Nowadays, within the conceptual framework of Western education, there is a clear tendency among teachers to grow ever more attentive to the needs of students, while providing them with an opportunity to obtain knowledge. This tendency undoubtedly has to do with the process of Western societies becoming increasingly post-industrial, on one hand, and increasingly multicultural, on another. In their article, Persell et al. (2001) state: “High among educational values of democratic societies, especially ones as diverse as the United States, is social tolerance for persons and groups perceived as different” (p. 208). Whereas; as recent as twenty-thirty years ago, it used to be a common practice among educators to simply disregard underachieving students, this appears to be no longer the case in schools and universities that enjoy the reputation of being particularly progressive.
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For example, the year 2008 saw an opening of first fully Afrocentric school in Toronto, where educational strategies employed by the teachers are being specifically adjusted to correlate with Black students’ cognitive abilities. While elaborating on rationale behind institutialization of non-Eurocentric academic curriculum in Canada, Sefa Dei (1996) points out to the fact that: “Researchers in this country have not systematically examined how minority students define or articulate issues linked to inclusivity, nor have they indentified the curricular and pedagogic practices on which an inclusive curriculum depends” (p. 171). Apparently, it has now become common sense knowledge that, without willing to remain constantly observant of what specific learning strategies might be applicable to a particular category of students, educators would never be able to ensure the overall effectiveness of a learning process.
Given the fact that Belgium takes pride in being multicultural country (at least officially) and also the fact that the realities of post-industrial living often imply the outdatedness of ‘stick and carrot’ approaches towards encouraging students to consider gaining education as their foremost priority, it makes perfectly logical sense for teachers to spend more time learning about students’ cognitive inclinations, so that these inclinations would be considered by those who design educational strategies. Thus, it represents the matter of crucial importance for educators to be able to gain an insight on how students perceive the actual learning process, because without taking into consideration the specifics of students’ cognitive predisposition, teachers will never be able to figure out the utilization of what particular educational approach might suit the needs of these students the best. As it was pointed out by Renzulli and Yun Dai (2000): “Although various instructional approaches such as lecture, discussion, and role playing could be incorporated to make instruction effective, not all instructional approaches benefit students in the same way” (p.26). Nevertheless, as of today, the methodological tactics towards defining the qualitative subtleties of students’ learning inclinations continue to remain the subject of an ongoing discussion.
Partially, this can be explained by the fact that the overall matrix of educational policies in Western academia continues to remain essentially euro-centric – that is, students’ ability to succeed with attaining social prominence through education is being discussed in regards to their likelihood to rely on their sense of rationale, while studying. And, euro-centric educational tradition refers to this sense as such that is being reflected by students’ varying capacity to operate with highly abstract categories and by the extent of their professionally related goal-orientedness. This goal-orientedness, however, might not necessarily correlate with students really are, in psychological sense of this word. In their study, Bowles and Gintis (2002) state: “Schools socialize students to accept beliefs, values, and forms of behavior on the basis of authority, rather than the students’ own critical judgments of their interests” (p. 12).
Apparently, the idea that rationale-based concept of education might not suit the needs of ethnically diverse and existentially unconventional students can no longer be referred to as utterly innovative, because the number of educators who would subscribe to Bowles and Gintis’ suggestion, is continuing to increase. According to Warren (2005): “The structuring and ordering of Western education ultimately functions as ideology: It is a reification of an epistemological ordering that places the mental over the material” (p. 89). Therefore, purely educational studies on a subject of how students perceive the concept of learning, cannot be considered fully objective – during the course of most of these studies, participating students are being usually asked to articulate their attitudes towards the learning styles rationally (in writing), as opposed to reflecting upon them introspectively. As Ong (1986) had put it: “We know that education depends on writing because all elaborate, linear, so-called “logical” explanation depends on writing… The elaborate, intricate, seemingly endless but exact cause-effect sequences required by what we call philosophy and by extended scientific thinking” (p.43). Apparently, students’ ability to rely on their sense of rationale, while studying, is still being assumed as the ultimate indication of their potential worth as individuals.
Nevertheless, the voices of those who argue against such an assumption are now getting ever louder. In his book, one of the most prominent proponents of multicultural education Tarnas (1991) says: “The Western mind’s overriding compulsion to impose some form of totalizing reason – theological, scientific, economic – on every aspect of life is accused of being not only self-deceptive but destructive” (p. 400). This is why; there are good reasons to think that prompting students to rationalize their unconscious beliefs about learning cannot provide educators with a good clue as to these students’ actual attitudes towards learning, especially when students from multicultural classroom are being concerned.
Therefore, it is only when a particular student is being allowed to express its deep-seated anxieties, in regards to learning, in artistically-spontaneous manner that the true essence his or her cognitive inclinations will become perfectly apparent. In his study, Amstrong (1963) states: “By sense perception we can become aware of the current state of our physical environment… Instead of turning outward to physical events, the mind turns inward on itself and perceives a procession of mental events” (p. 417). According to Gadamer (1994): “Aesthetic experience is not just one kind of experience among others, but represents the essence of experience per se” (p.70). Hence, it would only be logical to hypothesize that, when it comes to defining and classifying students’ epistemic inclinations, it is specifically by encouraging students to draw how they envision the concept of learning on paper, that educators will be able to gain a comprehensive insight onto particulars of learners’ cognitive mindset. In his article, Mitchell (1984) states: “Mental imagery has been a central feature of theories of the mind at least since Aristotle’s De Animay and it continues to be a cornerstone of psychoanalysis, experimental studies of perception, and popular folk beliefs about the mind” (p. 508). Moreover, the visualized depictions of learning process should also help teachers to get a better understanding of how students’ psychological traits might affect their academic preferences, which in its turn will allow teachers to choose in favor of a proper educational methodology, designed to apply to certain categories of students en masse, and also individually.
The earlier articulated arguments alone point out at full appropriateness of an idea that drawings can be used as not only alternative, but in all probability – the only adequate instrument to elicit students’ beliefs about learning. However, there is also a politically and socially unengaged motive to think that, when it comes to conducting a research on that accounts for particular individual’s learning uniqueness, researchers would be much better off asking this individual to reflect upon his subject-related anxieties pictorially, as opposed to prompting him to indulge in verbal or written rationalizations. This motive is rooted in the fact that, as time goes by, the authoritative weight of psychology in Western countries continues to increase – nowadays, in these countries, there are virtually no well-established commercial or governmental organizations where potential employees would not be required to undergo a psychological evaluation, before being hired. The reason for this is simple – when being provided with opportunity to study a particular person’s unconscious anxieties, psychologists are often able to define the essence of such person’s individuality with such a great degree of precision that it is not utterly uncommon for them to end up knowing about evaluated individual more then he himself could have possibly known.
