"I thought I already knew some of this information from articles and seminars, but there is so much new material in this book that I know I'll read it over and over. It is a manual for great education, at every age and stage of life!"-Tiffany Earl, back cover of Leadership EducationNow, if she is surprised at all the new material in this book, then you probably will be too. I would think that learning about the Phases of Learning that DeMille says are integral to Leadership Education is of high importance to the parent doing TJEd. These Phases of Learning are also in the book A Thomas Jefferson Education, but the Leadership Education book goes into much more detail on them.
DeMille claims that there are six Phases of Learning
- Love of Learning
"With a better understanding of what children need and how they learn and gain optimal development and education in childhood, we are ready to press forward in understanding how to raise the leaders of tomorrow with a Leadership Education. We have examined and hopefully challenged some faulty assumptions about the educational process. This will allows us to see and apply education in a new way." Leadership Education, p.31
Apply education in a "new way?" I thought this was the old way of how leaders were taught throughout history? That turns out not to be the case. These Phases of Learning actually are new. DeMille adopted them from modern theories of childhood development.
"Dewey, Vygotsky, Erikson and Piaget could be called "the four Gospels of modern education." These could be followed up by a collection of essays from other great thinkers, educators and teachers. We think all parents and teachers should read Francis Bacon, John Holt, Maria Montessori, Charlotte Mason, Jacques Barzun, Thomas Jefferson, Mortimer Adler, E.G. West, Glenn Kimber, Howard Gardner, George Wythe, Robert Hutchins and Josiah Bunting.
What is needed is a printing of an educational "bible" (or library) that contains both the original writings of the four gospels of modern education and essays from other authors in a format everyone can read. A "Reformation" will certainly follow. We are not arguing that Dewey's writings are akin to Matthew's or Luke's of the bible, but to consider it in this manner certainly makes a poignant analogy...We believe the educational world will likewise be transformed as the unfiltered wisdom of these great educators is recognized and implemented." Leadership Education, p.29
So who are the writers of these "four gospels of modern education?" Wouldn't that be important to know if you are teaching your child according to their philosophies? You probably have heard of John Dewey, but probably not Lev Vygotsky, Erik Erikson, or Jean Piaget unless you have taken some classes on cognitive development or child psychology. DeMille devotes several pages to these four men and their theories in Chapter 1 of Leadership Education. As part of the due diligence I felt I needed to do in order to really understand TJEd, I read the works of these men and I went through a course of Theories of Human Development from the Teaching Company which covers three of the four men and their ideas. Many of the works of these men are available online and I include links to them as I discuss them below.
1. John Dewey
Dewey has taken a lot of the blame for the failure of modern schools in the United States. His ideas of progressive education have been used as the model in modern education. So why is DeMille promoting him? DeMille claims that there are the real teachings of Dewey on the one hand, and "Deweyism" on the other which is basically mischaracterization and misunderstanding of what Dewey really said and incomplete implementation of his ideas (where have I heard that before).
"Dewey promoted national systemization of education at all levels so that each person would have the opportunity to get the education she needed for her part in society. He differs in various specifics from Washington and Jefferson, but generally agrees with them on this point." Leadership Education, p.15First, where did Jefferson or Washington say they wanted a national education system that would give each child an education for "her part" in society? Someone please enlighten me on this.
Second, why is this a good thing? I thought we were talking about teaching in the home, not national education systems.
"He [Dewey] said that learning is more influenced by the structure, environment, and the model of education than by its actual curriculum." Leadership Education, p. 15Well that would be because Dewey didn't care much for academics at all. He felt that the student should just learn to react properly to his environment so that he could function in his proper place in society. Here is Dewey's notions of education in his own words:
"I believe that the school is primarily a social institution. Education being a social process, the school is simply that form of community life in which all those agencies are concentrated that will be most effective in bringing the child to share in the inherited resources of the race, and to use his own powers for social ends.It's not hard to see that Dewey has no concern about individual growth, or reading classics, or mastering anything academic. He states that we need to use schools to train kids how to behave and through this we can change the course of society. How this has any resemblance to "Leadership Education" that "almost all leaders throughout history had" is beyond me.
