A new pedagogy

[Bjorn Simonsen (2004.03.01,15:40 EuST)]

Bill
Williams 25 February 2004 12:30 PM CST

Bjorn,
expands upon his notion of “respect” in a very interesting
post. To start

with
he defines “respect” in control theory terms, saying,

p
is a number of impulses and knows absolutely nothing about

neither our intentions (the reference signal) nor the disturbance

(from the extern world).

And,
this where we, or for that matter life itself starts. So far

we are in complete agreement. So, far I regard the argument as

compelling.

"… nobody can argue
that her perceptions are a “picture” of the

extern world.

Here, it seems to me it is necessary
to adopt a sympathetic mode of

interpretation. When Bjorn says
"… nobody can argue " his assertion

would appear to conflict with the all
too apparent evidence that nearly

everyone is constantly arguing in support
of some favorite conception

“picture” of the external
world.

I
don’t think it is necessary to adopt a sympathetic mode of interpretation, but
I think a sympathetic mode of interpretation is always favourable. I think
there is a reference in my program level that calls for a sympathetic mode of
interpretations of the most disturbances. I perceive the concept sympathetic
mode as showing favour.

I agree that my
assertion “….nobody can argue that her perceptions are a “picture” of the
extern world.” conflicts with “the all to apparent evidence that nearly
everyone is constantly arguing in support of some favourite conception “picture”
of the extern world.

And that is a problem for me. Most people believe that their “picture” of
nature is the same what other people watch. They admit that people may comprehend
the content of a speech in different ways, or the content of a text or a
painting or a symphony, but they insist that Mr. NN was at the arena. They saw
him with their own eyes. They also insist that a stone will fall to the earth
and that it is wrong to base a theory in economics on indifference curves.

And, again, if I understand

what he intends, this process of
respect would disallow some forms of

statement about an external reality
that is in some sense fundamentally

unknowable.

I don’t think I will disallow
any forms of statements. I think I will respect all forms of statements and with
respect I think upon an act of giving particular attention.

Two or more people need
not plead that their “picture” of the extern world is correct, they may agree about a “picture” of the extern
world. And that is quite an other thing.

So, it appears to me that Bjorn would recommend that we

say “I am getting wet.” or
“I have a sensation of getting wet (p)” Rather

than “It is
raining.” And, Bjorn may have a point. It could be that there

is someone in a second story window
urinating on us. However, as an

experimental matter given some
practice and we can learn to distinguish

between being rained on, and someone
“showering down” on us. Is the

“rain” unusually warm, is it
somewhat yellowish, maybe it isn’t rain after

all. So, as an experimental
matter, I think there may be reason to be

skeptical concerning the extreme
skepticism which Bjorn’s stance appears

to me to represent.

I
perceive a suspicion of irony and that is OK. I expected a comment about why
some perceptions represent the extern world and other not. Irony away. I don’t
recommend that we say any especially, but I recommend a pedagogy that leads to
a respect for the extern world in a way that we give disturbances a particular
attention.

I think it is OK that we say, “It is
raining”, because most people have learned the experience of rain. Most people
agree it is raining when it is raining. And this is central. Many people learn
the same in schools, at home and in the gang. They who learn “agree” in a way
about the extern world.

But it is a long distance from agreeing
about something to declare that what they perceive is the real extern world.

In accordance with PCT we cant
say how much of our perceptions

that are r and how much are d.

This appears to me to be overly
pessimistic about our capacity to understand

to some extent our external world and
even the external world of our

preconceptions (in control theory talk
our reference levels, and our

perceptual categories. As Kant said,
"Two things fill me with wonder-- the

heaven’s above and the moral order
within." I think the physicists can take

genuine pride in knowing something
reliable about the external world. And,

I have hopes that we can learn
something equally realizable about our

internal world-- a world of intensions,
and concepts.

I
guess you are not pessimistic about your capacity to understand some extent of
your external world. Neither I am pessimistic to understand some extent of my
external world. But my understanding is an experience and a set of matrixes of
references. When I learned that a rainbow is a light refraction phenomenon in
the atmosphere I agreed with other people how to understand it. I know that
other people describe the extern world in their way and believe that their perception
represent the real extern world.

When
I ask for an explanation how perception signals within the cornea can be an analogy
to the rainbow they start talking about something else.

The
sad thing is that they will not listen to my p = (ke* ko *r + kd

  • d )/ (1 + ko* ke).

