Forest Schools and the Dangerous Child

Liberating children from the tyranny of institutional ideology and classroom indoctrination should begin early. The “forest school movement” and the “forest kindergarten movement” are experiencing growth in Europe, the Anglosphere, and in free East Asia.

In a “forest kindergarten,” like the one in the short video above, children spend most of the day in the wilderness, regardless of weather. Toys are replaced by the imaginative use of sticks, rocks and leaves. There are more than 1,500 of these in Germany. __ NYT

Kindergartens, “child gardens,” began to sprout up in Germany and Scandinavia around the turn of the 20th century, near 1900. The two world wars of the first half of the 20th century stalled the European development of this healthy phenomenon.

The concept of “forest schools” was further developed in Wisconsin in the 1920s, in Scandinavia and Germany in the 1950s, in the UK in the 1990s, and in Canada, Japan, and Hong Kong in the early 2000s.

Wikipedia Forest Kindergarden

Young and very young children appreciate the wild elements of play that are incorporated into the forest school. Boys are more suited for the wild than for the classroom, at least in their first dozen or so years of life.

Advantages of Forest School:

Improved confidence, social skills, communication, motivation, an concentration[15]
Improved physical stamina, fine and gross motor skills [15]
Positive identity formation for individuals and communities [16]
Environmentally sustainable behaviours and ecological literacy [15]
Increased knowledge of environment, increased frequency of visiting nature within families [15]
Healthy and safe risk-taking [16]
Improved creativity and resilience;[16]
Improved academic achievement and self-regulation;[16]
Reduced stress and increased patience, self-discipline, capacity for attention, and recovery from mental fatigue [16]
Improved higher level cognitive skills [17]

In forest schools, play is largely self-initiated and self-regulated. Most rules of play are negotiated on the fly between children and their playmates, and adult supervision is limited.

Forest Schools and the Dangerous Child

Anything that can be taught in a classroom can be better taught in a forest, given adequate preparation. But the immediacy of the outdoors provides resilience-breeding learning experiences that stay with the child far longer than the didactic pedagogy of the classroom.

The Dangerous Child curricula is best taught in the out of doors. Most of the early training should take place in the rural setting — whether in a forest, on a mountain, in a desert, on a farm, or on a waterway, is a matter of choice, discretion, need, and opportunity.

As the child grows and develops competence-based confidence and resilience in the outdoors, he will be better able to develop expertise in more technological and urban settings. But no child ever outgrows the out of doors. By growing up in the wild, a more realistic concept of nature evolves within the child than what most children receive in a classroom indoctrination.

Forest School vs. Montessori and Waldorf

For parents who are unable to lead their own children through the lessons of the outdoors during the formative years, the expanded choices provided by forest schools, Montessori, and Waldorf etc., allow for a somewhat less guilty “farming out” of the young child to third parties than would otherwise be possible.

Each local kindertarten and school facility should be thoroughly vetted before trusting one’s child to their tender mercies.

More:

The movement to incorporate forest school into public school education

A blend of forest school and Montessori

A guide to forest school activities

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A Playful Foundation of Music, Movement, Pattern, and Language

The following article is republished in slightly edited form from an earlier posting on this blog.

Children are Born with Primed Brains

In the real world, babies are born with brains primed to learn and enjoy using language, movement, elements of music, visual and conceptual patterns, and symbolic art. This is in stark contrast to the leftist belief in the newborn’s brain as a “blank slate (PDF)” or tabula rasa.

The baby’s brain is predisposed to a rapid learning of language — even multiple languages. Even inside the womb a fetus begins to recognise the cadence and tone of the mother’s voice. Within just a few weeks after birth, the infant’s brain shapes itself around the sounds of the language it hears. Other, unheard sounds will be very difficult for the brain to hear or comprehend when encountered later in life.

New brains are likewise tuned to the enjoyment of music, movement, pattern, and simple art. Enjoyment leads to imitation as a form of learning which commences quite early, proceeding in a playful manner until the early lessons are learnt well enough to build upon. The playful element of learning for young humans is obvious from the beginning.

Sensitive Periods of Brain Development
Sensitive Periods of Brain Development

The brain is most sensitive to particular types of learning at different stages of development. Good habits and emotional control should be learned in the early years, no later than 5 or 6 years. These are particularly important traits for later learning — particularly self-monitored learning.

Language and music should be learned early — and together. Multiple languages are best learned before the age of 9 or 10. Music cognition complements language cognition, just as language learning can be combined with music learning in songs and rhymes.

Music learning likewise complements spatial and number / size learning — so that music learning can be an important forerunner to maths learning. Keyboards and fretboards are spatial in nature, and counting and “sizing” of intervals are part of learning such instruments.

Dance movement and other rhythmic movements have been linked to improved executive function in young children. Dancing can be learned even before walking, with a bit of assistance and gravity mitigation. Rhythmic and choreographed movements involved in playful dancing are good training for the cerebellum and basal ganglia of the brain, as well as for insular cortex training.

