Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Spiral Dynamics and Education

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
Marcus Barber responded to my Vygotsky link yesterday with a longish email, which I appreciated, and a link to this presentation. It's a longish PDF (a format my distaste for which he acknowledged) describing an off-shoot known as spiral dynamics. The bulk of the paper is devoted to dividing learners into six colour-coded groups, ranging from the deferential purples to the lone wolf reds. Value systems, according to the paper, are "wave-like processes that oscillate between a focus on the external world and how to master it and a focus on the inner being and how to come to peace with it." Now if I were a colour on the colour chart I would probably be a little tangerine (or beer-coloured). So obviously such a table is just a rough approximation, as any such taxonomy (for which educators have an undue fascination) will tend to be. But are learning and life really reducible to a struggle between the inner and the outer? It's like describing a coin by saying that it has a head and a tail. True enough, but there is something in the essence of being a coin that is missed in the description.

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Last Updated: Jun 22, 2024 9:14 p.m.

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