I believe that all questions of the grading of the child and his promotion should be determined by reference to the same standard. Examinations are of use only so far as they test the child's fitness for social life and reveal the place in which he can be of most service and where he can receive the most help.
I believe that the study of science is educational in so far as it brings out the materials and processes which make social life what it is.
I believe that this conception has due regard for both the individualistic and socialistic ideals. It is duly individual because it recognizes the formation of a certain character as the only genuine basis of right living. It is socialistic because it recognizes that this right character is not to be formed by merely individual precept, example, or exhortation, but rather by the influence of a certain form of institutional or community life upon the individual, and that the social organism through the school, as its organ, may determine ethical results.
I believe that the only true education comes through the stimulation of the child's powers by the demands of the social situations in which he finds himself. Through these demands he is stimulated to act as a member of a unity, to emerge from his original narrowness of action and feeling and to conceive of himself from the standpoint of the welfare of the group to which he belongs. Through the responses which others make to his own activities he comes to know what these mean in social terms. The value which they have is reflected back into them.
I believe it is the business of every one interested in education to insist upon the school as the primary and most effective instrument of social progress and reform in order that society may be awakened to realize what the school stands for, and aroused to the necessity of endowing the educator with sufficient equipment properly to perform his task.
I believe, finally, that the teacher is engaged, not simply in the training of individuals, but in the formation of the proper social life.
I believe that every teacher should realize the dignity of his calling; that he is a social servant set apart for the maintenance of proper social order and the securing of the right social growth.
I believe that in this way the teacher always is the prophet of the true God and the usherer in of the true kingdom of God."
- Excerpts from My Pedagogic Creed by John Dewey.
"Dewey is great reading for teachers from any educational model...Dewey's ideas on good teaching and personalized curriculum were not adopted or applied as much as his structural mode; and the application of the structural elements was perhaps not exactly as he intended." Leadership Education, p. 16,17The individualized approach to Dewey was only so that you get get the child to more correctly fill his part in society. It was more efficient, not a superior method to train leaders.
2. Lev Vygotsky
DeMille argues that Vygotsky endorsed play:
"Vygotsky was a Russian educational and psychological theorist who came to the United States in the early twentieth century...Vygotsky taught that learning occurs when people play - period." Leadership Education, p.19Then DeMille goes on to talk about how not allowing the younger kids to have playtime is unhealthy. I'll agree with that, but I'm not sure Vygotsky is really saying that. He was saying that as part of the cognitive development of children, at a very early age they go through a stage where they use play as a stepping stone to further symbol processing and abstract thought. I didn't read anywhere where he said to let the children play so they don't get stressed out. He was studying the normal psychological development in children that happens on its own.
"In speaking of play and its role in the preschooler’s development, we are concerned with two fundamental questions: first, how play itself arises in development – its origin and genesis; second, the role of this developmental activity, which we call play, as a form of development in the child of preschool age.Vygotsky had another theory called the "Zone of Proximal Development" (ZPD) which means that there is a level of difficulty for a person that is just beyond their ability do the task themselves, but within their ability if they have assistance. This is the best place to have the student learn, he argued. DeMille argues that this is appropriate for adults, but not for children.
I should like to say that the creation of an imaginary situation is not a fortuitous fact in a child’s life; it is the first effect of the child’s emancipation from situational constraints. The first paradox of play is that the child operates with an alienated meaning in a real situation. The second is that in play he adopts the line of least resistance, i.e., he does what he feels like most because play is connected with pleasure. At the same time, he learns to follow the line of greatest resistance; for by subordinating themselves to rules, children renounce what they want, since subjection to rule and renunciation of spontaneous impulsive action constitute the path to maximum pleasure in play.
From the point of view of development, the fact of creating an imaginary situation can be regarded as a means of developing abstract thought. I think that the corresponding development of rules leads to actions on the basis of which the division between work and play becomes possible, a division encountered as a fundamental fact at school age.
At school age play does not die away, but permeates the attitude toward reality. It has its own inner continuation in school instruction and work (compulsory activity based on rules). All examinations of the essence of play have shown that in play a new relationship is created between the semantic and the visible – that is, between situations in thought and real situations."
