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Monday, October 14, 2013

Animation - The State of Being Alive

by Cathy Yuill

Animation Doll Family

A Story of Experiential Learning: Using the head brain, the body brain and the heart brain (Robert Cooper)

A Definition of Learning: "Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience" (David Kolb).

This Animation doll family symbolizes "experienced based learning". They are a tribute to seminal thinkers such as Dewey, Piaget, Lewin, Mazlow, Rogers and Erikson who laid this firm foundation; and I have chosen David Kolb to anchor this aspect of Whole System Coaching because for the past ten years David Kolb has taken me on a fascinating and dense journey trough these great minds and included them in his learning.

"When a concrete experience is enriched by reflection, given meaning by thinking, and transformed by action, the new experience created becomes richer, broader, and deeper" (David Kolb). All genuine learning comes about through experiment and experience. There needs to be an organic connection between education and personal experience. Learning is a cyclic process of adaptation and reflection as opposed to content and outcomes. Knowledge is transformed both objectively and subjectively.

To understand learning we need to understand the nature of knowledge (and vice versa). Learning is a journey; learning is slowing down; learning is a social activity, learning is participative. It involves a social process based on carefully cultivated experience which challenges every concept of 'teaching'. Learning embodies in three stages: acquisition, specialization, integration (or embodiment) (David Kolb X11). A future learning society requires a realization that learning is a lifelong task, essential for personal development and career success. Learning is the real life integration of theory and practice.

"The experiential learning model pictures the workplace as a learning environment that can enhance and supplement formal education and can foster development through meaningful work and career development opportunities. And it stresses the role of formal education in lifelong learning and the development of individuals to their full potential as citizens, family members and human beings" David Kolb, Experiential Learning, p.4

Learning Styles

We all learn in different ways. This learning doll family symbolizes David Kolb's four diverse learning styles; David Kolb's learning cycle consists of four stages: concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization and active experimentation. The cycle can be entered at any point but Kolb believes that in order to learn we must complete the whole cycle.

While all four styles are available and necessary for an integral learning experience, each individual has a unique orientation to one and a unique mix of the other three, rendering the 'one size fits all' approach to teachingais less than effective. Each person's learning style is a combination of four learning modes. He however favours one of these modes as his orientating preferred quadrant.

Note: "A combination of all four of the elementary learning forms produces the highest level of learning, emphasizing and developing all four modes of the learning process". David Kolb, p.66

1. Converger:

The converger encompasses abstract conceptualization (AC) and active experimentation (AE). The converger is relatively unemotional and prefers things to people. Strengths lie in becoming a deep expert and working with facts and deductive reasoning.

2. Accommodator:

The accommodator is best at Concrete Experience (CE) and Active Experimentation (AE). His greatest strength lies in doing things; in carrying out plans and experiments and being involved in new experiences; a risk taker who excels at adapting to immediate situations. Where the theory doesn't fit, this person will override the rules and respond intuitively. This is my preferred style. Dorothy in the Narrative doll family is an example of this learning style.

3. Assimilator:

The Assimilator's dominant learning abilities are Abstact Conceptualization (AC) and Reflective Observation(RO). He is able to create theoretical models and excell an inductive reasoning and integrating disparate observations. This learner prefers abstract concepts to practical appliction of the concepts or people. This learner's strengths lie in research and planning.

4. Diverger:

The Diverger is best at concrete experience (CE) and reflective observation (RO). A key strength is imaginative ability. This learner can view concrete situations from many perspectives and generate ideas. People oriented with broad cultural interests.

Creating a Learning Environment

All four of these environments should be integrated into a single learning experience.

  • 'affective' - emphasizes the experiencing of concrete events
  • 'symbolic' - emphasizes abstract conceptualization
  • 'perceptual' - stresses observation and appreciation
  • 'behavioural' - environment stresses action taking in situations with real consequences

Learning Dolls: Individual

The following learning principles are depicted in the five dolls with each doll representing one of David Kolb's learning modes. The smallest depicts the value and importance of integrating all four modes.

Learning is:

  • about slowing down
  • a neverending journey
  • a social activity
  • for sharing
  • developing an abundance mentality
  • for embodiment
  • about growing consciousness
  • being in and learning from nature
  • from the inside out
  • not sustainable in isolation
  • about not being controlled
  • participative
  • Integrative

Everyone, teacher, student, facilitator should be actively involved in the learning process. In this diverse cross pollination, all four learning modes to be integrated (David Kolb)

  • Concrete Experiencer
  • Reflective Observer
  • Abstract Conceptualizer
  • Active experimenter

Learning can only happen through our own unique channel of receptivity and cannot be prescribed. It is a lifelong ongoing process. The key is to be awake and to be aware.

Doll Number Five: Concrete Experiencer

The concrete experiencer represents a receptive, experienced-based approach to learning that relies on intuition. The concrete experiencer is people oriented; theoretical approaches are unhelpful. They prefer to treat each story as unique; specific examples provide the best learning. They relate better to peers than to authority and thrive on feedback and discussion with fellow CE learners.

