“What if any teacher could dramatically raise the performance of any student?”
This was a question I asked myself so many years ago, as I reflected upon how I had completely failed school at 17, but at 23 had gained enough distinctions in my examinations to be accepted to study medicine. Since that time, I have devoted all of my life to understanding what we think intelligence is and why school works the way it does.
As I came to understand how students really learn, I realized that our impression of their ability is wrong, and with this the need of the teacher to find a way to bring greater harmony between them-selves and their learners. This I found to be as true with any age of school as it is in higher education and university, as I turned those who struggled to understand their lessons into student’s confident, happier and able to display far greater ability than had long been thought capable of them by their teachers. You see, we think about how to explain something to a student they don’t understand, but we seldom think to know their story, and so who they really are and why they struggle to make sense of something that to us seems easy.
Yet, as I worked with students and understood better how educational systems operate, so I came to realize that they are not teaching the child of today the very different skills they will need in their future. We talk a lot about artificial intelligence taking over our world and new jobs being created, but this is from a mind that does not understand or know of the potential of nanotechnology to develop.
As I explain in the books I have written, we are entering an era of technology that has the real potential to remove the concept of work from our societies. Work, we may think, is the means to enable people to support themselves and their families. However, the true measure of work is that it gives a soul to people from which they can gain an identity and purpose. Without work, they lose these, and if enough of a society has no work, then, that society risks social breakdown. If we add to this thought that of severe population displacement caused by rising water, as is clearly predicted by scientists from the effect of Global Warming, then our children face a world of very great social problems that we are not thinking very clearly about.
The concept of democracy exists by the people of a society supporting each other in their ideals and hopes. If nanotechnology develops to severely reduce the concept of work, as my research shows it has the potential to do, and if global warming does create such severe social problems, as has long been predicted, then, our societies could be forced to raise the level of surveillance of the citizen to such an extent that the freedom of their movement and the expression of their thoughts and ideals must be so restricted that they may not live in the democratic world we have struggled for over 150 years to bring about.
We must, then, examine the purpose of school, for this has only ever been to create two types of citizen: the manager and the managed, as was required by previous levels of technology. So, the general citizen school produces today, is little able to reason freely about the world they live in. They elect politicians more on platitudes than reason, and remain largely ignorant of the real factors that decide the life they live. This is the reason why we process children in school and do not educate them in high levels of reason, for this was never required nor wanted by society, since it has been easier to control and maintain a level of social harmony in a society by keeping the most in a general state of ignorance. Yet, if education continues to produce this quality of citizen, then, it fails to prepare them with the higher quality of intellectual adaptability and that of reason and so responsibility for themselves, their society and the environment that offers them the chance of independent self government.
It is has been for this greater reason that I have researched so long into human development to dis- cover that intelligence is not what we think it is, and so have proposed an alternative to explain how the mind of the individual relates to the world about them. I call this alternative to intelligence, “The Brain Environment Complex” or BEC. This seeks to explain how the ability of each student is not a factor of what they are born with and how this has developed, which enables the teacher to give out information and judge the ability of the student on how well they understand this. After all, this is all education is. It is a method of one teacher sharing their knowledge and assessing the ability of their students by the level of responses they get.
The ability of the student, the state of their BEC, lies upon the levels of love, emotion and personal security they have moved through, as they tried to understand the language, meanings and intentions of those who intellectually raised them. Thus, the apparent ability of the student now, is not “a factor” of what they are worth. It is ‘their “story,” telling how they had closed their mind to the in- formation of earlier teachers, because some adults or other children had hurt their feelings in some manner, and caused their thoughts to be distracted from the smooth progression by which information had moved. Fearful or bored, the student became lost or confused as lesson moved to lesson and year to year, and never found out how to catch up, so that when placed among other students, the class they are now in shows a range of differences in ability and attitude.
Once BEC is understood, so the teacher in education is caused to realize that the student’s perfor- mance is less a factor that can be excused by socio-economic factors and far more a direct factor of how they themselves teach. By understanding what BEC is, and how the child is raised for school and how the student develops through their education, it becomes clear to the teacher that they are not witnessing a range of ability in their class, as they have been educated to believe they are, but only a range of confusion. Thus, those believed to be the cleverer students are simply those who are the least confused in how to process information. Those who take up the average in the class, are those more generally confused in their development, while students who seem the most lost in their understanding are simply those who are more confused in what they are doing.
To assist teachers to bring control to this confusion, and so able to raise the apparent ability of their class, I devised a new method of teaching. I call this “The Andersen Attitude Method of Teaching,” because I believe it is by their attitude ( how the teacher is able to share their love, patience, humor and depths of knowledge ) that they are able to bring a sense of collective harmony to their class. From this collective harmony, the teacher can give confidence and desire for each student to want to engage knowledge with an inquiring mind that brings purpose to want to study, and from this a de- sire to correct their past misunderstandings and develop a clearer perception of what they are asked to learn.
How, then, does the teacher change in their mind to achieve this greater shift if the ability of their students?
It is not, I have discovered, a great difficulty to change the ability of a student who has understood very little after ten years of school, to enable them to perform significantly higher within a few weeks. It only needs for the teacher to understand the degree of love they must give from them- selves, in order to gain the trust their student must give to them, that enables their mind to allow their brain to be reconfigured by the better strategies and corrected information the teacher provides to them.
Thus, I have found that students labelled ADHD were not so, and simply exhibited frustration caused by factors in their personal development, that students said to be dyslexic could be given the confidence to see letters and words with a new strength, and that the general student who always got low marks could find a way to gain high ones. It was not magic. It was just giving enough love to learn the story behind each student, and to give them the strength and direction that enabled them to rebuild what they had not understood.
By understanding what I have written here, the reader can realize what greater opportunities we could give to our children, if we taught them how to reason and how to think better from the mo- ment they began their education. If we do this, then, we give them the tools to take their control over their own learning, and so instead of teaching them to think that the teacher will do the thinking for them, which is the beginning of their states of confusion, we raise the student to realize that they are themselves responsible for their own learning, and most importantly know how to take their control of this.
Such would be the creation of the higher thinking and more independent reasoning citizen that our world will so desperately need, as our children enter an era of mankind we are making too little preparation for. I have dedicated half a century to raise awareness to this.