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Elaine > David > Elaine.... Self Esteem 11

I would be happy to be "looped in" to any of the threads you are developing.  Besides being so interested in your goals, I find your directions and the way your mind handles them to be fascinating.

When you say
the question then becomes what modes of conscious participation will develop these faster than consciousness reflexes in ways that are intrinsically learning-oriented rather than mechanical?
I find myself quite curious as to how you might go about that.
May "the flow" be with you!


Its been a real pleasure to travel this space together. I think we are in deep sync accord. For me our next frontier is understanding how everything we are talking about here (self-esteem and learning to learn from the inside-out) runs very deep into the micro-time, faster than we are conscious of, reflexes that regulate our attention. As in reading where I describe one aspect of the process as:

To read well our minds must process letters into sounds, sounds into words, words into meanings and meanings into a stream of comprehensions faster then we can consciously participate in the process. This implies, as we are not evolutionarily adapted for reading, that we must learn mental reflexes or ‘scripts’ that will perform the unconscious processing for us. In order to develop these, faster-than-conscious-reflexes, we need ‘training’. The question is what kind of training?

I believe we learn to learn in similar ways - we develop unconscious reflexes that guide the process - the question then becomes what modes of conscious participation will develop these faster than consciousness reflexes in ways that are intrinsically learning-oriented rather than mechanical? With reading its easier because its comparatively static.

If you are interested in this thread I will loop you in as it develops.

Thanks so much dear lady - David

-----Original Message-----
From: Elaine King 
Sent: Sunday, March 17, 2002 2:05 PM
To: David Boulton
Cc: Gary David
Subject: Re: self-esteem

Hi Elaine,  
Thank you and it should be said that Gary and you have been the catalysts in this round - THANK YOU! I will be in this color again (magenta?)
Gary was the catalyst, and he is now remaining strangely silent.  Gary?  Silent?
. My belief is that the child's mind, in its own sometimes stumbling (and stuttering) way, is working to learn and to become whole and that it should be trusted.   Yes, and its even more important that we create environments in which children learn to tune and instrument a trust in their own 'minds'.  Children won't necessarily learn all they need to learn by proceeding exclusively from trusting themselves. There is a legitimate role for curriculum.
There is a legitimate role for stimulation in many areas of learning, and curriculum serves the purpose, at least for now. Without that, we could do away with teachers. I'm not about to get myself in that much trouble with my teacher friends, as well as with my daughter and sister-in-law.
 Though educators, and curriculum-planners, can sometimes be convinced, a teacher who faces far too many students every day, many of them too shamed to participate, feels quite differently. During the peak of  the self-esteem movement in the 60s and 70s, many classrooms and various types of curricula were designed to foster inside-out learning,  
I think this may have been true in spirit, it obviously is and was in the intention of teacher like you, however, I wonder if we ever went deep enough in our understanding of 'inside-out learning' more specifically the bottom line: healthy learning reflexes are developed in relation to the learner's participation in the flow of their learning - this happens in a time scape and at a level of subtlety we have been largely oblivious to - our curriculum needs to create gross navigational scaffolding and thereafter acknowledge, respond to learn from what learner's are needing to resource their ever more optimal participation from their inside-out experience. I think the problems are still mis-orientations. I understand that its a huge challenge to support so many learners at once - yet I think it can actually be made easier by coming from the orientation we are describing.
You are so right about that. I have seen it done only once - by a sixth grade male teacher - and it was beautifully done. Once the preliminary work of re-orienting a group of students to understand that their participation was expected and valued, the teacher's work was extremely minimalized. He was relaxed and happy and thoroughly enjoyed his students.  He attracted media attention and the other teachers in the school became unhappy (shamed) with his success and what they considered to be a chaotic learning environment. He was, through a number of unfortunate circumstances, finally forced to leave.
 but they generally failed because so many teachers were unable to understand the concept. They completely believed that children are lazy, unwilling to learn, and in need of constant training (outside-in learning) and punishment (calling it discipline).  
Yes and I understand that, given the way it all works now to take children away from their inner process rather than support them in participating in it, children are unwilling and disinterested (ever read my 'insidious curriculum piece'?   I'm not sure. I've read much of your impressive work and will check this one out. we haven't met them in a way that feels to them resonant with how their natures are oriented to learn - they don't want to be in 'kid prison' (as many kids have described it to me)
"Kid prison"  is becoming a more apt label every day, with the present fears about shootings.
I fervently hope some of that attitude is changing, and I stand with you every step of the way in finding the common ground everyone can embrace.
You also said
I believe what you mean by the term self-esteem is simply: human nature free
from the self-disesteeming psychological reflexes we learn to modulate our
negative-to-self, feelings and thoughts
Children don't have self-esteem - children are more healthily who they are when they are not 'caught' within negative to self feelings and thoughts.
I can't quite reconcile those two ideas. Doesn't your definition suggest that children do have self-esteem?  I see children who "are more healthily who they are" as having self-esteem. Those "self-disesteeming psychological reflexes" have not yet taught them not to trust and believe in themselves.  You said "I have never met a child who wasn't a genius (feeling wise as well as...)" --I guess I would say, "as well as close to that human nature that tells us how to learn and grow."
Elaine see my conversation with Kirk about nominalizations - he created a good descent scaffolding for us to get into sync here. Respond to that thread on this point and we will travel wherever it takes us.
Yes, Kirk is exactly right about nominalizations in regard to self-esteem. It was funny; I had just been talking to my other daughter, who counsels the very shame-filled parents of drug and alcohol-syndrome babies, about self-esteem. She made the same point. If we think in terms of self-esteeming, maybe we can make this work. It's the root of self-esteem that I see growing in a baby or small child who has not yet developed "self-disesteeming" scripts and patterns of behavior.
I always liked the following appraisal of a child who is "self-esteeming" by Nathaniel Branden, in his book "The Psychology of Self-Esteem," published way back in 1969.
The hallmark of healthy self-assertiveness in a child is his visible delight in the action of his mind, his desire for the new, the unexplored, the challenging,- his refusal to accept on faith the platitudes of his elders and his insistent use of the word "Why?" his boredom with routine, his indifference toward the undemanding, his obsession with questions, his hunger for (mind and body growth). ---He is a self-generator.
Thank you for showing up in this Elaine for helping me learn and hopefully for helping all of us grow into this emerging new stage. - David 
Repeat those words but signed  Elaine

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