Pattern is implicit within art, music, language, and movement — and leads naturally into pre-mathematical foundational concepts, best experienced through play.

The development of artistic judgment and perspective boosts spatial development while giving the child a sense of confidence in creating something that others can appreciate. Children are intrigued by dynamic art such as mobiles, and very much enjoy the tactile aspect of art.

The child should have the opportunity to observe skilled adult musicians, artists, writers, dancers, and craftsmen at work. Children should see where their efforts can lead them. The child’s early efforts should be appreciated for what they are, as long as he has put his heart into them. If a child is a budding prodigy of art, music, language, or movement, it will be difficult for him to conceal his talent so long as it has been allowed to develop in a playful, creative manner.

A human brain is not fully developed until around the middle of the third decade, and remains in its prime for only about ten years before beginning to subtly lose ground. The earlier a child can find a strong talent for independent learning and skills-building, the longer the part of his life that he can develop and exercise that talent.

A television will not do much to help a young child, nor will a computer — at least as computers are currently made and programmed. Children need to see that human beings create music, art, stories, and dance. If a child is particularly talented in a given area, he should be encouraged and given opportunities to pursue development of the talent. In this area it is best not to force the child along any one path. If the motivation is not there, forcing the child will only prevent him from finding a talent he is willing to develop.

Play is the strongest motivator for younger children. During the early period of childhood, children crave the company of their parents and other family members. It is the period of greatest opportunity for self-development and foundation-building for the child. If this time is squandered by day care and television watching, it can never be retrieved.

Once simple play has lost its appeal, and once the child no longer craves a parent’s company, if the child has not learned good habits and self-control, a parent’s ability to guide the child becomes severely limited. Hasta la vista, baby.

This is important: A young child’s mind is a sponge. Be very careful what you allow it to soak in. You cannot take it back, once it is absorbed.

Link to original article

Why Dangerous Children Will Not Grow Obsolete

Dangerous Children are Both Playful and Inquisitive

Asking questions is one of the most important ways that children learn. Ordinary preschool children ask about 100 questions per day. But by the time they reach middle school they have essentially stopped asking questions.

Why Do Ordinary Kids Stop Asking Questions?
Source: Right Question Institute

This is one of the tragedies of modern schooling and child-raising. Something happens when children go to conventional schools, which stamps almost all the inquisitiveness out of them. The suppression of inquisitiveness in children goes a long way toward making sure that they will grow obsolete far too quickly.

The world and workplace of the future will demand that its workers and entrepreneurs be observant, nimble, and able to anticipate important trends and changes that are likely to take place. If children and youth never learned to ask the important questions about things and events happening around them, they will be lost and at the mercy of prevailing powers.

Five Basic Questions

Children can learn any number of ways to approach new phenomena, but to begin with it is best to give them a simple checklist of questions to ask, and make sure they acquire sufficient practise to make it a skillful habit.

Evidence: How do we know what’s true or false? What evidence counts?
Viewpoint: How might this look if we stepped into other shoes, or looked at it from a different direction?
Connection: Is there a pattern? Have we seen something like this before?
Conjecture: What if it were different?
Relevance: Why does this matter? __ From Chapter 1 in “A More Beautiful Question,” by Warren Berger

Student Engagement Over Time
Gallup

The graph above from a Gallup study reveals the steady decline in student engagement over time. This says more about teaching methods in conventional schools than it does about the students themselves.

Along with Inquisitiveness, A Sense of Playfulness is Indispensable

Play is central to the learning processes of very young children. And even as children grow older, play is a key component to learning foundational skills and for developing latent talents.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena discovered that recent engineering hires who were meant to replace older engineers who were retiring, did not know how to solve basic engineering problems with which they were confronted on the job. After investigating the reasons for this disturbing shortcoming of new engineers, they discovered something important about the type of engineers they needed to hire:

The JPL managers went back to look at their … retiring engineers… They found that in their youth, their older, problem-solving employees had taken apart clocks to see how they worked, or made soapbox derby racers, or built hi-fi stereos, or fixed appliances. The younger engineering school graduates who had also done these things, who had played with their hands, were adept at the kind of problem solving that management sought. Those that hadn’t, generally were not. __ From “Play” by Stuart Brown MD with Christopher Vaughan

The same problem with new hires and recent graduates is being seen in workplaces across the US as young people who were never given the experience of creative play and tinkering are hitting the workplace. People who developed the skills of improvising and tinkering in their youth will never forget these playful forms of problem-solving. Those who passed through their youthful years without developing these skills are at a serious practical disadvantage in a world of accelerating change, with newer unconventional problems popping up regularly.

Another example:

[Nate] Jones ran a machine shop that specialized in precision racing and Formula One tires, and he had noticed that many of the new kids coming to work in the shop were … not able to problem solve… After questioning the new kids and older employees, Jones found that those who had worked and played with their hands as they were growing up were able to “see solutions” that those who hadn’t worked with their hands could not. __ Play

We know that children pass through windows of sensitive neurological development as they grow older. If certain “connections” in the brain are not made during these sensitive periods of development, it will be more difficult — if not impossible — for many of these young people to make these important connections when they are older.