Learning is Intensity

Doll Number 5: Learning is Intensity - The Gold of the Concrete Experiencer.

This figure is in the shape of an arrow with the focus of one who knows where she is going. There is an intense energy to continue the learning journey. Nothing can hold her back. This picture represents the fire of inquiry; intrinsic motivation, passion and guidance are the key factors in learning. These attributes originate in the lower left quadrant of the brain and are what drives learning. Learning is a journey and it is an energy. The rainbow coloured wings represent the motivation that we carry within. Beneath the wings are our underlying values, beliefs and feelings that fuel the energy to learn.

"Everyone who has burned with intense enquiry has found the sunrise" - Unknown
Growth and Development

Moving through Growth and Development

Human development occurs in the process of learning from experience. Knowledge is a transformational and integrative process continuously being created and recreated; not something we acquire and transmit. This picture represents the evolution of consciousness as described by Frederich Nietzshe in his book 'Thus Spake Zarathustra'. He speaks of three levels namely the camel, lion and child. The camel is dull and self-satisfied. From the camel emerges the lion, emerging from lethargy and roaring his truth. From here emerges the child who is neither lethargic nor rebellious, just curious and open to learning, growth and change in an innocent way. As we learn so we are reborn. We need to continually become the child again.


The Shadow of the Concrete Experiencer

When we keep moving without slowing down to reflect we miss the integration of the learning. Active experimentation must be balanced with reflective practice and a space to think through and plan the next course of action or the learning will be limited. Over 'doing' leads to anxiety, tension,stress, anguish and uncertainty. Overdo-ing creates tension in our be-ing.

The Gold of the Concrete Experiencer

The Whole Man

All aspects of our lives, material and spiritual should be attended to so that all sources of experience are respected. Adults learn primarily from all aspects their day-to-day lives. Life becomes the classroom. The inner world and the outer world must be developed. The east has remained poor for rejecting the outer world. The West is spiritually stuck for denying the inner world, (Osho). With Integral learning, whole can be developed in body and spirit and in consciousness and in science and in fun. This picture depicts the whole man who can relax and have fun and enjoy depths of understanding and wisdom. He contains and respects and integrates the grace and nurturing of the feminine and he expresses the agentic masculine.


Doll Number Four: Reflective Observer (RO)

This learning mode indicates a reflective, tentative and impartial approach to learning. High RO individuals rely heavily on observation in making judgments. Lectures are the preferred way of learning which allows the impartial, objective observer orientation to dominate the learning process. Introversion in this mode is high.

The Gold of Reflective Observation

This learning style emphasizes understanding as opposed to practical application. A concern with what is true? vs. how does it work? Reflection rather than action is the preferred approach. Internal thoughts and feelings are drawn upon to form opinions. Patience is a high capacity. Impartiality is strong and thoughtful judgment. The picture depicts this serene and considered approach. She is watching the mind and considering all perspectives before responding.


Learning is a Continuous Process and Requires Slowing Down

Savour the quality of getting off the treadmill and coming to rest with time to think and reflect and just observe. Your essence is at ease and you are creating the space for the future to emerge. Learning this way requires us to be cool, calm and centred.

A slow consistent approach to learning enables us to re-evaluate our values during these transforming periods. We re-examine what is important to us in the various domains of our lives - work, family, home, hobbies spirituality, creativity, and decide whether to make changes. This is a more reflective process than the 'subjects and tasks' of practical learning.


The Shadow of the Reflective Observer

Learning can be lonely and 'ice-olating' if not shared. The fear of failure and shame of not knowing and resistance to beginners mind can isolate us and retard the learning. Step up and share your uncertainty – become comfortable in ambiguity, uncertainty and paradox (Sfumato). Step out of your self and be prepared to try new learning and make mistakes.

The Gold of the Reflective Observer: Sharing


This learning style demonstrtaes an abundance mentality. Share your knowledge and allow it to overflow. This is a key to learning. Learning is essentially a social activity. It takes an abundance mentality to share information openly. Only when the head, heart and body are able to participate in the learning experience (open mind, open heart and open will, Otto Scharmer) does embodied learning take place. This image depicts the celebration of the gift of human learning and integration of that learning.

Learning is a social interactive process based on carefully crafted experience. Sharing learning creates space for challenge, feedback and multi-perspective thinking. Each participant in a learning experience is likely to have different learning needs and a different learning style. This diversity of worldviews is what stimulates learning.

Abstract Conceptualizer

The Abstract Conceptualizer indicates an analytical, conceptual approach to learning that relies on logical thinking and rational evaluation vs. feeling. They have an orientation more towards things and symbols and less towards other people. They are good at systematic planning and quantitive analysis. They learn best in situations that emphasize theory and rigour and discipline. Unstructured learning approaches do not appeal.

Abstract Conceptualizer

The Gold of the Abstract Conceptualizer

Systematic planning and quantitive analysis is a core skill. AC's learn best in situations that emphasize theory and rigour and discipline. They provide accurate maps and manage projects well.

