up the opportunity to make iterative changes to either our
thinking or the processes we are applying. The ability to ask appropriate questions of self
provides us with the capacity to comprehensively reflect (R-R-I) on our Learning Process.
Reflecting on our learning can include questions such as:
• Have we clarified the purpose of the investigation?
• Have we carried out sufficient research across a wide enough range of media and
people?
• Have we asked a range of critical, open, Socratic and higher-order thinking
questions of the task that has been identified/set?
• Is the depth and range of information we have collected appropriate to the
expectation and the time limits we are working under?
The review process synthesises and distils the reflection process in order to ascertain
whether we have clarity around the purpose of the investigation. We also need to be
clear as to whether we have applied sufficient rigour to provide efficacy of the outcome. It
is also important that in the review processes we have put in place good processes and
high expectations so that we can be assured of the quality and value of the resultant
research and design processes. Once we have reflected and reviewed the progress so
far, then we can make the necessary changes that we believe may be necessary.
Connecting may seem like an unusual
competency but it is one of the most
critical of the competencies. This capacity
allows the learner to connect disparate
knowledge elements in order to form
ideas, and disparate ideas and knowledge
to form concepts, and disparate
knowledge elements, ideas and concepts
to form concept frameworks. This also
enables the learner to connect
knowledge, ideas, concepts and concept
frameworks in different combinations in
order to come up with completely new
ideas, concepts and concept frameworks
that may be innovative.

Competency 6:
Connecting & Reflecting




%%)
This next stage in the R-R-I process is to iterate the research and/or the design
process. There is no exact recipe for this process. With practice comes experiences that
refine this process and ensure that it becomes increasingly effective. The reflection
(R-R-I) process is not a process that is carried out once, after we have completed the
Learning Process, but rather it is carried out continually throughout the Learning
Process.
While connecting the cognitive building blocks in different combinations requires
creativity, it has been difficult to describe how we apply that creativity to be innovative and
create new ideas, concepts or concept frameworks that may lead to an ingenious
solution.
The question remains however: “How do
learners learn how to connect knowledge
elements, ideas, concepts and concept
frameworks to create innovative and
subsequently ingenious solutions to meet the
needs and opportunities within a community?"
It often helps to make this process visible by
laying out our ideas, concepts and concept
frameworks in intersecting domains. For
example, if we are looking to create a phone
app for sharing great recipes we could
complete this diagram, recording our
knowledge, ideas of what a customer may want
in an app, and the concepts and functionality
that would be desirable. The initial process
involves brainstorming the knowledge, ideas
and concepts. The example that follows
demonstrates this principle.
The growing level of what is known and understood then allows the learners
to be increasingly creative and to come up with new and possibly innovative
applications of the knowledge, ideas, concepts and concept frameworks. By
associating this pool of capability with existing capability, learners can create
completely new possibilities. Connecting and reflecting is the birthplace of
innovation and ingenuity.
Here is an example: We may have been
prompted to come up with an innovative
concept that would allow people to share their
recipes via online social networks. After
brainstorming this for a while our group decide
that it could create an app for this that users
would be able to use on any device. One
advantage of this would be that we could have
our device in the kitchen as we worked on the
recipe and we could make contact with the
author if we were unsure what to do next.

knowledge
ideas
concepts
innovation



%%*
Concepts
Knowledge
Recipes require ingredients
Anybody can create a recipe
Personal information adds
interest
People need to easily find the
recipe they want
Consistency makes recipes
easier to follow
The app needs to be available
free of charge
Ratings tell users how good the
recipe is
Users like to find recipes easily
People like to see what the recipe
will look like
People need to know what the
ingredients are for a recipe
Measurements should be
standardised
People like to know how difficult
the recipe is
People like to know what the
most popular recipes are
Ideas
Recipes should be searchable via a
range of parameters
Recipes can be added by anybody
Personal information can be added to
recipes
The structure of each recipe should be
consistent
Advertisements will allow the app to be
available free of charge
Ratings for recipes will guide users to
the best recipes
The first stage is to for the learners to ask the key questions that will allow them to
initiate the search for knowledge so they can then decide whether this app is worth
developing. Once they have sourced this initial knowledge they can decide if they should
continue on with the Learning Process.
The group can then start interrogating the initial
knowledge to form some early ideas in order to
judge whether the underlying idea is feasible. Once
ideas have been identified, additional knowledge may
be required.










Once ideas have been developed, the
underlying concepts can be identified and
this once again then requires additional
knowledge and possibly new ideas.
The competencies are constantly being
applied throughout the Learning Process.
The Learning Process is anything but
linear, and learners get used to the
cyclical nature of learning as new
knowledge opens up new ideas and the
new ideas demand more knowledge and
potentially open up new concepts. New
concept frameworks can be created from
the evolving complexity of knowledge,
ideas and concepts.
As the problem is investigated and explored, the
learners develop a deeper understanding and
increasing expertise. The level of expertise
desired is dependent on the capability and the
needs of the learners. A capacity that needs to
be developed is being aware of when sufficient
knowledge, ideas, concepts and concert
frameworks are known and understood in order
to get a sufficient answer or solution.



%%+


The competencies have been unpacked below describing the understanding,
techniques and dispositions that learners require in order to become effective and
efficient lifelong learners.
Identity
Thinking and
questioning
The language of learning
U
n
d
e
r
s
t
a
n
d
i
n
g

(
c
o
g
n
i
t
i
v
e
)

Effective identity development
requires:
1. Authenticity that embodies our
uniqueness as a person.
2. Reflecting on our principles that
are derived from attitudes,
qualities and values.
3. Reflecting on our character that
is derived from morality, ethics and
spirituality.
4. Realising that tensions between
‘actual self’ and our ‘aspirational
‘self’ may evolve.
5. Integrity which comes from
being self-aware.
Effective thinking processes
require:
1. Us to think about our own
thinking and who we are.
2. Clever questions to improve the
quality of our thinking.
3. Prompts which initiate curiosity
that in turn drive the Learning
Process.
4. Clever thinking that re-uses
knowledge, ideas and concepts in
order to be creative.
5. The synthesis and distillation of
ideas and concepts that refines
our understanding.
Effective communication processes
require:
1. Appreciating that technology
provides access to communication
and information tools.
2. An understanding that body
language is key to social expression
and analysis.
3. Learners to appreciate that all
communication is socially nuanced.
4. The use of appropriate literacies
that in turn improves clarity.
5. A rich vocabulary that extends our
effectiveness as communicators.
T
e
c
h
n
i
q
u
e
s

(
p
r
a
c
t
i
c
a
l
)

Effective identify application
requires:
1. Knowing our beliefs shape our
purpose.
2. Building virtues that are the
practical outworking of our
principles and character.
3. Applying empathy to enable us
to act with compassion.
4. Self discipline to be true to self.
5. Honest self-reflection, allowing
us to review and potentially change
how we react.
6. A servant-heart that fuels
thoughtfulness.
Effective thinking techniques
require:
1. Knowledge, ideas and concepts
that can be combined to form new
concepts.
2. Complex thinking processes that
require rich metacognitive
language.
2. Good thinking processes based
on clever questioning techniques.
3. Different types of thinking for
different types of problems.
4. Knowledge of the Learning
Process that underpins the
discovery of creative solutions.
5. The reflection (R-R-I) process to
build critical evaluation.
Effective communication techniques
require:
1. Grasping that multimedia elements
are codes for expressing meaning.
2. A rich, media vocabulary that
creates the potential for deep
communication.
3. Appreciating that each
amalgamation of media has a unique
intent.
4. Each communication form to be ‘fit
for purpose’.
5. An appreciation of how body
language can alter/supplement
spoken messages.
6. Variance of voice, action and
gesture to impart nuance and subtlety.
D
i
s
p
o
s
i
t
i
o
n
s

(
p
e
r
s
o
n
a
l
)

Effective identity dispositions
require:
1. Appreciating and applying gifts
and talents that build self-
confidence.
2. Humility that tempers over-
confidence and extends grace.
3. Justice that desires actions in
keeping with beliefs.
4. Service that applies and builds
character formation.
5. Us to confront and have the
difficult conversations with those
we work with.
6. Encouraging others to be the
best they can be.
7. Being self-aware.
Effective thinking dispositions
require:
1. Interrogating our understanding
to create new concept
frameworks.
2. Knowledge, ideas and concepts
being recombined in creative ways.
3. Using creativity to develop
lateral solutions to questions and
problems.
4. Being critical of what we sense
and how we interpret all
communication.
5. Applying ideas, concepts and
virtues to different contexts wisely.
6. Creatively remixing knowledge,
ideas and concepts to be
innovative and ingenious.
Effective communication dispositions
require:
1. Communicating knowledge, ideas,
concepts and emotion with clarity.
2. Reflecting (R-R-I) on how effectively
we are communicating.
3. Being able to interpret and ‘create’
within each media form.
4. Increasing literacy that in turn
enables greater influence via
persuasion.
5. Clarity of purpose, which defines the
most effective media combination.
Concept Frameworks
Competencies

for the six



%%,


Collaborating Connecting & Reflecting Managing Self
U
n
d
e
r
s
t
a
n
d
i
n
g

(
c
o
g
n
i
t
i
v
e
)

Effective collaborative processes
require:
1. Discussion, debate and
reflection that builds
understanding.
2. Sharing ideas which requires
trust and flexibility in our thoughts.
3. Listening as an active process
that involves constant review.
4. Effective relationships that are
based on honest communication.
5. Effective listening and reviewing
of others’ thoughts.
6. Appreciating everyone can
contribute to the overall Learning
Process.
Effective connect–reflect
processes require:
1. Asking clever questions about
our thinking processes which
increases quality and validity of
thought.
2. Research across a wide enough
range of media and people to
ensure efficacy of the research.
3. Effective review processes to
provide a basis for effective
iteration of knowledge, ideas and
concepts.
4. Connecting knowledge, ideas
and concepts via a non-conscious
state of mind.
5. Brainstorming and daydreaming
as effective ways to achieve a non-
conscious, creative state.
6. Learning from other learners to
efficiently add to our own learning
and understanding.
Effective managing-self
processes require:
1. Confidence, agency, active
involvement and wisdom to be a
learner.
2. Taking risks that are rarely
comfortable but always character
building.
3. Knowing that there are times
for cooperation and times to be
independent.
4. Realising that the Internet is not
benign.
5. Being metacognitive in order to
be self-aware and critical of our
thinking.
6. Applying the reflection (R-R-I)
process to improve thinking and
decision-making processes.
T
e
c
h
n
i
q
u
e
s

(
p
r
a
c
t
i
c
a
l
)

Effective collaborative techniques
require:
1. Debate that can stimulate a
review of opinions, ideas and
concepts.
2. Discipline, flexibility and creativity
within the team.
3. Relationships where trust,
resilience, respect and patience
are shown.
4. The use of words please, sorry
and thank-you to overcome
personal friction.
5. Roles in groups to be defined
and have appropriate success
criteria applied.
6. Leadership roles to be shared
and constructive feedback
provided and received.
Effective connect–reflect
techniques require:
1. Clearly defining the problem
before attempting to find a solution
that improves research efficiency.
2. Working independently to reflect
on our thinking and procedural
processes that improves efficacy.
3. Listening to and critiquing
others’ knowledge, ideas and
concepts that initiates connect–
reflect.
4. Mind-mapping, diagramming
and debating options before
focusing on one.
5. Risk assessment of the potential
new idea or concept via group
consensus and reflection.
6. Working collaboratively to
generate a tension that stimulates
lateral thinking.
Effective managing-self
techniques require:
1. Challenging goals that drive
commitment and improvement.
2. Increases in effectiveness and
efficiency via planning and strategy.
3. Active management of our
impulsivity.
4. Effective management of conflict
points by having the difficult
conversations.
5. Applying critical literacy, which
drives a more exacting
understanding.
6. Effective management of
resources, which fuels efficiency
and effectiveness.
7. An appreciation that principles
and character shape personal
development.
D
i
s
p
o
s
i
t
i
o
n
s

(
p
e
r
s
o
n
a
l
)

Collaborative dispositions
require:
1. Actions that give life to new
ideas and concepts.
2. Mutually supportive learning
relationships, which require
empathy.
3. Initiative, thoughtfulness and
humility to resolve differences of
opinion.
4. Each member of the team to
have the capacity to be a lifelong
learner.
5. An appreciation that “the whole
exceeds the sum of the parts” –
Aristotle
Connect"reflect dispositions
require:
1. Connecting knowledge, ideas
and concepts via perseverance,
tolerance and an open mind.
2. Knowing when to give up, when
to strive further and learning from
our mistakes.
3. Appreciating that motivation is
infectious, as is negativity.
4. Being willing to search
numerous media and contacting a
wide range of sources.
5. Searching for multiple solutions
and then distilling and synthesising
the results collaboratively.
Managing self-dispositions
require:
1. Intellectual courage that
challenges present understanding.
2. Being passionate, which drives
motivation, persistence and
change within.
3. An appreciation of our own
emotional, intellectual and physical
circumstance.
4. Understanding that
resourcefulness is far more
powerful than more resources.
5. Metacognition that interrogates
our thinking that improves our
perception.



%%-
The competencies are the dispositions we all need in order to live, learn and contribute
as active members within our communities. As defined within the DeSeCo
86
report,
competencies are more complex than skills. In developing competency, learners are
encouraged to draw on and combine knowledge, cognitive skills, practical skills, attitudes,
emotions, values and ethics to the motivations that underpin each of the competencies.
As part of this project, a series of concept frameworks have been developed for
educators that provides a ‘first cut’ that can be edited to suit each school.
87
Concepts by
their very nature are context-free, so it is not the context you may wish to change but
rather it may be that you have additional concepts you wish to add and some that you
may want to delete or make more explicit. Each concept framework within each
competency has been unpacked over five levels. Each level progresses the depth and
complexity of the concept. The concepts have not been ascribed contexts, as the
contexts will depend on the individual country/school/class/learner and situation the
competencies are to be applied.

Managing self Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
Planning
increases
effectiveness
and efficiency
Planning lets
people know
what will be
happening
Planning
requires more
detail and for
you to be more
specific
Planning helps
predict and
solve potential
problems
Planning allows
you to schedule
time and
resources
Planning includes
being flexible and
adaptable as
things change
Learning
intention
If we plan
something then
we know what
will probably
happen
Planning helps
us anticipate
possible issues
By having a plan
we can predict
what resources
and time will be
needed
Planning
requires
resources
Always expect
changes to be
made and be
flexible when
considering
options
Prompt
Contexts
Content
Setting
challenging
goals tests
commitment
Completing tasks
takes
perseverance
Deciding on
goals makes
you more
committed
Setting goals
that are
challenging
encourages
extra effort
Developing
strategies to
meet goals
makes them
more attainable
It is sometimes
necessary to
adjust goals to
meet new
circumstances
Learning
intention
To finish a job we
sometimes have
to just keep
working at it
Goals help us
focus on what
is important
Challenging
goals extend us
Goals may
require us to
devise
strategies
Setting
challenging goals
means we may or
may not meet
them
Prompt



Contexts

Content



86
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; 2002; “P7; Definition & Selection of Competencies (DeSeCo)
Theoretical & Conceptual Foundations”; http://www.portal-stat.admin.ch/deseco/deseco_strategy_paper_final.pdf Accessed
December 2006
87
For details and ordering see http://www.marktreadwell.com/products



%&"
It has become apparent over the past two decades that the importance of the core
competencies is becoming increasingly greater as more members of our communities
are expected to manage themselves within their workplace and to manage their own
professional learning in order to stay ahead in their respective felids of expertise.
Workers are increasingly being given far greater agency within their workplaces rather
than being instructed exactly what they need to do and how and when they need to do it.
Increasingly, learners are required to manage their own learning whether that be in
schools, tertiary institutions, within trade apprenticeships or the workplace.
The core competencies that underpin the ability to manage this increased agency
include:
1. Identity
2. Thinking and questioning
3. Collaboration
4. Having a comprehensive language of learning
5. Managing self
6. Connecting and reflecting (R-R-I) on existing knowledge, ideas and
concepts to create new knowledge, ideas, concepts and concept
frameworks
The core competencies are not only associated with institutional learning but their
acquisition increases success in life in general. These core competencies are absolutely
central to the learning process. If we are expecting learners to have far greater agency
over their learning then we need to equip them with the necessary skills, knowledge,
ideas and concepts in order to be able to have a good sense of personal identity, to think
and question, to collaborate, to be able to communicate effectively about their learning
and to manage themselves, as well as to connect and reflect on their learning.
The most difficult aspect of the competencies is deciding whether or not they should be
integrated across the present curriculum domains or whether they require specialist
educators. The only way that the necessary time is going to be created to enable
learners to be explicitly involved in the learning of the competencies is if we move away
from the present thematic approach to units of work and start being more effective and
efficient by focusing on the concepts that the learners need to understand.
Each of these core competencies contains a number of concepts that build our
underlying knowledge, understanding and strategies, and eventually these become non-
conscious dispositions. Competencies create the key dispositions that underpin lifelong
learning.
In practice, the competencies all work together as learners increase their expertise in
each of the competencies and they increasingly become automated dispositions rather
than being processes that are consciously thought through.