In his book about the future of psychology in 21st century, Solso (1997) states: “Mathematical analyses show that our perception of human traits clusters in an orderly fashion, such that most of the traits on which people differ can be described by a location in a five-dimensional coordinate system” (p. 102). As it will be shown later; whereas, students’ written explanations as to how they envision learning process, can provide researcher with only one-dimensional insight onto specifics of their cognitive predisposition – students’ pictorial depictions of the same process do not only expose their authors as multi-dimensional individuals, endowed with unique perception of learning, but may also provide teachers with a clue as to what should represent a methodological framework for defining the extent of students’ eligibility to be exposed to a particular educational strategy. In this study, we will aim to test the strengths and weaknesses of such our hypothesis by interpreting the semiotics of seventy-one drawings, produced by Belgian students of educational sciences, and by discussing the significance of an obtained data, in regards to the relevant academic literature and to thematically related studies that were conducted in the past.
As of today, there is a certain trend with the growing number of educators to think of the concept of studying not solely within the context of students being provided with an opportunity to learn about the significance of purely abstract categories in classroom, but also within the context of students being given a chance to ‘learn by doing’. Raelin (1997, p. 564) was able to articulate the motivations behind this tendency with perfect clarity: “Abstract knowledge cannot help but be affected by circumstances, and frames of situations are at best inconclusive until verified by their effectiveness in action”. In its turn, this explains why educators are now commonly resorting to utilization of an academic practices of externship and internship, in order to enhance the extent students’ professionally related adequacy – apparently, the highly dynamic realities of post-industrial era create objective preconditions for the value of theory-based knowledge to be increasingly perceived as relativist.
As it was pointed out in Emmert and Crow’s (1989) article: “As the recent number of scholarly papers, articles in the popular press, and practitioner workshops attest, there is continuing interest in encouraging cooperation between universities and industry” (p. 408). At the same time, it would be wrong to assume that the current tendency among educators to place an emphasis on allowing students to gain experiential knowledge, suggests the outdatedness of theory-based learning methodologies. According to Flower (1989): “Work (educational studies) that focused on the social context, wanting to see people as a social/political aggregate or as members of a discourse community, is… limited by a failure to account for the experience of individual students… and for personal or intellectual development” (p. 283). The earlier articulated considerations help us to outline the methodological approach to conducting a Literature review, as such that will consist of: a) reviewing relevant literature that deals with the issue of defining the extent of learning methodologies’ appropriateness, b) reviewing literature that contains clues as to how drawn images might provide educators with an introspective insight into learners’ psyche.
In his article, Kolb (1981) pointed out to the fact that studying can be categorized along the lines of students learning from a Concrete experience (CE), Reflective observation (RE), Abstract conceptualization (AC), and Active experimentation (AE). Even though in his article Kolb did not strive to provide a qualitative matrix for evaluating the situational relevance of what he refers to as ‘cognitive styles’, study’s context does place abstract conceptualization above other learning methods. According to the author, it is namely teachers’ ability to choose in favor of a proper learning style, meant to apply to a particular category of students, which reveals the degree of their professional competence. In later stages of this study, we will refer to Kolb’s categorization of learning styles repeatedly.
While referring to Kolb’s epistemological insights as theoretical basis, Scott (2002) had outlined psychological characteristics, the endowment with which would prompt concerned students to unconsciously strive towards either of earlier mentioned learning pre-concepts. According Scott, students can be generally categorized as Accommodators (those who tend to learn through a concrete experience), Assimilators – (those that assess the relevance of an empirical knowledge through the lenses of an abstract conceptualization), Converges – (those that tend to adjust theoretical notions to correspond to their experience-based knowledge), Diverges – (those that assess the value of an abstract knowledge in regards to whether such knowledge can serve as a problem-solving medium or not). Therefore, according to the author, the practical utilization of learning strategies in academic environment should never cease being observant of students’ epistemic capabilities.
This idea is being also shared by Belton and Scott (1998), who in their study
have suggested that, due to students’ endowment with qualitatively different psychological traits, it will only be logical to expect that; whereas, some of them would be more inclined to take an advantage of what authors define as Individual-centered forms of learning, the others would be more receptive towards Group-centered or Project-centered forms learning, respectively. And, it is up to teachers to decide in favor of most beneficial learning approach, while taking into consideration all of the affiliative circumstances: “The extent to which a successful learning environment can be created using any of these approaches depends on prior experience of both teachers and students, the beliefs and values of the teachers, along with the constraints imposed by the environment” (p. 901). Thus, just as it is being the case with the author of previously reviewed article, Belton and Scott do imply the methodological appropriateness of different learning strategies as such that is being affected by a variety of situational considerations.
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In his article, Raelin (1997) came up with different type of theorizations that largely support the validity of Kolb’s learning methodology. According to the author, there are two types of academically obtained knowledge: explicit and tacit. Explicit knowledge actualizes itself as ‘conceptualization’ through theory, and as ‘reflection’ through practice. Tacit knowledge actualizes itself as ‘experimentation’ through theory, and as ‘experience’ through practice. The foremost challenge, faced by today’s educators, author defines a fact that only few of them are being given an opportunity to endow students with the view on education as such that organically derives out of practice, and vice versa: “Unfortunately, classroom and real-world development experiences are typically provided independently as if there were no need to merge theory with practice” (p. 574). The reading of this particular article leaves an overall impression that Raelin does tend to think of an experiential learning in much higher regard, as compared to theory-based learning.
The same can be said about the study by Merriam and Tseane (2008), in which authors had embarked upon trying to prove that euro-centric perspective, on what should account for the effectiveness learning process, may not be shared by ethnically diverse students. According to the authors, it is namely because the process of students attaining theoretical knowledge is assumed being rationale-driven, which prevents ethnically diverse individuals from succeeding in academia, as the very notions of rationale, self-autonomy and discipline do not correlate with the workings of these people’s existential psyche: “Rational thinking is a particularly Western concept, a product of Descartes’ mind-body split and the Enlightenment’s emphasis on science and rationality” (p. 85). As it appears from the reading of this particular study, the representatives of racial minorities would definitely choose in favor of group-centered and experience-based forms of learning, as such that are being consistent with these people’s deed-seated collectivist leanings.
