Self-Learning Clinics

The Compassionate Company: Pavi Mehta (Transcript)

The above video provides an inspirational model for Self-Learning Clinics. This model is studied at Harvard Business School and many similar institutions.

The purpose of a Self-Learning Clinic is to help school drop-outs become effective self-learners.

A Self-Learning Clinic (SLC) provides services that rapidly fill holes in one’s basic understanding of math and language arts. It then provides continued support in one’s effort to become an effective self-learner.

The priority of an SLC is human welfare. If a person cannot pay now, he can pay later. He is provided high quality service regardless. He may contribute in whatever way he can afford to ensure the continuation and growth of the clinic.

Here are three principles from the model of a compassionate company described above that are a must for SLCs.

  1. We can’t turn anyone away.

  2. We can’t compromise on quality.

  3. We must be self-reliant.

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Here are some nuggets from Dr. V’s unwritten directives (quoted from the transcript above):

1. STAY ROOTED IN COMPASSION.

What he showed, he demonstrated that when skillfully channeled compassion can drive and dictate scale, efficiency, productivity, transparency, equality, inclusion. It can do all these things in such a way that each element reinforces the other and strengthens the whole. And it creates a finely tuned system which benefits everybody.

2. SERVE AND DESERVE.

When you make this your core. When the core of your energy and attention goes with serving unconditionally the boundaries of your perception shift and you start to see value and relevance in very unexpected places. You generate trust and goodwill. Your work fires a magnetic quality. It sustains and aligns resources to your mission in a way, which just money can’t do. CREATE MOVEMENT NOT DOMINANCE. Not all of us train our competitors. We should be part of something bigger to be generous to stand to benefit from that.

3. PRACTICE FOR PERFECT VISION.

This was something that Dr. V returned to over and over again. He knew that as there are external forms of blindness, so there are internal forms of blindness – anger, greed, jealousy. All these things clutter our vision and make it hard to see what is, and what the right next step is. So, he believed that the evolution of organizations hinges on the evolution of individuals within them. And clarity in thought and action comes from a discipline of mind and heart. And when you commit to sharpening your self-awareness and when you commit to working at the boundaries of your compassion than you tap into a higher wisdom which informs and transforms your work. You become a more perfect instrument for your highest quality.

These are also the directives for SLCs.

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Comments

  • vinaire  On May 23, 2015 at 6:33 AM

    The current research is being conducted with mathematics to create Lesson Plans that follow a “Ladder of Understanding.”

    These Lesson Plans shall be posted on the G.E.D. Self-Help page as they are completed and verified.

    Similar research shall then be conducted with Language Arts to create lesson plans in that area.

  • vinaire  On May 25, 2015 at 7:55 AM

    I believe that a child needs help in terms of being provided with a “ladder of understanding.” New understanding is built upon earlier understanding in a certain sequence. This is most obvious when learning the subject of mathematics. Many students drop out of school because information is thrown at them in a haphazard and disconnected manner. They cannot relate it to their experience in life.

    I am currently involved in a project to help school dropouts get their GED certificates. The basic premise is that if you fill the “holes” in their understanding of basic math and language arts, you can restore their passion for learning these subjects, as well as learning in general.

    This is an interesting project that has yielded some lesson plans that can be found at the following link.

    G.E.D. Self-Help

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  • vinaire  On May 29, 2015 at 9:41 AM

    For me the correct sequence has been as follows:

    (1) Work with the students one-on-one to find their confusion.

    (2) If the confusion is common among many students then try to explain that area in the form of a lecture.

    (3) Start the lecture explaining the broad fundaments of the area of confusion.

    (4) This will help students to better formulate questions about their confusions.

    (5) In the lecture, create a safe environment, that supports asking of questions.

    (6) Gradually turn the lecture into a question-answer session.

    (7) Based on the feedback in terms of questions, plan your next lecture.

    (8) Repeat this cycle until you know enough to create a series of Lesson Plans.

    (9) Pilot those Lesson Plans in the classroom as a self-study exercise, with alert
    supervision to answer all questions.