Section 3 Summary & Questions




%&%
Questions to reflect on:
1. Do you consider it more effective for the competencies to be embedded within the
present disciplines or to be dealt with as separate domains or as a single
discipline – 'The Competencies'?
2. How much of the time available, in any given week, do you think should be allocated
to learners gaining increasing capability within the competencies?
3. How critical do you think the competencies are in your own life?
4. Would you have benefited from being taught these while at school or as part of a
workplace professional learning programme?
5. Do any of the competencies stand out as being more important than the others
for learners?
6. Can you relate to the importance of the dispositions in each of the tables
associated with all six competencies?
7. Do any of the competencies stand out as being more important than the others
to you?
8. Are there any important concepts that are missing from any of the
competencies?




%&&


Capacity Building
LEARNING
Section 4



%&'


There are four major domains that contribute to the successful implementation of the
Learning Process within school systems:
1. The ability of educators to review and research our own practice using the Action
Learning Process
2. The capacity to view intelligence based on how the brain learns and how well we
can apply the Learning Process
3. Implementing a curriculum that is based on building conceptual understanding
4. Fully understanding the role of Information and Communication Technologies
(ICT’s) as being a set of tools that allow the Learning Process to be successfully
carried out
The ability to implement the Learning Process successfully within a school depends on
building the capacity of educators to view themselves as researchers of learning and to
be actively involved in carrying out research into the learning practices that they are
implementing. Unless the educator has a deep confidence that the changes in practice
do lead to better learning outcomes then they are unlikely to have much enthusiasm for
any suggested changes.
Implementing the Learning Process successfully also requires educators to change how
they view the concept of intelligence. Intelligence is no longer the ability to recall facts in
an examination room on a particular day. Intelligence is now viewed from the perspective
of how we understand the brain to learn. Intelligence is about how well we are able to
apply the Learning Process to any number of contexts. Our future success is far more
tied to understanding how to learn and be able to apply that process than it is to
remembering arcane facts and figures that we find at will on our devices when we need
them.
Now we have a better understanding of how the brain learns it becomes far clearer that
curriculum design needs to be designed around the concepts that we consider young
people need to understand in order to be successful citizens. We might not be able to
identify what knowledge will be required in any future situation but we can predict what
concepts and concept frameworks learners will require. Firstly learners will need to
understand the concepts that underpin how we learn successfully, but then they will also
be required to understand the fundamental concepts that underpin both the
competencies and the disciplines. Once a learner understands the key concepts, they can
then apply those concepts and concept frameworks to any context that they may come in
contact with. Concepts provide us with the ability to predict possible futures and this
capacity has underpinned human success for millennia.
The primary role of ICTs in schools is to support learning. If the ICT infrastructure does
not support and improve learning outcomes then it is of little value. Too often educators
are enamoured by learners being engaged and appearing to be learning with technology
rather than the ICTs actually improving learning outcomes. The Action Learning Process
is critical here in testing to see whether ICTs actually do improve learning processes and
learning outcomes. There is the separate matter for sufficient numbers of people to have
the capacity to design, write code and build the required ICT tools that we all use every
day.
Introduction:
Capacity Building




%&(





It is important that an Action Learning
88
model be adopted alongside the introduction and
application of the Learning Process. Too often in education, huge amounts of money and
time have been invested in programmes that have been merely fashion trends or
politically motivated changes with little impact on the learning capability of learners. We
owe it to all learners to ensure that the Learning Process improves the quality and the
rate at which learning takes place within our schools. If a new approach does not make a
significant difference in learning outcomes then it should not be implemented.
Action learning is a streamlined research process that evaluates changes in pedagogical
practice to see if learners learn more efficiently and effectively due to the changes in
pedagogy that are being suggested. Effectively, this is a simple tool to qualitatively
evaluate the effect size of the changes being made in educator and learner practice. The
Action Learning Process is a derivative of the Learning Process.
















The competencies that would normally sit at the centre of the Learning Process are
modified to include:
1. An external reference person or group that is able to work with you and/or your
team as a critical friend
2. Thinking and questioning
3. Collaboration
4. Connecting and reflecting

88
Also known as Action Research
.
associated
concepts
Action Learning
Process
an iterative process
that is continually
refining our practice
design change
in pedagogy
Prompt
Start Here
Feedback &
Feed-Forward
Inspiration
collect
data
applied to
context
Curiosity
selection of
trial & control
group
Research
Suggested
Modification
Planning
Implementing
Trial
Creativity
Thinking &
Questioning
Connecting
& Reflecting
Collaboration
assess
trial
First Iteration
Reference
Group
Changes in
Pedagogy
Action
Learning

Video Link



%&)
The importance of a critical friend within the Action Learning Process should not be
underestimated. This role is to ensure that we keep to the timeframes we have set and
also to ensure the validity of the process that we are undertaking. The role of the critical
friend also involves them being a sounding board regarding any relationship issue that
may arise within our team. An outside moderator is often able to sort through minor
issues via their external perspective.
Usually a prompt causes us to reflect on our own teaching and learning practices and we
ask ourselves: “Could this change in practice improve learner outcomes?” The prompt
may come from talking with other professionals, attending a conference, reading an
article, or from shifts in policy where changes are required to be made. Curiosity inspires
us to ask questions and a research process can be initiated.
Once a modification to our teaching practice is identified it is then necessary to carry out
some initial research to learn from others who may have already taken the pathway we
are considering implementing. It is suggested that the research process should include a
brief literature review that is carried out using a selection of online resources and then
accompanying this with both reading appropriate books and journal articles on the topic
as well as directly contacting researchers or other schools that are working in this
domain. Most researchers and schools are very generous in providing resources in order
for us to make the best judgement about the efficacy of the proposed change.

Following on from the initial research we can
then apply that to the particular context in
question and develop a design brief for the
suggested modification(s) to the Learning
Process. The brief should be brief! It is
important to realise that we are not completing
a Ph.D. It is important to carry out sufficient
background research in order to support the
testing of the pedagogical change suggested.

Once we have identified the modification(s) to our pedagogical practice that we wish to
investigate then we can select a trial group of learners to test this with and a control
group of learners who will continue with current practice. From here we can plan how we
are going to collect the data required prior to implementing the changes, as well as how
we will collect data after making the changes to our practice.
The control group may be a separate class or if it is a small school it may be that a class
is separated into two groups and one of those groups is the control group and the other
the trial group. It is important to consider carefully how we design the changes to
pedagogy and how we will make those changes clear to the learners. Once this
preliminary work has been completed then we can implement the trial, collect the data
and assess the outcomes. Once the control group and the trial group results have been
compared then the success or otherwise of the trial can be quantitatively and/or
qualitatively analysed.




%&*
Action Learning is a continual process of refinement of our learning practice.
After investigating a particular aspect of our practice, other contributing issues usually
become apparent. This may then prompt us to investigate further aspects of our practice
and develop other possible modification that in turn requires investigation.
In practice, the Action Learning
Process is a constantly
iterating process and we may
find ourselves iterating our
practice a number of times
before we are convinced we
have identified best practice in
a particular domain.
We may begin looking at using
tablets in the classroom and
what the benefits of that may
be. From that initial approach
we may realise that the
software environment is not
delivering the optimum result
and then from investigating
that issue we may suspect that
the room set up may need
investigating and that leads to a
study on the most appropriate
furniture for such a room.
It is very rare for a single Action
Learning cycle to deliver the
perfect outcome for learners
and educators. The
optimisation of learning is a
complex and ongoing process.
This iterative process is a natural aspect of the broader Learning Process and is to be
expected. Very rarely do we identify the exact required change in the first instance and
rarely do changes made in one school translate perfectly to another. It is also important
to be aware that a change in practice in one school may not elicit the same effect size in
another school. This is often due to the significant differences in the learning culture at
the school as well as the difference in the ethnic cultural makeup of the school. It may
require a series of small iterative changes in order to get similar ‘amazing’ results that
another school may have found.
Once we have reviewed the results of the trial we are then in a position to judge whether
or not those results justify continuing with the changes that have been trialled. It is also
possible that after reflecting on the proposed changes further refinements may be
required and an iteration of the original project is retested. This is very common and as
expressed in the diagram this may occur numerous times.
.
associated
concepts
Action Learning
Process
an iterative process
that is continually
refining our practice
design change
in pedagogy
Prompt
Start Here
Feedback &
Feed-Forward
Inspiration
collect
data
applied to
context
Curiosity
selection of
trial & control
group
Research
Suggested
Modification
Planning
Implementing
Trial
Creativity
Thinking &
Questioning
Connecting
& Reflecting
Collaboration
assess
trial
1st Iteration
Reference
Group
Changes in
Pedagogy



%&+




Society often focuses on the question of how intelligent a person is, whereas the
question should be “How are we demonstrating intelligence and in which domains?” Our
historical school-based notion of intelligence is often coupled with how well we can
remember rote-learned knowledge. However, this notion is fundamentally flawed when we
realise how complex learning is and how the brain applies our four learning systems that
constitute the foundation for the Learning Process.
Everyone has the capacity for intelligence, as well as the capacity for poor thinking
processes and decisions. Our intelligence is displayed across a vast spectrum of
capability and contexts. Generally, tests of intelligence have focused on rewarding fast
and correct responses to questions that ask learners to recall rote-learned information
or solve particular types of abstract problems, which require specific processes. Having
to remember large amounts of knowledge was necessary when information was scarce
and expensive but now, just by having access to a smartphone, anyone can access an
extraordinary range of knowledge any time, anywhere.
Intelligence is about how we apply the Learning Process to take knowledge
to form ideas, concepts and concept frameworks, and how we then
manipulate those learning outcomes creatively to be innovative and
ingenious across a wide range of different contexts. Learning is remarkably
equitable as long as we keep the amount of front-loaded knowledge to a
minimum and add new knowledge as required ‘just in time’ (JiT).
Savantism
Savants are people that demonstrate exceptional memory recall across a range of tasks.
There about 100 known savants and they are able to remember extremely long
numbers,
89
play exceptionally challenging pieces of music,
90
carry out complex
mathematical processes in just seconds,
91
replicate works of art of the grand masters, or
fly over cities and then draw them almost perfectly from memory.
92
The explanation for
these amazing abilities lies within this emerging model of how the brain learns.
Despite their impressive memories for rote-learning facts and for sensory events, people
with savantism have almost no capability in forming new concepts ‘on the fly’. In this
model of how the brain learns we would state that in its purest form savantism is the
absence of the ability to form any new concepts. It is the absence of this ability within
people with savantism that led to an interest in how they view their world and how this
emerging model may explain their extraordinary abilities.


89 Tammett, D.; “The Boy With The Incredible Brain”; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbASOcqc1Ss Accessed August
2013
90 Paravicini, D.; “The Musical Genius”; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6HCXx8U6Ko Accessed August 2013
91 Barnett, J.; “Jake: Math prodigy proud of his autism”; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR36jrx_L44 Accessed August
2013
92 Wiltshire, S.; “Drawing Rome”; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sg0GypBr30A Accessed August 2013
Intelligence
Revisited

Video Link



%&,
It was interesting to discover which
domains of intelligence savants were
missing. Following an audit of their abilities
and their limitations, it was possible to list
nine intelligence domains. These nine
domains are quite artificial and do not
cover all possible concepts, but they do
represent a significant portion of our
capacity for conceptual understanding. It is
important to emphasise that these
domains are more than likely not discrete
entities but rather part of a continuum that
represents intelligence. Each of the
domains represents an overarching
concept framework of understanding that
contributes to our overall intelligence.
The six initial concept frameworks of understanding define the intelligence necessary for
survival.
• Dimension perception: Understanding our ‘physical space’, concept maps of
location of self and our motion within our physical space within timeframes.
• Physical dexterity: Coordination, fluid movement, speed and balance.
• Social nuance/body language: ‘Reading’ body language, social clues, vocal
nuance, recognising status and connection to social groups,
leadership/subservience. This domain also covers emotions and the capacity for
friendship and love.
• Logic, reasoning and risk: Knowing when to appropriately apply logical and
deductive reasoning. Managing physical and relationship risk.
• Metacognition: Reflecting on our thinking and actions, reviewing and iterating
our thinking processes.
• Synthesis and creativity: The ability to synthesise and distil knowledge and
ideas into concepts and concept frameworks of understanding in order to be
innovative and ingenious.
These domains are not discrete entities as may appear in the following diagrams. This is
consistent with the idea that the brain’s functionality is not based on a mechanistic model
of discrete thinking processes that take place in discrete locations within the brain.
Instead of discrete entities, this model is suggesting that these domains are part of a
continuum; a sequence that has a definitive order linked to the genetics of our genome.
It is becoming clear that these
concept domains are involved in
complex interactions with each
other, involving a multiplicity of
inter-related elements. For
example, there are connections
between the domains of
metacognition and social nuance,
as there would be between physical
dexterity and social nuance.



%&-
Almost every thinking process relies on complex interactions between elements from
almost all of the domains. The recognition of the domains, while acknowledging their
artificial nature, provides a framework for reporting on and for developing intelligence
across each of those domains.
However, intelligence is not limited to just these six domains. There are three other
domains that are artificial in their nature but practical in terms of education systems and
the learning that we focus on within schools.
• We can also use our intelligence to extend our conceptual understanding of our
world to appreciate artistry, scientific principles, social structures, sports, health,
mathematical principles, the complexities of language and communication, as well
as the role of the technological design and creativity.
• As humans, we develop character and principles and apply the resultant virtues
with wisdom via our personality. We weave these factors into a set of dispositions
that result in the unique decisions and actions we each take.
• Applying the significance of the competencies (identity, thinking and questioning,
the language of learning, collaborating, managing self, connecting and reflecting),
that underpin effective and efficient learning practices can allow us to develop the
capability to become lifelong learners in a time of exponential growth in our
knowledge and understanding.
These three additional domains extend the number of intelligence domains to nine. Each
of these nine domains has constituent concept frameworks as described in each of the
bullet point definitions (indicated by smaller domain spheres). The number of smaller
spheres is only an indication of the number of sub-domains, as the choice of these is
somewhat arbitrary, as is the selection of seven disciplines.

It is important that we do not reduce the complexity of intelligence to a linear model. It is
necessary to invoke a three-dimensional solution to even reasonably reflect the
complexity of this multifarious set of interactions between the nine somewhat artificial
intelligence domains.
The three principal dimensions that underpin our emerging working definition of
intelligence are:
• Cognition: The complexity and speed at which we process each of our
learning systems.
• Domain complexity: The level of capability we have developed within
each of the domains.
• Domain range: The range and extent of the contexts we are able to
apply our capability across.