The ideas, contained in previously reviewed study, are being also contemplated upon by Weldon and Trautmann (2003). According to the authors, in near future, the actual purpose of experiential education in Western countries may cease being concerned with helping students to expand their intellectual horizons and to acquire job-related practical skills, as it used to be the case before the era of multiculturalism. Instead, the value of experiential learning is going to be increasingly assessed from essentially psychological perspective. That is, students will be prompted to think that the actual reason why they are being required to learn is that it would allow them to attain a sensation of an emotional comfort: “The purpose of an education is not merely to help people find their place in the existing society, but to empower people with the self-respect and understanding needed to form a new and more just social order” (p. 575). Had educators adopted authors’ point of view onto discussed subject matter, they would be left with no choice but to think of students’ ability to succeed with studying as such that is being directly reflected by their ability to complain about world’s injustices.
Nevertheless, as the study by Schilling et al. (2003) implies, there is also a clearly defined rationalistic reason for teachers to choose in favor of particularly experiential forms of learning. Authors strived to qualitatively outline the relation between what they define as ‘learning curve’ (the rate with which people absorb experience-based knowledge), and the extent of such knowledge’s specialization. After having interviewed ninety students, which at the time were enrolled in different internship/externship programs, authors came to conclusion that the increased learning variation does, in fact, affect ‘learning curve’ rather positively: “The findings indicate that groups working under conditions of related variation… learned at a significantly faster rate, on average, than did teams that either worked under conditions of specialization or unrelated variation” (p. 52). As the reading of this particular study implies – there is a certain correlation between students’ varying ability to simultaneously address a few learning objectives at the time, and the extent of their quick-mindedness.
At the same time, there are also studies that stress out students’ ability to operate with highly abstract categories as the only objective indication of their academic-mindedness, which in its turn, imply the primary appropriateness of specifically theory-based learning strategies. According to Guterman (1979), there are no scientifically substantiated reasons to doubt the validity of IQ tests, as applied to different categories of students: “Judging from the arguments and evidence presented here (in the study), it seems legitimate for sociologists to use IQ tests in research on social stratification. In any event, those who believe it is illegitimate have yet to make a persuasive case” (p. 172). The suggestions, contained in Guterman’s study, subtly point out to the fact that creating ‘learn by doing’ learning environment in a particular classroom may not necessarily result in endowing students with the actual knowledge, as implied by theoreticians of experiential learning.
Yet, it appears that opposing theory-based and experience-based learning methodologies, as conceptually irreconcilable, is not very productive. In their article, Bowles and Gintis (2002) have come to essentially the same conclusion. Even though authors do not consider students’ ability to absorb theory-based knowledge as being solely indicative of their chances to attain social prominence: “The contribution of schooling to cognitive development plays little part in explaining why those with more schooling have higher earnings” (p. 1), they also are far from implying that socialization and acquiring purely practical skills should be thought of as the most important element of a learning process: “It (socialization) treats the process of adopting and rejecting new behaviors as a black box; it does not explain how individuals learn” (p. 12). Apparently, while designing educational strategies, it is equally inappropriate for teachers to ignore students’ learning inclinations, and to think of these inclinations as something around which the learning process should revolve.
The first part of this Literature review had dealt with academic materials that discus students’ learning predispositions from a variety of different educational perspectives. Nevertheless, the authors of earlier reviewed studies and articles appear unanimous on how they view students’ eligibility to be exposed to a particular learning strategy – that is, the reviewed materials imply that it is namely due to specifics of learners’ psycho-type that the beneficence of studying is being perceived by different categories of students differently. In its turn, this explains the subtleties of Literature review’s second part, in which we will aim to provide readers with the brief outlook on how different authors explore what should account for the proper utilization of psychoanalytical methodologies within a particular learning environment.
For example, in his book Furth (2002) was not only able to provide readers with a comprehensive insight on how hand-drawn images reflect the full scope of psychological anxieties, on the part of their authors, but also on how should researchers proceed with applying the methodology of Jungian psychoanalysis, in order to be able to interpret images’ semiotics. According to the author, there are three foremost principles of psychoanalytical interpretation, as applied to images: 1) Researcher must be capable of detaching own psyche from an affiliated sense of rationale, while initially assessing the unconscious message, conveyed by a particular image. 2) Researcher must take an immediate notice of depicted images/scenes’ proportional interrelation. 3) Researcher must be able to perceive a conveyed messaged as such that relates to all the presented images/themes as ‘thing in itself’: “The third and often most difficult principle in picture interpretation is to synthesize what has been learned from individual components and assemble this information into a whole” (p. 36). According to Furth, the excellence in images’ psychoanalytical interpretation accounts for researcher’s ability to properly identify the essence of motifs that derive out of the depths of authors’ unconsciousness.
The latter suggestion is being thoroughly supported by Drake (1969), who had pointed out at the fact that, when being applied to reveal the unconscious motifs in ‘folk art’, Jungian psychoanalytical methodology seeks to define what constitutes such art’s ‘collective archetype’ – a historically predetermined metaphysical matrix, through which affiliated individuals perceive surrounding reality and their place in it. In the same article, author had outlined the sets of psychological qualities, the possession of which, on the part of a particular individual, allow psychologist to refer to such individual and as an introvert or extravert: “The extravert is interested in things in themselves, the introvert in things as he sees them, that is, in his reactions to them” (p. 123). During the course of farther stages of our research, we will aim to expose how students’ extroversive/introversive psycho-types affect their attitudes towards studying.
Even though in his article Walker (1983) strived to enlighten readers on how strictly Freudian psychoanalytical insights can be utilized to reveal hidden messages behind hand-drawn images (which presupposes that these messages derive out of authors’ latent sexuality), author had also succeeded in revealing how the actual techniques of composing images can provide researchers with a better understanding of a concerned individual’s psychological constitution. For example, Walker suggested that, while analyzing motifs contained in a particular drawing, researcher would have to define whether the depicted images of humans are being collectively or individually represented, whether there is a double of singular meaning behind every image, whether presented images were meant to transmit metaphorical or literal message, whether the depicted objects were intentionally or unintentionally distorted, etc. According to the author, during the course of psychoanalytical research of hand-drawn images, the observation of all of these particulars is quite indispensible.
Just as it is being the case with earlier mentioned article, many utterly relevant suggestions, as to methodology of our study, can be found in Arnheim’s (1993) article. According to the author, images drawn from memory are being qualitatively different, as compared to those drawn from models. This is because, while in the midst of a creative/representational process, the authors of memory-based drawings unintentionally allow these drawings to be affected by the workings of their own existential psyche to a considerable degree: “Drawings from mental images… rely on generalities, on the simplifications that remain in memory as abstractions from the multiplicity of individual experiences” (p. 16). Thus, by observing a particular picture, drawn from memory, it is not only possible to define the subtleties of author’s sense of an aesthetic finesse, but it is also possible to define the extent of author’s ability to operate with abstract categories of formal logic (the rate of one’s IQ).