- from Play and its role in the Mental Development of the Child by Lev Vygotsky
"Vygotsky taught that teachers should observe students playing and intervene at a sign of interest to push them beyond their comfort level. We think Vygotsy was right on - for adults...This model is wrong for young children...In short, the application of ZPD learning in the early years is a disaster." Leadership Education, p.20,21DeMille then lists things that young children would learn if you used the ZPD method on them:
"1. Learning is what I am forced to do by others when I'd rather be enjoying what I discover myself.Furthermore, DeMille argues that the child can experience detrimental effects from this:
5. I am probably wrong about a lot of the stuff I know.
6. I have to master stuff now or I will be behind for the rest of my life."
Leadership Education, p.21
1. I am really great because I know how to read...I don't know how DeMille gets those concerns and problem from helping a child do something that stretches them a little. Those concerns just sound like typical concerns homsechoolers have, or any kid. I don't think it really has anything to do with Zygotsky's ZPD theory. Regardless, DeMille's stance on Zygotsy is:
3. I'm cooler than _______ because I am reading before him/her.
7. Once I am a Mom/Dad I will not have time to study anymore.
Leadership Education, p.21-22
Read Vygotsky and let the kids play. Read him and apply the ZPD concepts in youth and adulthood, not childhood. Leadership Education, p.23You can read Zygotsky's works on this site. I agree with DeMille that you should read his works, not so much so you read one of the "four gospels of modern education" but so that you understand where DeMille's ideas came from.
3. Erik Erikson
Erik Erikson was a man with Danish ancestry that was adopted by his Jewish stepfather. Erikson had a difficult time trying to figure out where he fit in when he was growing up. He didn't look Jewish with his blond hair so he didn't really fit in there, but he did live with Jewish people so he didn't quite fit in with the Germans either. This shaped his development of the theory of the stages that humans go through in their development. He based his theories largely on Freud's Stages of Psychosexual Development.
Freud's theory argued that all humans go through several stages in their development:
- The Oral Stage
- The Anal Stage
- The Phallic Stage
- The Latent Period
- The Genital Stage
- Trust versus mistrust
- Autonomy versus shame and doubt
- Initiative versus guilt
- Industry versus inferiority
- Identity versus role confusion
- Intimacy versus isolation
- Generativity versus stagnation
- Ego integrity versus despair
These are the stages that DeMille lists in Leadership Education and which he recommends that the reader ponder:
"Please take some time to study and ponder Erikson's teachings...As you spend time reflecting on each stage, you should consider some very profound ideas...You may be inclined to just keep reading instead of taking time to study, ponder and personalize the charts. After all, really putting in the effort to think about these two charts and how they apply to our children and to ourselves is hard work. But it is worth it." Leadership Education, p.23, 24, 25DeMille argues that a person must correctly and successfully negotiate each phase. If there is a problem at one stage then he must at some point go back to that stage, regardless of whatever subsequent stage he may be in, and re-do that earlier phase correctly. This comes straight from Erikson.
"Getting the positive lessons at each stage of development is very important for each student. Erikson says that a person who makes a bad choice during a particular stage can go back later and renegotiate it. But he also taught that that once a person choose the negative in any stage, he will not be able to choose the positives in later stages without first backing up and renegotiating his earlier choice. " Leadership Education, p.25You are starting to see where these "Learning Phases" have come from. It starts with Freud and get modified along the way. DeMille has adopted a model of what healthy mental development is, not education, but psychological and cognitive development. DeMille is using these theories to create a foundation of the optimal way to educate and child.
"Without healthy Foundational Phases [young child years], "cancer" inevitably sets in during the Application Phases [adult years], as even those few who achieve a quality education put it to use on things other than the central purpose of their lives. Sometimes a mid-life crisis during this period sends such people reeling back to Core Phase [first phase for very small children]. Re-starting and creating positive life change will only occur by getting in touch with what religion calls "truth," popular psychology calls "the inner child" and Leadership Education calls Core Phase." Leadership Education, p.33
"Sometimes the normal progression between the phases is compromised due to traumatic experiences, interrupted progress (such as protracted drug use or chronic illness during a period of life), or abuse and neglect. In such cases it may be helpful to carry out an enlightened rescripting of the traumatic events." Leadership Education, p.33
But there's one more left to discuss...