%'"
Each of the three-dimensional spheres that represents the nine domains can partially
overlap neighbouring domains. This means that social nuance may be partially encased
by other domain spheres such as physical dexterity, reasoning and risk, and/or
metacognition.
Depending on the context, social nuance may include some sub-concepts of all the
domains. The overlapping of domains is based on the notion that this model predicts that
these elements are part of a complex continuum that is probably based on the sequence
of genes within the human genome.
The idea of concept domains within intelligence is not new. Howard Gardner
93
established
a similar set of domains in his theory of multiple intelligences. What is possibly new is the
fact that these domains are now incorporated into a neuroscientific as well as
sociological model of thinking, and as a consequence this model incorporates a wider
understanding of intelligence, with a greater underlying complexity.


93
Gardner, H.; http://howardgardner.com/index.html Accessed January 2007



%'%



According to Gardner, the following seven intelligence domains exist, and Gardner
has added others over time.
• Linguistic intelligence involves sensitivity to spoken and written language, the
ability to learn languages, and the capacity to use language to accomplish
certain goals.
• Logical–mathematical intelligence consists of the capacity to analyse
problems logically, carry out mathematical operations, and investigate issues
scientifically.
• Musical intelligence involves skill in the performance, composition and
appreciation of musical patterns.
• Bodily–kinaesthetic intelligence entails the potential of using one's whole body
or parts of the body to solve problems.
• Spatial intelligence involves the potential to recognise and use the patterns of
wide space and more-confined areas.
• Interpersonal intelligence is concerned with the capacity to understand the
intentions, motivations and desires of other people.
• Intrapersonal intelligence entails the capacity to understand oneself, to
appreciate one's feelings, fears and motivations.
The fact that these intelligences are quite similar to the intelligence domains shows the
veracity of the sociological research of Gardner and others who have worked in this field
over the past 30 years.
The Three Domain Variables
The capability range within each domain and
within each sub-domain varies from person to
person and this is a result of a mix of genetic
and environmental/experiential factors. The
capability range also includes the range of
contexts that each domain can potentially be
applied to. For example, for ‘reasoning and
risk’ this may extend across risk taking within
the context of personal relationships, to
physical risk taking experiences, gambling,
business endeavours and/or financial risk
management. Whether it does or not
depends on the experiences and the learning
that the learner has been exposed to,
coupled with their genetic dispositions.
Physical risk taking may be high in an
individual but that does not automatically
mean that financial risk taking will also be high.
The application of these domains is extremely
contextual.
“A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s
experience.” Oliver Wendell Homes



%'&
The second variable surrounding concept domains is the complexity of understanding
for each of the nine domains. We define complexity in this sense as the quality to which
each of the concepts within each of the domains and sub-domains can be applied. In
‘managing risk’, the complexity aspect deals with how well we assess, manage and reflect
on risk and how we then learn from those experiences via metacognitive reflection and
cognitive learning processes. As we increasingly develop a deeper conceptual
understanding of risk we are better able to apply that concept more effectively within a
greater range of contexts.
Defining intelligence in a quantitative manner is always going to be a challenge. This is
because intelligence is composed of numerous constituent domains, but primarily the
foundation that underpins intelligence is composed of the two factors of domain capability
range and domain complexity, plus the third neuroscientific factor: the speed and
complexity of cognition.
Our brain is a complex system and
this video
94
helps us begin to
understand how to work with
complex systems, even though the
context is economics. The same
concepts apply to how we are
creative. The power of conceptual
understanding allows us to
translate concepts from one
context to another in order to make
increasingly accurate predictions
Our cognitive capacity is initially authored via our genetic makeup, but that may be
mitigated or amplified by our upbringing, our understanding of the Learning Process, the
development of competence and our life experiences. These factors underpin the
foundation of intelligence resulting from the interplay between neurons and astrocytes in
particular, as well as the role of stem cells, hormones and brainwaves resulting in the
capacity to form overarching concept frameworks of understanding. Once these are
created then they can be applied creatively to develop innovative and ingenious outcomes
across a myriad of contexts, ranging from the arts to science, engineering, medicine,
sport, communication, etc.
The cognition potential in this context refers to the ability of the neural and the tripartite
relationship between neurons and astrocytes to build and process thinking/learning
sequences efficiently and effectively and as a result make predictions about the world via
pattern recognition and application.
95
This model predicts that the speed and reliability of
our neural sequencing decreases over our lifetime. The reason for this may surprise you!


94
Glattfelder, J.B.; “TED Talks: Who controls the world?”; 2013;
http://www.ted.com/talks/james_b_glattfelder_who_controls_the_world.html Accessed October 2013
95
The idea of the central role of pattern recognition is strongly supported by Jeff Hawkins, as suggested in his book “On
Intelligence”; Owl Books; 2004; ISBN 0-80-507853-3



%''
The reason for this decrease in the speed and reliability of our neural sequencing is
that as we develop additional concepts, we require additional astrocytes to map and
automate most of these concepts. These new cells are created from stem cells that are
stored in a small structure in centre of the brain called the gyrus. These stem cells
develop into additional astrocytes or neurons as required in order to map the newly
learned patterns/concepts. As we map and automate more concepts, the number of
astrocytes in our brain increases significantly. Einstein’s brain currently holds he world
record of the highest percentage of astrocytes.
There are two outcomes of this process.
1. The more concepts/patterns we map, the
more intelligent we become.
2. As a result of the increasing numbers of our
astrocytes interrogating our neural pathways,
checking for these concepts/patterns, our
ability to learn via rote is reduced or even
interrupted. The interruption of normal neural
sequences results in ‘senior moments’ and
temporary loss of access to a previously
sequenced memory.
Now where was I? That’s right …. As a consequence of this process, the more concepts
and concept frameworks we map the more likely we will experience temporary ‘memory
interruption’. We have not actually lost the memory but rather the increased numbers of
astrocytes looking for the patterns and they have interrupted that sequence!
In essence, the smarter we get, the more senior moments we will
experience; hence the adage “the absent-minded professor.” So next time
you have a senior moment you can at least know that this is because you are
getting smarter due to all the concepts that have been understood, mapped
and automated.
It is also important to note that we automate the application of most of the concepts we
learn. Driving into the city is a good example of an automated concept, and it is important
that we let those processes happen non-consciously and that we do not start trying to
‘remember’ how to navigate our way into town. If we try to write down how get to a town,
street-by-street, we may be surprised to find that we have no idea how to achieve that!
The automated process of driving will kick in as long as we maintain our
confidence in it. If we lose that confidence then that is when we start thinking
we are losing our memory … and we are not. That confidence is particularly
important as we age. If we maintain our confidence in letting our brain do
things automatically then we will navigate our way into town successfully,
along with a lot of other automated processes.
The level of cognition (the yellow plane in the diagram) will have an effect on both range
and complexity of conceptual understanding. However, additional qualities we develop,
especially in regards to the competencies, will extend our potential to develop both our
domain range and complexity across each of the nine domains. The level of cognition
represents a baseline for our episodic (rote and knowledge learning) memory, but this
does not infer an upper limit to a learner learning a particular concept!



%'(
“The zone of proximal development (ZPD) has been defined as ‘the distance
between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem
solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving
under adult guidance, or in collaboration with more capable peers’.” Lev Vygotsky





As a result, all learners can develop their concept domain complexity and range by
keeping the initial knowledge that has to be learned to a minimum and acquiring
additional knowledge, as it is required. The notion of intelligence contains within it the
ability to apply sensory data in order to remember facts and retain knowledge, as well as
dealing with concept formation and then applying that creatively. It is still possible to
develop high-level capacities in any single or combination of domains, even for those with
a relatively slower speed of cognition (referred to as the plane of cognition in diagrams).
This requires building knowledge ‘just in time’ (JiT), rather than front-loading knowledge
‘just in case’ (JiC) we may need it.
A key strategy for improving learning outcomes is ensuring that educators have the
resources and the capability to work with each learner to discern their capability to
understand a particular concept and to what depth. This is achieved by personalising the
learning so that the learning tasks are designed to sit within the learner’s ‘proximal (next)
zone’
96
of learning. This seminal idea from Vygotsky encourages a developmental
approach to learning, so that the next learning steps are scaffolded appropriately so as
to build on the previous learning experiences. What we require are professional
educators, as well as the learners themselves, who can use rich data to personalise the
Learning Process. The personalisation of learning makes use of the most appropriate mix
of media and develops the understanding via the application of the Learning Process.
What we also require is for educators to increase the agency (responsibility) of the
learner over their learning, via increasing their competency, so they can develop their
own learning and fulfil their potential of becoming a lifelong learner.
The proximal zone approach to learning requires educators to be provided a
developmental sequence of concept development across increasingly more complex
concepts using increasingly sophisticated contexts. The science curriculum presented in
the next chapter presents five levels of development for each scientific concept within the
science curriculum. Each learner has a different level of capability when it comes to
understanding concepts in each of the discipline areas and competencies.
As additional contexts are investigated, the learner requires increasing knowledge to
build additional ideas and eventually concepts. The increasing sophistication of the
resulting concept or concept framework allows the learner to make more accurate
predictions about where to go for holidays, what clothes we will wear ...
Each individual is unique, harbouring a set of gifts and talents as described by our domain
profile and our capacity to manage and extend that via our ability to learn new knowledge,
ideas and concepts. There is no such thing as average intelligence once you start to
assess each of these individual domains. The notion of average intelligence becomes
meaningless, as the uniqueness of each individual and his or her associated capacity to
develop each concept is counterintuitive to the concept of average.

96
Atherton, J.S.; 2011; “Learning and Teaching: Constructivism in learning” [Online: UK];
http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/constructivism.htm Accessed May 2010




%')
Savants (continued)
Each of the approximately 100 known savants tend to focus on a particular aspect of
rote learning and some can remember extraordinarily lengthy sequences of numbers,
words, objects, dates, chess moves and even, as in the case of Stephen Wiltshire, what
they have seen. Stephen draws the cities he flies over in the same order that he viewed
each element of the city. We explained earlier that it is not possible to see pictures inside
our heads so Stephen is not using photographic memory, so how do savants achieve
what appears to be photographic memory?
Learning to understand the concept
framework of driving and applying
each constituent concept to each
new context (such as new routes,
dealing with other drivers,
adapting to changing road
conditions, etc.), is a far more
efficient approach to learning than
having to learn each individual
context by rote. Learning the
concept of driving allows us to
make predictions for each context
we encounter as driving is largely
predictable despite the complexity
of the concept framework that it
is based on. Using the
[sequencing]–[pattern
recognition]–[prediction] process
of concept formation makes our
complex lives manageable, as it
allows us to multi-task. However, it is
not possible for savants to learn
concepts.
There are a number of possible reasons for how savants are able to learn via rote so
well. In this model, this has to do with savants not being able to create or possibly access
new stem cells to create the new astrocytes required to map new concepts. Savants
have no other choice than to learn these capacities via the much less efficient process of
rote learning, as the concept forming learning system is unavailable to them. Not
surprisingly, savants do not drive!
However, as a result of not being able to form new concepts on the fly,
savants are able to remember extraordinarily long sequences of numbers,
letters, words, facts, music and even visual elements. As we build new
concepts additional astrocytes are created within the brain to map these
patterns. These additional astrocytes are then constantly interrogating
neural sequences looking for these patterns in order to automate them.
Having no additional astrocytes to interfere with their sequencing ability,
savants are able to remember sequences exceptionally well.



%'*
In this model, it is suggested
that due to the lack of
conceptual capability and
subsequent reduction in activity
of astrocytes interrogating their
neural sequences, savants’
neural sequencing remains very
high. It is suggested that other
factors may also affect their
very high level of sequencing
ability. As a result, the plane of
cognition (the speed of cognitive
sequencing) remains very high
but each of the conceptual
domains remains very low, as
seen in the diagram. The result
of minimal neural interrogation
by astrocytes is that savants’
sequencing ability is far greater
than for non-savants and
therefore their ability to learn
via rote is exceptional.
Autism
A variant of this may also give rise to autism. Autistic learners lack the ability to map and
automate the concept framework surrounding social nuance. The mapping and
automation of this set of capabilities is one of the most complex of the nine domains.
Social and vocal nuance is so complex that this domain more than likely accounts for up
15-20% of the brains non-conscious processing power. Therefore, the mapping of social
and vocal nuance would require significant additional astrocytes to map this complexity.
As a result of not having this ability, and having fewer astrocytes interrogating the neural
sequences, autistic learners have, on average, better sequencing ability and hence a
better capacity to learn via rote. This also translates to autistic learners being able to
have a greater capacity to focus on a task for longer periods of time.
While people with autism have the standard spectrum of cognitive capability, for unknown
genetic reasons their capability to create an understanding within the domain of social
nuance is compromised. This reduced capacity of being able to read body language can
lead them to misinterpret social interactions and there is often an associated loss of
confidence associated with this. The inability to read body language or vocal nuance can
be debilitating because autistic learners do not understand figurative and inferential
language, vocal modulation, irony, sarcasm, metaphor or emphatic gestures, and these
are foundational tools for communicating as well as for exchanging emotions, feelings
and attitudes.
97
Not being able to learn concepts for social and vocal nuance, an autistic
child must learn each person’s expressions by rote and that takes about a year of
constant interaction.


97
Zager, D.B.; “Autism Spectrum Disorders: Identification, Education, and Treatment”; 3
rd
edition; 2004; Routledge; ISBN-10:
080584578X; Limited access via Google Books; http://tinyurl.com/lz7oe8o Accessed February 2010



%'+
Imagine sitting at a table and not knowing if you are actually welcome
unless someone states that in words. Imagine if you could not discern that
smile as being genuine or representing distain. People with autism are
missing the ability to read body language and vocal nuance, and as a result
they cannot interpret that body language non-consciously or predict feelings
in other people from their body language or voice. Body language is a very
complex concept framework and for people with autism there is no way for
them to automate the interpretation of what they are sensing, so they are
constantly left guessing what others are feeling or trying to communicate.
Learners with autism can learn an individual person’s body language via rote as they can
still learn using episodic (rote learning) processes and memory retention. The difficulty for
the autistic person is that this rote-learned knowledge of how one person expresses
feelings cannot be adapted into a general concept and applied to any another person.
Not being able to predict how other people are feeling or thinking means that learners
with autism must therefore individually learn all those cues for each person they interact
with via rote learning processes. It is not surprising then that they avoid new social
situations or any change in their routine that may introduce additional people into their
world.
Interacting with new people requires
autistic people to learn via rote the
social nuance of these new people
and that involves a lot of trial and
error, which can be embarrassing
and tedious. It is not surprising
that autistic people avoid
interactions with new people.
When we analyse the intelligence
spectrum of a person with autism,
we see that they can have quite
high levels of concept domain
complexity in other domains but
the range of contexts they can
apply that to may be limited.
Herein lays the nature of the
person with autism, they are
potentially very able across some
or most of the domains but within
some domains they demonstrate
limited social and/or learning
behaviours. However, they can be
very focused on interest areas
that engage them and as a result can
achieve to very high levels in specific
fields of endeavour.
98


98
Sapolsky, R.M; “SuperHumanity: Our drive to exceed our evolutionary limits sets us apart from other beasts”; Scientific
American, September 2012; http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=aspiration-makes-us-human (brief synopsis)
Accessed Oct 2012



%',
To a large measure intelligence is less of a genetic mandate or sentence
but rather it is a choice. We largely choose to be intelligent, but we can only
make that choice if we know it is a choice. If we think it is beyond our control,
then it will be. Intelligence is not about what we can remember but rather it
is about understanding the Learning Process and being able to apply that
process along with leveraging the gifts and talents that we have. Intelligence
is displayed in so many ways. Many people have a beautiful voice, but it takes
an aspect of intelligence we call confidence to sing in front of people and risk
everything. Lots of people have ideas, but unless we persevere with those
ideas then they are stillborn and are never realised. The list is endless. The
enablers of intelligence are the competencies. The primary job of an
educator is to allow that potential to be realised by building competence and
understanding and being able to apply the Learning Process.