Doll Number Three

The Shadow of the Abstract Conceptualizer: Outsider

The abstract conceptualizer can run the risk of feeling disconnected from others and from his dreams and desires because he does not interact with others in the learning process. When we don't know the limitations, our orienting learning style or get stuck in one groove of learning approach we feel limited and ineffective. Recognise that these are all just stories in your head relying heavily on your own thinking. You have the power within you to open the gate and enter that which you most long to become. The lock is not actually locked. Open it and walk through it to engage in other learning styles and towards your dreams and desires.


The Shadow of the Abstract Conceptualizer: Cognitive Overload

This picture depicts cognitive overload. People have been rewarded for cognitive intelligence above all throughout their lives. What it shuts down is the depending entirely on our heads. This way we can become stuck and overburdened. Our heads carry judgment and our bodies are excluded from the learning. Therefore what people know is not translated to the body.

A result of this imbalance can be anxiety, judgment and absence of multi-perspective learning. Our heads are full of judgement and our bodies get left out of the learning; so we find that we can talk up a storm but it's not translated to the body.


The Shadow of the Abstract Conceptualizer: Control

There is a time and a place for control but if you build it consistently into learning it becomes rigid and resistance sets in. As in the picture, the learner becomes encased as if in a straightjacket and may experience 'being controlled' as restrictive and resistance will set in. This figure is locked into straight lines. The light of learning is deflected off of the figure. There is limited embodiment with the manipulation of abstract symbols and quantitive analysis. Mistakes aren't entertained, nor are curiosity, vulnerability and spontaneity. The prescribed outcome becomes all that matters. With all the value that this style holds, on its own it tends to be bound by rigour and discipline.

Doll Number Two: The Active Experimentor

This style focuses on influencing people and creating change.

Practical application takes precidence over reflective understanding. 'What is the truth?' receives far less attention than 'how does it work?' The emphasis is on doing rather than reflecting or observing. Getting things done is paramount. Risk-taking is possible. Making a difference on the surroundings is highly valued.



Surrendering to learning is to be in the spirit of adventure. At first it feels like a dark forest but gradually it becomes a rainbow of light. It is curiosity that draws us there. Learning requires personal knowledge through exploring. Learning is a fascinating adventure with no end. The very search will help you to grow. Growth is all that is guaranteed. You will feel danger and fear and will wonder into unknown territory sometimes with no map or guide. You may get lost, but that is the only way one grows; by accepting the challenge of the unknown. Become the naive child. "When we move into the trusting spirit of the child, innocent and open and vulnerable, even the smallest things of life can become the greatest adventures". (Osho) Like a child, appreciate the wonder of everything. Embrace the insecurity and accept the challenge of the unknown.


The Gold of the Active Experimentor: It's a Journey

Learning is a journey. It is life-long and never-ending. It is a continuity and always 'going towards'. While there are many stations along the way there is no final learning destination. This picture symbolizes movement and change. It can be external and physical and it can be internal from one way of being to the next. Travelling needs to be experienced as an adventure and growth. Sometimes it brings breakthrough and ecstasy and sometimes it is uncertain and uncomfortable. Travelling through learning need not be a struggle if we are prepared to become the beginner, make mistakes and embrace the new. Learning can only happen with an attitude of openness and acceptance. New learning experiences need to be invited in; that is being alive; no learning, no life.

Doll Number One: The Integration of Four Learning Styles

All four of these learning environments should be integrated into a single learning experience.



This picture represents an energy field. All the individuals taking part in the circle make a unique contribution to create a unified and vital whole. It is like a flower with many petals, which together make a more beautiful whole. As a learner you become a participant in life versus a spectator. Learning is participation; it is a social activity. By participating with others, you make your contribution to creating something greater and more beautiful than each of us could manage alone. Your participation will contribute something precious to the whole. And you will gain more perspective in the process of sharing knowledge.


Mastery of Self... and of learning

"Mastery resists definition yet it can be instantly recognised" - George Leonard

This picture encompasses the principle of mastery. Mastering lifelong learning allows you to be followed and supported as a leader and for people to soak up your presence and be inspired by your example. The master prefers to share rather than take the lead. The master creates an energy field that supports each individual in finding his own light. (Causal and Subtle energy.) The key is to keep on moving through the learning journey. Never stop As you travel, if the master in you is awakened, you will act on that which is fulfilling to your unique purpose for existence.

This picture depicts mastery not over others but of you, of your destiny. It is about mastery not of the mind but beyond the mind mastery of the whole of you. Mastery is a journey with no destination and there are few maps to help us find this path. On this path you learn about learning.

George Leonard gives us a map for mastery:

  1. First step: Instruction Sit at the feet of a master
  2. Second Step: Practice, practice, practice
  3. Third Step: Surrender to the learing journey
  4. Fourth step: Intentionality Mental toughness and awareness
  5. Fifth step: The edge Paradoxically, challenge previous limit.

This learner knows that nature is our greatest teacher; and that learning happens in the simple everyday activities, if we allow it. No need to force the learning; no need to overanalize. Just wake up more and be aware of the richness and connections of our everyday experience.