Despite the fact that Benson’s (1994) article relates to our study’s subject matter rather indirectly, it nevertheless contains a very interesting clue as to how researcher is supposed to assess the unconscious semiotics, conveyed by hand-drawn images of human figures. According to the author, the close analysis of these images should help a psychoanalyst to gain an insight onto the essence of author’s personal ego. Although Benson asserts that: “In Freud’s work, the central drama of the visual field concerns genital sexual difference” (p. 101), Freudian methodology for the analysis of motifs, contained in a particular drawing, appears more universally applicable then it is being commonly assumed. Just as it was the case with Jung, Freud believed that individual’s tendency to visually hypertrophy particular parts of a depicted human body is being reflective of such individual’s unconscious anxieties, which in their turn, define the workings of his or her psyche. Therefore, it would only be logical to assume that, if for example the author of a particular drawing tends to hypertrophy someone’s or its own head, this could be interpreted as the indication of his or her mental preoccupation with trying to attain social prominence through education.
Although in his study Changeux (1994) focused on analyzing the relation of a high art (classical paintings) to the particulars of its authors’ neurological constitution, some of study’s findings can be utilized within the context of our research, as well. When being adjusted to fit into our study’s methodological framework, Changeux’s main idea can be articulated as follows: the degree of a particular drawing’s semiotic clarity can be looked upon as something that reflects its author’s varying ability to evolve, in intellectual sense of this word. The more such drawing appears to emanate a logical sense, the higher is its objective value: “The logical coherence between the elements of the painting surges as a whole in the painter’s mind, like a revelation…” (p. 194). Of course, this idea can hardly be referred to as being politically correct. Nevertheless, it would be wrong to refer to it as utterly unsubstantiated, especially in the light of suggestions contained in the last article we are going to review in this sub-chapter.
In this article, Foley and Mulliss (2008) were able to show how images, drawn by children, provide observers with the insight onto cognitive specifics of these children’s development. According to the authors, while growing up, children undergo three developmental stages: 1—5 years old (the drawings produced by children from this age-category, appear particularly primitive, while commonly featuring tadpole schemas), 5-8 years old (the images drawn by children from this age-category are being usually marked by a certain degree of perceptional realism), 8 years old – adolescence (the images drawn by children from this age-category are being usually affected by authors’ utilization of a graphical perspective, which makes them to appear particularly realistic). In other words, the motifs contained in every drawing and the extent of drawing’s proportional/perspectual integrity, correlate with the pace of author’s psychobiological development. Even though that formally speaking, Foley and Mulliss’s conclusions apply only to children in elementary schools, we believe that these conclusions’ logical framework can be also utilized within the context of our study, as we do subscribe to the linear perspective onto the process of a particular individual’s intellectual development.
The relation with preceding research
Even though there were no previous studies, conducted to test the hypothesis that drawings can be used as the instrument of eliciting students’ beliefs about learning per se, we can still refer to a few related researches, carried out in the past, the findings of which substantiate the validity of our study’s conceptual premise.
The most related to the subject of our research appears to be the study Learning styles and composition by Carrell and Monroe (1994). In it, authors strived to define correlative links between students’ psychological makeup and their tendency to choose in favor of one or another learning style. The empirical part of a study involved asking students (in classes for Basic Writing, Composition 1, and ESL) to fill out a conventional questionnaire, in regards to their perception of what constitutes the most effective learning style, and exposing them to Myers-Briggs Type Indicator MBTI (a specialized questionnaire, designed to serve as the tool of participants’ psychological classification). The samples consisted of 21, 41, and 25 students, respectively, with the percentile representation of representatives of racial minorities in each sample ranging from 15% to 50%.
The MBTI contained questions, meant to define the extent of participating students’ affiliation with Extroversive (sensing, feeling, interacting) and Introversive (judging, thinking, abstracting) psycho-types. Given the obtained sociological data, researchers were able to define the following trends, in regards to how students’ psychological/ethno-cultural constitution affects their views on learning: 1) In general, the representatives of racial minorities in academic curriculum (which authors tactfully refer to as non-native speakers) appear to be much more likely to exhibit the psychological traits of an Extravert: “Over fifty percent of the non-native speakers fell into just two personality types (associated with spontaneous action and social interaction)” (p. 159). 2) Students’ affiliation with extroversive psychological traits is often being indicative of such students’ lessened likelihood to succeed with theory-based studies: “The percentage of sensing types decreases as educational level increases.
A high percentage of school dropouts are sensing types” (p. 159). Thus, Carrell and Monroe’s study contains implicit insights onto the fact that disproportional representation of ethnic students among school dropouts (a well-known phenomenon to American educators), might not have anything to do with their exposal to ‘institutionalized poverty’ or with their ‘underprivileged status’, as some social activists imply, but simply with biologically predetermined specifics of how their psyche assess surrounding reality. Moreover, this particular study does subtly confirm the validity of our initial hypothesis that students’ personality is being reflective of how they perceive the appropriateness of a particular learning strategy.
Despite the fact that the study The development of religious experience in children by Harms (1944) cannot be referred to as even relatively contemporary, the reading of it does substantiate the validity of our research’s premise that drawings can be used to gain an insight onto specifics of authors’ mentality. Study’s methodological framework is being based upon author’s assertion that the subtleties of people’s religiosity cannot be adequately represented in verbal form: “Verbal expressions of religious experience – more still in children than in adults – do not give satisfactory information about the total and deeper religious life” (p. 112). After having established and logically substantiated this premise, author had hypothesized that it is namely by prompting children to exhibit their understanding of the concept of divinity non-verbally, that researchers will be able to define and classify the qualitative essence of such children’s understanding: “In order to investigate the psychological world of the child experimentally and to insure really enlightening results, it is imperative that we invent nonverbal methods which actually correspond to the status of the child’s mentality” (p.113). Such author’s line of argumentation explains why he had chosen in favor of asking children to reflect upon their understanding of God by producing hand-drawn images, as opposed to contemplating on it verbally, or in the form of a written assignment.