As educators we need to
redefine in our own
minds what intelligence
is, in a world where
creativity, innovation and
ingenuity are expected
from so many people in
their jobs and within their
roles in society. A
dramatically increasing
percentage of people
now need to learn at
rates that are
unprecedented in the
history of the Earth.
Remembering mathematical processes to get the right answer, having neat handwriting,
and sitting quietly doing their own work are no longer benchmarks of a ‘good student’.
Society is now looking for people who have engaging personalities, who can communicate
extremely well (particularly orally), and who can work in teams, where fun is as important
as finding the solution to the issues that are being pursued. A strong work ethic remains
a critical characteristic of an effective 21st century citizen, but so does getting the
balance right between our work lives and belonging to a richly rewarding social world.







%'-





With a better understanding of how the brain learns we can now turn our attention to
designing a curriculum that both reflects this new understanding and incorporates the
focus of preparing young people for a world of continuous learning. With an
understanding of the Learning Process, learners are able to access knowledge, and by
applying the competencies, develop an understanding of ideas and concepts and then
apply those creatively so as to be innovative and ingenious. This change in focus within
education systems changes the drivers that underpin the nature of curriculum.
Curriculum design is no longer about listing what knowledge should be
remembered but should now focus on understanding and applying:
• The Learning Process
• Key concepts across a range of learning domains
• Effective pedagogical practices
• An understanding of the required competencies
• A culture of assessment that drives learning deeper
• Increasing levels of learner agency
The curriculum is now required to be a far more rigorous and intellectually substantial
document that shifts the end point of learning from the capacity to remember material to
the substantive capacity to be able to build and then apply understanding creatively in
order that we can be innovative and ingenious. This change in the nature of curriculum
documentation represents the dual shift to:
1. A concept based curriculum framework where the educator applies a mix
of direct instruction and guided facilitation, and where the learner is
confronted by a curriculum with an emphasis on deep understanding and
personal ownership of the responsibility for their own learning.
2. The use of the Internet to provide dynamic communication between
stakeholders, continuous personalised assessment, as well as access to,
and the ability to create and apply, rich multimedia resources to support the
Learning Process.
The wide-ranging nature of these changes in education practice will require substantial
and effective professional learning (PL) processes to be applied across entire education
systems. Educators will be expected to become dynamic learners alongside the younger
learners they are working with. Via the application of the Action Learning Process,
educators develop the same learning capabilities as younger learners do through their
application of the Learning Process. In order to achieve these changes, the professional
learning programme is generally spread over a three-year process.

The Concept
Curriculum
Video Link



%("
The professional Learning Process will require a combination of online resourcing as
well as face-to-face workshops and interactive sessions. The professional learning of
educators will mirror the same experiences of the learners within the educator’s
classrooms. Due to the depth of change in practice, it is hoped also that the professional
learning will contribute towards a higher degree or a Masters programme, and will be
accompanied by the requisite certification/recognition.
The professional learning process
99
undertaken by educators will be grounded within an
action learning culture. The learner-educator cements their own knowledge by way of
practicing the changes in pedagogical practice within their own classrooms in a dynamic
just-in-time manner. Educators should not wait for the completion of the three-year
professional learning programme before applying their learning, but rather the
assessment of their understanding will be demonstrated through their own change in
practice. Technology-based peer-to-peer review and assessment processes carried out
internally within the school are then benchmarked against nationally recognised best-
practice quality parameters to guide educators through the process of transforming
their practice.
Once again, the scale of the professional learning programme required emphasises the
deep and systemic nature of the changes that this approach entails. The changes are
well within the professional capability of all educators, and a systematic approach to
professional learning is required over a three-year period. This will require a considerable
investment from governments around the world in order to ensure that the quality of
education systems improves substantively. Punitive standards-based assessment
programmes do nothing to generate the greater rigour of comprehension that
educators now require in their understanding of each of the domains they have
responsibility for. A brief framework for the initial three-year programme is outlined
below.
The learning is focused on developing a deep understanding of the concepts
within each of the disciplines and being able to apply these concepts to new
contexts. Building understanding provides the learner-educator with the
capacity to make predictions as to how the concepts may play out in new
contexts as they are encountered or required within their classroom
practice. It should be emphasised that knowledge in each of these disciplines
underpins the ability to create this deep understanding.


99
An additional resource that will accompany this resource and deal with the scope of the professional learning process for
educators along with the requisite prompts, readings/videos and assessment matrix will be released in October 2014
Year/Term
Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4
20xx
Introduction of the
Action Learning
Process
The Competencies
Ongoing Action Learning
Pedagogical Practice
Ongoing Action
Learning
Learner Agency
Ongoing Action
Learning
20xx+1
Technology to Support
Learning
Ongoing Action Learning
Data & Formative
Assessment
Ongoing Action Learning
Implementing Concept Curriculum Trial
Ongoing Action Learning
20xx+2
Concept Curriculum
Ongoing Action Learning
Action Learning: report
on modifications to the
Concept Curriculum
Implementing Concept Curriculum
Whole school implementation



%(%
By accessing the knowledge in the context of developing understanding, the learner is
more quickly able to build their discipline-related vocabulary. This vocabulary is then
applied in an ongoing manner as educators discuss the nature of what they are learning
with their peers and educators within their jurisdiction and around the world. The more
discussion that takes place, the more quickly the vocabulary and knowledge become
established and can be applied appropriately. This is where technology can provide
substantial assistance. Blogging opportunities and having a much wider discourse with
people who are genuinely interested in what the author has to say promote greater
fluency within the emerging literacy. The significant increase in the audience that the
writer is writing for is highly motivational and provides timely feedback and feed-forward
on the learner’s work.
The best possible way to reinforce the learning is for the learner-educator to have to
teach someone what he or she has learned. This is best achieved by embedding the
expectation that the learners will teach their peers their new understanding when they
have completed their own learning experience. For younger learners, this may include
teaching other learners who are younger, the same age or older, what it is that they have
learned.
Traditional textbooks are no
longer required, and access to
knowledge is now more
effectively achieved via our
internal and external peer
network, the Internet and asking
probing questions of our
educators and peers, which in
turn drives the learner’s
learning deeper. Within the
curriculum there is still a role
for direct instruction from the
educator to the learner, and this
is particularly true for the
competencies. This role should
be applied judiciously and
carefully in order to avoid taking
away the agency (responsibility)
for the learning from the
learner. Achieving this fine
balance is an art that will be
continually refined by the
professional educator.
This revised approach to learning requires a deeper knowledge-base and understanding
by educators across all the learning domains they are involved in. This requires a deep
conceptual understanding as well as being aware of the applications of those concepts to
everyday experiences. Educators must be able to justify, with good reason why the
learner is learning any particular concept or concept framework.



%(&
The science curriculum that follows demonstrates a conceptual approach to learning
within a particular discipline. The concept frameworks for each of the other disciplines
and competencies are also available as a separate resource.
100
The domains below are
artificial and they do not exist in our lives outside of the study of them. Everything in our
world is interconnected; all are part of the same whole.
The Science Concept Framework Scaffold
Science Concepts Level 1–5
General scientific concepts
• Science has its own language and this underpins understanding of science
• The Internet provides a great range of viewpoints, arguments and scientific
debate
• Scientific debate is essential, as these issues have a direct/indirect impact on
everyone
• Science is about hypothesising and testing models of understanding
• Scientific inquiry relies on fair testing via a clear methodology and process
• Creative applications of scientific concepts can result in innovative solutions
• For every effect there is a corresponding cause
• The inter-relationship of Scientific Concepts underpin everyday events
• Absolute and relative scales provide us with a way of relating variables
• The way organisms or environments look relates to their formation or what they
do
Physical World
• We can represent observed physical concepts via a range of different formats
(graphs/equations/diagrams)
• Energy can be transferred or changed into other forms of energy
• A set of universal laws govern the relationship between matter, energy, space and
time
• Four fundamental forces underpin all observed motion and interactions
Material World
• Grouping materials according to their characteristics allows us to make
predictions
• Atomic theory underpins the structure of all we observe
• Materials can be changed by applying a range of processes
• Chemical reactions represent changes in atomic, crystalline and/or molecular
arrangements


100
Treadwell, M.; “Whatever Next?”; The Global Concept Curriculum 2010; revised 2013; Available to order from
http://www.marktreadwell.com/products Accessed December 2013



%('
Living World
• Living things share common life processes
• Grouping living things using hierarchies of increasing complexity allows us to make
predictions
• Ecosystems contain a range of interdependent systems
• Living things are constantly changing and adapting
• Life is based on a cellular architecture
• The genome represents the biological mechanism for the maintenance, growth
and reproduction of cells/life
Planet Earth and Beyond
• Natural physical features are constantly changing
• The fossil record provides a record of previous life forms
• Human activity has a direct effect on the Earth’s ecosystems
• Accurate observations help us make sense of our universe
• Investigating rock formations informs us of the history of the Earth and other
planets
• Many Earth events are cyclical and are interdependent
• A variety of processes shape the form of the Earth and other planets
• Our universe is composed of complex interconnected systems containing
numerous objects

The competencies, the general scientific concepts and the four scientific domains that
are recognised in most school systems create the foundation for the Science Concept
Framework. The ‘Planet Earth and Beyond’ concept framework contains considerably
more concept frameworks than the other sciences as it is an aggregate of the geology of
Earth, ecology/conservation and the study of astronomy.
It should be noted that each of these domains has been mapped across five levels of
cognitive development and these would normally scale across the first 10 years of
school. Each of these modules takes from 10 minutes to a few days to complete by a
learner, either individually or in teams. There are two important points that were made
earlier in the text that are particularly relevant here:
1. Each concept within the concept framework needs to be applied to a number of
contexts in order for the knowledge to be developed through the idea stage and
then become established as a concept.
2. The test for understanding is to for the learner to apply the concept to a context
they have not experienced before. If they understand the concept, the learner
should be able to apply the concept to the new context and predict with increasing
accuracy what the possible outcomes would be if that concept were to be applied
to that unknown context.







%((

The Scientific Concepts can then be unpacked over five cognitive levels of conceptual
development. The five levels are not age-related levels, as each learner has a unique
capacity to understand to different cognitive levels within each specific concept. What is
critical in this phase is choosing an appropriate succession of contexts for the learner to
experience their learning journey through. Just as when learners learn to drive it is
important that the first context the learner is exposed to is safe. Safe contexts are
contexts where the learner already has a sound literacy and substantial experience.
For Level 1 of the Science Concepts – “Four fundamental forces underpin all observed
motion and interactions” we could begin with a language around their experience of
feeling forces in everyday life, such as when they fall off their bike, run into someone in the
playground or slip over on a polished floor. The scientific language must be added slowly
and be consistent with their experiences. The first five levels for science follow, and only
include the concept and how we may express that as a learning intention.



%()
Science
Concepts
Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
Science has its own
language and this
underpins science
We talk about
science every day
Scientific
language needs
to be precise
Scientific
language is used
to categorise and
show sequence
The language of
science lets us
understand and
communicate
ideas
Using scientific
language requires
the author to be
concise and
accurate
Learning intention
Science is
everywhere
Science has a
large and specific
vocabulary in
order to
communicate
accurately
A lot of science
words describe
how ideas and
things are
categorised or
sequenced
Science requires
a very specific
language for it to
be understood
and
communicated
To communicate
science ideas, it
is important to be
concise,
accurate, clear
and consistent
The Internet
provides a range of
views, arguments
and scientific
debate
Scientific
developments
affect everyone
Everyone can
contribute to
scientific debate
via many different
forums
There are a
number of
different drivers
behind scientific
advancement
Scientific debate
requires
precision,
consistency and
the ability to
replicate results
Interpreting the
results of
scientific
experiments is
complex and may
vary
Learning intention
Everyone is
affected by
scientific ideas
For scientific
ideas to be
implemented, a
range of values
and implications
must be
considered
Most, but not all,
scientific
advancement is
done in the best
interests of
everybody
The scientific
process requires
precision,
consistency and
the ability to
replicate results
Experiments may
not be 100%
clear and
interpretations
may vary
Scientific debate is
essential as these
impact everyone
Collaborating with
others is fun
Collaboration
provides a
greater range of
ideas
Collaboration
provides different
points of view
Collaboration
allows us to
synthesise our
ideas with other
people’s ideas
Collaboration
encourages us to
have to justify our
ideas and
thoughts
Learning intention
Learning about
other people’s
ideas is fun
With more people
contributing we
can hear about
others’ ideas
By collaborating
with others we
can ask more
questions and get
more specific
information
Debating ideas
allows us to
develop more
informed and
more powerful
understanding
When other
people question
our ideas it
makes us reflect
on those ideas
and improve them
Science is about
hypothesising and
testing models of
understanding
Experiments test
our ideas to see
whether they are
correct
Science develops
models of how
things may
happen
A hypothesis is
developed from
knowledge and
experience and
then tested
Models of
understanding
are always
changing as new
hypothetical ideas
are tested
Models represent
what we believe
may be
happening, but
they do not
always represent
reality
Learning intention
We may have a
good idea, but we
need to test it to
see if it works
Scientific models
help us
understand what
we observe
New ideas and
concepts come
from research
and experiments
New ideas and
concepts are
hypothesised and
tested
Models are
estimates of what
is taking place
Scientific inquiry
relies on ‘fair
testing’ with a clear
methodology and
process
New ideas and
concepts can be
tested
Scientists use an
experiment to
search for cause
and effect
relationships in
nature
To ensure a fair
test, a good
experiment has
only one
independent
variable
In an experiment
we change one
variable to see if
this causes
another variable
to change in a
predictable way
Scientific
experiments
require us to test
one variable while
all other variables
are kept constant
Learning intention
We can test our
ideas to see if
they are correct
Experiments
change one
variable and we
observe whether
there are
changes in
another variable
An experiment
can have three
kinds of variables:
independent,
dependent and
controlled
If a
test/experiment is
going to be fair,
we must change
just one variable
When testing a
variable
(dependent)
against another
(independent) we
must keep all
other variables
controlled



%(*



Science
Concepts
Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
Creative
applications of
scientific concepts
can result in
innovative solutions
All ideas can and
should be tested
We can change
one thing and see
if it affects how
another thing
changes
We can use
physical
principles to
predict how
objects interact
with each other
The Learning
Process can be
used to find new
applications of
ideas and
concepts to solve
problems
Innovation results
from recombining
scientific
knowledge, ideas
and concepts in
unique ways
Learning intention
We often test our
own ideas
Usually we
change one thing
and see if it
makes a positive
difference
Understanding
means we can
predict behaviour
in controlled
situations
Applying the
Learning Process
to the physical
world ideas and
concepts allows
us to make
accurate
predictions
Creative
application of
knowledge, ideas
and concepts can
lead to innovation
The inter-
relationship of
scientific concepts
underpin everyday
events
There are many
things happening
at once around us
The complexity of
the world we
observe and
experience can
be explained
What we observe
and experience
often depends on
many variables
Experiments test
and measure the
effects of
variables on each
other
Mathematics
allows us to
quantify
relationships
between
variables
Learning intention
Usually more
than one thing is
affecting us at a
time
Our world is
complex but can
be explained
We can identify
the variables that
contribute to the
changes we
experience or
observe
Experiments
provide us with
relationships
between
variables
We can measure
and record the
effect of variables
on each other
Absolute and
relative scales
provide us with a
way of relating
variables to each
other
We can compare
events and
objects using
relative scales
We can measure
what we
experience using
special tools
When we
measure anything
in science we use
standard metric
units
Some variables
are not absolute
and we have
units of
measurement for
them
Relationships
between
variables can be
calculated if we
use the correct
tools and units of
measurement
Learning intention
We can measure
everything but
some things we
have to compare
Thermometers,
rulers and
weighing devices
help children see
that objects and
energy vary in
quantity
Each variable that
we measure has
a particular scale
and unit
associated with it
How we feel
emotionally or
how much we are
enjoying our day
can only be
compared relative
to our experience
Using
relationships
between
variables means
we can predict
outcomes more
exactly
The way organisms
and materials look
relate to their
formation or what
they do
Different
materials and
organisms have
different
properties
Good
observations
allow us to predict
possible
actions or
applications
Different
properties or
characteristics
mean that a
material, event or
organism will
behave differently
The properties of
a material can be
applied in a
number of ways
All materials,
organisms and
events can be
modified
Learning intention
There are
reasons why we
do not make
fabric cars, why
things always fall
down, and why
mice do not
chase lions
By carefully
observing
materials,
organisms and
interactions, we
can predict what
may happen or
what they may
do
The properties of
an organism or
material will
dictate its use or
how it behaves
The properties of
a material can be
changed by
heating, adding
water, exposing it
to chemicals,
adding different
chemicals, etc.
By modifying a
material,
organism or
conditions, we
are able to create
new opportunities



