Creating Learning Environments LO30697

From: Don Dwiggins (
Date: 10/12/03

Replying to LO30637 --

Mark W McElroy writes in LO30637:
> Thus, the PSM calls for trial and error in the introduction and
> enforcement of key policies and programs in several specific areas defined
> by the method. You can learn more about these areas and the method behind
> it by visiting my website at


> In terms of Don's comment, use of the PSM relies on this "both-and choice"
> he speaks of. The 'manager' makes a policy or program intervention and
> then withdraws; the system then displays its emergent behaviors; the
> manager evaluates such behaviors in terms of the intervention he/she just
> made, and then either makes an adjusting intervention, a new intervention,
> or no intervention.

I'd think that to do this well, the 'manager' would need to be very rich
in the essentialities, and also in profound knowledge of the system (which
of course is changing as a result of the intervention). Certainly the
manager should withdraw his/her hand, but not eye, mind, or heart.
Perhaps a better word than 'manager' for this process would be 'caretaker'
-- both taking care of/for the system, and taking care in the sense of
careful. (As Andrew might say, being both careful and care-full 8^).

One other point: not all learning is emergent; care must also be taken to
recognize the cycling between emergence and digestion, and to interact
appropriately according to the phase of learning. (At has written on this
topic "at length". 8^)


Don Dwiggins "We trained very hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams, we would be reorganised. I was to learn later in life that we tended to react to any new situation by reorganising, and a wonder- ful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress, while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralisation". -- From Petronii Arbitri Satyricon, AD 66, attributed to Gaius Petronus, a Roman General who later committed suicide

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