Learning is the opening of ourselves to the experience of life. The opening is a motor act; the experience is interaction between sensory and motor happenings. When the experience of movement is integrated into our education, our perception of ourselves and the world changes.
~Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Body-Mind Centering
Learning is naturally a creative and communicative process. It begins in utero. The learning process is fundamentally based in the non-verbal intelligences. These essentially are:
Kinesthetic intelligence—moving-body knowing and communicating
Empathetic intelligence—emotional-feeling-relational knowing and communicating
Aesthetic Intelligence—imaginative-metaphorical knowing and communicating
These intelligences are contextually alive—experiential—and engage the creative process of learning though play and challenge. They are non-symbolic: experience does not stand for something else, is not about interpretation—it is about being and revelation.
School learning is a different kind of learning than natural learning. Its core purpose historically has been to teach known facts and prescribed literacy skills—verbal encoding as in writing, and verbal decoding as in reading, and the manipulation of other symbolic systems, such as number. Main stream school policy and teaching has traditionally not recognized and valued the developmental primacy of the non-verbal intelligences in learning.
Learning is a process of motor-sensory-perceptual engagement with the world. There must be an integration of this experiential process within that matches the world without. Only then is learning and development successful. Engagement in the non-verbal intelligences unquestionably lays the foundation for—is—this integrative process. It is upon this foundation that the skill of symbolization is built.
When developmental needs are unrecognized or ignored, the internal homeostasis1 of the learner is derailed. This triggers a stress based feed-back loop that denies the learner access to their evolutionarily inherited creative intelligence—that is natural learning.
1“Homeostasis” is the maintained balance or matching between self and world—understood to be a biological, perceptual, emotional, and rational process.
Photo Credit:Google Search, Barbara Cole Kirk, Respectively
Watercolor and Black & White Photo Credit: Rebecca R. Burrill