%(+

Physical World Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
We can represent
observed concepts
via graphs,
diagrams,
animations and
equations
Patterns are
everywhere: events
happen in cycles,
structures are
repeated irregular
patterns
We need to make
good observations
in order to see
patterns
We can represent
patterns in the
physical world in
different ways
Patterns can help
us make
predictions
We can graph
patterns, which
provides us with
additional
information about
events
Learning intention
There are many
patterns in the
natural world
Look for lots of
patterns in natural
environments and
objects. You can
see them more
clearly by
accurately
recording events
over time
Comparing things
that are changing –
by recording,
drawing and
graphing – makes
patterns more
obvious
Once you
understand a
pattern you can
predict what is
likely to happen in
the future
Graphs are good at
summarising lots of
information about
events, from them
we can predict
what may happen
in the future
Energy can be
transferred or
transformed into
other forms of
energy
There are different
types of energy
Energy must come
from somewhere
Energy can change
from one form to
another
Energy is always
conserved
We measure
energy using
observations and
accurate equipment
Learning intention
Different types of
energy allows us to
do things
To work we need
energy – food, fuel
and electricity are
types of energy that
supply energy for
people and
machines
There are different
forms of energy
and each form can
turn into other
forms
Energy cannot be
destroyed but it can
change from one
form to another
Energy can be
measured in many
ways, and some
forms of energy are
easier to measure
than others
There is a set of
universal laws that
govern matter,
energy, space and
time
The cause
underpinning an
event is not always
obvious
Different forces
have different
effects on objects
Forces can cause
changes in how an
object moves
We can describe
forces using
different variables
that affect each
force’s resultant
actions
Forces can be
measured and
depend on a range
of variables
Learning intention
Not all events that
we observe have
an obvious cause
Some forces attract
things and some
forces push things
apart. Not all forces
have both effects
(there is no anti-
gravity force; pity!)
Forces can act on
objects and change
their speed or the
direction they are
travelling in
Forces such as
weight depend on
variables, like mass
and acceleration
due to gravity
We can use a
range of different
ways to measure
forces and there
are usually a
number of different
variables that
contribute to the
nature of a force
Four fundamental
forces underpin all
observed motion
and interactions
Forces are
everywhere and
affect all that we
do
Different forces
have different
effects on objects
Forces can cause
changes in how
an object moves
We can describe
forces using
different variables
that affect each
force’s resultant
actions
Forces can be
measured and
depend on certain
variables
Learning intention
We can group
forces under
different labels
Some forces
attract things and
some forces push
things apart. Not
all forces have
both effects
Forces can act on
objects and
change their
speed or the
direction they are
travelling in
Forces such as
weight depend on
variables, like
mass and
acceleration due
to gravity
We can use a
range of different
ways to measure
forces and identify
the variables that
contribute to what
we observe



%(,

Material World Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
Grouping materials
according to their
characteristics is
helpful
There are many
different types of
materials
Some materials
have specific
properties in
common
Some materials
have a common
set of similar
properties
We need to make
accurate
observations in
order to see
patterns and sort
materials into
groups with
similar
characteristics
Grouping
materials can help
us make
predictions
Learning intention
Things we see are
made of different
types of materials
Some materials
can be grouped
together
depending on
their properties
We can group
some material by
a common set of
properties
We can apply
simple tests to
materials, which
tell us they belong
to groups with
similar
characteristics
Putting materials
in certain groups
lets us predict
their properties
without having to
test each material
The properties of a
material dictate its
use
Different materials
have different
properties
The properties of
a material will
dictate its use
The properties of
a material are
very specific
The properties of
a material can
change
Materials can be
combined to
create new
materials
Learning intention
There are reasons
why we do not
make fabric cars,
paper lunch-
boxes or metal
clothes!
The properties of
a material dictate
its use
We can use
different tools to
measure and
describe a
materials
properties
The properties of
a material can be
changed by
applying different
processes
New materials
can be used to
create ingenious
new products
Atomic theory
underpins all we
observe

Everything we see
is made up of tiny
particles that we
cannot see
There are a
limited number of
types of atoms
Atoms combine
together in
different ways to
make up
everything that we
see
Learning intention
Some things are
so small we
cannot even see
them
There are only
about 105
different types of
atoms
Atoms join up with
other atoms in
different ways to
make up the
different things
that we see
Materials can be
changed by
applying different
processes

Materials can
change in
different ways
when subjected to
different
processes
Changes in
materials can be
temporary or
permanent
As materials
change, they may
develop new
properties and
may be used
differently
Materials can be
combined to meet
specific needs
Learning intention
Some materials
change their
characteristics
when we apply a
process to them
When we change
a characteristic of
a material, the
change can be
permanent or
temporary
New materials
can be used and
applied in new
ways
We apply different
processes to
create new
materials to meet
specific needs
Chemical reactions
represent changes in
atomic, crystalline
and molecular
arrangements

Chemical reactions
are very common
During chemical
reactions new
products are
formed from the
original substances
that combined
We can use
symbols and
conventions to
represent chemical
reactions
The properties of
materials depend
on their molecular
and
crystallographic
structures
Learning intention
Chemical reactions
happen all around
us
In chemical
reactions new
substances are
made
Chemical reactions
can be explained
using symbols that
summarise the
reaction’s
complexity
Atoms combine in
billions of different
ways, resulting in
the myriad of
objects we see



%(-
Living World Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
Living things share
common processes
Things that are
alive, dead or were
never alive have
particular
characteristics
Living things share
some common
processes
Different features of
living things carry
out particular tasks
Living things have
specific features
that allow them to
live and function in
specific niches
Maintaining bio-
diverse
communities is
essential for that
community
Learning intention
We can tell what
things are alive,
dead or were never
alive by studying
their characteristics
Living things do
some particular
things in similar
ways
Living things may
look very different,
as their features
have specific jobs
to carry out
Special features
allow living things
to survive in their
unique habitat
We have a
responsibility to
conserve and
maintain
biodiversity
Grouping living
things using
hierarchies !
complexity is
helpful

We need to make
good observations
in order to see
patterns
We can group living
things according to
their particular
characteristics

Grouping living
things can help us
make predictions
Learning intention
When we look
closer we identify
patterns in the
features of living
things
Having similar
characteristics
helps us
understand inter-
relationships and
biology

Groups of living
things with similar
characteristics
behave and
function in similar
ways
Ecosystems
contain a range of
interdependent
systems
Fauna and flora all
live in communities
Communities of
living things are
interdependent
Some living things
have very specific
requirements
The destruction of
a species may
have devastating
effects on the
remaining species
in a community
Living communities
operate within a
constantly
fluctuating
equilibrium
Learning intention
Animals and plants
all live in
communities
Living things
depend on each
other
Some living things
require very
specific
foods/nutrients
If one species is
destroyed others
may quickly follow
suit
Numbers and types
of living things in a
community are
constantly
changing
Living things are
constantly changing
and ! environment

We need to make
good observations
in order to see
patterns and
changes
Living things tend
to go through life
cycles
Living things adapt
or die out as their
environment
changes
Living things are
based on complex
systems and
processes
Learning intention
We can draw and
record information
in tables, and look
to see patterns
everywhere in the
living world
Each animal and
plant goes through
a life cycle, growing
and changing
Animals have the
ability to adapt to
changes in their
environment as
long as they have
enough time
Living things are
the result of many
complex and
interdependent life
processes
Life is based on a
cellular architecture

Cells form the basis
of living things
Cells are
composed of
specific organelles
that carry out
specific tasks
Learning intention
All living things
have cells in with
unique capabilities,
as basic biological
building blocks
Cells all have some
common
characteristics that
we can investigate
The genome
represents !
reproduction of
cells/life

The genetic code
provides a blueprint
for life
Cells reproduce
and pass on the
genetic code
Learning intention
Our code for what
and who we are is
contained in each
cell in our body
The ability to pass
on and recombine
our genetic code
creates differences
and new
possibilities



%)"


Planet Earth
and Beyond
Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
Natural features are
constantly changing
Natural features
sometimes
change slowly
We need to make
good observations
in order to see
patterns
Changes are
caused by
processes we can
observe
By recording
changes we can
predict future
events
Small changes
over small periods
of time result in
massive changes
over very long
periods of time
Learning intention
Trees, the sky,
stars at night are
all changing and
moving, but very
slowly
Observations over
time show that
Earth is
continually
changing and
there is often a
pattern to these
changes
Erosion,
earthquakes and
volcanoes are
constantly
changing how our
Earth looks
If we collect data
about our Earth
we can start to
make predictions
about its future
Many changes
that are
happening to
Earth are slow
and we require
careful
observations to
notice them
The fossil record
provides us with a
record of previous
life forms
Fossils are the
remains of
organisms that
once lived on
Earth
Fossils are a
record of what life
has lived on Earth
since it began
Fossils show
changes in the
nature of life on
Earth over
millions of years
Fossils tell us that
the Earth has
changed
considerably over
time
Fossils in rocks
inform us of how
continents have
moved over time
Learning intention
Fossils were once
living
Fossils are like
photographs of
what life on Earth
looked like a long
time ago
Fossils show that
life on Earth has
always been
changing
Fossils indicate
that our Earth has
changed a lot
over millions of
years
Earthquakes let
us know that the
land we live on is
slowly moving
Human activity has a
direct effect on
Earth’s ecosystem
What we do
affects other
people in our
community
Human activity
affects the Earth’s
ecosystem
The scale of
human activity is
now substantially
changing the
Earth’s ecosystem
Sustainable
practices are
critical in order for
us to live on Earth
sustainably
The Earth’s
ecosystem is a
complex collection
of equilibriums
Learning intention
All that we eat
and use comes
from somewhere
What we do
affects our planet
The activity of
humans is now
having a direct
impact on the
Earth’s ecosystem
We urgently need
to change our
day-to-day
activities and
make them
sustainable
Many of the
systems that
make up the
Earth’s ecosystem
have a direct
effect on each
other
Accurate
observations help us
make sense of our
universe
Good
observations
allow us to make
predictions
Earth is one small
part of a universe
Objects beyond
the Earth can
affect us
The universe is
very dynamic
Forces in the
universe provide it
with structure
Learning intention
Our night sky is
different each
night, but there
are some regular
patterns
Earth and its
inhabitants are a
small but very
important part of a
very large
universe
Stars, comets,
‘falling stars’ and
our sun and the
moon are just
some of the
objects in space
that affect us
Distances and
long timeframes
make the universe
outside of the
Earth appear
unchanging
The universe is
not random and
has structure



%)%


Planet Earth
and Beyond
Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
Investigating rock
formations
informs us of the
history of the
Earth and other
planets
Rocks have
different
characteristics
Mountains, rivers,
valleys, and all we
see are all
constantly
changing
The appearance of
each landform is
due to the forces
that land and sea,
lakes and rivers
have experienced
Different forces
shape the features
we see in different
ways
Places where
tectonic plates
meet are
geologically more
dynamic
Learning
intention
There are many
different types of
rocks
The world around
us is changing
The geography we
see did not always
look as it does now
The forces that
change the Earth
can be both slow
and very sudden
Plate boundaries
tend to be where
earthquakes and
volcanoes occur
Many Earth
events and
processes are
cyclical and are
interdependent

Many climate and
astronomical
patterns repeat
themselves over
short or long
periods of time

All living things are
interdependent
and dependent on
their physical
environment
Predicting global
changes requires
careful
investigation of
records and
accurate recording
over long
timeframes
Learning
intention

Many of the
patterns we
observe affect us
and our actions
can affect Earth’s
natural patterns

Affecting one
environmental
system has a flow-
on effect on almost
all other systems
Climate, geological
events and
atmospheric
events all occur
over a long time
and changes in
these systems are
to be expected
A variety of
processes
shaped the form
of the Earth and
other planets
Forces within the
Earth are changing
what it looks like
The weather
affects our
environment and
that changes what
the Earth looks
like
Almost every
aspect of our Earth
is dynamic when
viewed over long
periods of time
The Earth’s climate
has always been
changing and
always will
All planets and
moons are
dynamic and have
unique change
processes
Learning
intention
Our Earth is
always changing
Weather has a big
effect on our planet
over a long time
Our planet is
dynamic, with
volcanoes,
earthquakes,
tsunamis and
weather events
Climate change is
not a new thing but
with an increasing
population these
changes are
having a greater
impact
The Earth is one of
many planets and
each and its
moon(s) are very
different
Our universe is a
complex system
of numerous
interconnected
objects and
processes

Our world is just a
very small part of a
relatively peaceful
part of the universe
Earth, other
planets and their
moons orbit the
sun and this gives
rise to a range of
different
phenomena
The Earth and our
solar system are
part of the Milky
Way galaxy
Our galaxy is just
one of millions that
make up our
universe, which
contains a huge
range of unusual
objects
Learning
intention
At night we can
see stars
We are just a small
part of a very large
universe.
Night and day,
phases of our
moon(s) and
different seasons
are all due to how
each planet and
their moon(s) orbit
the sun
We are part of a
local cluster of
stars known as the
Milky Way galaxy
There are some
extraordinarily
unusual objects in
our galaxy and the
millions of other
galaxies in our
universe





%)&
learning
26


Generally speaking, the move from desktop to laptop and subsequently to mobile
technology has not been accompanied by significant changes in educator practice or
improvements in learning outcomes. In many cases, access to the encyclopaedias in the
library has been replaced by an encyclopaedia that is located within ‘the cloud’ (albeit it a
far more extensive and easier to copy version).
Often the introduction and use of Information & Communication
Technologies (ICTs) in learning processes gives the illusion that everything
has changed in schools and that learning is now very different, but in
practice nothing of any consequence has changed. This is a classic example
of ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’.
As learner-educators we, and the younger learner-educators in our classrooms, require a
set of digital literacy capabilities in order to use the resources and communication tools
within the Internet judiciously so as to support improved learning. The Internet contains a
wide range of tools embedded within it. However, the Internet is not a replacement for
the educator but it should significantly change their role.
The role of the educator is now far more
dynamic and requires a deeper
professionalism and rigour in our
understanding of the Learning Process, the
disciplines and the competencies within
which we are operating, as well as in the
pedagogical practices that we are applying.
As educators, we need to redefine a dual
emphasis on us being highly relational as
well as deeply academic within our domains
of expertise. It is simply not possible to be
an effective educator without deep
knowledge and understanding of the
domains within which we are practicing.
The technological infrastructure required in every educational institution is
based on the learner being able to access the Internet in order to:
• Communicate effectively with their peers, educators and experts of
any age
• Manage their formative assessment and report their progress
dynamically via a range of media formats
• Access information and communication resources efficiently and to
effectively publish their learning to a local, regional and global audience
• Receive feedback and feed-forward commentary and questioning ‘just
in time’
The Role
of ICTs
Video Link



%)'
The focus of ICTs is not to make work look pretty or create far more ‘stuff’, but to give
greater agency to the learner and drive the learning deeper. These requirements rely on
learners and educators having access to secure, high-speed wireless Internet throughout
all education institutions. It also requires the necessary Internet devices to be made
available to all the learners and educators, either by the institution itself or by the
parents/caregivers. Whether the education institution, parents/caregivers or the
learner chooses a particular device or a ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) approach, there
are a number of parameters that the device must meet. The device must be able to:
• Be portable, robust and share information and resources with a wide range of
other devices.
• Access resources and common communication tools within the Internet.
• Export the record of learning by the learner to a database-driven Managed
Learning Environment (MLE) hosted in ‘the cloud’.
• Enable the learner-educator to effectively present their understanding so other
stakeholders can make commentary and ask questions of the learning being
displayed.
• Be sustainable/replaceable in the long term (low cost/ease of use).
The most significant role of such a device is its ability to allow the learner to track their
learning progress and allow learners, peers, parents/caregivers, educators and mentors
(stakeholders) to dynamically interact with each other, providing effective feedback and
feed-forward with the learners via the Managed Learning Environment (MLE). This
capacity is usually achieved via the learner being able to dynamically manage their
Learning Journals (LJ) or ePortfolios. Access to the learner’s LJ/ePortfolio needs to be
made available to each of the stakeholders in the learner’s learning. In addition to this,
temporary or partial access to the LJ/ePortfolios may need to be made to other external
‘guests’, such as external experts or to learners in other local or international school
systems.
The learning progressions for
each learner across each of the
curriculum disciplines and
competencies should be mapped
within each learner’s
LJ/ePortfolio. The learner should
be able to upload and associate
artefacts directly to the
curriculum or competency
concept they are working on, as
well as to the level they are
demonstrating their conceptual
understanding of.
Artefacts should be able to be created and uploaded from any digital device in any
format, whether that is text, audio, video, animation or any combination of these media.
The richer the media, the more information that is being communicated regarding the
learner’s understanding of the concept(s) that is(are) being learned.