After having collected the ‘drawings of God’ from nine hundred adolescent participants of the study, Harms was able to categorize participants into three distinctive categories: those who perceive God within the contextual framework of a fairy tale, those whose understanding of God features realistic motifs, and those whose vision of God appears being utterly individualistic. In its turn, this had brought Harms to conclude that: “The normal development of each individual within our civilization is to go through three stages of the religious development: The fairy-tale stage, the realistic stage, and the individualistic stage” (p. 119). Given the fact that throughout study’s entirety, Harms mainly relied on utilization of Jungian psychoanalytical methodology, and the fact that by doing it he was able to obtain qualitatively measurable and classifiable data, suggests an academic legitimacy of an idea that the psychoanalytical analysis of motifs, contained in drawings, does provide researcher with rather comprehensive clue as to the workings of authors’ psyche.
Essentially the same idea has been thoroughly explored in O’Connor’s (1988) article Two methodologies for the interpretation of abstract expressionism, which is being concerned with setting up a psychodynamic paradigm for interpreting the semiotics of avant-garde art. According to the author: “A psychodynamic hermeneutics… employs an eclectic approach to the psychology of creativity… It requires the scholar-interpreter to utilize the collective wisdom derived from all schools of modern psychological investigation” (p. 222). After having defined the qualitative essence of semiotics, contained in the works of most famous representatives of an abstract expressionism, such as Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky and Emma Kunz, by the mean of applying Freudian and Jungian interpretative methodology, O’Connor concluded that: “The artist is an individual who seeks, through image-making, personal coherence and meaning either passively or rebelliously within the context of received myths… or more or less unconsciously within the context of a pathology” (p. 223).
Such realization, on author’s part, had brought him to suggest that the utilization of psychoanalysis, in order to define the essence of semiotic motifs, manifested by a particular work of art, is academically appropriate. What represents O’Connor article’s particular relevance to the subject matter of our research, is the fact that author had succeeded in setting up a criteria for distinguishing between what he refers to as an ‘unconscious motif’ in the work of art, assumed to be an extrapolation of author’s existential psyche, and an ‘semi-conscious quasi-motif’, assumed to be of essentially incidental nature. According to the author: “A motif can be seen as unconsciously chosen by one or more of the following characteristics: its repeated recurrence, its relationship to a documented psycho-dynamic event, its contextual explicitness” (p. 224). While conducting our study, we will make point in interpreting the semantic meaning of motifs, contained in students’ drawings, after having designated them as ‘motifs’ per se.
Even though the study Identity formation in the shadow of conflict: Projective drawings by Palestinian and Israeli Arab children from the West Bank and Gaza by Elbedour, Bastien, and Center, is not being concerned with researching the correlation between students’ predisposition towards a specific learning style and the particulars of their psychological makeup, it does contain a few innovative ideas as to how drawings produced by adolescents might serve as the key to revealing what constitutes these individuals’ existential identity. After having analyzed the motifs, presented in the identity-related drawings by 469 students (aged 13 through 17) from: “Three Bedouin schools in Israel (n = 143), three Palestinian schools in the West Bank (n = 230), and three Palestinian schools in Gaza (n = 96)” (p. 223), authors came to conclusion that: “With regard to the most salient identities, the children raised in the greatest conflict identify most with the conflict while the children raised in relative peace are more likely to depict an individuated personal identity” (p. 225). Moreover, authors also concluded that the term ‘conflict identity’ is being synonymous to the term ‘collective identity’ – in the drawings created by students from Gaza strip, there is an apparent absence of representations of one’s identity what would correspond to Jungian concept of ‘individuation’. That is, the authors of these drawings appear incapable of detaching their personhood from the collective personhood of an ethnic community to which they belong.
Nevertheless, the fact that while researching the subject matter, Elbedour, Bastien, and Center never ceased remaining politically engaged (their continuous referrals to ‘atrocities’ committed by Israeli army), does not allow us to refer to study’s conclusions as being fully objective. The validity of this statement can be further illustrated by the fact that one’s possession of strongly defined communal sense of identity does not necessarily suggest that this individual resides in the area of an armed ethnic conflict. After all, Belgium is a peaceful country – yet, as it will be shown in this study’s consequential parts, quite a few drawings created by Belgian students do emanate collectivist spirit rather prominently.
The soundness of an idea that children’s drawings do contain much more of information then they may initially appear to contain, has been further explored in the study Artificial innocence: Interactions between the study of children’s drawing and artificial intelligence, by Burton (1997). In this study, author had attempted to reveal the actual mechanics of a cognitive process, as such that pertain the functioning of a computer-based artificial intelligence (AI) and the functioning of a child’s neurological apparatus. The bulk of a study amounts to a highly detailed account of how a software called ROSE (Representation of Spatial Experience) transforms 3D images of various objects into child-drawn-appearing 2D images. What constitutes study’s relevance to our research-project is the fact that Burton was able to prove that the process of a child learning new things about the world and reflecting upon newly obtained knowledge on paper, is best discussed within the methodological framework of an exponential progression. That is, the memorized information in child’s brain is not being simply stored there, but continues to spawn ever-newer forms of tacit knowledge, reflected in child’s apparent ability to understand so much more then he or she could have possibly known from indulging in experiential interaction with surrounding realities.
In its turn, this had brought author to conclude that the process of AI trying to find a solution to a particular problem can be well compared to the process of children addressing existential challenges. Initially, parents instill children with behavioral stereotypes, while teaching them how to act in different situations. And, children’s ability to extrapolate earlier obtained knowledge onto ‘strangeness’ allows them to choose in favor of a proper act, while being confronted by formally unknown, but unconsciously familiar situations.
This line of logic had prompted Burton to suggest that the drawings, created by physically healthy and psychologically adequate children, should contain subtle indications as to these children’s possession of an analytical mindset, regardless of their age (with the exception of toddlers, of course): “Children’s drawing is a vivid example of a system that progresses from a state of disorder in the child’s first scribbles to states of order and complexity in later image making” (p. 304). These indications would be concerned with children’s expected ability to interrelate causes and effects, while in the midst of a creative process. During the course of our study, we will refer to such Burton’s suggestion rather extensively, as it does confirm the validity of our initial hypothesis that the images, drawn by children and adolescents, do not only reveal the degree of concerned individuals’ creativity, but provide teacher with better understanding as to utilization of what type of learning strategies would be more effective, in the light of affiliated sociological, demographical, socio-economic and political circumstances.
The purpose of the research
The aims and objectives of this research project can be summarized as follows:
- Testing the validity of a hypothesis that drawing can be used to elicit students’ beliefs about learning. The fulfillment of this particular objective might eventually result in providing educators with additional instruments for examining the strengths and weakness of educational strategies, intended for an employment within a particular learning environment.
