Basic concepts

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Part 2

Structure of lessons



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LEARNING is a reality that necessarily belongs to being human, i.e., being human cannot be thought of or understood without it. Thus, learning is an existentiell. In addition, LEARNING is a life function that clearly shows what a person essentially is. Consequently, learning is an anthropological category. This means that when learning is used as an illuminative means of thinking (i.e., when reality is reflectively looked at in terms of learning), it can be seen that a person is an acquirer and indeed an acquirer of being able to and of knowing. By learning, something is acquired (by labor and with difficulty), namely, being able to do and to know something. A person learns in order to be able to do and to know and to build this into his ways of living and doing. A person will learn to be able (to do, to act) and to know.

To educatively learn to know and do, thus for all learning to progress on the road to proper adulthood, is to appropriate particular content (such as curricula selected for the school) in order to master valuable behaviors, lived-experiences, experiences and willful activities and to become proficient in certain skills. LEARNING, then, is:

  1. acquiring meaningful content;
  2. acquiring meaningful behaviors, lived-experiences, experiences, and willful activities; and
  3. developing meaningful doing and skills.

As soon as meaningfulness is emphasized, the behaviorist definition of LEARNING, namely, that it is “a change in behaving as a result of particular stimuli”, is acknowledged as meaningless. Indeed, there is mention of a positive change in behaving, lived-experiencing, experiencing, willful activities and knowing as preconditions for improving relationships, as rational-communicative activities, with reality. This means that in the thinking communicating (relating) with reality, certain content arouses one to reflect on and think it through by which an elevation in level occurs. It is important to emphasize that there is no gap between knowing and acting. Learning must lead to knowing and doing (i.e., action) on the basis of meaningful content, meaningful behaving, lived-experiencing, experiencing and willing activities (sometimes) in the form of meaningful skills.

By educative learning the child’s relationship to reality continually changes in the direction of a gradual and increasingly adult relationship to reality. This means that educating can be viewed as activities by which educative LEARNING (as a particular relationship to reality) is made possible. The actualization of the essences of educating (here: fundamental-pedagogic essences) serve as possible preconditions for learning as a meaningful change in relationships and also for the acquisition of new relationships. Among others, these relationships are relationships of behaving, lived-experiencing, experiencing, willing and knowing. Educative learning now can be defined as a meaningful change of these relationships to reality known as behaving, lived-experiencing, experiencing, willing and knowing. It is change ever closer to proper adulthood that is actualized in terms of particular content and skills.

The following question now arises: in what ways is this meaningful change actualized? One particular set of ways by which relationships to reality can be changed is those activities that are known as MODES OF LEARNING. By actualizing the modes of learning certain relationships to reality gradually change meaningfully in the direction of adequate adulthood. For fundamental pedagogics, in the first place, this has to do with its own essence analysis of the modes of learning (as described and explicated by psychopedagogics); second to disclose the meaningful relations among the modes of learning and particular relationships to reality; and in the third place to disclose the fundamental-pedagogical preconditions for actualizing the modes of learning and the correlated relationships that eventually lead to attaining adulthood as an independent way of living.

Thus, the modes of learning are in particular interaction with particular relationships to reality and with fundamental-pedagogical structures and teaching, form part of the field of educating. Modes of learning, particular world relationships, ways of teaching (among others the essences of the phases of a lesson) and fundamental-pedagogical structures form an unbreakable unity on the child’s way to becoming [an adult].

In terms of the above, educating is supporting the learning child to adult relationships with reality, i.e., to adult ways of behaving, lived-experiencing, experiencing, willing and knowing and this occurs by actualizing increasingly independent modes of learning, i.e., increasing adult sensing, perceiving, attending, thinking and remembering.

However, two matters must be added to this:

  1. since educating is the actualization of the essences of educating (here: fundamental-pedagogical essences), the connections among fundamental-pedagogical structures (with their essences) and the modes of learning and a number of particular relationships to reality must be disclosed; and
  2. since educating is not possible without teaching, the connections among the modes of learning, world relationships, fundamental-pedagogical essences with the essences of teaching (here: essences of the phases of a lesson) must be disclosed.

The child’s relationships to reality that increasingly are elevated ever nearer to adulthood are the relationships of:

  1. behaving;
  2. lived-experiencing;
  3. experiencing;
  4. willing activities; and
  5. knowing.

The ways in which each of these relationships can be elevated are the following modes of learning:

  1. the activity of sensing;
  2. the activity of perceiving;
  3. the activity of attending;
  4. the activity of thinking; and
  5. the activity of remembering.

Landman, W. A., Van Zyl, M. E. J. and Roos, S. G.: Fundamenteel-Pedagogiese Essensies: hulle verskyning, verwerkliking en Inhoudgewing – met kernvrae, Butterworths, Durban, 1975.

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