Approaches to learning support sooper v plod
The only constant thing is change. As the world changes so must the attitudes, skills
and knowledge (ASK) of the people who inhabit it: and there is no single,
one-size-fits-all method for changing the ASK of people.
The best learning method depends on -
the age, experience and capacities of the
|New born babies have different learning needs and
capabilities from old age pensioners - and the pattern changes on the road from
cradle to grave. These days there is much talk of learning how to learn and of lifelong
learning. Your brain is your birthright. If you allow other people to do your thinking
for you then you must accept the consequences.
the tasks that have to be managed
|There are not usually too many correct ways to use man-made
machines (eg tractor or computer). It is probably best to read the instruction manual
or go on a training course and therefore use the machine in the correct way.
|Social organisations are man-made but there is much
scope for interpreting how they are set up and how they make decisions (eg political
parties, the legal system, the Forestry Commission)
|Mother nature has her own laws we
break them at our peril. Experts on Green thinking have many different ideas
about what these laws are (eg about pesticides, waste management)
|Religions are social organisations but some people
give them a special place as the root of value systems and thus of motivation, morality
and commandments (eg love your neighbour as yourself, an eye for an eye, be still and
Approaches to learning support for Community Economic Development (CED)
CED organisations are a relatively new kind of social organisation in the UK*. There are no experts in this field. It requires thinking
from the bottom up with its grassroots still attached. What options are there for
providing learning support?
Open discussion punctuated by occasional one-page summary sheets of key facts and ideas
is preferable to a thick textbook where the complete story line is pre-scripted and the
task of the participants is to passively learn the truth.
|The scattering of one-pagers encouraging reflection (SOOPER)
approach promotes participation in the social construction of a locally relevant pattern
||"There are many so-called experts with many
different theories. Sometimes they can be helpful but it is up to us - everyday
experts - to mix and match and/or be totally original in figuring out how best to
manage our situation."
|The prewritten, lengthy, organised dissertation (PLOD)
[or totally explained and extremely tedious (TEXT)] approach tends to force
the same idealised blueprint on every situation.
||"You have the bodies of adults but the brains of
children so sit down, shut up, and learn what we clever and powerful people have
NOTE: from Graham Boyd
Not sure that I would 100 percent agree that CED is wholly new to folks. Early
Co-operatives, mutual aid and municipal mutualism have many similarities
I recently read a book on one Alexander Campbell a social missionary who
promoted the thinking of Robert Owen (New Lanark) and was a founder member of the
Glasgow Co-operative Association (1850). For instance:
" In January 1821 a group of London journeymen printers, led by the Scotsman
George Mudie, formed the Co-operative and Economical Society to establish a
village of unity and mutual co-operation combining agriculture, manufacture and trade. The
idea was to devise a scheme for a centre for about 250 families. Mudie also published the
Economist in 1821 and 1822 to publicise Owenite ideas. Neither enterprise survived very
long, but others followed. The seeds of an Owenite Movement had been laid and, according
to George Jacob Holyoake, in the decade of the 1820's co-operation and communities
were regarded by the thinking classes as a religion of industry."
Source: Alexander Campbell and the Search for Socialism, W.Hamish Fraser,
Holyoake Books, Manchester, 1996, p17
In my thinking unless CED practitioners re-connect with their mutual aid and
co-operative roots they are more than likely to espouse managerial approaches and New
Labour cant. Those old social missionaries were unconstrained by political
parties, managerial fashion or government funding.