    (10) Refine the Lesson Plans accordingly.

    (11) Once the Lesson Plans are finalized, convert them into video lectures.

    (12) Make the video lecture along with the Lesson Plan available to future students.
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  • vinaire  On May 29, 2015 at 9:42 AM

    I do know that when lectures are well planned, and they address the actual areas of confusions voiced by the students, then they can be very effective.

    Self-study works only when students are matched with the right materials that are addressing their confusions. This means that materials should be understandable, and they should follow the logical structure of the subject.

    Materials not put together well are as detrimental as lectures not put together well.

    I am finding that in the area of Adult Basic Education, good materials are lacking.
    .

  • vinaire  On May 29, 2015 at 9:44 AM

    The bottom line is having Lesson Plans that follow the natural logical structure of a subject to the last detail, and make it available in text form.

    Then you may deliver those Lesson Plans as lectures, and make the Lesson Plans also available to the students. Better yet, make video lectures out of those Lesson Plans. The key to success is how those Lesson Plans are put together in the first place.
    .

  • vinaire  On June 3, 2015 at 11:55 AM

    Dropout

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    Here is an interesting graphics that shows that a High School dropout is brimming with confusion, but all those holes in his understanding at the top can be tracked down to fewer and fewer holes at the bottom. So, if we start filling his holes from the bottom, it would have an almost miraculous result in decreasing his confusion at the top.

    The only problem is that his attention is so stuck in resolving those holes at the top, that he cannot connect them to the few holes at the bottom. Besides, the holes at the bottom are not visible to him in the first place. He would not accept, even if you tell him that his condition stems from those few holes at the bottom. He simply cannot see that cause-effect relationship.
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  • vinaire  On June 3, 2015 at 6:17 PM

    Basic education has to do with the precision of thinking, and to the precise communicating of that thinking so that precise understanding may occur.

    Mathematics helps develop the discipline of precision in thinking. Language arts help develop the discipline of precision in communicating.

    Education is all about “discipline” and “precision.” Unfortunately, we are fast losing that perspective of education.
    .

  • vinaire  On June 3, 2015 at 8:28 PM

    I do not see anything wrong with a GED Center that is built around self-study of ABE materials that is supported by TABE testing. The pre-requisite for such a center would be students who are capable of self-learning.

    So an earlier sequence of a Self-Learning Clinic (SLC) is required with the task of turning High School dropouts into motivated self-learners. Those students who are not doing well at the GED Center should then be sent to an SLC to be prepared for the GED Center.

  • vinaire  On June 4, 2015 at 7:21 AM

    An SLC (Self-Learning Clinic) shall be staffed by people who are experts in their respective subjects, very much like it is in Finland. Their job would be to make a student aware of the precise logical structure that exists at the fundamental level in a subject.

    For example, SLCs shall employ Math Doctors who are fully familiar with the logical structure that exists at the fundamental level of mathematics. They would be able to see immediately the cause-effect relationship between the confusion that the student has, and the holes in understanding, which may be causing that confusion.

    The math doctors then would help the student to establish the rational connection between his confusion and the actual holes that exist in his understanding. It would be a process of discovery for the student, and a process of verification for the math doctor.

    This is a very precise and quick operation. It may take different amount of time with different students, but, I believe, it can be reduced to a few hours.
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  • vinaire  On June 4, 2015 at 8:05 AM

    What is a self-learner?

    A self-learner is one who can, on his own, establish connection between his confusion and the relevant hole in his understanding. And then proceed to fill that hole by searching for and finding the right materials.

    .

    If he can’t find the right materials then he contemplates to discover the rational connections and ideas that help fill that hole. But this would an advanced self-learner.

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  • vinaire  On June 4, 2015 at 5:29 PM

    How does an SLC help a student establish the rational connection between his confusion and the actual holes that exist in his understanding?

    (1) The first action is to form the students into groups by the level of broad confusion. For example, form a group of students who want to understand “fractions” better.

    (2) Talk to them and establish the difficulty in that subject that is causing them the most grief. For example, in fractions, such a topic could be “adding fractions.”

