Enabling others to “learn how to learn” is usually misconstrued as instructing them how to successfully submit to being taught or instructed. Self-Organised-Learning repudiates any idea that learning reduces to accepting that “the expert knows best”, or that there is only “one best way” of properly understanding an event, a job, an issue or even another person. Nor is there is ever “the one best method” of doing anything: it depends upon other things being equal. In different circumstances using the same learning may even produce different results.
S-O-L defines learning as “the construction of personally significant, relevant and viable meaning”.
At its’ very base this acknowledges that each of us is different and could be much more than we are. This more truly democratic approach to learning needs to be tried out and evaluated by each learner or group of learners, to test whether or how it could become more “meaningful, constructive and effective” for me or us.
Since human learning may be achieved by one person, or groups of learners working together; S-O-L is not only a more rewarding and effective way of living one’s personal life; it is also applicable to any group of people living, playing and/or working together.
As many young children, pupils, students and lifelong learners eventually become ruefully aware, this ‘testing out of what I have learned’ needs to be carried out in each learner’s whole process of living, and so it extends well beyond the confines of specific learning environments (home, school or university: and training, counselling or psychological treatment departments, etc.), and eventually beyond the reaches of the controllers of these environments (parents, teachers, employers, therapists etc.) With S-O-L those who had been:
Controllers of What was learned and How it was learned; can now become:
Enablers of the Processes of Learning as a lifelong ever-developing internal and external system of Learning Conversations which enable the S-O-Lers to:
Seek out and Evaluate what they realise they need; and so Choose to Learn, to develop the Skills and Understanding to achieve a richer and more rewarding life.
We eventually came to use the term “TCs” (i.e. Teachers, Trainers, Tutors and Therapists: Coaches, Counsellors, Custodians and Consultants) to point at many of the different professions that might usefully re-construe the nature of the job that they are doing. Re-construe it from instruction in well established but often dubious public knowledge, which will almost certainly change more than once during their clients’ lifetime. We have found that TC’s can do this by enabling their charges to “learn how to learn” whatever it is that they, themselves, foresee to be what they need to know. Certainly this includes an increasingly more personal selection from what others have found useful, but it also embodies the ability to move on, away or towards what becomes increasing clear and useful to the S-O-Ler as they and their personal experience, and indeed their life grows, expands, develops and perhaps flowers. Most importantly, they continue to learn long after the “TCs” have disappeared.