- Finding out whether there is a correlation between the particulars of students’ cognitive predisposition and the qualitative subtleties of their psychological makeup. If proven valid, this thesis will encourage teachers to reconsider the appropriateness of many classical approaches towards class assembling.
- Examining the soundness of a suggestion that encouraging students to indulge in particular forms of learning should be observant of their varying abilities to operate with abstract categories, partially reflected by their affiliation with Extroversive/Introversive psychological types.
The questions that will be put forward, in regards to the interpreted data, can be outlined as follows:
- Would it be conceptually appropriate to discuss students’ likelihood to succeed in academia as such that is being reflected by their deep-seated anxieties towards the process of acquiring experiential/theory-based knowledge?
- Is there is a correlation between the specifics of students’ ethno-cultural affiliation and the particulars of their perception of a learning process?
- What should be considered as the appropriate method of defining the essence of subtle semiotics, contained in students’ drawings?
- What factors play role in defining students’ predisposition towards a particular form of learning?
- May students’ learning inclinations be adjusted, in order to correspond to educators’ expectations?
- May Kolb’s categorization of students on Accommodators, Assimilators, Divergers, and Convergers be considered empirically proven?
After having interpreted all 71 drawings, we expect to gain a comprehensive insight onto the following set of hypothesized suggestions:
- Introversedly minded students are more likely to choose in favor of Individual-centered forms of learning.
- Extroversedly minded students are more likely to choose in favor of Group-centered forms of learning.
- Introversedly minded students are more predisposed towards acting as Assimilators/Divergers (as defined by Kolb).
- Extroversedly minded students are more predisposed towards acting as Accommodators/Convergers.
- Students that exhibit clearly defined accommodating leanings are more likely to pursue careers associated with liberal sciences (history, literature, art, social sciences and linguistics).
- Students that exhibit assimilating leanings are more likely to pursue careers associated with technical sciences (math, chemistry, physics, and engineering).
The very format of this study and the qualitative essence of initially obtained data, contributed the most towards our decision to utilize specifically qualitative methodology (with the elements of quantitative analysis) as the most contextually appropriate. The fact that, while proceeding with a research we would have to employ the method of deductive inquiry, as only the academically suitable in this particular case, implies study’s methodological apparatus being concerned with the principle of hermeneutic circle. As it was pointed out by Klein and Myers (1999): “The idea of the hermeneutic circle suggests that we come to understand a complex whole from preconceptions about the meanings of its parts and their interrelationships” (p. 71).
We think that our selection of qualitative methodological approach will prove highly advantageous even at the early stages of an intended study, because it regards exploring the affiliative psychological factors as an important element of a research process. According to Rubin and Rubin (1995): “Qualitative research methods emphasize the depth of understanding associated with idiographic concerns. They attempt to tap the deeper meanings of particular human experiences and are intended to generate theoretically richer observations that are not easily reduced to numbers” (Rubin, Rubin, p. 25). Given the fact that our study’s subject matter is being clearly concerned with providing essentially qualitative interpretations to the visual depictions of a learning process, it will only be logical to resort to utilization of a qualitative research-methodology, while conducting a further inquiry.
The participants of this study were 1st year’s seventy-one Belgian students of educational sciences. Out of the whole sample of participants, fifty-four students were females, eight were males and the gender affiliation, on the part of another eight students, has not been clearly identified. In addition, there was no information provided in regards to the specifics of participants’ racial, religious and class affiliation. Nevertheless, we believe that non-inclusion of this seemingly vital information within study’s methodological apparatus, as its essential component, should not affect the soundness of insights we expect to gain, while conducting this research. On the contrary – the fact that the process of interpreting students’ drawing will not be affected by a variety of stereotypical expectations, in regards to the particulars of participants’ existential identity, will contribute to the overall objectiveness of study’s conclusions. As Silverman (2010) had put it: “In qualitative research the relevant or ‘sampleable’ units are often seen as theoretically defined. This means that it is inappropriate to sample populations by such attributes as ‘gender’, ‘ethnicity’ or even age because how such attributes are routinely defined is itself the topic of your research” (p. 144). This, however, does not mean that, during the course of conducting research, we will intend to make a point in excluding the considerations of participants’ gender, ethic and social affiliation out of its methodological framework, but rather in establishing the framework for inclusion of these considerations in the apparatus of future studies.
The components of this study’s apparatus can be outlined as follows:
- Kolb (1981) and Scott’s (2002) theories as to how students can be categorized along the lines of their cognitive predisposition. While referring to authors’ theoretical insights, we will classify the authors of drawings as accommodators, assimilators, convergers and divergers, as we expect the obtained drawings to contain insights onto students’ perception of a learning process.
- Belton and Scott’s (1998) system of students’ categorization, in regards to individualistic, communal or project-oriented subtleties of their psyche.
- Jungian method of analytical psychology, which provides researchers with theoretical tools for defining the extent of concerned individuals’ affiliation with Introversive and Extroversive psycho-types.
- Percentage formula:
After having defined learning inclinations, on the part of every particular student, we will be able to identify the qualitative essence of these inclinations’ interrelation. In its turn, this will provide us with an additional insight onto interpreted data’s significance.
- Seventy-one drawings of a ‘learning child’, collected from participants.
As we have pointed out earlier, given the nature of this study, it is specifically the utilization of hermeneutic research-methodology that will prove the most beneficial. According to Arnold and Fischer (1994), researchers that pursue with conducting just about any qualitative study, will necessary chose in favor of method of hermeneutic inquiry, as such that provides researchers with an opportunity to gain an understanding of the very nature of a studied subject matter: “Hermeneutic philosophy is concerned with the interpretation of understanding. This philosophy holds that understanding has an ontological status” (p. 55). Whereas; students’ written explanations as to how they perceive learning may provide researchers with the clue on what students’ attitude towards learning might be, these explanations have very little to do with students’ innate anxieties, in regards to the process of obtaining knowledge, and therefore – cannot be considered ontologically valid, in full sense of this word. On the other hand, hand-drawn images do reflect students’ learning-related anxieties with utter precision, very often despite authors’ conscious will.
Therefore, by interpreting and classifying the motifs, contained in these drawings, we will be able to acquire a better understanding of the mechanics of how students’ unconscious psyche views learning – the very process of ascribing descriptive categorizations to a researched phenomena is synonymous to the concept of epistemology. After having defined the specifics of every individual participant’s learning inclinations, we will be able to move to the next epistemological level – analyzing the qualitative essence of a relationship between a particular student’s view on learning, as a single individual, and his or her views on learning, as the member of qualitatively defined group of individuals with similarly functioning mindset.