"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes" – Marcel Proust

Each person has a particular orientation towards how they best learn. It is important that all learning styles are understood, appreciated and catered for in programme design. Observe whether all four learning styles are taken into account when considering or designing learning programmes so that new learning muscles can be built in the areas where least attention has been paid.

"All the world is a laboratory to the inquiring mind" – Martin H Fischer

Leonardo Da Vinci lived his entire life in the spirit of 'Curiosita'. Most everything that he wrote was in the form of a question. He had an insatiable curiosity for life and an unrelenting quest for lifelong learning.

"You can teach a student a lesson for the day, but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the process as long as he lives"- Clay P Bedford
"Learning is not compulsory; neither is survival" – W Edwards Deming

A focus on 'thinking narratively' as a comprehensive frame for learning about all aspects of the story is key to sense-making. The learning happens as the story emerges. The story unfolding and the learning that happens is a dynamic process, not a unitary and static commodity. Following and capturing the story allows for connections to be made and all perspectives to be considered and learning to happen.

"Simplicity does not precede complexity but follows it."

Learning is complex. A human system is complex, in the sense that a great many agents are interacting with each other in a great many ways. Diversity in learning styles and worldviews and levels of consciousness causes 'pile-ups' in communication. Learning therefore is a continuous process of making adjustments and creative responses in a world too complex to be predictable.

"I have argued that life, for most people, is a process of discovery – of who we are, what we can do, and, ultimately, why we exist and what we believe. It is a circular process, because when we discover what we are capable of and work out why we exist, it changes the way we see ourselves, which can send us off in new directions, discovering new capabilities and new reasons for our existence. This spiraling journey is the true meaning of lifelong learning, and it remains for those who pursue it, an endlessly fascinating experience, one which enriches not only the individual but all those around.

Those who are tired of the journey are tired of life. They come across as dull and boring and can soon infect their friends and colleagues with their apathy" - Charles Handy

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

ramblings by Bruce Copley


ramblings by Bruce Copley

  • After hearing Sinek's talk (see video above) it occurred to me that most people including yours truly are so engaged with the WHAT and HOW of our professional and personal doings that we rarely stop to think about WHY we are doing them -----almost like a type of mass hypnosis. I suspect that this is because our WHY is seen as being the same thing as our INTENTION and both are an obvious part of our doing's so there is little point in delving into or even thinking about the obvious. It appears to me that when I ask myself WHY I am doing something a process is triggered that takes me inside myself and which catalyzes other questions and thoughts. In contrast to this when I ask myself what my INTENTION is in doing something this takes me outside myself with perceived outcomes, results and boundaries.
  • In any system there are always causes and effects. No system(animate or inanimate) operates independently given that it is a system within an infinite number of systems comprising the web of life and all there is.
  • In grasping the complexity of any system we need a starting point and in this case or system it is HUMAN BEHAVIOUR expressed as actions or doings. The why or intention of being a professional consultant is to make MONEY so I can have a roof over my head, clothes on body and food on the table and my why of going on holiday is because I want to have a good time and be HAPPY. The money and the happiness I think are my why's are actually the PRIMARY EFFECTS, outcomes or consequences of my consulting and holidaying doings in these 2 systems. In fact the what, who, how, when, where and whom are all part of my intention (sub intentions) and are all simply effects.
  • The WHY of my consulting and holidaying is the PRIMARY CAUSE. When the WHY is not clearly seen and understood for what it really is namely the cause, we flounder around in the dark suffering the consequences of our ignorance and there are countless examples of this.
  • Causes and effects are not static but continually morphing or changing into each other. For example your parents caused you to be conceived and born and you were the effect of their coupling. You then and in particular your actions became the cause for a multitude of different effects on people and your environment.
  • While the points raised above have related specifically to observable actions we should not lose sight of the fact that all our actions are the product of our processes of thinking, feeling and intuiting. A particular thought I have for example about the possibility of being attacked by a shark while swimming serves as the cause for fearful emotions(effect) and these emotions then cause me to effect my thinking which in turn causes me to not go into the sea(effect). Asking myself and knowing WHY I do whatever I do gives me a big picture or holistic perspective and understanding of the underlying processes and dynamics which in turn enables me to make informed choices and decisions.
  • I suspect the challenge is to learn to live WHYfully and mindfully and allow this to drive, direct and shape what I do, to whom I do it, how I do it, when I do it and where I do it. It is also important to align all these actions with higher order holistic principles and practices.
  • If a hungry hobo asks for money I have the following choices.....ignore him as if he was invisible, scorn, ridicule or abuse him, advise him to find a job, give him a job(temporary or permanent), give him money or food or give him a tool or a skill he could use to become self sufficient.
  • What are the implications of "Giving a man a fish or teaching him how to fish" ?
  • The APPLE question unlocks the doors of perception to reveal an infinite quantum world that lies both within and outside us. It also reveals the alpha and the omega of understanding and practicing whyfull living and that we are either part of the solution or part of the problem. It is possible to be part of a short term solution that in fact is or results in a long term problem(eg CFC's) Examples of this are Hitler, Tobacco/Alcohol/Gambling/Motor industry, Apartheid, Deforestation, Charities, Business, Religions, Nuclear energy,
  • The Question Continuum exercise can be used to get to the WHY of our doings
  • There is one thing every human being on this planet is constantly doing and that is pursuing pleasure and avoiding Pain
  • Holistic WHYFull living, learning and loving relates to Self, Others, Planet and the unknown or mysterious.
  • The following are effects, products or results of Holistic WHYfull living-----money(abundance), Happiness, Wellbeingness, Peace and harmony, Balance, Gratitude, contentment, self confidence, productivity
  • Here are my and my associates WHY'S for AAHA LEARNING existence and purpose:

    # Confronting conformity

    # Challenging the status quo

    # Championing creativity

    # Slaying discrimination and stereotyping

    # Transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary

    # Kickstarting holistic homeostasis

    # Integrating the head, heart and hand

    # Fostering joy, play, humour, lightness, peace, balance, harmony, tranquility , community, wellness, health, holistic intelligence, creativity, hobbies, storytelling, radical honesty, unconditional love, tolerance, Love of nature, Ecoliteracy and REB, life- long learning, patience, altered states of consciousness, music, poetry, kite flying, sculpture, painting, journaling drama.

    # Valuing and respecting diversity

    # Problem solving

    # Liberating the artist within

    # Making the world a better place by leaving a legacy behind

    # Personal mastery

    # Cultivating a sense of humour

    # Holistic communication skills

    # Replacing addictions with life affirming hobbies and pursuits

    # Cultivating ethics and morals

    # Awareness and inner stillness

    # Storytelling IQ

    # Relentless questioning of everything you think you know
  • This is what Wikipedia says about Simon Sinek:
    'Sinek is an author best known for developing "The Golden Circle” and popularizing a concept of human motivation. This is his first TEDx
    Talk, entitled "How Great Leaders Inspire Action” and is the 19th most viewed video on TED.com.[1] His book on the same subject, "Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action,” (2009) delves into a naturally occurring pattern, grounded in the biology of human decision-making, that explains why we are inspired by some people, leaders, messages and organizations over others.'
  • The other thing I really like about him is that he works with Count Me In, an organization committed to helping one million women-owned businesses reach a million dollars in revenues by 2012.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

CHAPTER 6: Discrimination, Stereotyping and Prejudice

This is the final Chapter in AAHA Learning's series on discrimination, stereotyping and prejudice. We hope you enjoyed these posts.

Reprinted from the Guardian, 30 April 1994

The healing process of democracy engulfs Peter Hain and the forces of apartheid he has campaigned against for three decades

The last time I saw Poen Rah Dong and Aubrey Apples was when they waved my family a tearful goodbye into exile at Pretoria railway station in March 1966. A few tears were shed again when I saw them after flying in as an international parliamentary observer last Sunday. All the children and grandchildren were lined up to greet me. Some proudly bore the names of my mother and father who had been harassed, jailed and banned in the grim early 1960s, finally to be forced to board the train from Pretoria to a ship in Cape Town on a one-way exit permit.

This first-ever democratic South African election has been a marvel. My parents voted – for the ANC – in London, having discovered their old South African identity cards. I visited polling stations in and around Johannesburg, metaphorically pinching myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. After all those years, all the bitterness, the killings, the violence, the lives wasted away in prison and poverty, here it was actually happening before me, constitutional apartheid being exorcised.

Even the notorious white police force seemed happy and relaxed. The letter bomb I had received from their security wing, Boss, in June 1972, and memories of being labelled South Africa’s “Public Enemy No 1” after leading the British campaign to stop all-white sports tours in 1969-70 had made me pretty apprehensive about this visit. But the white policeman welcomed me as an election observer, even allowing a family photo as I stood amongst them, machine guns at ease. They were willing the election to succeed, relaxed in the sunshine, telling me how relieved they were it was all going peacefully as they guarded the democratic process which was ending their brutal decades of privilege and power.

The sense of joy gripped everyone. Blacks and whites queued together for hours, chatting for the first time as voting equals. The election became a healing process. ANC, Inkatha and National Party scrutineers chattered happily together in polling stations. A white NP councillor, schooled in years of apartheid rule, recognised me. "Are you the Peter Hain?" he asked in amazement. "Can I have your autograph?" Not so many years ago, he'd have cheerfully had me knee-capped. Ali Bacher, cricket supremo of the new United South African Cricket Board, welcomed me for the first time at Johannesburg's Wanderers Stadium. He'd been captain of the 1970 Springbok side stopped from touring by our campaign of direct action protests.

