ITHACA, NY – After a year exploring the relationship between his study of acting and The Art of Learning principles, Matt Ryan, a senior at Ithaca College, developed an independent study through which he would test his knowledge of these concepts by teaching them to a group of people to whom they were completely unfamiliar.
Over the course of three weeks, Ryan and his cast of seven actors used the Tennessee Williams play A Streetcar Named Desire to explore their own connections to The Art of Learning principles and then present them to other members of the Ithaca College community.
Woven through the entire three-week workshop were multiple opportunities for the actors to practice Learning the Macro from the Micro, Making Smaller Circles, The Power of Presence, and Investment in Loss. Their daily practice involved mindfulness meditation, games that challenged them to stay present within moments they had rehearsed many times before, and frequent reflections on successes and struggles within each scene with an eye toward incremental progress.
The performance itself continued the exploration of Valuing Process Before Results with each actor undertaking some sort of experiment while performing and then breaking between each scene to answer their questions in front of the audience. Ryan explained that the performance had a powerful effect on the audience and the performers, many of whom have been inspired to continue to pursue deepening their own learning processes.
“For me, the biggest thing that I realized through this workshop and my own studies with The Art of Learning was that finding this book was like finding a priceless artifact that has been tucked away in your basement for centuries. The more that you explore the artifact and its limits, you find that not only is the artifact the actual foundation of the house, it is the house. The Art of Learning is the key to a world that seems like fantasy, but is actually directly at your fingertips if you only reach out for it.”
To learn more about Matt Ryan’s independent study workshop, read his Learning Journal post.
BRONX, NY – Dr. Christy Folsom is an associate professor in the Childhood Education Department of Lehman College, City University of New York. Her academic focus is on the intellectual and emotional infrastructure of teaching and learning, project-based learning that includes self-organization skill, transfer of learning from coursework to P-12 classrooms, and change in teacher thinking and practice evidenced in student performance. In addition, she developed Teaching for Intellectual and Emotional Learning (TIEL), a powerful curriculum planning tool for teachers.
While planning her undergraduate course entitled “The Art and Science of Learning and Teaching”, Dr. Folsom contacted the JW Foundation with an interest in participating in our book donation program. “In this course, we will explore scientific aspects of how we learn as well as how learning can be an art. Understanding learning as a science and as an art can have a profound impact on how we teach,” Folsom explains. She plans to use examples from The Art of Learning and Resilience based principles such as Value Process Before Results, Investment in Loss, Beginner’s Mind, and Using Adversity to illustrate the importance of teaching for intellectual learning in conjunction with emotional learning.
“How do you learn something and stick with it long enough to master it?” Dr. Folsom asks. “Yes, Josh had a gift for chess, but with tai chi it seems that he had to work so much more.” She believes Josh’s learning journey is a wonderful illustration of the wide range of learning, both social/emotional and cognitive/intellectual, and the necessity for struggle that must be addressed in the classroom in order to provide students with the complex learning experiences they need to succeed in the twenty-first century.
NEW YORK, NY – Gene Kobilansky, the assistant wrestling coach at New York University, has implemented an Art of Learning based mindset-training curriculum with his athletes with an aim to develop resilience and an incremental approach to wrestling and learning in general. “Our goal is to instill a love of learning and a focus on intrinsic goals and growth in our athletes. I believe if they focus less on winning the next match and more on loving the process, they’ll see higher levels of success,” explains Coach Kobilansky.
He is beginning his program with an exploration of what motivates people in their pursuit of mastery with assignments that focus on the idea of purpose, autonomy, incremental mindset, and resilience. He plans to continue this work with a focus on Investment in Loss and a depth over breadth approach to overcoming challenges and improving technical skills.
BROOKLYN, NY. This institution is using The Art of Learning to promote professional development among educators in the Computer Information Systems department.
HAMPTON, VA. Randy Mastromonaco, an instructor at this college devoted to technical and business training, has been using The Art of Learning to improve rapport within the student body and bolster general education skills.