Creating a Passion for Learning LO17470

Dr. Steve Eskow (
Thu, 19 Mar 1998 18:24:57 -0500

Replying to LO17462 --

Replying to Fred Nickols:

As I said I'm happy to accept your definition of learning as the
development of "patterned behaviors" and the "acquisiton of abstractions",
although it would be useful to push away with you about what it means to
"acquire" abstractions" and how much of learning is about "behavior" and
how much is about "meaning."

Accepting your definitions, however, doesn't seem to haven't to do with
the issue of whether learning is quintessentially "social" or

The "patterned behaviors" that we see varying from culture to culture, and
within a larger culture from subculture are socially patterned: whether we
ear jeans or a dhota or a loin cloth is a social learning, even though the
"individual" thinks she has chosen jeans rather than "dress" as an act of
individual learning.

Since the Enlightenment our culture--our social context--has developed a
worldview that allows us to talk about the "individual" and free will, and
to talk about the "independent learner."

How did so many of us learn to prize individualism and to value the free
and uncoerced and independent learner?

Why, if you took a vote, would 90 per cent of Americans believe with Fred
in independent and autonomous individuals?

They all learned the same lessons in the same schools from the same
teachers and the same pastors and the same book and the same television
programs that celebrated the same autonomous individual--often named John
Wayne--taking on the social forces that wanted to tame and harness that
free individual.

We learned the same myths on the same schools.

Our "abstractions" allow us to abstract linguistically the "individual"
from "society".

The self always exists is a social enrivornment, and even its rejection of
some or all of that environment is a social act socially learned.

I individually think I have learned this position on my own, but I
probably have internalized it from dialog with others.


> I think learning is the development of patterned behaviors. We label
> these patterned behaviors "skills," "competencies," "capabilities" and
> "attitudes," to name a few.
> I also think learning refers to the acquisition of abstractions, what we
> call "knowledge," "understanding," "comprehension," "concepts,"
> "principles," "standards" and "insights," to use a few (many of which are
> inferred based on patterned behaviors, particular verbal behaviors).


"Dr. Steve Eskow" <>

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