4. Jean Piaget
Jean Piaget was a Swiss philosopher and development theorist. From a young age he was fascinated by Darwin's Theory of Evolution that explained how species had to adapt:
"Even as a child, Piaget had a strong interest in biology, particularly Darwinian evolution. He was interested in how various species change through adaptation to varied environmental conditions." Theories of Human Development from the Teaching Company, Course Outline, p.18He also thought that children should learn through self-discovery:
"Piaget’s answer to the American obsession with speeding up development was the following: “Anything you tell a child, you prevent him from discovering for himself.” He believed that if a child developed more slowly, thinking things through on his own, in the long run, he would develop more adaptive, scientific, and logical abilities." Theories of Human Development from the Teaching Company, Course Outline, p.19So to Piaget, children develop as they come in contact with new information and have to then assimilate this new information and adapt their mental processes to effectively use it. They will most likely face a dilemma of alternatives between different ways to deal with the new information, so the child must work out on their own which alternative is the most beneficial to him.
DeMille endorse these ideas:
"Piaget taught that children only learn when their curiosity is not satisfied. Parents and teachers of young children should spark curiosity and then back - this is their whole role." Leadership Education, p.26DeMille is arguing that the best way for children to learn is to be placed in an environment that leads to children coming across new information which they then must assimilate. That is the parents' "whole role." This is what DeMille means by "Inspire, Not Require:"
"Piaget warns the parent and teacher not to instruct in a forcefeeding way, but rather to incite interest and then leave the child to the wonder of experimentation and self-discovery. we can not think of a more apt description of one of the Seven Keys of Great Teaching: "Inspire, Not Require." Leadership Education, p.26DeMille argues Piaget's point that children learn best by figuring out things on their own, and that you as a parent are there to just facilitate them coming across new information and encourage them to keep up the process. (Looking at the new Nursery Manual from the church, I would say that have a different idea).
DeMille also agrees with Piaget to not bother teaching younger children:
"If you spark interest, on the other hand, children will "construct" their own learning and retain the lessons learned throughout their lives. Piaget says expressly that academic instruction is wasted until the child is twelve years old." Leadership Education, p.27I disagree. I have found much benefit in instructing my kids at young ages. That are capable of learning at their own rate. I don't believe that I should just facilitate them coming across new information and figuring it out themselves. Obviously I don't think you should "push" them to learn things. You need to use wisdom. I teach my kids things I think they should know, which includes some facts and some methods for figuring things out on their own. I was helping some of them with multiplication tables the other day and showing them all the different ways they could figure out the answers if they didn't know it off the tops of their heads. So now if you ask them a multiplication question, if they have it memorized they give you the answer quickly, if not, there will be a pause while they choose from the different ways to figure out the answer in their head, and then they will give you the answer. I taught them how to do that. They might have figured that out for themselves at some point, but I don't think they would then have a superior understanding of those methods. I don't think this prevents them from being able to figure things out on their own, now or in future. I just showed them some ways to figure some things out. Now they can spend their time and effort figuring out how to learn other things on their own. What if we never passed on things we learned, but rather just had everyone figure everything out on their own? I think we'd waste a lot of cycles unnecessarily.
Permit me to make one scriptural reference on the issue of instructing children:
25 And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.
28 And they shall also teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord.
Doctrine and Covenants 68: 25, 28
We are not talking about forcefeeding the children data. Piaget says not to waste time instructing children under twelve and DeMille agrees. DeMille does however say that the crucial date of when academic instruction could begin may not be exactly at age twelve:
"We would editorialize here that chronological age is not as important as developmental age. 'Developmentally twelve' might be defined as the onset of puberty." Leadership Education, p.27Now you may be thinking that Piaget has some good points that we should not push our children and we should let them explore and let them figure out things for themselves, at least some times. That sounds healthy to me and I suspect practically all normal parents would agree. But that's not what Piaget is saying. He is saying that you shouldn't give any instruction and that if you do you deny the child something she would learn. And this is because the child needs to be able to assimilate and adapt new information without interference. DeMille wholeheartedly endorses this, and you will see in the next post how DeMille describes in detail how to implement this to the extreme in while the child is young.