The actual procedure of our inquiry will consist of the following technical parts:
- Asking seventy-one participants to draw a ‘learning child’ (students’ depiction of how they envision the process of a ‘child’ attaining new knowledge).
- Collecting drawings.
- Interpreting the motifs, contained in these drawings, along the lines of earlier mentioned educational and psychoanalytical theories.
- Utilizing an obtained interpretative data to define the number of participants that exhibit similar psychological traits and similar attitudes towards learning.
- Applying a percentage formula to the number of students, affiliated with every particular sub-category, in order to gain an insight on the qualitative essence of an interrelation between the particulars of participants’ psychological makeup and the specifics of how they view the process of learning.
- Discussing the relevance of an obtained data, in regards to the researched subject matter.
- Coming up with recommendations as to how the acquired insights may be used, in order to increase the efficiency of the process of designing new educational strategies.
During the course of this study, we indent to continuously refer to a variety of psychological and psychoanalytical theories, in order to ensure the greater degree of accuracy, while interpreting images’ motifs. Nevertheless, it is namely the utilization of Jung’s concept of analytical psychology that we expect to provide us with comprehensive clues as to semiotic significance of drawings’ imagery. Also, while pursuing with our research-related agenda, we intend to invoke the concept of psychodynamics when proven necessary.
While trying to provide a legitimate psychological interpretation to the themes and motifs, contained in students’ drawings, we will test the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of currently existing psychology-related educational theories, such as those of Kolb, Scott and Belton. At the same time, we will also aim at discussing the subject matter not solely from strictly theoretical but also practical perspective, while outlining the trends that currently affect the overall matrix of Western system of public education.
As it was stated in the hypothesis, drawings are assumed to contain certain ontological characteristics, the observation and the analysis of which should help researcher to choose in favor of appropriate methodology, when it comes to theorizing on whether drawings can be used to measure qualitative subtleties of students’ beliefs about learning. Therefore, it would only be logical to assess these characteristics as such that directly relate to the concept of learning as ‘thing in itself’. As most educators agree upon, this concept is being concerned with the process of an individual obtaining empirically and theoretically based knowledge, in order to be able to utilize it as the instrument of social/professional advancement and also to be able to contribute to society’s overall well-being. However, the effectiveness of learning is being largely dependent on teachers’ ability to endow students with knowledge in a manner that suits them the best.
While conducting the interpretative part of this study, we will refer to Kolb’s method of students’ categorization, in accordance to how they perceive learning.
We assume that all seventy-one drawings contain explicit/implicit indications as to their authors’ affiliation with either of categories, as defined by Kolb. In addition, we assume that the analysis of these drawings should provide researcher with the insight onto students’ tendency to think about the concept of learning from either individualistic or communal perspective. According to Belton and Scott, the academically institutionalized approaches to learning can be characterized as: 1) Individual-centered, 2) Group-centered, 3) Project-centered. We anticipate that the proofs as to students’ psychological longing to either of these approaches would be exhibited in their drawings.
It is understood that students’ qualitative predisposition towards the concept of learning is being primarily defined by particulars of their psychological makeup, which in its turn, correlates with the workings of their ethno-cultural (archetypal) psyche. Therefore, during the course of this research-study, we will also attempt to explain the inner qualities of students’ perception of learning, while referring to the methodology of Jungian psychoanalysis.
- Assimilator – Drawing depicts the initial stage of a learning process as being clearly concerned with a ‘learning child’ indulging in abstract theorization at her desk. The process of a ‘child’ solving puzzle, in the middle of drawing, is also of clearly theoretical rather than practical significance – this process implies one’s ability to operate with essentially abstract constructs.
- Individual-centered learner – The process of a ‘learning child’ acquiring knowledge takes place in solitary environment.
- Introvert – ‘Child’s’ overly emphasized head extrapolates author’s anxieties as to the fact that her prospects to advance in life are being strictly concerned with her ability to expand its own intellectual horizons, regardless of what others might think of such her stance.
- Converger – Drawings depicts a ‘learning child’ as being equally influenced by studies, on one hand, and by socialization with her friends, on another. The fact that some affiliates are shown angry, while the others are shown with smiles on their faces, points out to ‘child’s’ tendency to criticize ‘inappropriateness’.
- Group-centered learner – Only one out of six depicted learning activities [studying at the computer] can be referred to as solitary.
- Extrovert – Socialization with others plays an important part in ‘child’s’ life, which reveals the author of the drawing as being endowed with extrovertedly functioning mindset.
- Accommodator – In author’s mind, the process of learning is being clearly associated with participation in variety of daily [practical] activities, such as communicating with others, driving down nails [construction?] and sightseeing. The fact that the book [which symbolizes theoretical knowledge] is being located far to the right off drawing’s centre, indicates ‘child’s’ clear dislike of theory-centered academia.
- Project-centered learner – Author appears to associate the purpose of learning with reaching essentially utilitarian objectives [the subtle proof to this is the image of construction tools and comparatively detailed depiction of the house, to the left of a ‘child’].
- Extrovert – the image of a ‘child’ arguing with someone else, directly in the middle of drawing, points out to author’s perception of itself as the integral element of a society and to the fact that she is being endowed with socially active personality.
- Accommodator – In this drawing, ‘learning child’ is depicted in the middle of highly dynamic social environment, which means that author does not disassociate the process of learning from objectively existing socio-political and economic realities.
- Individual-centered learner – ‘Child’ clearly perceives itself as learning about others, as opposed to learning with the others. This projects author’s individualistically defined learning anxieties with perfect clarity.
- Introvert – the fact that the ‘child’ is being placed in the center of drawing and the fact that the rest of depicted people appear disproportionally small, as compared to the ‘child’, reflect introversive subtleties of author’s psyche.
- Accommodator – In this drawing, children are being depicted indulging in variety of sporting activities [playing ball, riding bicycle, hiking], which points out to the fact that author clearly thinks of the concept of learning within the framework of ‘doing’, rather than within the framework of ‘studying’.
- Group-centered learner – The learning activities, as depicted in the drawing, are being concerned with a team-action.
- Extrovert – In this drawing, it represents a challenge to even define who the ‘learning child’ really is, which points out to the fact that author is being instilled with hypertrophied sense of communal-mindedness. In its turn, this leaves us with no option but to designate author as an extrovert.
