Sunday, April 05, 2009

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Making the right connections


I have had so much feedback about my blog on the Emergent Event that I thought it worthwhile following up with more on the subject.
Everyone experiences Emergent Events. Our lives are filled with them, but we rarely notice. We don’t notice, because the associated learning has probably been effortless. When each of us learned his or her native language, we did so with no apparent effort. And if someone had taken the time to track our learning, they would almost certainly have noticed that it was not a gradual process. We stumbled along with a few words and a few badly constructed sentences – until suddenly – BAM – we were chatting away like little miniature people – and so it went, until over time, we gained competence. But the gains were comprised of stagnant periods, interspersed with monumental leaps in fluency.
In my view, these big jumps in our ‘learning curve’ are very closely linked to making connections – or more importantly, making the RIGHT connections.
The right connections are those ones that open the way for even more connections. If I may make an analogy, using our ‘social networking’ as an example, it goes like this:
There we are living our lives, mixing with our usual circle of friends, and slowly, over time, our social network expands, because our friends may have other friends who, upon occasion, they introduce us to. Normal growth. The we meet someone outside of our circle of friends, whom we like, but this person has a whole new group of friends, perhaps his friends are all into real estate, or surfing, or martial arts – things that we have never been intimately involved with. Now, as we are drawn into that new landscape, our social networking undergoes a huge jump – Emergent Event. Some of these new connectios have the potential to take us off in completely new directions and open even more connections.
I believe that the connections are important when we are learning – but the RIGHT connections account for some of the huge ‘skill spikes’ we undergo in our development. So it is with social networking, so it is with learning and so it is with skill development.
Hope you are finding this interesting …
JBW

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5 Comments

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Anonymous 8:40 pm

When you talked about this in Wellington it made me think of all those people who train for gradings - no matter what style. I always used to think - why is it that after they have got their new belt they often take a big leap forward?
Your thoughts on this are definetly something for me to think about.

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Anonymous 3:03 pm

In relation to your statement "if someone had taken the time to track our learning, they would almost certainly have noticed that it was not a gradual process"; It actually IS the case that people have tracked the linguistic development of children. Child language acquisition is one of the primary areas of interest to those involved in psycho-linguistics.

And you are right. There are very distinct stages of language acquisition. There is a single word stage were sentences are constructed vertically (as in "Look. Car." as opposed to "Look at the car.") and then a two word stage where children practice basic syntactic relationships between words, but interestingly, there is no third word stage.

After the two word stage children graduate immediately and strikingly to fluent speech.

However, not all fields are like that. Acquisition of a second language is a far more gradual and conscious process.

Overall, a very interesting article. Thanks!

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Hi Anonymous,
thanks for your reply - it's interesting to hear your comments on linguistic development. I shall read a bit more on that.
I appreciate the assist ...
cheers,
John

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Hi Anonymous,
thanks for your reply - it's interesting to hear your comments on linguistic development. I shall read a bit more on that.
I appreciate the assist ...
cheers,
John

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Hi John,

Thanks for all the great post on your site. The last few days I have been listening to your post via my text reading software. I found it inspirational and encouraging.

I hope you don't mind but I will be quoting a lot of your post on my very own martial arts school/blog site.

www.fusionmma.com

Thanks
Mong

PS
I tried to email you but I couldn't find your email anyway. If you are worried about spam you can create a web contact form for free at www.jotform.com

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