    (3) Establish the context of the overall subject before tackling the difficulty. For example give them an overview of mathematics first and explain that its purpose is to makes a person’s thinking more precise.

    (5) Then use this context to start explaining the topic they are having difficulty with. For example, deal with the topic of fractions as a whole. NOTE: You may start with explaining addition of fractions, and follow the trail of holes backwards from there, such as explaining like and unlike fractions, like and unlike units, conversion of units, etc.

    (6) Start with the simplest concepts in that topic checking their understanding. For example, explain fractions in very simple terms and ask for examples in real life. Gradually develop a two-way dialog in the form of Q&A.

    (7) Answer the questions from the students, while introducing the various concepts of that topic in the order they build up on each other. Discuss and explain the key terminology. For example, check and explain numerator, denominator, proper and improper fractions, etc.

    THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THIS PROCEDURE IS TO ESTABLISH THIS TWO-WAY DIALOG AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. YOU WANT STUDENTS ASKING QUESTIONS THAT GENUINELY CONCERN THEM, AND THEN ADDRESS THOSE QUESTIONS AS THE PRIORITY.

    (8) If a concept is difficult to understand then explain the earlier concept on which it is built logically. For example, if the concept of fraction is difficult to understand then show how a fraction is a natural consequence of inexact division.

    (9) Always aim for an integrated understanding of the topic. If it is found that an earlier topic needs to be explained, show to the students why it is necessary to move to that topic. For example, you may find that the topic of division needs to be explained in detail before the topic of fractions could be understood.

    (10) When the earlier topic is fully understood then you return to the original topic. If the earlier topic reveals that still earlier topic needs to be understood then move to that topic.

    (11) It is important to establish the cause-effect relationship in the mind of the student between later and earlier topics as they occur in the logical structure of the subject.

    (12) Make sure that the “earlier” topics in the subject are understood fully, because the understanding of later topics is derived from them.

    (13) These sessions should be run in one hour segments. After an hour, the students should be encouraged to explore that subject on their own through study materials.

    (14) In the follow up session, start all over again by newly establishing the major difficulty. It may change and not be the same as before. Continue with subsequent sessions until the student is now able to get his questions answered directly from the study materials.

    IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT STUDY MATERIALS ARE PROVIDED THAT EXACTLY FOLLOW THE LOGICAL STRUCTURE OF THE SUBJECT. IF SUCH MATERIALS DO NOT EXIST THEN THEY NEED TO BE DEVELOPED.

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  • vinaire  On June 4, 2015 at 9:07 PM

    Idea of “going earlier” when handling “misunderstood” is incomplete. Knowledge is not necessarily sequential.

    Knowledge is actually a multi-dimensional field of data. So it is not a matter of going earlier. It is a matter of filling holes in a multi-dimensional logical structure of knowledge.

  • vinaire  On June 4, 2015 at 9:07 PM

    The primary task of an SLC is to establish a cause-effect relationship in the student’s mind so he sees where all his confusion is coming from.

    These are holes in his understanding, which he doesn’t quite recognize.
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  • vinaire  On June 4, 2015 at 9:07 PM

    The idea of education should not be to force any ideas on anybody. It should simply be to make instructional material available for study in a form that is most conducive to learning.

    Educational materials are best understood when they parallel the logical structure of a subject, because one can then trace the development of concepts. This will help a person to rapidly clear up holes in his understanding.
    .

  • vinaire  On June 5, 2015 at 7:08 AM

    In teaching students, you just have to expose them to as correct and as well-sequenced information, as possible. You cannot force anything. You just have them study on their own and answer their questions as best as you can. But there should be no forcing of any ideas. Students should be allowed to question freely the ideas and information presented to them. Free discussions should be allowed.

    And the student should be approaching the knowledge the same way. He should also not enforce his own ideas on you and other students. He should also be willing to freely discuss whatever disagreement or questions others have to his ideas.

    The student also needs to fully grasp this idea of not forcing his ideas on others.

    .

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