The Art of Strengths Coaching

P is for People Developing On The Primary Level And The Secondary Level

Slides Primary Level.001

People often develop on two levels. These are the primary level and the secondary level.

The primary level is that of playing, doing and feeling. When we are children, for example, we often learn on the primary level.

Creative people often retain this sense of play. They frequently do so by going through the process of absorption, adventure and achievement.

Some of our successful and self-defeating patterns are set on the primary level. Such patterns can affect the way we behave. We revert back to them time and again.

Living on the primary level can be exciting. We learn with our hearts and our hands, but it is also vital to make sense of experience. So it is important learn with our heads.

This is the secondary level of learning. It is the level of intellectualising, thinking and talking. Looking for patterns, we begin to build models. Testing these in reality, we see what works and what can be improved. Developing models enables us to feel more in control of our lives.

So far, so good. But some people hit a problem. They may spend too much of their lives on the secondary level.

Instead of doing, they think about doing. Instead of playing – taking initiatives – they replace it with intellectualising. Instead of feeling, they talk about feelings.

Between the two levels they then put a series of blocks. Some people can find they get cut off from their feelings.

Real growth, however, often involves doing things on the primary level. People who retake control of their lives after a setback, for example, often do so by acting on this level.

They may start exercising, rather than just talk about exercising. They may do more of the activities that give them positive energy, rather than sit complaining. They may aim to find a purpose by doing work that is satisfying, rather than waiting for a Eureka moment.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a specific situation in the past when you developed by doing something on the primary level and then making sense of it on the secondary level.

Describe the specific things you did then to do something on the primary level and then make sense of it on the secondary level.

Describe the specific things that happened as a result of taking these steps.

Slides Primary Level.002

Slides Primary Level.003

Slides Primary Level.004

Different people integrate primary and secondary level learning in different ways. Many organisations have found that is vital to use this approach, for example, when interviewing people.

They need to get the candidate into showing and doing, rather than just answering questions on an intellectual level. When selecting a potential leader, for example, the interviewer may say something like the following to the candidate.

“Let’s move on to simulating the conditions in which you will be presenting a vision to the team.

“We sent some homework to you ahead of time. This invited you to prepare a presentation to the people you may be leading. It also gave some information about the possible targets for the team.

“Imagine we are members of the team. We will give you a few minutes to organise any visuals that you may have prepared. Then it will be over to you.

“We would like you to simulate presenting the possible vision to the team.”

Many educational projects also aim to integrate primary and secondary level learning. They recognise that students often learn best by doing, rather than talking about doing.

The Expeditionary Learning approach, for example, has proved successful for many students. This model enables the students to enjoy learning, apply the knowledge to real life challenges and measure the results. You can discover more at the EL web site. 

http://elschools.org/

Expeditionary Learning emphasises certain principles. Here are some of these, which you can find in a pdf outlining the approach.

http://elschools.org/sites/default/files/Core%20Practice%20Final_EL_120811.pdf

Learning is active

Students are scientists, urban planners, historians, and activists, investigating real community problems and collaborating with peers to develop creative, actionable solutions.

Learning is challenging

Students at all levels are pushed and supported to do more than they think they can. Excellence is expected in the quality of their work and thinking.

Learning is meaningful

Students apply their skills and knowledge to real-world issues and problems and make positive change in their communities. They see the relevance of their learning and are motivated by understanding that learning has purpose. 

Learning is public

Through formal structures of presentation, exhibition, critique, and data analysis, students and teachers build a shared vision of pathways to achievement.

Learning is collaborative

School leaders, teachers, students, and families share rigorous expectations for quality work, achievement, and behavior. Trust, respect, responsibility, and joy in learning permeate the school culture.

When implemented robustly, the Expeditionary Learning core practices create school environments that promote deep engagement in learning and support students to achieve at high levels.  

EL students gain skills critical to college readiness and lifelong success – literacy, numeracy, problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, persistence toward excellence, and active citizenship – as well as mastery of subject-area knowledge.

Different people use different approaches to develop. Sometimes it can be useful, however, to do something on a primary level and then clarify the learning on a secondary level. This can be more effective than simply intellectualising about a topic.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a specific situation in the future when you may want to develop by doing something on the primary level and then making sense of it on the secondary level.

Describe the specific things you can do then to do something on the primary level and then make sense of it on the secondary level.

Describe the specific things that may happen as a result of taking these steps.

Slides Primary Level.005

Slides Primary Level.006

Slides Primary Level.007

Share

    Leave a Reply

    You can use these HTML tags

    <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>