%)(
The learner uploads the artefact to the LJ/ePortfolio when they are happy with the
quality of this artefact and its capacity to represent their learning. Once uploaded, the
MLE automatically sends notifications out to each of the stakeholders that this has been
completed. The notification indicates that the learner is looking for feedback and feed-
forward by way of commentary or (preferably) questions that will drive the learner’s
learning deeper. This process precedes the final assessment process and provides the
learner timely feedback and feed-forward on the quality of the artefact and how well it
depicts their learning journey as well as the depth of their understanding of the concept.
In order for this process to be powerful, the learner’s peers, parents/caregivers and
their educators need to have the necessary language of learning to make comments and
ask questions that effectively drive the learning of the learner deeper. Comments such as
“That’s cool!” have little value in this process, as they do not interrogate or direct the
learner’s attention to specific attributes of the artefact that could be developed further or
drive the learning deeper and increase understanding.
The importance of the competencies is critical within any learning
community in achieving effective feedback and feed-forward processes that
drive learning deeper.
The MLE is not designed to be a content or course
repository, but rather it is a managed learning
environment where that management is primarily
taken care of by the learner. Educators can view
artefacts presented by the learner and assess them
accordingly, but only after the learner has
responded to the feedback and feed-forward
questions and comments and submitted their
artefacts for assessment. This process represents
the formative assessment approach. In this way, the
learner is able to provide representation of their
learning journey as they develop deeper conceptual
understanding within each of the disciplines,
competencies and the passions that they pursue.
The curriculum should allow for and encourage learners to apply the Learning Process to
whatever domain they have a passion for. Learners should appreciate that the
practicality of the Learning Process is not just in building their understanding within
discrete disciplines or the competencies but also in real-world problems and issues that
the learner considers to be in need of addressing.
Increasingly, schools are making available one day per week or more, where learners are
able to apply the Learning Process to an area that they are passionate about. This area
may be outside of he traditional learning domains that a learner may be engaged with.
The learners are required to set themselves clear learning intentions as well as
benchmark their anticipated development and understanding within the passion they
have chosen to research and develop solutions for.




%))
Devices
At the time of writing of this resource (2014), the use of tablet technology within
schools is gaining significant ground and many parents/caregivers are very supportive of
this aspect of ICT use. They see it as being indicative of a modern school environment.
However, poorly directed use of technology or learning that is primarily focused on how to
use technology may actually be detrimental to the overall learning of the learner. ICTs
may not be the perfect solution that many educators, parents or learners think they are.
The reason for this opinion is that tablet and phone
based technologies are designed as personal
technologies. The difficulty then is to take this
personal device and allow it to become a device that
can share the information that is stored on it. In this
way other stakeholders are able to view the work
the learner has completed and submit that work for
commentary and questioning.
Access to the learner’s artefacts that displays their
learning journey can be made available to other
stakeholders using tools such as Dropbox, G-Drive
or i-Cloud (or similar). However, the setting-up of
folders so that they have the capability to provide
each learner with effective feedback and feed-
forward opportunities, as well as notifications, class
structures, etc., is very difficult to achieve within the
‘cloud.’ The design brief for tablets and phones
means they are personal devices.
The requirements that we are requesting necessitate a database to
manage this information rather than simply a set of folders. Personal
devices that cannot communicate and share data created by apps as well
as programs that cannot talk to an underlying database (such as an MLE) do
not meet this design brief. We simply need an MLE that meets this criteria
and that does not seem to exist at the time of writing this.
The number of apps continues to grow exponentially and apps are primarily designed to
be used by individuals rather than for collaboratively sharing information. What we
require is the ability to have different levels of access for different users.
An MLE requires different access rights for the learner, their peers, educators,
administrators, or peers/mentors who require temporary status. The way around this
dilemma may well be via the use of HTML5. This is not a perfect solution, as HTML5 is
not designed to be an application development platform, but what it does allow is for web-
based apps to be viewed across all platforms without the need to develop individual apps
for each particular phone and/or device operating system (OS).
At present we have three major operating systems for tablets and phones and that
number is expected to increase. Each operating system requires a different development
process in order to build each app. This means that currently, developers would need to
produce three different apps to be usable across the current range of devices. This is
one of the down sides of the BYOD approach to technology use in the classroom.



%)*
This dilemma has no simple solution, but writing a web app using HTML5 could solve
some of the issues described above. The result of this dilemma is that the solution to
what educators now require in terms of an ICT environment is quite complex and it is not
just a matter of providing wireless access for any type of device. Educators need to be
clear about what it is they want these devices to do. To make this decision, educators
must be very clear about the type of learning that the learners are about to engage in. It
is also important that educators are very clear about what it is they wish to assess and
how they wish to assess learner progress when it comes to the formative assessment
process.
The other major issue at present is the ability to have a Single Sign On (SSO) process
provide access to the numerous apps that learner-educators require every day.
Accompanying this issue is the ability for software applications to be interoperable. It
would be far more efficient if software applications could ‘borrow’ standard information
such as the learner’s name, address, class, as well as who their peers,
parents/caregivers and mentors may be etc., without having to re-enter this information
numerous times. Once again, this requires a database solution. Applications written for
the HTML5 environments may well be able to share this type of data much more
efficiently. At the moment, solutions to these issues are clumsy and not easy to
implement. Therefore, as education institutions we are not ‘out of the woods’ just yet in
terms of the sharing of data, interoperability or SSO.
These are major issues that need to be debated and clarified and solutions need to be
found. At the moment many schools are racing out and they are either purchasing
particular devices or expecting parents/caregivers to provide devices, without having
clarity surrounding what the purpose of the device actually is. It should be pointed out
that the tablet device does have a lot of advantages over a small laptop in terms of its
battery life and its general resilience in the classroom environment, but there are also
considerable drawbacks in terms of educators and learners interacting with each other.
The use of these devices certainly has a place in the junior part of the primary school,
where a significant portion of the learning surrounding literacy requires large amounts of
rote learning (not so for mathematics!). There is a wide range of apps that provide
learners with very engaging ways of learning and remembering the underlying rote
processes that support building early literacy and some aspects of emerging numeracy.
Educators can also get very precious about the type of device that should be purchased.
The choice of the brand of device should be driven by the software applications that
educators believe are critical in order for the learner to develop an understanding of the
Learning Process and its application to a range of learning domains. The device needs to
also provide effective feedback and feed-forward processes ‘just-in-time’ and facilitate
effective formative assessment processes. Electronic textbooks may have a role to play in
some courses but caution is advised if you are considering moving down this particular
pathway. It is easy to fall into the trap of using new technology to enable the same
outcome as was required in a previous century. Again, this can become the classical
case of ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’, with a lot of expense but the same outcome.
Schools need to be aware of the issues surrounding online privacy. Reading the terms
and conditions of lengthy and often technically written ‘Terms & Conditions’ is almost
impossible. There are many suspicions surrounding major players in the education space
such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, etc. This mainly pertains to them gathering data about
learners within your school. Given that there is a significant amount of evidence to show
that this is happening to some degree, the school needs to be quite clear about their
policies and practices within this domain.



%)+

Departments and/or Ministries of Education should be providing clear guidelines
regarding these issues to schools so each school can make informed and wise decisions
based on the advice of these agencies. This is no guarantee that data will not be misused,
but some clear governmental guidelines would provide schools with a process whereby
they can carry out due diligence to the best of their ability.
Internet Safety
The safety of learners within the
Internet domain must be a
priority of schooling systems.
This issue is embedded within
the competency of managing self
but it requires specific mention
here. NetSafe
101
is an excellent
online resource in this regard.
Educators can make use of this
resource to develop a deep
understanding of the nature of
the Internet and how learners of
different ages can be made
aware of the raft of safety issues
when using the Internet.
It is also imperative that parents/caregivers also understand these issues. Putting these
safety guidelines in place and ensuring their compliance is an ethical responsibility of the
school. This is not merely ‘nice to have’; it is an essential part of learners developing their
competency to make use of the Internet in a way that is safe.


101
NetSafe; NZ Ministry of Education; http://www.netsafe.org.nz Accessed June 2013



%),
The four cornerstone capabilities addressed in this section create the backdrop for the
successful implementation of the Learning Process, building on the foundation of how the
brain learns along with the importance of the competencies. Action Learning is critical in
that it puts the educator in the position of being a learner, carrying out the Learning
Process within the context of researching what constitutes effective pedagogical
practice. It is only when educators interrogate their own beliefs and attitudes and take
agency over that process that they truly become professionals.
The rate of change in our understanding of how best we learn is accelerating at an
unprecedented rate. Education agencies are looking past standardised testing dogma
and looking at what is truly best practice, while simultaneously reassessing what the
purpose of school actually is. If the purpose of school is to prepare young people for the
communities that they will enter into, then we need to take into account the fact that the
capabilities that young people require today have significantly changed compared with
what was required 20 years ago. Our ability to reflect on our own practice underpins all
professional associations. If the medical profession stopped looking for best practice,
then the role of technologies and the reassessment of the purpose of hospitals would not
have resulted in the transformation of the hospital service over the last 20 years.
Education has just begun that process and it will take the same passionate determination
to ensure that every school is developing in their young people the best capabilities to
enable their successful entry into adulthood and their role in society.
The role of technology in education must go beyond glitz and glamour, and must be based
on good research and quantifiable improvements in learning outcomes. If hospitals had
high-tech machinery but people still died at the same rate in operating theatres,
questions would be asked at every level of government. We need to take that same
standard and urgently apply it to education. No learner should leave school without having
the fundamental capability to become a lifelong learner. This requires educators to
provide appropriate learning conditions that include:
• Personalised learning programmes
• The learner having agency over their own learning
• Reporting and assessment that is dynamically made available to all stakeholders and
is managed by the learner
• Appropriate technologies being made available
• A conceptual curriculum supported by the central role of the key competencies
• Intelligence being viewed as something that everybody has and that everybody can
apply
All of these conditions must be put in place strategically and urgently.
Technologies must be chosen judiciously and for the sole purpose of improving learner
outcomes in accordance with a clear mission and vision surrounding the purpose of the
school.
The concept curriculum provides a completely new stage for greater efficiency and
effectiveness surrounding learning. With the application of the concept curriculum there
is time to develop the key competencies, however it will take time to implement.

Section 4 Summary & Questions




%)-
Our whole notion of intelligence is changing. We are no longer saying intelligence is
something that only some people are capable of. We now know without doubt that
everyone is capable of being intelligent. The huge range of domains that that intelligence
can be expressed through now needs to be recognised equitably. Educators within
disciplines that have been poorly taught in the past and avoided by far too many learners
need to work collaboratively to review how they can develop a curriculum that strives for
excellence while at the same time allowing more learners to understand to a greater
depth the critical concepts that will set them up for life.
If this takes place then the quality of debate within our communities will not be swung by
low-level politics or the loudest voice but rather by the desire to ensure that each
community addresses the critical and extremely difficult problems that we all face. These
problems we face are local, regional, national and international. Increasingly, more and
more of these problems need to be addressed from an international perspective, but to
do that mathematics, science, engineering and technology literacy and understanding
need to be increased substantively.

Questions to reflect on:
1. What are three questions you would like to explore using the Action Learning
Process regarding how learning can be more efficient?
2. What are the differences between the Action Learning Process used by educator-
learners and the Learning Process used by learner-educators?
3. When you watched the video of yourself working with learners, what was one
positive and one negative aspect that the video highlighted of yourself?
4. Are you an early adopter of technology or are you generally reticent in picking up
new technologies? What do you think the main reason for this disposition is?
5. What would you consider to be the best aspect of technology and the worst
aspect of technology? How does your answer relate to your answer to the
previous question?
6. If you were restricted to just one piece of technology, what would that be? What is
it about that piece of technology that made you choose it in particular?
7. Do you feel you have a good conceptual understanding of the discipline domain(s)
or the area(s) that you are currently involved in?
8. A conceptual approach would begin with a prompt and then encourage the
learner to leverage that prompt to build his or her own understanding. What are
the limitations in your particular discipline or area that would limit your ability to
teach from a concept framework?
9. What is your definition of intelligence? How does this relate to the definition used
in this resource?
10. Do you believe that every learner has the capacity to demonstrate intelligence?
Why do you think we value certain intelligence contexts more highly than others?
Is this differential legitimate?





%*"

Overview of this
Resource

The Learning Process is a framework. It is not a recipe or a linear process that can be
followed in the same way as a paint-by-numbers exercise. Learning is the ultimate
creative pursuit. It involves the comprehensive integration of essential learner
dispositions into a Learning Process that is derived from our evolving understanding of
how the brain learns. The dispositions are based on the competencies and they are
foundational to the Learning Process. They need to be learned in a cognitively appropriate
manner and developed over time.
The Learning Process is
initiated by a prompt. The
prompt, which can be an
experience, event or a
need or opportunity,
immediately stimulates
an emotional response,
and that in turn develops
our curiosity. As we ask
and apply clever
questioning, solutions to
those questions are
generated. At each stage
of the Learning Process,
a constant reflect–
review–iterate process is
applied in order to build
an increasingly
sophisticated and
relevant knowledge base.
By applying further clever questioning and interrogation of the learned knowledge, we can
start to form new ideas. Ideas are a relationship between two or more processes
(variables) that are dependent on each other in a single context. If we are in a car and
need to do a hill start on an incline, we have to gently press the accelerator (variable 1)
as we take our foot off the brake (variable 2) while releasing the handbrake (variable 3).
After some practice, we develop an idea about how hard we must press the accelerator
and how quickly we must take our foot off the brake and release the handbrake for a
small incline.