However, it seems to me that
that there are areas of our experience in which

we do with9out hesitation tell people,
and especially students, “You are wrong.”

Is 5 equal to 2 plus 2? No.

For
me there are many reasons why we shall not
say, “You are wrong.” My
basis is that the student who tells us that 5 is equal to 2 plus 2. has an
other reference or perceive a disturbance in a special way. (I skip he is a
teaser).

I
think that it is the professor’s job to help the student to get an experience
of an analogy to 2 plus 2, which most people agree upon.

This isn’t to say that I think we
should be careless in telling each other that,

“No, No, You are the
idiot.” But, sometimes I think it does come down to

just this. And, if it does, then I am
not persuaded that we should not say so.

I have experienced that it has come down
to that for many people. When I experience it I say it comes from a person who
has not learned p = (ke* ko *r + kd

  • d )/ (1 + ko* ke), or I
    think the person control a perception at a too low level.

Bjorn goes on to describe his
conception of “respect” in terms of a process

of “attention.”
Williams James described “attention” as an anomaly that shattered

the orthodox psychology of his
day. It was an associationalist psychology that

attributed behavior to external causal
forces. James didn’t get very far in using

the notion of “attention” as
an organizing principle. I think you need control theory

to develop a psychology in terms of
attention. Actually, isn’t “attention” another

way of talking about learning.
And, Bjorn gives the thread the caption “pedagogy.”

William
James was an experienced man. He argued also for purposive behavior.

I used the concept “attention”,
but I prefer to focus at p = (ke*
ko r + kd * d
)/ (1 + ko
ke).

And my perceptions
change until p = r. It happens that it takes its time. And sometimes reorganization
begins. Then we are talking about learning.

I still think that the
basis in p = (ke* ko *r + kd

  • d )/ (1 + ko* ke), will lead
    to an effective pedagogy.

I will stop at this point with the
comment that in contrast to an older associationalist

conception of learning that is an
expression of an external environment, what

Bjorn seems to be pointing to is a
conception of learning as an active process. And,

in the older conception I never
found any explanation for how learning could be

mistaken. If it is the external
universe that is responsible for learning, how could the

universe be mistaken? But, if it
is the active organic agent that is responsible for

the process of learning, then mistakes
are possible. People do from time to time

make mistakes. And, at least I would
argue that it from a recognition of this fact

that theory, all theory must begin.

I
don’t know if I understand you correct, but reorganization (learning) stops
when there is created a reference ( a matrix of references) which change the perceptual
signals until p = r. I don’t think it is correct to say that it is the external
universe that is responsible for (learning) reorganization. I think it is more
correct to say that the functional perceptions and reference values jointly
which are responsible.

There
are many reasons why people from time to time make mistakes. A theory of
behavior must
explain that. I don’t think this is a place to begin.

The
place to begin a new theory in pedagogy is at p = (ke* ko *r

  • kd * d )/ (1 + ko* ke). And I will appreciate if the name of
    this pedagogy becomes “Suitable agreement”.

bjorn

···

From[Bill Williams 1 March 2004 11:30 AM CST]

[Bjorn Simonsen (2004.03.01,15:40 EuST)]

In a continuing discussion on a new conception of pedagogy, Bjorn insists upon approaching questions concerning issue regarding “perception”, an “external world”, and learning in terms of avoiding saying “You are wrong.” Instead he would prefer to consider the issue in terms of expressions such as “We are in agreement.” or "We are not in agreement. Bjorn recognizes that many people do not approach these issues in the way that he finds superior, and comments:

The sad thing is that they will not listen to my p =

(ke* ko r + kd * d )/ (1 + ko ke).

And, Bjorn and I are in complete agreement that this is a sad thing. However, in some circumstances it may be necessary to focus primarily upon portions of this larger truth.

