August 9, 2004

A note from John Dewey

"The modern discovery of inner experience, of a realm of purely personal events that are always at the individual's command and that are his exclusively as well as inexpensively for refuge, consolidation and thrill, is also a great and liberating discovery. It implies a new worth and sense of dignity in human individuality, a sense that an individual is not merely a property of nature, set in place according to a scheme independent of him...but that he adds something, that he makes a contribution. It is the counterpart of what distinguishes modern science, experimental hypothetical, a logic of discovery having therefore opportunity for individual temperament, ingenuity, invention. It is the counterpart of modern politics, art, religion and industry where individuality is given room and movement, in contrast to the ancient scheme of experience, which held individuals tightly within a given order subordinate to its structure and patterns."

John Dewey(1958), Experience and Nature

Posted by chri1010 at 7:43 PM

Kolb on Knowledge

"Learning is the process of creating knowledge. To understand learning, we must understand the nature and forms of human knowledge and the processes whereby this knowledge is created....This process of creation occurs at all levels of sophistication, from the most advanced forms of scientific research to the child's discovery that a rubber ball bounces. Knowledge is the result of the transaction between social knowledge and personal knowledge. The former, as Dewey noted, is the civilized objective accumulation of previous human cultural experience, whereas the latter is the accumulation of the individualized person's subjective experiences. Knowledge results from the transaction between these objective and subjective experiences in a process called learning" (Kolb, 1984, pp. 36-37)

Posted by chri1010 at 7:37 PM

Experiential learning and higher education

From Arthur Chickering:
"....there is no question that issues raised by experiential learning go to the heart of the academic enterprise. Experiential learning leads us to question the assumptions and conventions underlying many of our practices. It turns us away from credit hours and calendar time toward competence, working knowledge, and information pertinent to jobs, family relationships, community responsibilities, and broad social concerns. It reminds us that higher education can do more than develop verbal skills and deposit information in those storage banks between the ears. It can contribute to more complex kinds of intellectual development and to more pervasive dimensions of human development required for effective citizenship. It can help students cope with shifting developmental tasks imposed by the life cycle and rapid social change" (Experience and Learning: An Introduction to Experiential Learning, 1977, p. 86)

Posted by chri1010 at 7:33 PM

David Kolb on what it all means

At the conclusion of Experiential Education, Kolb connects experiential learning with integrity and transcendence, in a circular process of knowing. Using the Buddhist Tantric symbol of a mandala, Kolb connects the pieces:


"The capacity for such integrated judgment seems to be borne out of transcendence, wherein the conflicts that those of us at lower levels of insight perceive as win-lose are recast into a higher form that can make everyone a winner, or can make winning and losing irrelevant. And fianlly, with centering comes commitment in the integration of abstract ideals in the concrete here-and-now of one's life. When we act from our center, the place of truth within us, action is based on the fusion of value and fact, meaning and relevance, and hence is totally committed. Only by personal commitment to the here-and-now of one's life situation, fully accepting one's past and takign choiceful responsbility for one's future, is the dialectic conflict necessary for learning experienced. The dawn of integrity comes with the acceptance of responsibility for the course of own's own life. For in taking responsibility for the world, we are given back the power to change it (1984, pp. 229-230).

Posted by chri1010 at 7:18 PM

Integrity in Experiential Learning

David Kolb (1984) writes:

"In the theory of experiential learning, integrity is a sophisticated, integrated process o flearning, of knowing. It is not primarily a set of character traits such as honesty, consistency, or morality. These traits are only proabbly behavioral derivations of the integrated judgements that flow from integrated learning. Honesty, consistency, and morality are usually, but not always, the result of integrated learning....The prime function of integrity and integrative knowledge [by this Kolb means "codified social knowledge"] is to stand at the interface between social knowledge and the ever-novel predicaments and dilemmas we find ourselves in; its goal is to guide us through these straits in such a way that we not only survive, but perhaps we can make some new contribution to the data bank of social knowledge for generations to come" (Experiential Learning, p. 225).

Posted by chri1010 at 7:08 PM