Asking the Right Questions Meshes with Skillful Improvisation

Solving problems in the real world is altogether different from scoring points on multiple choice exams in school. Improvisational problem-solving facilitated by asking the right questions makes a worker or an entrepreneur far more valuable and sought after in the real world — especially in a world of accelerating change where novel problems are always appearing.

Children and youth who develop the skills of asking good questions combined with competent and playful improvisation will find themselves in demand. And if these youth and young adults have also learned how to manage their finances, they are likely to eventually fined themselves reasonable well off financially.

Dangerous Children learn to master at least three means of financial independence by the age of 18 years. Besides having multiple skills that are sought after in the marketplace, they have also learned to manage the finances of a household and of multiple small businesses by that same age.

But that is just the beginning of what makes Dangerous Children skilled and nimble in this world or virtually any other human world. It is never too late for a Dangerous Childhood, but the sooner begun, the better.

More information on questions, and play:

Right Question Institute
National Institute for Play

Sidestepping Failures of Modern Schools and Classrooms

The well-known failure of modern schools has been explored by many scholars, including the respected Yale professor of artificial intelligence and cognitive science, Roger Schank. The quoted excerpts below come from Schank’s online e-book, “Engines for Educators.” In his book, Professor Schank exposes the problem, then describes a few steps toward possible solutions.

Small children love to learn, at least before they get to school. No two-year-old has ever taken a walking class, yet any physically healthy two-year-old can walk. No three-year-old has ever taken a talking class, yet every physically healthy three-year-old can talk. No four-year-old has ever taken a course in geography or planning, yet every physically healthy four-year-old can find a room in his home, knows his neighborhood, and can navigate around in his own environment.

Children are little information sponges. They gulp down information because they want to become full-fledged members of the “secret society” of grownups, who seem to know what they are doing.

Children are little learning machines. Before they ever reach school, they manage to progress from newborns with innate abilities and minimal knowledge to children with an enormous amount of knowledge about the physical, social, and mental worlds in which they live. They accomplish this feat without classrooms, lessons, curricula, examinations, or grades. They are set up for learning before they enter this world. It is the job of parents to help them learn by protecting them from danger and exposing them to new situations. This should be the job of teachers in school as well, but we have long since lost the model of education that would allow it to happen.

Preschool infants and toddlers are avid learners — because they want to learn! They are desperate to learn to do the things they see older people doing so effortlessly. They want to belong!

In their natural state, that is, prior to school, children do not have motivation problems. Excited by learning, they are eager to try new things, and are in no way self-conscious about failure. We never see a two-year-old who is depressed about how his talking is progressing and so has decided to quit trying to improve. We never see a two-year-old who has decided that learning to walk is too difficult and thus has decided to not try to get beyond crawling. For almost every child, the love of exploration, the excitement of learning something new, the eagerness for new experiences, continues until he or she is about six years old.

Like busy beavers working on a tree trunk, young pre-school learners keep chipping away at the tree of knowledge, desperately striving to internalise the action secrets that make grownups the powerful people they seem to be.

The natural learning mechanisms children employ are not much more sophisticated than experimentation, and reflection, with a small amount of instruction thrown in when they are in the mood to listen. They try new things, and when they fail to get what they want, they either try an alternative or are helped out by an adult whom they then attempt to copy. Children learn by trying to do something, by failing, and by being told about or by copying some new behavior that has better results. This perspective is founded on the simple but central insight that children are trying to do something rather than to know something. In other words, they are learning by doing. Doing, and attempting to do, is at the heart of children’s natural acquisition of knowledge. They see things they want to play with and learn to grasp. They see places they want to go and learn to walk. They feel the need to communicate and they learn to talk. Learning is driven by the natural need to do. Knowing is driven by doing. Children learn facts about the world because they feel the need to know them, often because these facts will help them do something they want to do. It isn’t until school that knowing becomes uncoupled from doing.

Children do not know in advance what will be helpful in later life, so they delve into all kinds of things they encounter — until they tire of them, or until an older person unhelpfully “disinterests them” in the matter. When everything is new, many more things are curious and interesting. Particularly if the thing seems to be something that will help the child become more like an all-powerful, all-knowing grownup.

As the brain develops through infancy and the toddler years, and as the child approaches puberty, his brain matures to become more capable of thinking abstractly. The brain becomes more able to “know” separate from “doing,” as it develops. Thus it often acquires a love of knowledge (usually of particular kinds) just for the sake of knowledge. But for most people of any age, knowledge that is of immediate or intermediate use is more powerfully sought after than is knowledge of uncertain use into the indefinite future.

The Development of a Self-Teaching Method is Key to Lifelong Learning

Schools do not teach children to teach themselves. Such a thing would represent a threat to the school system itself. But children who can map their own course through the knowledge labyrinths of the world have a distinct advantage over those children and youth who remain ever-dependent upon authority figures to chart their path.