.
associated
concepts
The Learning
Process
associated
concepts
Prompt
Start Here
Rote
Learning
Concept
Formation
Creativity
Consciousness
T
h
in
k
in
g
Feedback &
Feed-Forward
Innovation
& Ingenuity
need or
opportunity
Applied to
contexts
Ideas
(to be understood)
Concepts
(to be understood)
Conceptual
Frameworks
Creativity
Knowledge
(the minimum)
Applied to
a context
T
L
Q
R R I
C
Coll
MS
T
C
C
C
Q
T
Coll
R R I
R R I
R R I
L
L
Q
C
Coll
Coll Coll
L
L
Q
Q
Q
Q
Q
L
L
L
L
R R I
Q
Q
L
L
T
T
T
T
T
Q
C
L
L
L
Curiosity
Emotion
Coll MS I C T
L Q R-R-I
Inspiration
L
Coll
MS
I
C
T
Collaborate
Manage Self
Identity
Communication
Thinking
L
Q
R-R-I
Language of Learning
Questioning
Reflect-Review-Iterate
Connect
I
I
I
I
I
I
MS
MS
MS
learning
27



%*%
By applying further clever questioning and interrogation we can apply that idea to a
number of other contexts (different inclines). After we practice hill starts on a number of
different inclines we begin to form a concept for hill starts. Once we understand a
concept for hill starts we can predict the pressure required to be applied and released on
each pedal and the release of the handbrake for any incline. We do not have to learn
each and every possible incline, as once we form a concept of hill starts our brain can
non-consciously predict the pressures and the timing required for any incline. This is a
very efficient learning system. The alternative would be to rote learn every possible
incline. Concept formation saves us a lot of repetitive rote learning and it is extraordinarily
efficient and effective.
By reflecting on existing ideas and concepts, the
brain forms links between different combinations
of knowledge, ideas and concepts to create
concept frameworks of understanding. A
concept framework is an interlinked network of
knowledge, ideas and concepts, and this capacity
provides us with the ability to drive or play a
sport via the creation of specific concept
frameworks. Having a specialised network of
ideas, concepts and concept frameworks allows
us to predict new possibilities for how that
framework may be applied to other contexts. By
synthesising and distilling existing knowledge,
ideas and concepts it is possible to be creative
and combine our knowledge, ideas, concepts and
concept frameworks in unique ways. We apply
reflective and contemplative thinking processes
to come up with totally new ideas, concepts and
concept frameworks.
By interrogating those creatively formed new ideas, concepts and concept frameworks
we can develop the potential for innovation. Innovation is about creating new ideas,
concepts and concept frameworks that may result in new products, systems and
environments being possibly developed. Ingenuity is taking those creative and innovative
notions and turning them into a practical outworking of the innovation that meets existing
and possibly emerging needs and opportunities.

“Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.”
Salvador Dali




%*&
Through the application of
clever questioning, the
reflect-review-iterate
process and synthesis and
distilling processes at any
point during the learning, the
learner may realise they
require additional knowledge,
ideas, concepts or concept
frameworks to be developed.
As a consequence the
Learning Process can return
to any of the previous steps
at any time. The Learning
Process often appears to be
chaotic and messy, but there
is a fundamental underlying
structure to efficient and
effective learning.
Increasingly, the economic and social future of countries belongs to citizens who have the
capacity to be creative, innovative and ingenious, and being creative is a highly fulfilling
pursuit. As many people as possible should be enabled to have the confidence and
capability to develop their innovative ideas, concepts and concept frameworks into
products, systems and environments that can become useful commodities and services.
That capability requires a range of dispositions and a willingness to take the necessary
risks, and that may involve the acquisition of financial and/or intellectual investment. The
ability to express our individual creativity is one of our most fulfilling experiences as
human beings.
There was a time, not so long ago, when people hated Mondays and loved
Fridays and we even sung songs about such feelings. This sentiment
emanated from the fact that the work most people were engaged in was
repetitive and tedious. Increasingly, we have to encourage people to work
less, take more time to be with their families, and enjoy the world outside of
work. In addition, workplaces are becoming increasingly creative, innovative,
challenging and exciting places to be in – albeit not all of them. Being
challenged and working in creative and innovative environments is
fundamental to the spirit of being human, and despite the tensions and
frustrations that are often associated with our workplaces, we are
increasingly enjoying them. Human beings love to be creative and innovative,
especially if other people appreciate what we create.
As well as this aspect, another change in the nature of work is emerging. In general,
creating individual solutions to individual problems creates more problems. What we
need now is for more people to have the capacity to synthesise a more complex
understanding of the world we live in, drawing on the science, sociology and technology
we have access to. Added to that is the need to appreciate the passionate and non-
rational nature of being human.



%*'
The first paradigm shift in learning saw
the transition for the centricity of
learning from oral language to a text
based centric system
102
. The second
paradigm shift in learning is similar to
the first in that a chasm has to be
crossed to gain access to the third
learning paradigm. The chasm for the
first transition was learning to read and
write. Many people imagine that the
second chasm that needs to be crossed
to get to the third paradigm is familiarity
with technology, but this is not the case.
The chasm this time around is having
the competencies and the dispositions
that underpin lifelong learning. The
explicit understanding of these by all
learner-educators is absolutely critical.
Without the competencies and dispositions, learners cannot have agency over their
learning. This all takes place within a complex society where the principles and character
formation process provide the bedrock that the learning process sits on.
An example of the creative interface between these capacities can be seen
in the development of the Flyboard. This extraordinary concept was a lateral
application of the jet-ski, but it took a lot of knowledge and a stunning number
of concepts that were then welded into a unique concept framework. This
was followed by an almost innumerable series of modifications, brought
about by the constant application of the reflection (R-R-I) process. The final
result required a number of people working collaboratively and pooling their
expertise, in order to develop a truly amazing result. You can link from the
image below or go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cd6C1vIyQ3w
The increasing status and need for
creativity will drive the requirement
for all learners to understand and
be able to apply the Learning
Process successfully. This will
provide the opportunity for greater
innovation and ingenuity to be used
to solve the increasing array of
problems and issues we face. To
become capable of being a lifelong
learner, every learner in or out of
school needs to take increasing
agency for his or her own learning.
School should increasingly be
considered as an apprenticeship in
learning to learn.

102
This paper was first written by the author in 1997.
1300 1400 1500 1600 1700 1800 1900 2000
Rate of Change
Renaissance
Period
Industrial
Revolution
The
Chasm
The Book
Paradigm
The Internet
Paradigm
kia oho ake
(The Awakening)



%*(
Learners begin school with the explicit learning intention of building an understanding
of this process and leave school with the capacity to manage their own learning, both
independently and collaboratively. The challenge to educator-learners is to encourage
younger learner-educators’ to learn how to learn, and not to do their learning or their
thinking for them and in so doing rob them of the opportunity of experiencing the “aha!”
moment and the joy of learning!
And they all lived happily ever after …
… well they will if we all believe we can make a difference, and if we are willing to challenge
our present beliefs surrounding the purpose of education and what that could be like if
we believed that all learners can develop agency over their learning and passionately
desire to learn, simply by introducing them to their own curiosity.

---------------------------------------

Consultancy: Mark Treadwell
mark@work.co.nz
www.MarkTreadwell.com
Mark works with school systems, jurisdictions and individual schools to increase their
capacity to meet the needs of 21st century learners. Mark has worked with educators
around the globe on the implementation of technology infrastructure, transitioning
pedagogical practice and/or acting as a critical friend.
Mark has presented keynote addresses to numerous international, national and regional
principal and educator organisations and associations. To get an overview of the
presentations Mark is available to speak on see
http://www.marktreadwell.com/Mark_Treadwell. For a list of recent conference
addresses you can visit http://www.marktreadwell.com/presentations
All the best with your vision for education, and my hope is that in some way
this resource contributes to your considerable individual contribution. As
Isaac Newton stated and as we have all experienced – if any one of us sees
further in any one quadrant it is because we have had the privilege of
standing on the shoulders of the giants in our respective fields. Our peers play
a crucial role in this, by asking us the clever questions that we then, via our
own curiosity, feel compelled to research and find answers to by applying the
Learning Process.

---------------------------------------

Mark Treadwell




.





The Learning Process presented here is derived from our contemporary neuroscientific
understanding of how the brain learns and this is augmented by current sociological and
psychological research. The neuroscience of how the brain learns has developed
significantly over the past 10 years and what is presented here is a preliminary model for
how the brain learns. In another 10 years we may look back at this model in the same
light as we do now for our first computers. In this emerging model, the brain has four
semi-autonomous learning systems and each has its own unique memory systems. Each
of the four learning systems draws on the learning resources of the other three systems.
About 7% of the 1 trillion cells in the brain are neurons and about 76% are astrocytes (a
type of glial cell). The role of astrocytes in learning is only just beginning to be appreciated.
Humans have the lowest ratio of neurons and the highest ratio of astrocytes of any
species.
The four proposed learning and associated memory systems are:
1. Processing of sensory data (neural and amygdala) – subconscious/conscious
2. Learning knowledge via rote – repetitive learning (neural) – conscious
3. Generating ideas, concepts and concept frameworks (neuron–synapse–
astrocytes) – conscious/non-conscious
4. Creatively being innovative and ingenious (interference/resonance of brainwave) –
conscious
Humans process sensory data very efficiently and evolutionary processes over millennia
have refines this. Learning via rote is our least efficient learning system. We really only
began using this system to any great depth during the last 200 years, courtesy of
needing to learn to read and write. We needed to memorise 26 letters and thousands of
words, which needed to be learned and spelled correctly. Our capacity for this type of
learning appears to be predominantly inherited.
We are great at creating ideas, concepts and concept frameworks, as we have been
doing this for millennia and this capacity is relatively equitable for everyone. The practical
element of learning to drive a car requires learning a series of concepts in the right
order, with very little rote-learned knowledge being required. Amazingly, we all learn to
drive with approximately the same capacity, regardless of how ‘intelligent’ we are judged
to be. People we consider as intelligent do not drive any better or learn to drive more
quickly than those who society might consider less intelligent, yet driving is one of the
most complex cognitive tasks we ever attempt. It is therefore time we redefined our
notion of intelligence and taught learners how to learn more efficiently and effectively.
Society often focuses on the question of how intelligent a person is, whereas the question
should be “How are we intelligent?” This change in view is necessary because intelligence
occurs across a spectrum of capabilities. Intelligence tests have generally focused on
rewarding fast and correct responses to questions that ask learners to recall rote-
learned information or specific abstract problems. By using Google on my computer I can
find knowledge better than can any human mind I know, yet Google is definitely not
intelligent.
Appendix 1: Learning
Executive Summary




.#

Intelligence is about how we use knowledge to form ideas, concepts and concept
frameworks, and how we then manipulate these creatively so as to be innovative and
ingenious. The capacity to learn ideas and concepts can be learned equitably by almost
everyone as long as we keep the initial amount of front-loaded (rote-learned) knowledge to
a minimum and then add new knowledge as we require it; just in time’ (JiT).
If we keep that initial body of rote-learned knowledge to a minimum and then add new
knowledge as it is required, then everyone learns at about the same rate. The knowledge
the learner driver is provided with by their driving instructor is usually minimal – “The
pedal on the right is the accelerator and the one on the left is the brake and don’t get
that wrong!” A small amount of new knowledge is required in order to create any new
idea, and then as additional knowledge is acquired that idea can be transformed into a
concept. In driving, this means initially learning the concept of steering and then braking,
gear changes, use of indicators, using the rear-view mirror, etc. There is a definitive
developmental sequence of concepts that contributes to building the concept framework
we call driving. After 50 hours of driving practice, the learner is on the motorway carrying
out one of the most complex cognitive tasks we ever attempt. Bizarrely, all those
concepts are learned and automated using a tripartite relationship between neurons,
synapses and astrocytes.
Astrocytes are triggered to map patterns by specific hormones that are
released in the brain. When hormones are released, we feel emotions. The
type of hormone released tells the astrocytes how quickly the pattern
(idea/concept) should be mapped. Being frightened, excited or when we
experience an “aha!” moment, tells the astrocytes to map that pattern
quickly, as it is important. An “aha!” moment triggers the release of
hormones that tell the astrocytes to immediately map the underlying pattern
into a permanent memory and in most cases we also automate the learning
into a non-conscious process. Amazing!
Interestingly, the ‘soft subjects’ in schools are all taught in a similar way that driving is
taught. Small amounts of knowledge are introduced and then applied immediately, and
then new knowledge is learned as it is needed (just in time). ‘Hard subjects’ are taught
quite differently. Hard subjects require a lot of knowledge to be remembered before being
applied and sadly there is generally less of an emphasis on understanding and applying
the underlying ideas and concepts. There is a range of historical reasons for these
different approaches to the learning of each of these ‘subjects’ and they need to be
reviewed.
We think consciously when we are trying to work through a challenging situation or when
we attempt to make meaning or apply our understanding. Non-conscious thinking allows
our brain to make numerous automated decisions (automaticity), such as adjusting the
required pressure on the accelerator or the brake without consciously thinking about
that. The tripartite relationship across the brain’s astrocytic–synaptic–neural
connections allows the underlying cognitive pattern for a concept to be mapped and
automated. Our brain uses this system to predict how each concept will be applied to
each unique context we experience. This is why we often have little recall of our driving
experiences, as almost all of our driving concepts are applied non-consciously. The brain
can only process one conscious thought at a time, and it is the process of automating
our conceptual thinking that allows us to multi-task. We can carry out one conscious
thinking task as well as many other non-conscious ones simultaneously.



.##

We are also able to think subconsciously; an example being our heart beating, a
process over which we have little control. Our brain is primarily a learning instrument, but
it is not always achieving this learning via conscious thinking processes. To think is to
learn, purposefully or not, and one process leads to the other, but they are not the same
process.
The Competencies
Foundational to the ability to learn is being able to apply the competencies that underpin
successful learning. These competencies are required in order to learn effectively and
efficiently. The competencies include:
1. Identity
2. Thinking and questioning
3. Collaboration
4. Having a comprehensive language of learning
5. Managing self
6. Connecting and reflecting (Reflect–Review–
Iterate) on existing knowledge, ideas and
concepts to create new knowledge, ideas,
concepts and concept frameworks
The human ability to learn is extraordinarily complex, but
we are coming closer to understanding how the brain achieves this and it is nothing like
what we expected. From this emerging model of how the brain learns, we are now
beginning to understand how we can make the Learning Process increasingly explicit, as
well as more efficient and effective.
Our Inner Voice
What integrates our four learning systems is our ability to interrogate each of them and
construct concept frameworks of understanding that draw on unique combinations from
some or all these learning systems. This process requires us to be able to interrogate
our thinking metacognitively, by asking clever questions of self and having conversations
with ourselves. The questions and the conversations we have with ourselves interrogate
each of our learning systems in order to build an integrated picture of our world and of
ourself.
Being conscious means that we are aware of our thinking and we can reflect
on that thinking. Over the course of our lives, we are consciously, non-
consciously and sub-consciously creating the person we are.
The Learning Process is initiated by a prompt that we as the learner are engaged by. The
prompt can be an object, video, experience, event or need, and that prompt stimulates
an emotional response within us, and that in turn makes us ask questions. As a result,
these questions engage our curiosity. Curiosity is not an emotion, but rather an innate
human instinct. As a learner we ask and apply clever questions and the solutions to those
questions are most efficiently created via the application of the Learning Process. At
each stage of the Learning Process we are constantly applying the competencies in
order to build relevant knowledge that will help us answer our questions.




.###

By applying further clever questioning and interrogation of the knowledge we can form
an idea. Ideas are a relationship between two or more processes (involving variables)
that are dependent on each other within a single context. If we want to do a hill start in a
car we have to gently press the accelerator (variable 1) as we take the pressure off the
brake (variable 2). We now have an idea about how hard we must press the accelerator
and how quickly to take our foot off the brake, but that combination only works for a
particular incline (context).
We can then apply those ideas to a number of contexts (different inclines) and as we
attempt an increasing range of inclines we improve our capacity to predict the different
pressures on each pedal that we need to apply and release. After practicing on a number
of different inclines, we form a conceptual understanding of that relationship between
the variables (slope, surface, brake/accelerator).
Once we have a concept of hill starts we can non-
consciously predict the pressure required to be applied
and released on each pedal for any incline/surface.
Fortunately, we do not have to learn each and every
possible incline by rote as we can now predict the
appropriate pressures. Mapping concepts and predicting
their application is a very efficient learning system. The
alternative would be to rote learn every single incline from
0 to 90 degrees (okay, maybe 0 to 30 degrees in
practice). Learning using concept formation is
extraordinarily efficient and effective – it is how our brain
learns best. By reviewing existing ideas and concepts, the
brain forms links between different combinations of
knowledge, ideas and concepts to create concept
frameworks. A concept framework is an interlinked
network of knowledge, ideas and concepts. Examples of
concept frameworks include driving a car, making a meal
or playing a sport. Concept frameworks are created via
the interference and/or resonance patterns of
brainwaves that are interrogated for their value by the
amygdala in our brain.
Having a network of ideas, concepts and concept framework allows us to predict new
possibilities for contexts that we may never have experienced.
Creativity is a process whereby learners synthesise and distil sensory experiences as
well as what we know and understand in order to create new ideas, concepts and
concept frameworks that have value. We ask ourselves questions to interrogate and
remix the knowledge, ideas, concepts and concept frameworks that we have learned into
new combinations. There is a lot of science sitting behind the creative process, but the
raw material of sensory perception and knowledge has to be in place before being
creative is even remotely possible.
Creativity requires contemplation, sleep and the willingness to let the mind drift
(daydream) for a few seconds to a few minutes. These processes allow structures in the
brain called the hippocampus and the amygdala to check the different combinations of
brainwaves and scan them for productive outcomes. Creativity is the underlying thinking
process, and innovation and ingenuity are the potential outcomes. Imagination is the
process of coming up with new ideas, concepts and concept frameworks that do not



.#$

necessarily have to make sense or be of any practical value.