Piaget's stages are:
1. Sensorimotor: (birth to about age 2)
During this stage, the child learns about himself and his environment through motor and reflex actions. Thought derives from sensation and movement. The child learns that he is separate from his environment and that aspects of his environment -- his parents or favorite toy -- continue to exist even though they may be outside the reach of his senses. Teaching for a child in this stage should be geared to the sensorimotor system. You can modify behavior by using the senses: a frown, a stern or soothing voice -- all serve as appropriate techniques.
2. Preoperational: (begins about the time the child starts to talk to about age 7)
Applying his new knowledge of language, the child begins to use symbols to represent objects. Early in this stage he also personifies objects. He is now better able to think about things and events that aren't immediately present. Oriented to the present, the child has difficulty conceptualizing time. His thinking is influenced by fantasy -- the way he'd like things to be -- and he assumes that others see situations from his viewpoint. He takes in information and then changes it in his mind to fit his ideas. Teaching must take into account the child's vivid fantasies and undeveloped sense of time. Using neutral words, body outlines and equipment a child can touch gives him an active role in learning.
3. Concrete: (about first grade to early adolescence)
During this stage, accommodation increases. The child develops an ability to think abstractly and to make rational judgments about concrete or observable phenomena, which in the past he needed to manipulate physically to understand. In teaching this child, giving him the opportunity to ask questions and to explain things back to you allows him to mentally manipulate information.
4. Formal Operations: (adolescence)
This stage brings cognition to its final form. This person no longer requires concrete objects to make rational judgments. At his point, he is capable of hypothetical and deductive reasoning. Teaching for the adolescent may be wide ranging because he'll be able to consider many possibilities from several perspectives.
These are the foundational theories of DeMille's Phases of Learning
These are the "four gospels" that every parent should read, according to DeMille. Those of you who are doing TJEd, did you know this? In all your classes and seminars, did you learn this? Are you spending any time at all learning about these theories? Because they are the foundation of what you are doing in your home. DeMille say that he discovered these Phases after studying Thomas Jefferson and after years of research of other leaders.
"These Phases [of Learning] were first noted and identified in our research of the education of Thomas Jefferson, and were later seen to be a pattern of many luminaries in history who lived exemplary lives and changed the world for good.” A Thomas Jefferson Education, p. 31I think it's more accurate to say that he discovered these phases after years of intensive research and study of the theories of human development, not Jefferson or Wythe or leaders in history.
"A number of years ago I helped found George Wythe College, and one of my first responsibilities was researching just how Wythe mentored Jefferson. From that intensive research, and years of additional reading and studying, I found Seven Keys of Great Teaching which form the core of great mentoring." A Thomas Jefferson Education, p. 39
|Oral Stage - Feeding, crying, teething, biting, thumb-sucking, weaning - the mouth and the breast are the center of all experience. Through this stage have a fundamental effect on the unconscious mind and thereby on deeply rooted feelings, which along with the next two stages affect all sorts of behaviours and (sexually powered) drives and aims - Freud's 'libido' - and preferences in later life.||Trust v Mistrust (ages 0-1½, baby, birth to walking)||Sensorimotor (birth to about age 2) - the child learns about himself and his environment through motor and reflex actions. Thought derives from sensation and movement.||Core (ages 0 - 8) - "lessons of good\bad, right\wrong, true\false and is accomplished through work\play"|
|Anal Stage - Sensation of defecation - 'holding on' or 'letting go' - the pleasure and control - is poop good or bad?.||Autonomy v Shame and Doubt (ages 1-3, toddler) toilet training|
|Phallic Stage - Interest in the reproductive ares of the body - differences between boys and girls - purpose of the differences||Initiative v Guilt (ages 3-6 yrs, pre-school, nursery)||Preoperational (begins about the time the child starts to talk to about age 7) - Applying his new knowledge of language, the child begins to use symbols to represent objects. Early in this stage he also personifies objects.|
|Latency Stage - Acceptance that reproductive ares of the body are special and need to be left alone for children. The time when school and learning take priority||Industry v Inferiority (ages 5-12 yrs, early school)||Concrete (about first grade to early adolescence) - The child develops an ability to think abstractly and to make rational judgments about concrete or observable phenomena, which in the past he needed to manipulate physically to understand.||Love of Learning (ages 8 - 12) - "continues on to form his assumptions of identity and community."|