And thus the need for the Dangerous Child Method. Dangerous Children learn to teach themselves at a very early stage. Beyond the core learning of topics that are closely related to useful real world applications, Dangerous Children began to chart their own courses very early — including running their own businesses and developing their own general curricula.

Children reveal their identities quite early, if allowed to do so. If ample opportunities for experimentation and exploration are incorporated into early training in movement, pattern, language, music, navigation, and narrative, the child will unconsciously reveal his own optimal learning pathways as he grows.

If a Dangerous Child masters at least 3 different ways of financial independence by the age of 18 years, it is clear that he will not likely be wasting a lot of time in conventional classrooms.

Versatility and the Dangerous Child

The following is co-posted on the Al Fin Next Level blog:

A Dangerous Child will master at least three means of financial independence by the age of 18 years. And that is just the beginning. Dangerous Children continue to learn and master new skills and competencies their entire lives, in order to be able to ride the shifting currents of creative destruction in the larger world.

Versatility in Thinking is Just as Important

Being able to thrive financially is important for adults of all ages from 18 to 108. Just as important is the ability to adapt to new ideas and ways of thinking, as we gain experience.

If we indoctrinate the young person in an elaborate set of fixed beliefs, we are ensuring his early obsolescence. [It is important to] develop skills, attitudes, habits of mind and the kinds of knowledge and understanding that will be the instruments of continuous change and growth on the part of the young person. __ Chapter 3 in Self-Renewal by John W. Gardner

The Dangerous Child movement grew from the realisation that if humans are ever to move beyond the current levels of thinking and living, that a better — more competent and self-aware — substrate of humanity is needed.

Albert Einstein understood that humans needed to move to different levels of thinking in order to solve many new problems which were cropping up.

The world we have made, as a result of the level of thinking we have done thus far, creates problems we cannot solve at the same level of thinking at which we created them. __ Albert Einstein quoted in Des MacHale, Wisdom (London, 2002)

The above quote is often phrased: “We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them” (Goodreads) .

It is safe to say that most people rarely contemplate the different levels of thought which they — and others — may use in the course of making plans, solving problems, and working through their days.

It is unfair to expect everyone to be able to change their ways of thinking, at whatever point in their lives they have reached. But children are something else, and Dangerous Children are something else yet again.

While ordinary and extraordinary children will inevitably think somewhat differently from their parents, Dangerous Children are trained specially to be flexible and versatile thinkers and doers.

The versatility of thinking displayed by Dangerous Children goes far beyond their broad base of skills, competence, and resourcefulness in the practical world. Dangerous Children are flexible thinkers, and are trained to review key assumptions in their thinking and planning at regular intervals. This is necessary because much will have been experienced by the child directly and indirectly over time, which may induce him to modify some of his basic assumptions. He must have a sound and effective way of making whatever changes are necessary in his conscious (and sometimes unconscious) foundations of thought and action.

Habits Rule us All

The specialist is more susceptible to falling into the rut of rote responses to stimuli, over time, due to the limited scope of problems he typically faces. Generalists must necessarily be more flexible, since they face a wider range of problems.

But even generalists can be forced into rote patterns of thought and response. That is why periodic reviews of personal and professional axioms, premises, and assumptions are necessary.

Habits are good insofar as they allow us to function productively in a more efficient way — freeing us up for greater achievement and enjoyment. But habits must be questioned from time to time, and changed as necessary.

The Dangerous Child is Usually a Mixture of Specialist and Generalist

In human societies there is no reason whatever why specialists should not retain the capacity to function as generalists. __ John W. Gardner in Self-Renewal

We are born into generalism and must function as generalists as we learn to walk, talk, read, and get along with others. Dangerous Children are immersed much more deeply into versatile generalism in the course of developing their broad base of skills and competencies. But many Dangerous Children will launch themselves from the springboard of early financial independence into more specialised careers and businesses — until they are ready to move on to something more challenging.

Modern human societies are based upon the specialisation of labour, and would not be nearly as prosperous without it. But specialists too often find themselves out on a limb as times change, and the world seems to move forward and leave their now-obsolete specialty behind.

For the health of the individual as well as for society as a whole, versatility is crucial.

Why Electronic Gadgets and Dangerous Children Don’t Mix

For many parents there can seem to be a divide between them and their kids’ lives – where their kids want to spend more and more time alternating between phone, tablet, Xbox, Wii, DSi and for some kids the usage of technology either borders on addiction or has tipped over into addiction. __ http://www.digitalparenting.ie/technology-addiction.html

Failure to Connect Source
Failure to Connect
Source

There’s a reason that the most tech-cautious parents are tech designers and engineers. Steve Jobs was a notoriously low-tech parent. Silicon Valley tech executives and engineers enroll their kids in no-tech Waldorf Schools. Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page went to no-tech Montessori Schools, as did Amazon creator Jeff Bezos and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

Many parents intuitively understand that ubiquitous glowing screens are having a negative effect on kids. We see the aggressive temper tantrums when the devices are taken away and the wandering attention spans when children are not perpetually stimulated by their hyper-arousing devices. Worse, we see children who become bored, apathetic, uninteresting and uninterested when not plugged in.