Innovation is about creating new ideas, concepts and concept frameworks that
have the potential to become new products, systems or environments. Ingenuity is taking
those creative and innovative notions and crafting them into practical outcomes that
meet needs or opportunities.
Applying clever questioning, reflection and connecting different ideas, concepts and
concept frameworks, combined with synthesising and distilling processes at any point
during the Learning Process, can generate the need for additional new knowledge, ideas,
concepts or concept frameworks to be developed. Our thinking can return to any other
stage in the Learning Process at any time. The Learning Process often appears to be
chaotic and messy but there is an underlying structure.
Increasingly, a significant proportion of the economic and social future of every country
rests on the shoulders of those citizens who have the capacity to be creative, innovative
and ingenious. As many people as possible should be confident and capable in developing
their innovative ideas into products, systems and environments, in the form of useful
commodities and services for the good of their communities. That process requires a
range of competencies and dispositions, as well including the willingness to take
significant personal and financial risks. That means acquiring investment to turn those
innovative ideas into ingenious products, systems and environments.




.$





The Learning Process is by its nature a very ‘messy’ cognitive process and it
is by no means linear or predictable. Above all, the Learning Process
requires educators to have a deep understanding of learning in order to
stimulate curiosity through the imaginative and creative application of
prompts that encourage the learner to become curious. These expectations
require a substantive change to the contemporary pedagogy of practice that
is applied in schools BUT the consequences of not making those changes
would be tragic for learners of all ages, as well as their communities.





.$#


The notion of the flipped classroom suggests that learners should be learning from
watching video, PowerPoint, Prezi’s or reading text-based documents at home before
coming to school where they can then engage in the Learning Process based on the
prompt they have viewed, read or interacted with the night before. The notion of learners
building their own understanding of knowledge, ideas, concepts or concept frameworks
via the homework prompt needs to be tempered by some recent research.
“We are showing that exploration, inquiry and problem solving are not just ‘nice to
have’ things in classrooms,” said Blikstein. “They are powerful learning mechanisms
that increase performance by every measure we have.” Pea explained that these
results indicate the value for learning of first engaging one’s prior knowledge and
intuitions in investigating problems in a learning domain – before being presented
with abstracted knowledge. Having first explored how one believes a system works
creates a knowledge-building relevance to the text or video that is then presented, he
said.
103
Stanford Graduate School of Education
The flipped classroom is a great idea in terms of what we ask the learner to do at home,
but it needs a small modification so that they are exploring the knowledge, ideas,
concepts and concept frameworks via the Learning Process in the home environment
because they are intrigued by what they are investigating. To achieve this, the learner
needs to be exposed to a prompt while in school and that then drives their curiosity so
that they have a desire to learn when they get home. The learners can then bring the
results of their own initial learning to the classroom and share these with their peers and
educators. The Stanford Graduate School of Education has discovered that this
modification provides a 25% increase in the level of understanding that the learners
achieve in the same amount of time.
By modifying the flipped classroom in this way, not only does the learner have agency over
their learning but also they are intrigued and want to discover more about what the
prompt initiated.


103
Schneider, B, Stanford University, Stanford; “Preparing for Future Learning with a Tangible User Interface: The Case of
Neuroscience;” June 2013; http://www.computer.org/csdl/trans/lt/2013/02/tlt2013020117-abs.html Accessed June 2013
Appendix 2: Flipped Classrooms:
A Cautionary Tale
“An ecological evaluation of BrainExplorer revealed that 1)
students who engaged in the open-ended exploration
outperformed students who used traditional textbook materials
and 2) correctly sequencing activities is fundamental for
improving student performance.” Stanford Graduate School of
Education



.$##


Identity can be viewed from a number
of different perspectives. The humanistic
stance is common but there are other
philosophical foundations for identity that
are both religious and non-religious. The
Christian identity is presented here as an
example of how identity can be viewed
very differently when a different
philosophical foundation underpins our
identity.
The nature of Christian identity differs
significantly from humanistic identity as it
is based on a different set of premises.
Embodied within these premises is the
notion that life has purpose and will be
lived out through the application of the
God-given gifts and talents that lay within
each person. A Christian perspective of
life is based on the additional premise
that our identity is derived from the
notion that we are created in God’s
image. God is passionate as well as
logical and sensible, but like all of us the
passionate will often trump the outcome
we deserve and within that is borne the
notion of grace that those with a
Christian faith live by.
Christ’s message was that rules were
for those that lack wisdom, and that
rules are necessary as no one is perfect. However, we have the opportunity to act with
grace in the same way we have been afforded grace for the mistakes that we have made.
As we are the beneficiaries of grace, so we should be the benefactors of the same grace
to others. It is not the role of Christians to judge, but rather to encourage and build the
capacity that lies within both those we have influence with as well as ourselves. This
generosity is the model for those that live by this faith.
Christian identity is based on the personal relationship each person can have with Christ
and ultimately with God. This proposition changes the way in which Christian people
should behave to those in their community and also how they see themselves. These are
aspirational qualities and the need to forgive self is as important as being able to forgive
others. In the Christian faith it is important to have the difficult conversations we need to
have, but once the conversation has been had we must love those we have confronted
and not judge them.
Identity
(Christian)
Effective identity development requires:
1. That we have a belief system based on the unconditional
love of God.
2. A realisation that we live under grace and we are granted
forgiveness through Christ.
3. Us to draw confidence in our identity of self as we are
made in God’s image.
4. Principles to be derived from our attitudes, qualities and
values.
5. Character to be derived from our morality, ethics and
spirituality.
6. Integrity that comes from being aware of our heritage in
Christ.
Effective identify application requires:
1. Knowing God accepts us as we are and forgives us.
2. A model for selflessness that is embodied in Christ’s
actions.
3. Realising our beliefs shape our purpose and our purpose
guides our actions.
4. A ‘servant heart’ that fuels thoughtfulness and service.
5. Honest self-reflection allowing us to review and potentially
change how we react.
6. Our purpose to be shaped via our relationship with Christ
(our beliefs).
Effective identity dispositions require:
1. Our identity to be a personal derivative of Jesus’ identity.
2. Courage, driven by conviction that drives actions in keeping
with beliefs.
3. Justice that drives actions in keeping with faith-fuelled
beliefs.
4. Humility that tempers over-confidence and extends grace.
5. The encouraging of others to be the best they can be.
6. Being self-aware.
Appendix 3: Christian Identity



.$###
Appendix 4: Driving & Reading

For most people, driving a car is probably the most complex cognitive task we ever
attempt. The fact that almost everyone passes the driving test eventually and that
insurance companies do not base insurance premiums on our IQ, tells us that almost
everyone can learn at an equal rate if the learning experience is structured appropriately.
Increasingly, the economic future of countries belongs to citizens who have the capacity
to be creative, innovative and ingenious. As many people as possible should have the
confidence and the capability to develop their ideas and concepts into products, systems
and environments in the form of useful commodities and services. That process requires
a range of competencies and dispositions, as well as the willingness to take risks via the
acquisition of investment to turn those innovative ideas into ingenious products, systems
and environments.


104
Intelligence Quotient in general tests rote learning capability hence the normal distribution curve. These test are also very
intimidating and for those that have been told by school systems they are not intelligent there is an expectation that they will
not have success and their lack of confidence induces nervousness that releases the hormone cortisol in the brain and ‘brain
freeze’ kicks in. The outcome is highly predictable and is an appalling test that does not reflect intelligence.
Reading and writing Driving a car
Hours of practice 7 to 7000 75 to 100
Educator training and
competence
Degree or better
None unless trained driving
instructor
Educator strategic
panning and preparation
Extremely high
(with ongoing professional
development, research & peer
reflection. Often measured
against endorsed national
standards)
Minimal – They must have a
drivers license,
(a trained driving instructor may
have undergone some additional
training)
Success rate
40 to 75%
(given as many attempts as they
like)
95%
(given two attempts)
Life test (correlation
between IQ
104
and ability
90%+ The higher the IQ the
better the result
<10% - The accident rate
seems to be independent of
IQ (but on a personal note I would
rather the apprentice drive me
how than the university
professor!)



.#.
Finland’s success in the PISA
105
rankings has been influenced by the work of Pasi
Salberg in many ways. More importantly, he has engaged the wider Finnish community
into a conversation about what actually matters in education systems. He has much to
say about interpreting data that appears to indicate what are and what are not
successful school systems.
Countering this approach is the Global Educational Reform Movement (Germ), which has
seen the introduction of a series of market-led reform strategies that includes charter
schools (privately governed schools), national standards, competition for students, and
the notion of virtual education. Not all these reforms are inherently bad, but collectively
they develop a culture that focuses on the use of selective quantifiable data mostly
centred on reading, writing and mathematics, as a benchmark for an effective education
experience. In practice though, most parents/caregivers send their children to school for
far more than getting the highest reading, writing and mathematics test scores and
learning to parrot-back inane processes and facts that they do not understand.
Increasingly, the capabilities that young people require in order to make the most of their
talents are contained within the competencies. The competencies create the potential for
anyone to work collaboratively and learn whatever is needed or desired to be learned, just
in time. Any curriculum that has as its intent “To prepare all members of society to live
and work in an ever-changing world” must pay far greater attention to the competencies
and ensure that all learners are explicitly exposed to them.

National testing almost always
involves reading, writing and
mathematics. There is not a single
example anywhere in the world
where standardised testing has
shown generic and continuing
improvements in either
mathematics or literacy. The
reason for this lack of
improvement in literacy is that, in a
generic sense, the teaching of
reading and writing has reached
its upper limit of efficiency. Given
the largely inherited and genetic
nature underpinning the capability
for rote learning, there is little
scope for improvement on a
national scale without seeing
detrimental changes in other
curriculum areas. While it is
valuable to expect high standards,
we should not expect any
significant improvement in this
domain on a macroscopic level.


105
PISA – the Program for International Student Assessment; http://www.oecd.org/pisa/ Accessed July 2013
Australian NAPLAN Test Results
2008-2013
Appendix 5: Standardised Education




..
There are no alternative ways of teaching reading and writing that can make a
significant difference to the rate of learning, as the initial stages of the process of reading
and writing are highly dependent on remembering a vocabulary, the shapes, sounds of
letters and the sequencing of those elements. If it were possible to continually improve
the standard of reading and writing, then at some point we would have babies reading
and writing in their first year of life. There is obviously an upper limit and we have reached
that. The graphs demonstrate this quite clearly.
Both the Australian results for their NAPLAN
106
testing programme and extensive results
for the United States
107
over the last 40 years show that both the negative and positive
changes sit comfortably within the margin of error.
Mathematics is a different case altogether. Despite being based on a conceptual
language, a lot of mathematics teaching is also taught using a rote-learning approach.
The outcome of this approach also results in an upper limit as the tables and graphs
highlight. However, if we changed how we taught mathematics, and taught mathematics
conceptually, then we could see considerable improvement in the understanding of
mathematics by learners. Mathematics is a conceptual language, unlike our text-based
language, which has no conceptual underpinnings.
Unfortunately, due to the general poor teaching of mathematics that many of our
educators received both when they were at school and during their teaching education
programmes at university, their limited understanding of the underlying concepts of
mathematics and lack of good examples of their application, means that many education
practitioners resort to a rote-learned, process orientated approach. This rote-learning
approach is also reflected in the extensive use of mathematics textbooks throughout
almost every education system and jurisdiction around the world. Rather than being
taught to understand mathematical concepts, mathematics is taught via memorising
generic processes in order to get the right answer.
Those processes are then
practiced endlessly, until the
learner can consistently get
the correct answer. The
result of this teaching
approach is that learners
are taught to follow a
process to get the right
answer and they have
almost no understanding of
what it is that they are
doing or why they are doing
it. It is not surprising
therefore that mathematics
is the subject most learners
‘hate’ and want to ‘drop’
when they go to high school.

106
The results for persuasive writing have been left out of the calculations, as they were an aberration that was inconsistent
with other results. If they had been included, the reported improvements would have been lower still. Data accessed from
http://www.nap.edu.au/results-and-reports/national-reports.html
107
These were carried out by the Department of Education, Education Sciences; National Center for Education Statistics;
National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), 1971–2008 Long Term Trends Project. Data can be accessed from
http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2009479 Accessed July 2009



..#
In everyday life, for most people, mathematics is not about getting the exact answer but
rather being able to approximate. We are constantly doing mathematical approximations:
• How much time will it take to get to our workplace or sports practice?
• What does a 15% discount for a product translate to?
• What might my income be for the year?
• What will the temperature outside be?
• How many days are left until my birthday?
• The graph seems to show that Jeremy Higgins will win the next election.
The fact that most of the mathematics we use on a day-to-day basis is about
approximation means that the only way we can achieve the prediction of an answer is
through understanding the underlying concepts of mathematics. There are of course
many people who sometimes need to get the exact answer and we are not decrying this
necessity. Accountants, engineers, those in the medical field and even educators, are all
required at some point to get exact answers and our lives can depend on this capability.
However, if we get the right answer but have no idea as to what the implications of the
right answer might be, then getting the right answer has little value.
Test scores that are
based on rote learning
will not and cannot
improve at a
macroscopic level, and
any government that
ties themselves to a
promise that they can
significantly improve
national standards will
be found out in due
course, as each has
been.


What is critical now is that where rote learning is necessary (especially surrounding the
learning of language), it must be made as enjoyable as possible. But when rote learning is
being applied because educators are unclear of the conceptual nature of what it is they
are expecting learners to learn, then there needs to be a significant amount of up-skilling
made available to those educators.
As we have seen in the Learning Process, there is a distinct and necessary role for
learning by rote and remembering information, but it should not dominate the learning
landscape or be the sole or even dominant measure of what we consider to be
intelligence.
/
Mark Treadwell
www.MarkTreadwell.com
mark@work.co.nz
In this extraordinary resource, which investigates how we
learn, Mark Treadwell uses recent discoveries from
neuroscientists, psychologists and sociologists to create a
radically new model for how the brain learns and how we
remember what we have learned. This model is then
applied to develop a universal Learning Process. Through
the application of this Learning Process almost all learners
can share the same degree of learning success and as a
consequence our whole notion of intelligence is turned
upside down.
Learning
"Researchers found mice that received the implants
(of human glia) were better able to learn and
remember than those that didn’t. In short, the
human cells (astrocytes) seem to have made the
mice smarter." Dr. Francis Collins - US National
Institute of Health (Director)
"Human astrocytes in a mouse brain”
Source: Steven Goldman, M.D., Ph.D.,
University of Rochester Medical Center
"This indicates the importance of human astrocytes
in the unique cognitive abilities of human brains and
identifies astrocytes as an important player in the
improvement of cognitive abilities during human
evolution.” Y. Zhang, B.A. Barres;
/