Adult Learning Force

Conceptual Emphasis

In summer 2015 Creating Landscapes will be experiencing its twenty-sixth season while the Gifted and Talented Collaboration (a Landscapes Learning Satellite) launches its seventeenth year. As it turns out this quarter century exploration of learning and teaching has yielded more questions than answers.  Nevertheless some things have become very clear.

We now understand that landscapes learningis differentiated by a commitment to quality, simplicity, integrity, justice and fun.  We have evidence that finding expressive form has the potential to transform individuals, relationships and communities—especially learning communities. We realize that aesthetic experience depends on critical understanding as well as enlarged capacity for noticing, listening, sensing and feeling.  We do know that the success of our serious playenterprisedepends on choosing collaborators carefully and learning to leverage the resources at hand.  And finally, we are beginning to suspect that of equal value to forming significant questions is finding the courage to challenge traditional answers.

Our clarifications are supported by a theory of learning known as constructivismSome general ideas that come from constructivism may be useful to keep in mind as we continue our processes of rethinking and reforming our educational practices:

  • Learning is not the result of development; learning is development.  It requires invention and self-organization on the part of the learner.  Thus teachers need to allow learners to raise their own questions, generate their own hypotheses and models as possibilities, and test them for viability.
  • Reflective abstraction is the driving force of learning.  That means, as meaning-makers, humans seek to organize and generalize across experiences in a representational form.  Allowing reflection time through journal writing, representation in multi-symbolic form, and/or discussion of connections across experiences or strategies can help facilitate reflective abstraction.
  • Dialogue within a community engenders further thinking.  According to Catherine Fosnot, (1989), the classroom needs to be seen as a “community of discourse engaged in activity, reflection, and conversation
  • Mind and art are to be thought of as verbs actively engaged in processes of meaning making…

Speaking of verbs, you will be interested to note that in the twenty-first century revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of higher to lower thinking skills nouns are replaced by gerunds.



And finally, in the service of creating intergenerational dialogue among a diverse learning community  please remember to honor deep listening, collaboration, cooperation and consideration!

Jan Hyatt
Coordinator Creating Landscapes Learning Programs
Gifted and Talented Allegheny Coordinator
May, 2015