__ Digital Meth, Digital Heroin

Arthur Robinson — creator of the Robinson Curriculum — has some simple and firm rules concerning electronic gadgets and devices:

There is no television in our home. We do have a VCR that was donated to the civil defense project. As a family we watch a video tape approximately once every six months. Television wastes time, promotes passive, vicarious brain development rather than active thought, and is a source of pernicious social contamination.

__ http://www.robinsoncurriculum.com/view/rc/s31p59.htm

No child is allowed to use a computer until after he or she has completed mathematics all the way through calculus. (At one point Saxon calls for a little use of the hand-held calculator. I permit this, but only on a very few occasions.)

… People who can think do so with their brains. Surely their thoughts often lead to problems that require experimental test, and often computers are essential equipment in those experiments. The thinking, however, is done with the brain. The arithmetic ability involved in that thinking must also be in the brain during the thought process.

__ http://www.robinsoncurriculum.com/view/rc/s31p60.htm

Needless to say, there were no videogames, no smartphones, no social media.

Researchers have linked social-media use with a host of typical teenage woes, including low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. The pressure of responding to texts and instant messages causes sleeplessness in teens. It’s hard to ace an exam when you’ve been up all night staring at a screen, wondering why your friends aren’t writing you back. __ http://www.city-journal.org/html/back-school-still-offline-14715.html

The rapid brain development that takes place in the formative years is too important to be wasted on frivolous pursuits that block opportunities for necessary foundational learning, and turn the child into passive receptacles for the use of societal puppet-masters. (Like their parents have become.)

We now know that those iPads, smartphones and Xboxes are a form of digital drug. Recent brain imaging research is showing that they affect the brain’s frontal cortex — which controls executive functioning, including impulse control — in exactly the same way that cocaine does. Technology is so hyper-arousing that it raises dopamine levels — the feel-good neurotransmitter most involved in the addiction dynamic — as much as sex.

__ http://nypost.com/2016/08/27/its-digital-heroin-how-screens-turn-kids-into-psychotic-junkies/

These are good reasons for limiting — or prohibiting — the use of electronic gadgets and exposure to television and the internet for children whose brains are still in rapid development. This type of control is easier for home-schooled children who mainly socialise with other home-schooled children, but within the home it is possible for any parents who take the trouble to know and influence what is actually happening under their own roofs.

For Dangerous Children, the Stakes are Higher

Dangerous Children have very intense — but playful — upbringings. There are not many idle moments when the child is not either actively learning, or actively reflecting upon and applying things that he has learnt. Television, videogames, and social media often begin as ways of “killing time” and filling the idle minutes and hours. But soon they exert more and more control over one’s schedule and actually create more idle hours, afternoons and evenings, and entire weekends to be “killed.”

Many modern parents are okay with the use of electronic gadgets as “baby-sitters” and time-fillers for the developing minds of their young children. They will reap the result, and are unlikely to be happy with it.

Parents of Dangerous Children know better, because they want to make as close to optimal use of their child’s “growing brain time” as possible. That is why they choose to be parents of Dangerous Children in the first place.

Most children are not expected to play three musical instruments well, speak three foreign languages fluently, master a wide range of dangerous and potentially lethal skills and competencies, or master at least three means of achieving financial independence by age 18.

If you are contemplating Dangerous Child training for yourself or your child, it is best to understand the nature of the commitment before you begin. The brain — like the body — is shaped by its environments and its habits. Dangerous Children have to use this shaping to their long-term advantage.

The elitist “Masters of the Universe” in government, media, academia, big corporations, and other powerful cultural and societal institutions, simply want to stay in control. To them, your future and the future of your children have always been secondary to that goal, at best.

More:

Young men playing video games instead of looking for and finding work:

… if a historically vibrant portion of the population doesn’t feel as much desire to work, this could harm the economy’s future and the ability of government to use policy to create jobs. “That’s a big chunk of labor that could be used for something, and we’re not using it,” said Greg Kaplan, an economist at the University of Chicago who was not involved with the new research.

Boys and young men have been subjected to an education and child-raising that prepares them for nothing so much as a life of useless obsolescence. Everyone is complicit in this travesty, including parents, teachers, government bureaucracies, news & popular media, and a generally decadent culture.

Some Non-Lethal Skills Dangerous Children Must Master by the Age of 10

Executive Functions Source
Executive Functions
Source

Executive functions are typically developed before the age of 8, and are the foundation of mental and emotional development, and vitally important to life success.

Many observers of The Dangerous Child phenomenon focus on the lethal skills that Dangerous Children learn in the course of their training. But more important than the lethal (or even financial) skills are the character, emotional, and interactive skills. Here are a few:

  1. Persistence and grit

    The pre-frontal executive functions are more important to life success than IQ. Persistence and grit are foundational traits within the executive functions.

