We know our children are facing unprecedented challenges on multiple fronts. They will be the first generation to inherit multiple, existential problems, none of which they caused, but to which they must be the first to adapt. These include climate change, pollution, biological viruses, geopolitical instability, data velocity, and especially the dangerous trifecta of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and social media that is spreading non-biological viruses, which evidence already suggests will stunt our children’s intellectual growth and humanity’s cultural development.

Children need help; but not as much as you might think. 

The great and often overlooked news is that children are born with all the discovery skills they need to learn, and therefore adapt. It is self-evident that children are somehow born with an interior Hybrid Skillset that urges them to ideate, and flourish into more complete adults. They arrive just knowing how to know, and with unquenchable appetites for knowledge. 

As a consequence, what they need most is help in the form of encouragement to polish their innate Hybrid Skills. Not the coercive, didactic teaching we impose. To become better ancestors, we should encourage children to unleash their hardwired, discovery and ideation faculties.  

Some years ago, I was teaching at a graduate school of business and became intrigued by this problem: How do children learn? How do they know? They obviously can and do learn. But how? My background in systems design led me to focus not just on analyzing the problem but on building solutions. 

First, here is my analysis: Children are born with multiple, sophisticated, learning skills, as well as the systems for deploying those skills already in place. Philosophers call them Agencies. Pediatricians call them Reflexes. Noam Chomsky calls them Faculties. Freud called them Unlearnt Urges. I call them the Eleven Hybrid Skills. They are – Questioning, Game Playing, Storytelling, Pattern Recognition, Imitation, Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Problem Solving, Communications, Ideation, and Multiple Intelligences. 

Together, they enable any child to instinctively refine raw data into authentic, new, and truthful knowledge, and then using their multiple intelligences they can communicate their discovery, their Justified Belief. And in doing so, adapt to circumstances.

How does Hybrid Learning work? This diagram is excerpted from my book Hybrid Learning.

Unleashing these skills should be the goal of any parent or teacher who wishes to prepare their children for a post-digital future. 

Why are these immaterial Hybrid Skills present in all children? I concluded that just like our five senses and our cognitive skills, they must have a singular, overarching, evolutionary purpose. And since we all do this naturally, their purpose must be Adaptation through Ideation. 

As any parent knows, unless a child is impeded, they will instinctively use their Hybrid Skills to ideate their authentic opinions on any subjective issues. Aristotle called authentic opinions Justified Beliefs; scientists call them Warranted Beliefs. 

Our baked-in Hybrid Skills are the reason why, in the face of existential crises, we have been able to adapt over hundreds of millennia, and eventually evolve into the apex lifeform. They must be pressed into service again.  

There is an obstacle, however. Through no fault of teachers or parents, our children are not being adequately prepared to identify the causes of problems, let alone overcome them. And that mismatch has all the hallmarks of a Black Swan event. (See my piece about this in the Featured Blog section of my website.) 

Since at least President Johnson’s 1965 ESEA legislation, America’s K12 curriculum has focused heavily on testing children’s memorization ability, when in fact they possess many more hardwired learning faculties. 

Humans look back using memory and forward using imagination. We should not be stressing the former and ignoring the latter.

“No one is going to be hired or promoted because of what they know. Google already knows everything or soon will.” Bernard Schindlhozler, Google VP. The logical inference of this rule is inescapable: in order to be hired or promoted, or to adapt, survive and prosper, children and adults need to be able to uncover and use Knowns in order to discover Unknowns, and synthesize the two into their Justified Belief. 

In our culture we simply do not nurture discovery and ideation skills, except in Algebra class, and then not until 8th grade, and then not all children, even though children instinctively and routinely discover new Knowns from Unknowns. It’s called growing up. 

If you are one who favors educational change, heed Vinton Cerf, the Father of the Internet, “The best way to deal with misinformation and disinformation is us – Wetware – using critical thinking by asking questions.” I would say the only way.

Teachers and families need a simple, complementary approach which stresses Hybrid Skills. My solution is the Terego Ideation Method™. It kickstarts children’s innate Hybrid and Ideation Skills through questioning and helps them deploy their Infoliteracy skills as an antidote to misinformation and arrive at their Justified Belief

I had the good fortune to be taught through Socratic Inquiry and I have used the Master’s methods to design this solution.

 

 

I have taught and refined this method during hundreds of classroom hours, from second grade to graduate students, and through writing, countless hours of research, and experiments. See what a Montessori leader has to say. 

If the educational establishment continues to be unwilling to adjust to these new realities, that leaves only teachers and families to work for change. This could be the platform: Facebook.com/Blue Ocean Schools.

“This program represents one of the better answers to the call for educational change in America’s schools. Finally, a program that provides a method to utilize what we know about learning and the teaching and learning process.” Stephen B. Graves, PhD, Professor of Education, University of South Florida

“Using this method takes the guesswork out of problem solving,” Rafa de Lima Booker HS 12th grade.

“If children convince themselves of the need to learn, a fire ignites within. Holding their feet to the fire has the opposite effect.” Alex Terego. 

So, that is my Ideated, Warranted, Justified Belief, arrived at using my Hybrid Skills. This has been my answer to the question ‘how children learn,’ and my proposed best practice solution.

Am I missing something? I would welcome your feedback.

Alex Terego

#Ideation #Hybridskills #Justifiedbelief #Infoliteracy

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