Cycle of Engagement

Learning occurs in the field of attention (not necessarily the same as concentration or even conscious awareness). Learning is a process of connecting, integrating, and incorporating(neuronal-somatic-emotional-semantic) new experiences – co-implicating new interrelationships between the memory of previous experiences and the living ‘edge of now’ being experienced (attention-differentiation-disambiguation). As sensory and cognitive processes provide foreground input to the stream of attention they also trigger re-membering into the stream (according to emotional and cognitive associative processes) relevant short and long term memories. This dynamic inner co-assembling of memories provides the background flow, the interior context, and the populates of  working memory within which learning occurs. The foreground and background processes are concurring real time within attention and move through a cyclic process of coherence, dissonance, differentiation, disambiguation, co-implication and, renewed coherence. Between the flowing stream of meanings emerging from the foreground and the stream of background meanings arising in wake-like response, new learning occurs.

The critical aspect of this inner relationship among processes, is that attention must span and provide the ‘field’ this cycle takes place in. If the span of attention is inadequate for the stretch between foreground and background, the learner disengages.  The learner’s capacity for attentional stretch is related to the amplitude of their (affective) interest and reduced by disruptions (whether cognitive or affective).

Disengagement from learning results when the foreground stretches too far or long away from relevancy or when the emotions aroused disrupt the flow of attentional interest. However disengagement is avoidable when it is caused by extraneous ambiguities (confusion) introduced by the form, structure, or pacing of information intended to be facilitative (i.e., language, vocabulary, conceptual density, explication style, complexity level, pace etc…) and/or when it causes disruptive emotional reactions to the feeling of the learning challenge (downward spiral of shame)

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