  2. Conscientiousness

    Another executive function, conscientiousness is a matter of honest character and integrity, of staying the course. An expansive and abundant human future can not be built on anything less.

  3. Mastering your thoughts

    This involves self-discipline and impulse control, another executive function. It is a necessary skill for the mastery of self-teaching, something that every Dangerous Child must learn to do early.

  4. Finding answers on your own

    This is a crucial aspect of self-teaching. Most questions are relatively trivial, with readily accessible answers to those who learn where to look.

  5. Asking for help

    Everyone runs into a wall from time to time. Knowing when to swallow one’s pride and ask for assistance can make the difference between stalling out, and moving forward stronger than ever.

  6. Listening

    A well-tuned and well-prepared mind knows how to watch and listen. This is where most ideas and opportunities are found

  7. Knowing when to shut up

    Talking too much blocks important observations and repels thoughtful persons around you.

  8. Knowing when to speak up

    Every Dangerous Child is a unique node of observation and thought. Potentially important ideas and observations need to be brought to the attention of others to whom they may be relevant.

  9. Being present in the now

    There is a time for daydreaming and a time for paying close attention. Dangerous Children will often place themselves in hazardous situations, where extreme vigilance is crucial

  10. Minding your business

    While being open to new ideas and observations, The Dangerous Child also knows how to ignore the extraneous

  11. Say what you mean and mean what you say

    Honest and succinct communication is priceless, particularly in tight situations

  12. Positive self talk

    The Dangerous Child must learn to understand and befriend himself, providing emotional support and recalibration on a regular basis

  13. Learn time budgeting

    The limiting nature of time is a difficult concept for most children. But for Dangerous Children in particular, the mastery of time is crucial to the development of multiple skills, competencies, and talents

  14. Learn the value of sleep, exercise, a playful attitude, love of challenge, and good nutrition

    Childhood learning is best done in an atmosphere of increasingly serious play. This involves an emotional balancing and mental focus that requires regular mental and physical re-charging and a healthful stressing.

These are just a taste of the important skills that pre-tween children must learn in order to prepare themselves for later skills learning. Demonstration of the pre-frontal executive functions are crucially important for later Dangerous Child training. If the child cannot be trusted with his hands, feet, or mouth, he cannot be trusted with a firearm or other lethal weapons or skills.

Source: http://www.impactlab.net/2016/08/12/13-skills-hard-to-learn-skills-that-will-pay-off-forever/

Note that the source article linked above is referring to skills that should be mastered by adults of all ages. While such skills may be helpful to learn in adulthood, if one waits that long to learn them he will have missed many priceless opportunities to learn, grow, and build. Dangerous Children have no need to suffer through a modern dysfunctional schooling and upbringing, only to be forced to unlearn all the indoctrination in adulthood.

Deliberate Practise and the Dangerous Child

To Become a Master, Only the Right Type of Practise Will Do

…think about the future of a world that applies deliberate practice on a regular basis and its impact on education, medicine, health, and relationships. Imagine a world where performance in every area of life gets better and better. __ C

Deliberate Practise, to be Specific

Deliberate practice is when you work on a skill that requires 1 to 3 practice sessions to master. If it takes longer than that, then you are working on something that is too complex.

Once you master this tiny behavior, you can move on to practicing the next small task that will take 1 to 3 sessions to master. Repeat this process for 10,000 hours. That is deliberate practice. __ Kathy Sierra (2012) as quoted by James Clear

There is a lot more to “deliberate practise” than breaking complex tasks into masterable pieces. But any coach, tutor, or instructor must understand how to “break things down” for each individual learner — who will usually put them together himself, once having mastered the pieces in the proper way, in good order. More complex skills are built upon the simpler skills that preceded them.

Deliberate Practise is Smart Practise
Deliberate Practise is Smart Practise

Is Mastery Innate or Acquired?

Some level of talent and ability must be present to give the learner a starting foundation. And the more natural talent, the more quickly the student can progress — at least in particular phases of the training. The mistake that is too often made is attempting to train so quickly that crucial fundamental skills and competencies are left out of the process. This mistake is most often made in training those who appear most talented in the beginning, who then expect everything that comes afterward to be easy.

when scientists began measuring the experts’ supposedly superior powers of speed, memory and intelligence with psychometric tests, no general superiority was found — the demonstrated superiority was domain specific. For example, the superiority of the chess experts’ memory was constrained to regular chess positions and did not generalize to other types of materials (Djakow, Petrowski & Rudik, 1927). Not even IQ could distinguish the best among chessplayers (Doll & Mayr, 1987) nor the most successful and creative among artists and scientists (Taylor, 1975). In a recent review, Ericsson and Lehmann (1996) found that (1) measures of general basic capacities do not predict success in a domain, (2) the superior performance of experts is often very domain specific and transfer outside their narrow area of expertise is surprisingly limited and (3) systematic differences between experts and less proficient individuals nearly always reflect attributes acquired by the experts during their lengthy training. __ K. Anders Ericsson

Of course we would not expect IQ to be the deciding factor in distinguishing among elite chess players, artists or scientists. If one is looking exclusively at elite levels, several other factors come into play that are more likely to distinguish the best of the best other than a score on an IQ test. Ambition, persistence, sustained energy levels and reserves, smart practise, ego strength to break out of consensual groupthink, conscientiousness, emotional stability and control, and many other qualities that augment and reinforce simple cognitive skills when moving from simple mastery to innovative mastery.