A generation of some of the world's finest cricketers, including my boyhood hero, Graeme Pollock, had been forced into isolation. But Bacher showed no bitterness, "You were right, I was wrong," he volunteered for the first time on camera as I interviewed him. He went on to admit how sporting isolation had forced change, even though he had resisted the final process of non-racial cricket right up to organising the abortive Mike Gatting rebel cricket tour four years ago. One of the real victims, Khaya Majola, would certainly have made the Test team if apartheid had permitted. Now Bacher’s Director of Cricket Development in black townships, he enthusiastically backed my offer to welcome South African cricketers when they arrive in Britain this June – the first such tour since the one stopped in 1970.

And presiding over it, a man whose time has come, Nelson Mandela gave me a few moments as polling began. "Maybe I should be jumping around with joy," he remarked, "but I just feel at peace." Tranquillity personified as the burdens of power and the enormous tasks of reconstruction beckon. Out there somewhere is the old South Africa. The white extremists of the AWB bombed the ANC's Johannesburg office and narrowly missed our British MP observer group as we arrived. Their terrorism is still killing and maiming. But it is apartheid in rigor mortis. The New South Africa has stepped forward with a verve and excitement that is hard to believe but wondrous to behold.

by Robert Coles, Christianity Today, 9 August 1985

Ruby Bridges was a six-year-old African American girl in 1960, when she was one of the first children involved in desegregating the public schools in New Orleans in the United States. Every day she went to school accompanied by US federal marshals to protect her from the verbal abuse and death threats of crowds opposed to school integration.

A prominent psychiatrist examined her repeatedly over many months and marveled at finding her truly cheerful and serene. Then he discovered that she prayed twice a day for her tormentors. When asked why she did this, she answered, "Because they need praying for." She explained, "If you're going through what they're doing to you, you're the one who should be praying for them." She had learned in church that Jesus went through a lot of trouble. He said about the people who were causing the trouble, "Forgive them because they don't know what they're doing" (see Luke 23:34).

As an adult, Ruby is a mother and is active in public service.

Monday, December 6, 2010

CHAPTER 5: Discrimination, Stereotyping and Prejudice


Being able to instantly access what individuals and groups are thinking, feeling, wanting, needing, concluding, fearing, grappling with, etc, etc is something that really boggles my mind. Besides making visible what is normally invisible and transforming assumptions into realities this wonderful technology does something even more significant and that is to access and integrate the amazing power of the collective intellect, experience and knowledge of any number of people and to do so in an incredibly short space of time.

What I also really enjoyed about what David Wilson and Brett shared with us was the way in which responses to simple multiple choice questions triggered many other questions, comments and insights. From the experience we had it is obvious that the benefits of this technology hinge on the way in which the questions are posed and the honesty and accuracy of the responses received. I will certainly be exploring this again in the near future and if you are inclined to want to do the same here is the David Wilson's information:

Participate - Tel: 076 145 1475 - Email: davidw@participate.co.za -
Website: www.participate.co.za

The feedback we received after the discrimination experience is presented below:

Questions relating to discrimination criteria personally experienced

Note: Highest figures in RED and brackets = number of delegate responses)


A revealing and worthwhile experience?

Yes : 83.33% (25) No : 6.67% (2) Undecided : 10% (3)

A powerful antidote for discrimination and prejudice?

Yes : 83.33% (25) No : 6.67% (2) Undecided : 10% (3)

Would have preferred to have skipped this experience?

Yes : 10% (3) No : 83.33% (25) Undecided : 6.67% (2)

An experience I will always remember?

Yes : 86.67% (26) No : 3.33% (1) Undecided 10% (3)

An experience everyone should have?

Yes : 86.67% (26) No : 13.33% (4) Undecided : 0% (0)

Each graph below assesses a specific category of discrimination. It shows the percentage of participants involved with a particular degree or severity of discrimination against themselves and against others, where "1" represents a Mild degree of discrimination and "5" represents an Extreme degree. For each subcategory the number of responses varied between 6 and 25.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

CHAPTER 4 : DISCRIMINATION, STEREOTYPING AND PREJUDICE : Assessing your attitude and behaviours

This is Chapter 4 in our series on Discrimination, Stereotypes and Prejudice.

This chapter consists of an Attitude Awareness Questionnaire with 19 questions. Please complete the questionnaire by clicking on this link: Attitude Awareness Questionnaire.

By completing the Attitude Awareness Questionnaire you will gain important insights into the way in which your attitudes, words and actions effect and influence others.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Chapter 3: The Eye of the Storm - A Remarkable Story


Human Relations Film Series

By turning the spotlight on specific groups and cultures, this dramatic series produced by ABC News unveils a revealing portrait of what motivates people and how they cope with their life situations and/or problems.

In The Eye of the Storm a classroom situation is deliberately created to teach third graders how it feels to be on the receiving end of discrimination. In an animated version of Dickens' Christmas Carol, stingy, lonely old Scrooge discovers the meaning of Christmas.

The Eye of the Storm

This documentary explores the nature of prejudice in a dramatic third-grade classroom experiment conducted in a small Midwestern town, a town without ghettos, blacks, or campus unrest. It demonstrates how quickly wholesome, friendly schoolchildren can be infected with the ugly virus of discrimination that leads to frustration, broken friendships, and vicious behavior.


