“Thinking isn’t taught…it’s released” – Patricia Holman
Per dictionary definition, learning is the act of acquiring knowledge through experience, study, or being taught. In neuroplasticity brain-speak, learning is the process whereby the brain creates increasingly complex differentiations that expand awareness and ability.
Anat Baniel explains that the learning switch, although not an actual location in the body or brain, is a metaphor for those conditions that converge in the student which contribute to an upgraded ability to make connections, reduce inconsistencies, and increase cognitive and functional organization.
The Learning Switch affects learning power, which lies on a continuum from lowest learning power — memorization and retrieval, to maximum learning power — critical thinking through inductive and deductive reasoning. If a student is learning, then the learning switch is on—The learning switch must be “on” before any learning can occur. The learning switch acts as a potentiometer…the degree to which quality learning occurs is entirely dependent on the learning switch being “on”.
The stereotypical form of learning occurs in the traditional school, religious, or social setting. It’s an externally imposed framework relying on the “learners” capacity to store and retrieve information; this is learning through indoctrination. Success in this paradigm stems from a desire to create harmony in a group, please an authority figure, and/or satisfy familial and cultural requirements; this is the low vitality end of the learning power spectrum. On the opposite end of the continuum is having the learning switch on; which is an empowering process of generating volition and intention via curiosity and enthusiasm, where the learner is self-motivated to seek information for their own gratification.
Turning On the Learning Switch Means We Begin With Connection
Turning the learning switch on is to intentionally create those conditions which make learning easier and more iterative. Starting where a child is at…in other words working within the limits of their current ability is one of the first steps in turning the learning switch on. Correcting kids, instead of connecting with them, as is often the case in traditional school settings, disconnects kids from their learning potential.
So this is the first requirement for turning on the switch. Connecting with the little person instead of correcting them. Connecting with learners means that we look for that thing that they do well, recruit their attention for that with games and play and creative variations, slowly introducing novelty or problem solving within their ability to be successful at what their already doing. This will make the switch turn on, and then, problem solving and critical thinking become a natural consequence. When we insist on teaching kids things they don’t know without first turning on the learning switch, learning takes longer, is less interesting, requires more thought effort, and creates anxiety.
Our intention, with the ABM Nine Essentials is to directly & intentionally access the learning switch, to use our specialized movement & thought tools to help a child “Turn on their learning switch” in order to make connections richer and learning more potent.