More on deliberate practise:

Deliberate practice is different from work, play and simple repetition of a task. It requires effort, it has no monetary reward, and it is not inherently enjoyable.

When you engage in deliberate practice, improving your performance over time is your goal and motivation. __ Source

Whether deliberate practise is inherently enjoyable or not, is likely to depend upon the person and how his deliberate practise is designed and carried out.

The recent advances in our understanding of the complex representations, knowledge and skills that mediate the superior performance of experts derive primarily from studies where experts are instructed to think aloud while completing representative tasks in their domains, such as chess, music, physics, sports and medicine (Chi, Glaser & Farr, 1988; Ericsson & Smith, 1991; Starkes & Allard, 1993). For appropriate challenging problems experts don’t just automatically extract patterns and retrieve their response directly from memory. Instead they select the relevant information and encode it in special representations in working memory that allow planning, evaluation and reasoning about alternative courses of action (Ericsson & Lehmann, 1996). Hence, the difference between experts and less skilled subjects is not merely a matter of the amount and complexity of the accumulated knowledge; it also reflects qualitative differences in the organization of knowledge and its representation (Chi, Glaser & Rees, 1982). Experts’ knowledge is encoded around key domain-related concepts and solution procedures that allow rapid and reliable retrieval whenever stored information is relevant. Less skilled subjects’ knowledge, in contrast, is encoded using everyday concepts that make the retrieval of even their limited relevant knowledge difficult and unreliable. Furthermore, experts have acquired domain-specific memory skills that allow them to rely on long-term memory (Long-Term Working Memory, Ericsson & Kintsch, 1995) to dramatically expand the amount of information that can be kept accessible during planning and during reasoning about alternative courses of action. The superior quality of the experts’ mental representations allow them to adapt rapidly to changing circumstances and anticipate future events in advance. The same acquired representations appear to be essential for experts’ ability to monitor and evaluate their own performance (Ericsson, 1996; Glaser, 1996) so they can keep improving their own performance by designing their own training and assimilating new knowledge.

__ K. Anders Ericsson

Pioneering 1993 PDF paper by Ericsson on Deliberate Practise

Professor Ericsson recently published a book on the topic of deliberate practice, entitled “Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise.”

Book Outline by Chapter:

Introduction

The opening question “Why are some people so amazingly good at what they do?” sets the stage for the whole book. Ever since I was in third grade I’ve read biographies and autobiographies to understand how people achieved great success. I was always more interested in learning about the journey than to know what it was like on the mountaintop. This book explains in detail the journey that expert performers go on to reach the mountaintop.

Chapter One

This chapter explains the value of purposeful practice.in expanding your physical and mental capacity for generating greater achievements in the future. It emphasizes the importance of taking small steps on a regular basis and gathering feedback on what you are doing effectively and ineffectively.

Chapter Two

Here you will learn how to specifically harness your mental adaptability to develop new skills and move beyond the status quo way of doing things. It also explains how your potential is not fixed, but rather is something that can be continually expanded.

Chapter Three

You learn the importance of mental representations, of actually seeing the level of performance that you are aspiring to reach. By visualizing the details of what needs to happen, you are able to see the pieces and patterns that are necessary for a great performance.

Chapter Four

This chapter explains in great detail the steps involved in deliberate practice, which is the absolute best way to improve your performance in any type of activity. I would try to explain my interpretation of deliberate practice here, but I think you would benefit a great deal more by really studying this chapter and learning the insights that Anders Ericsson developed over a lifetime of studying deliberate practice.

Chapter Five

A great explanation of how deliberate practice can be used in actual job situations regardless of the type of work that you do. I’ve found in my executive coaching sessions that guiding people through the steps of deliberate practice and showing how the principles of deliberate practice connect with their work situations helps them to move forward in a more intentional and effective way.

Chapter Six

This chapter shows how deliberate practice can be applied in everyday life situations whether you’re exercising, parenting, or enjoying a hobby. Literally anything you do you can learn to do it better the next time.

Chapter Seven

If you were ever wondering what it takes for a young person to go on to be world-class in any activity, this chapter explains what is involved. And it’s not for the faint of heart. Literally thousands and thousands of hours of deliberate practice over many years are required to become the best of the best at what you do. But if you’re goal is to be world-class, then this chapter explains how to do it.

Chapter Eight

This chapter explodes the myth of natural talent. It shows in detail that great performers always got there through extraordinary practice.