As an example among the things I have taught is flying. And, if it is understood that, p = (ke* ko r + kd * d )/ (1 + ko ke) then many things about flying are easier to learn. It is far simpler to do what is necessary so that the nose of the plane relative to the horizon is such that a certain perception is obtained than it is to try to learn all of the combinations of conditions and motor outputs that would achieve some condition. One of the things that I tried to teach student pilots was to check that there was sufficient gas in the fuel tanks before going flying. And, since the trainer was a small airplane with small gas tanks I defined “sufficient gas” in terms of full tanks. One student that attempted to teach flying did really do very much flying. For whatever reason he consistently forgot to check the fuel tanks. Now, I probably would have been unfair to have told him, “I see you have chosen to have an accident.” And, actually running out of gas while flying a small airplane doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have an accident. But, it does introduce the possibility that you might have to explain why you landed the airplane somewhere other than an airport. And, although I can not remember precisely what I told this student. It probably wasn’t “You are wrong.” And, although I understood something of control theory at the time, I am quite sure that I didn’t tell him p = (ke* ko r + kd * d )/ (1 + ko ke). But, I could have told him "Since we do not agree about this issue of how much gas should be in the fuel tanks, I don’t wish to go flying with you today. This would have avoided the epistemological naive mistake of telling the student that he was an idiot merely because he wasn’t paying any attention to the fuel status of the training aircraft we were thinking about flying.

Pilots of small aircraft are taught not to trust the electronomic fuel gauges. This is in some measure the result of a recognition of that fuel gauges can either fail completely or partially in ways that can be misleading-- but epistemologically the context of this skeptical attitude ordinarily assumes the existence of an external reality.

Instead of trusting electronomic gauges is recommended that they use a wooden stick and remove the fuel caps and using the stick physically check the fuel level in the tank. But, pilots are not, if I understand Bjord correctly, epistemologically sophisticated, and they mistakenly confuse dipping the wooden stick in the fuel tank with performing an act upon an “external world.” So that, as

Bjord says, “… it is a long distance from agreeing about something to declare that what they perceive is the real extern world.”

Whether they are mistaken or not (in epistemological terms) pilots have developed a strong disposition to think that when the gas tanks are empty that the engines stop. And, when the engines stop, then the feedback loops that have a path through “the external world” no longer function as expected. And, I suspect that Bjorn’s

p = (ke* ko r + kd * d )/ (1 + ko ke) includes in it references to an external world.

Before posting this I wish to correct a misunderstand I may have generated. Bjorn says,

I don’t know if I understand you correct, but >reorganization (learning) stops when there is created a >reference ( a matrix of references) which change the >perceptual signals until p = r. I don’t think it is correct >to say that it is the external universe that is responsible > for (learning) reorganization.

What I intended to communicate was my belief that in the older learning theories when it was assumed that the stimulus from the external world was responsible for learning, I had difficulty seeing how a learner could make a mistake. After all it was the external world that was the active force and the learner was passive. So, how could the external world be mistaken. When I asked this question as a sophomore the professor dismissed the whole notion of mistakenness as nonsense. I wasn’t, however, convinced-- I continue to think that learners sometimes make mistakes. For instance, the student pilot who managed to hit a tractor, and tear the wing off, was thought to have made a mistake.

Bjorn goes on to say that,

I think it is more correct to say that the functional >perceptions and reference values jointly which are >responsible.

We agree about this. This is what I meant to say. What I wish to go on to say is that, we actively select, maintain, and correct the organization of our perceptions and our reference values. And, these perceptions and values can be mistaken. A recognition that we might be mistaken seems to me to be a fundamental ontological, and epistemological truth. It would seem to me to be a truth that is built into your p = (ke* ko r + kd * d )/ (1 + ko ke).

p = (ke* ko r + kd * d )/ (1 + ko ke).

Bill Williams

No irony, or at least not so very much intended.

···

[Bjorn Simonsen (2004.03.03,10:35 EuST)]

Bill
Williams 1 March 2004 11:30 AM CST

As an example among the things I have
taught is flying. And, if it is

understood that, p = (ke* ko *r + kd

  • d )/ (1 + ko* ke) then many

things about flying are easier to learn. It is far simpler to do
what

Is necessary so that the nose of the plane relative to the horizon is

such that a certain perception is obtained than it is to try to learn

all of the combinations of conditions and motor outputs that would

achieve some condition. One of the things that I tried to teach

student pilots was to check that there was sufficient gas in the

uel tanks before going flying.

It
is independent how you teach student pilots and other students. You represent
the disturbance. And your teaching is part of p. The other central part is r.

You
can test what the student is controlling when you teach. And I think testing
what the students are controlling is an element of “The new pedagogy”(PCT).

I
will hold my tongue when you bring “teaching student pilots” into the discussion.
My only knowledge about flying is the books of Richard Bach. I have them all,
and I love them.

p = (ke* ko *r + kd

  • d )/ (1 + ko* ke).

Bill
Williams

I
think you had a nice closure/salute. Therefore I stop “A new pedagogy” here

bjorn