Jane Elliott, a perceptive teacher in the nearly all-white, all-Christian farming community of Riceville, Iowa, USA is deeply disturbed by the assassination of Martin Luther King. When one of her 16 third-grade pupils remarks, "They shot a King. Why did they shoot a King?" Mrs. Elliott decides to help her students understand the nature of prejudice by pretending to be prejudiced herself.

During Brotherhood Week she divides the class into two groups, blue-eyed children and brown-eyed children. She explains that blue-eyed children are more intelligent, better behaved, quicker to learn, and in every way superior to brown-eyed children. To call attention to the "inferior" brown-eyed children, the blue-eyed youngsters are told to place a collar around the neck of each brown-eyed child in the class. The collars are worn all day.

The "superior" blue-eyed children enjoy the exclusive privileges of sitting at the front of the class, using play- ground equipment, drinking from the fountain (brown-eyes use paper cups), going to recess first, eating lunch first, and so on.

The unjust treatment causes striking behavior changes in both sets of children. Happy to be on top, the blue-eyed youngsters act superior and aggressive. The brown-eyed children become unbelieving, unhappy, and finally want revenge.

The next day Mrs. Elliott explains that she had lied the day before. Blue-eyed children really aren't superior; the brown-eyed children are. After all, Mrs. Elliott has blue eyes herself, and she admitted to lying. The children accept her explanation, and collars are placed around the necks of the blue-eyed children. Behavior becomes more vicious, leading to name-calling and a fistfight between a blue-eyed and a brown-eyed boy.

At the end of the second day the teacher confesses to the children what she has done and why. She then leads them in a discussion of their experiences. When the class understands what happened, relief gushes out. The youngsters become animated, friendly, and happy and all join in singing a song – all but one boy still emotionally involved in tearing up his collar.

During the experiment, Mrs. Elliott learns more from the "superior" children – they become "ghastly." She also notes that ability to perform in the classroom undergoes considerable change. Children wearing collars take twice as long to read phonic materials from a card pack. Afterward they explain they "couldn't concentrate" on school work when they were so unhappy.

The class was easily freed from the prison of prejudice by a teacher. But countless other people remain in that prison, and this is the bitter point of The Eye of the Storm.

Before Viewing

Depending on the audience and objectives, the film can be introduced with questions such as:

  • Do children instinctively hate people different from themselves?
  • Can a society be taught to hate? Can you think of examples of this in history? In our society today?
  • Do you think that some races of people are biologically superior to others? Explain.
  • What is prejudice? Is it learned? Who teaches it? If you think it is taught. Why is it taught? Then before showing the film on how children are taught to be prejudiced, request that behavior changes should be carefully noted.

After Viewing

The film can generate lively discussion with questions and topics such as:

  • Do you sometimes make judgments about others that you think are really prejudiced? Discuss.
  • Can you suggest ways to reduce prejudice?
  • What do you think should be done in the schools to teach children to appreciate others as individuals, without prejudice because of race, religion, or nationality?
  • Why did Mrs. Elliott claim she learned more from the "superior" children?
  • What are the implications of being under emotional stress while trying to learn? What is the responsibility of the schools in this regard? Of the church? Of the family?
  • Do you agree with Mrs. Elliott's claim that "Children have to find out... . They have to be involved... . They have to know how it feels to be stepped upon." Why?
  • Do you think only minority groups are discriminated against in our society? Can you think of examples in which minority groups discriminated against majority groups? Explain how the discrimination works.
  • What do you think will happen if prejudice and discrimination continue unchanged in our society?

Follow-Up Activities

  1. Make a list of examples of prejudice that:

    • Viewers have experienced themselves.
    • Viewers have learned about from radio, TV, or reading.
  2. Recommended reading Lord of the Flies.Discuss the possibility that without rules of a society to guide and protect them, young children would become savage, cruel, and primitive.
  3. Role-playing in which the following roles are played out:

    • Black policeman trying to break up a crowd of white demonstrators.
    • White policeman trying to do the same with black demonstrators.
    • Situations invented to reveal attitudes and emotions about discrimination
  4. Divide the participants into groups by religion, color, sex, nationality. Ask each group to list the five things they most want in life. Compare the lists of the groups. Do they have anything in common? What?

Related Recommended Reading

  • Allport, Gordon W. The Nature of Prejudice. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1954.
  • Clark, Kenneth B. Prejudice and Your Child. Boston, Mass.: Beacon Press, 1955.
  • Clark, Kenneth B. Dark Ghetto. New York: Harper & Row-, 1965.
  • Gardiner, Robert. World of Peoples. New York; Oxford University Press, 1966.
  • Glock, Charles Y. and Ellen Siegelman, eds. Prejudice U.S.A. New York: Praeger, 1969.
  • Glock, Charles Y. and Rooney Stark. Christian Beliefs and Anti-Semitism New York: Harper & Row, 1966.
  • Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Coward McCann Inc., 1962.
  • Pettigrew, Thomas F. A Profile of the Negro American. Princeton, N.J.: Van Nostrand. 1964.
  • Powdermaker, Hortense. Probing Our Prejudices. New York: Harper & Row, 1944.
  • Williams, Robin M., Jr. Strangers Next Door: Ethnic Relations in American Communities. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1964.