Chapter Nine

In this closing chapter, Ericsson and Pool guide the reader to think about the future of a world that applies deliberate practice on a regular basis and its impact on education, medicine, health, and relationships. Imagine a world where performance in every area of life gets better and better. They close their book with a new concept, Homo exercens rather than Homo sapiens. They wrote, “Perhaps a better to see ourselves would be as Homo exercens, or ‘practicing man,’ the species that takes control of its life through practice and makes of itself what it will.”

__ http://www.thecoughlincompany.com/cc_vol14_12a/

Chapter 9 of Ericsson and Pool’s book suggests that a world that applies deliberate practise regularly, would be a better world in many ways. That is probably true. But in the modern world where virtually every institution of government, education, media, foundations, and other cultural institutions are irredeemably corrupt and self-serving, how can productive disruptive change be implemented on a broad scale?

The answer is, it probably cannot be implemented on a broad scale in any meaningful sense — without dumbing it down to impotence.

Sure, if a billionaire such as Sergey Brin, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Tom Steyer, Richard Branson, or one of the other “usual suspects” would stop squandering resources on delusional green boondoggles, and begin to invest on the future minds and competencies of new generations, things would likely change. But such billionaires — and virtually all men of power and influence — are corrupted by the taint of groupthink and government rent-seeking. Institutional rot exists not only in large institutions, but also infects all products and forms of output from such institutions.

What is to be done, then? What indeed.

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood. Best to start the formation of networked Dangerous Communities as soon as practicable.

More:

http://www.braintrainingtools.org/skills/how-to-learn-new-skills/
http://www.braintrainingtools.org/skills/how-to-learn-new-skills/

A Playful Foundation of Music, Dance, Art, and Language

Children are Born with Primed Brains

In the real world, babies are born with brains primed to learn language, movement, elements of music, and symbolic art. This is in stark opposition to the leftist belief in “the blank slate (PDF)” or tabula rasa view of the human brain.

In other words, the baby’s brain is predisposed to a rapid learning of language — preferably multiple languages — and music, movement, and art. Such learning can commence quite early — before birth — proceeding in a playful manner until the early lessons are learnt well enough to build upon.

Sensitive Periods of Brain Development
Sensitive Periods of Brain Development

The brain is most sensitive to particular types of learning at different stages of development. Good habits and emotional control should be learned in the early years, no later than 5 or 6 years. These are particularly important traits for later learning — particularly self-monitored learning.

Language and music should be learned early — and together. Multiple languages are best learned before the age of 9 or 10. Music cognition complements language cognition, just as language learning can be combined with music learning in songs and rhymes.

Music learning likewise complements spatial and number / size learning — so that music learning can be an important forerunner to maths learning. Keyboards and fretboards are spatial in nature, and counting and “sizing” of intervals are part of learning such instruments.

Dance movement and other rhythmic movements have been linked to improved executive function in young children. Dancing can be learned even before walking, with a bit of assistance and gravity mitigation. Rhythmic and choreographed movements involved in playful dancing are good training for the cerebellum and basal ganglia of the brain, as well as for insular cortex training.

Visual art is fun and excellent eye-hand training. The development of artistic judgment and perspective boosts spatial development while giving the child a sense of confidence in creating something that others can appreciate.

All four of these playful pre-school activities are full of opportunities for learning creativity. Art and music should be innately creative, as the child’s senses of vision and hearing develop. But dance and language can be equally as creative if allowed to be.

The early years also present a preview into the child’s later strengths and preferences. If a child is a budding prodigy of art, music, language, or movement, it will be difficult for him to conceal his talent if it has been allowed to develop in a playful, creative manner.

The child should have the opportunity to observe skilled adult musicians, artists, writers, dancers, and craftsmen at work. It is never too early to begin to set goals. But the child’s efforts should be appreciated for what they are, as long as he has put his heart into them.

A human brain is not fully developed until around the middle of the third decade, and remains in its prime for only about ten years before beginning to subtly lose ground. The earlier a child can find a strong talent for independent learning and skills-building, the longer the part of his life that he can develop and exercise that talent.

A television will not do much to help a young child, nor will a computer — at least as computers are currently made and programmed. Children need to see that human beings create music, art, stories, and dance. If a child is particularly talented in a given area, he should be encouraged — but not forced. If the motivation is not there, forcing the child will only prevent him from finding a talent he is willing to develop.

Play is the strongest motivator for young children. During this period, children crave the company of their parents and other family members. It is the period of greatest opportunity for self-development and foundation-building for the child. If this time is squandered by day care and television watching, it can never be retrieved.

Once simple play has lost its appeal, and once the child no longer craves a parent’s company, if the child has not learned good habits and self-control, a parent’s ability to guide the child becomes severely limited. Hasta la vista, baby.

This is important: A young child’s mind is a sponge. Be very careful what you allow it to soak in. You cannot take it back, once it is absorbed.

More on early foundations in future entries.