I have just returned from a two day coaching training event run by a charity I support called Youth at Risk. It is only the second such training that I have attended, and this time the concepts have left a far deeper impression on me. The philosophies used are very different from any methods I have previously encountered or studied - more provocative mostly, but I can see how these methods could (and do) help youngsters from challenging backgrounds.
The main philosophy is based on 'Distinction Based Learning' by George Spencer-Brown. It could be described as one of many paradigms (like looking through a different lens) to view a situation.
During the training, I could almost feel the connections forming between my brain cells where I was thinking... ' in NLP terms, this would be called...'. Interestingly, I noticed the same patterns in people that I often notice on courses- those who were new to this way of thinking, absorbed the information like sponges (or certainly did not protest much). Those who were experienced in a different (or several different) disciplines, found it harder to look at the situations through this 'paradigm'. I suppose if you have nothing to compare a method to, you accept what you accept and use logic to argue any points you may not readily accept. I was listening and then translating the new learning into my own way of understanding, by attaching it to 'hooks' in my brain. I also ran the information through my system with NLP as my paradigm of choice and picked up any similarities and differences.
What amazes me more and more these day is how we learn. On a recent meeting to visit my cousin who is an overseas student studying for an MSc; we discussed how she best studies. She said she is struggling to revise because she is used to studying in groups, and as she doesn't live in halls, she is somewhat distanced from her peers. Her goal for this week is to hang around with people more after class and make some connections. I have limited experience of studying in groups but when I have worked on projects with others, I have always found it more generative than thinking on my own.