|Genital stage - Puberty in other words. Glandular, hormonal, and physical changes in the adolescent child's body cause a resurgence of sexual thoughts, feelings and behaviors||Identity v Role Confusion (ages 11-18 yrs, puberty, teens)||Formal Operations (adolescence) - This person no longer requires concrete objects to make rational judgments. At this point, he is capable of hypothetical and deductive reasoning. Teaching for the adolescent may be wide ranging because he'll be able to consider many possibilities from several perspectives.||Scholar (ages 12 - 16) - "typically ensures with the onset of puberty and is marked by a change in the student's physical, emotional and social expression...a time to study everything under the sun."|
|Intimacy v Isolation - 18-40, courting, early parenthood||Depth (ages 16 - 22) - "characterized by a profound hunger to prepare for oncoming responsibilities and future contributions in society"|
|Generativity v Stagnation - 30-65, middle age, parenting||Mission (early adulthood) - "He is required to be something very different - not a student, but an adult"|
|Integrity v Despair - 50+, old age, grandparents||Impact (late adulthood) "you have entered a new era of your life in which the valuable wisdom and experience you have gained must be shared and communicated to those who follow you. You are now in Impact Phase."|
Note that I borrowed heavily from several sources to make the above chart (specifically here and here) as well as quotes from DeMille's two books. I borrow material from those sources not because I thought they were authoritative or that's where I learned all this from, but I found them to be good summaries of what I wanted to include, so I lifted some material straight from them.
DeMille makes the connection to these theories himself
I am not merely trying to persuade people that this is where DeMille's Phases of Learning come from, as if it is some secret I am exposing. He states that every parent should read these (excluding Freud) and that they are the "gospels" of modern education that he endorses. It's not a question of whether these theories started with Freud and built upon each until DeMille. The only question left is are they correct? Or are these just "philosophies of men?" Does this describe what great leaders including Thomas Jefferson experienced? Is this what "Leadership Education" is all about? Are you comfortable raising your kids using a theory derived from the theories of all these social scientists, child psychologists, and cognitive development theorists? If TJEd is built on the same educational approach that all the leaders throughout history had, why do we need to have modern psychologists explain it to us? Why do we need them? Aren't there classics that would describe this process if it is what was used to teach all the great leaders?
There's a disconnect here, a jump, from "training great leaders using the classics" to "phases of child cognitive development." I see no evidence that this has anything to do with teaching leaders or Thomas Jefferson. For some reason, people heard DeMille talk about the problems of the public school systems and said we need to train leaders using the classics, and then people just believed whatever else he said. Seven Keys of Great Teaching? Sure why not. Phases of Learning? Must be true. Is it that easy to convince people?
These Phases are not suggestions or observations by DeMille. They are fundamental to his theory of education. If you are not doing this, you are not doing TJEd or proper Leadership Education. And if you try to teaching your child in a way incompatible with the "phase" he is in, you can really mess up your child.
"More time is wasted by limping along out of phase with little hope of happening upon a magical cure." Leadership Education, p. 32These Phases, as DeMille writes in his book which I will review in the next post, define how you should behave towards your spouse, your child, other people. They affect how you provide learning and social opportunities for your child. They even affect how you should plan out the rest of your life. This is a whole-life philosophy, and anyone who is considering it should be comfortable with it. It is a change is perspective of life and human beings, and it comes not from classics or great leaders, but great modern social scientists, child psychologists, and cognitive development theorists.
"Some things are best taught during a particular phase; it not only goes against nature to work on a different schedule, but very important opportunities might be missed, and this can impact the development of the individual." Leadership Education, p38
In the next post, I will cover what DeMille says are crucial things the parent must do in the home, in each of the Phases of Learning, in order to be doing a "Leadership Education."