Monday, October 25, 2010

CHAPTER 2: Discrimination, Stereotyping and Prejudice: Understanding Through Direct Experience

As promised, here is the second chapter in our series about discrimination, stereotyping and prejudice.  Stay tuned for Chapters 3, 4 , 5 and 6, at two-weekly intervals.
A STEREOTYPE is a fixed perception, belief, paradigm, attitude and/or generalisation about yourself, others, a concept, a place or an event.

A STEREOTYPE has the following ADVANTAGES:
a)         Helps you create boundaries
b)         Assists you to make sense of your world
c)         Serves as a base for your behaviours and actions.

A STEREOTYPE also has the following DISADVANTAGES:
a)         Can block or distort your view of reality or the truth
b)         May seriously hamper communication and co-operation
c)         Can foster aggression and promote competition
d)         May give rise to PREJUDICE and DISCRIMINATION

Bear in mind that since we all belong to specific groups, it is easy to compare our group to other groups and favour the one we belong to.  Whenever any stereotype becomes staid and inflexible and your actions/words arising from them hurt, disadvantage or injure others, you are guilty of discrimination and prejudice.

Some important points to remember are :

  •  Recognise that your deeply held beliefs/attitudes and in particular your religious convictions may significantly influence your perceptions and behaviours towards other groups/people.  It is not a matter of having to  change your deeply held values or convictions but rather to learn to disagree gracefully.  To do this you need to develop the capacity to hold and respect opposing points of view at the same time.  Just as a sieve cannot hold water unless it is immersed in it, you too will not capture the essence of valuing diversity unless you are prepared  to immerse all of you, mind, heart, body and spirit in the process.
  • Bear in mind that many seemingly harmless acts can be discriminatory.  Adverts, gossip, talk shows, articles and jokes may also fall into this category.
  • The three common roles associated with discrimination are the oppressor, the oppressed and the onlooker.  The  oppressor's role promotes a heightened sense of superiority, power, aggression, satisfaction and justification.The oppressed role engenders a sense of anger, fear, resentment, revenge, confusion, insecurity and disempowerment.  The onlooker's role is commonly associated with passive approval or disapproval, guilt, denial and/or confusion.  Note that role reversals can occur quickly and subtly particularly under emotionally charged circumstances.
  • Truly valuing diversity cannot be achieved by merely focusing on facts, figures, policies or intellectual reasoning.  Very often these may actually hinder what it is that people really need to address and where it is that they need to go together.  What is essential is to return to the heart of the matter or the roots of our common humanity.  Only from here do we begin to open up, dare to take off our masks and bring down the barriers, real or perceived, that we use to separate, isolate and alienate ourselves from others.
Jesse Jackson's quote : "The only justification for looking down on someone is when you are about to pick them up", constitutes a powerful antidote for prejudice and discrimination.

  • The natural order and the truth inherent in it are abundant with examples of the beauty of diversity.  A majestic tree has branches stretching out in different directions, with variations in shape, thickness and length.  All these different branches, leaves, flowers and fruit are intimately connected through the trunk and deeply rooted to the very same grounding source.  And so it is with the human race - our different branches of race, culture, gender, age, abilities and aspirations sculpt who we are and what we do in the world.  Diversity is a principle of life harmoniously manifested in the natural world amongst all life forms with the exception of human beings.  In order to heal the heart of diversity do we not need to reason and act with deep connection to the truth which lies in the nature of things?
  • A wider more spiritual sense of compassion, tolerance and brotherhood is an essential tool in dealing with acts of prejudice, discrimination and violence.
  • Common issues/questions that surface in diversity learningshops are: constitutionalised discrimination; feelings of historical woundedness; remaining victimised by internalised racism; what does it mean to be an ally?; will you support us in tough times?; the guilt and shame of discriminators; the privileged group never have to think about being White, heterosexual, Christian or male; is it safe to hold my deep assumptions up for examination?
  • In a prejudiced state we filter out, ignore or are blind to any positive or valuable traits or characteristics in a person/group.
  • Anger and disagreement should not arise from a prejudice or stereotype but from a specific situation or circumstance.
  • To counter prejudice we must:
  1. Meet people as unique individuals.
  2. Walk in other people's shoes.
  3. Become more aware.
  4. Consciously be aware of our stereotypes and how they may impact on others

  • So much of the human wisdom and expertise about health, holism and community living is embodied in the world's different cultures.  Unless we meaningfully communicate and interact with people who are different from us, our perceptions will become less robust, our concerns too insular and our vision stale.
  • Preserving and nurturing diversity in all its manifestations may constitute one of the most significant challenges of our time.  A new appreciation for the power and integrity of our collective heritage, collaborative action on behalf of common goals and new approaches to cultural healing and social entrepreneurship will only be achieved when our focus shifts from the mere exchange of information to a real heartfelt commitment to building authentic community and valuing diversity.