- Converger – This drawing contains a number of indications as to the fact that the ‘learning child’ perceives the value of theory-based knowledge as being inseparable from her ability to attain practical/professional skills [the image of a chef in drawing’s lower right corner].
- Project-centered learner – Author appears to think of the process of learning as being aimed to allow ‘learning child’ to gain excellence in few specialized professional fields [catering and driving].
- Extrovert – the depiction of a learning environment in the classroom and the depiction of the process of a ‘child’ acquiring experience-based knowledge, implies author’s openness to the idea of engaging in interpersonal socialization with others.
- Accommodator – In this drawing, there is an absence of depictions of learning activities, associated with classroom environment. This serves as the subtle indication as to the fact that author is being predisposed towards perceiving the process of learning as such that has to do with experiential action.
- Group-centered learner – The fact that the ‘learning child’ is being represented in the company of two girls, signifies author’s tendency to think about learning as the process, concerned with participation in team-based activities.
- Extrovert – Given prominently displayed smile on the face of a ‘learning child’, and on the faces of her girlfriends, we can conclude that author is being more then comfortable with the idea of close interpersonal socialization.
- Assimilator – This drawing is clearly indicative of its author’s perception of learning as such that should be concerned with the process of attaining theoretical rather than experiential knowledge. The fact that the ‘learning child’ [depicted as trying to find its way out of the maze] is being shown considering a few alternative courses of action, extrapolates author’s unconscious belief that is only by indulging in abstract theorization that an individual might be able to effectively address life’s challenges.
- Individual-centered learner – In order for a person to be able to find its way out of the maze, he or she must never yield to the insecurities of solitude, which can only be the case if he/she never ceases professing the individualistic virtue of self-autonomy.
- Introvert – The contextual semiotics of this drawing leave very few doubts as to the fact that its author does evaluate the effectiveness of a particular form of learning within the context of whether the associative environment provides learner with solitary privacy or not.
- Accommodator – Just as it is being the case with Drawing 7, the author of this drawing appears being absolutely certain that it is only by indulging in a variety of action-based activities [interacting with friends in the park(?)], that the ‘child’ might attain useful knowledge about the world and about its place in it.
- Group-centered learner – ‘Learning child’ is being depicted in the company of his/her friends, which indicates author’s subconscious belief in the particular beneficence of communal forms of learning.
- Extrovert – Apparently, the author of this drawing has absolutely no reservations against socializing, as one of the most effective ways to attain experiential knowledge, which explains why it is not only that the drawing contain depictions of five individuals in the midst of interacting with each other, but that the ‘learning child’ himself is not being emphasized against others.
- Diverger – On this drawing, ‘learning child’ is being shown turned away from the book [symbolizing theoretical knowledge] with clearly defined expression of displeasure on her face. However, in the lower part of the drawing, the same ‘child’ reemerges with a smile on her face – the context of the drawing implies that ‘child’s’ visual transformation is somehow related to image of a plate, with forks and knives, prominently displayed in the middle of drawing. It appears that author wanted to express his divergent belief in the fact that the benefits, associated with a particular form of learning, should be recognized emotionally rather than cognitively.
- Group-centered learner – ‘Learning child’ clearly prefers studying with her friends, as opposed to studying alone.
- Extrovert – ‘Learning child’ visibly enjoys herself, while in the company of others. The fact that, while depicted in close proximity to the opened book, the ‘child’ appears to wear an expression of displeasure upon her face, serves as another indication of extroversive subtleties of author’s psyche.
- Accommodator – This drawing contains motifs, similar to the motifs, contained in Drawing 2. The message, conveyed by the image of this particular ‘learning child’ can be formulated as follows: “I am happy because learning helps me to attain self-actualization”. The theoretical aspects of learning [symbolized by the image of computer in lower right corner], appear being neglected.
- Individual-centered learner – The sheer size and the centered location of a ‘learning child’, suggests author’s skeptical attitude towards the idea of team-based learning.
- Extrovert – it is not only that the ‘child’ seem to enjoy being in the centre of people’s attention, but she also appear to derive pleasure out of dominating them intellectually.
- Accommodator – In this drawing, author promotes an integral outlook on what should account for the effectiveness of learning process. With the exception of the image where ‘learning child’ studies at the desk, she is being depicted indulging in essentially experiential activities [playing ball, swimming, riding bicycle, singing].
- Individual-centered learner – The ‘child’ is depicted in the process of learning as a single individual.
- Extrovert – even though ‘learning child’ is shown proceeding with her activities in a solitary mode, the very nature of these activities presupposes socialization. Therefore, it would only be logical to designate drawing’s author as being extrovertedly minded.
- Assimilator – In this drawing, ‘learning child’s’ hypertrophied ears point out to the fact that its author perceives the process of learning as the flow of verbalized information into his mind [through ears].
- Individual-centered learner – ‘Child’s’ raised hands call for a personalized attention to his educational needs.
- Introvert – The absence of mouth on ‘Child’s’ face reflects the fact that drawing’s author feels uncomfortable, while indulging in verbal communications with others. This serves as the subtle indication of introversive subtleties of author’
- Accommodator – The author of this drawing clearly associates the process of learning with the process of proceeding with daily social and recreational routines [the scenes of ‘child’ playing and socializing].
- Group-centered learner – The activities that the ‘child’ perceives as ‘learning’ appear being of clearly communal essence.
- Extrovert – the observation of this drawing leaves a few doubts as to the fact that its author does like spending time with her friends, which points out at her openness towards the idea of extroversive socialization.
- Converger – The depiction of ‘learning child’ in this drawing represents him in the state of deciding in favor of what kind of learning activity [riding bicycle, studying at the desk, cooking a meal] he should decide upon. The fact that all of these activities appear being perceived by the ‘child’ as equally appealing, points out at intellectual flexibility, on the part of author.
- Project-centered learner – In all probability, the reason why ‘child’ seems cognitively puzzled, is because he is not being completely certain as to engagement with what type of learning activity would prove the most beneficial, in practical/professional sense of this word.
- Extrovert – the prospect of having to socialize with others, while learning, does not seem to negatively affect ‘child’s’ mood, which can be thought of as a subtle indication of author’s extrovertism.
- Diverger – In this drawing, the ‘learning child’ is depicted undergoing three stages of intellectual growth, which author perceives as being associated with different prospects in life. The middle stage author considers particularly challengeable – even though it allows the ‘child’ an immediate opportunity to attain material riches [the images of two houses in drawing’s lower part], this can only be done at the expense of a ‘child’ ceasing to develop intellectually [the third stage of ‘child’s’ advancement is being depicted disassociated from indications of conventional happiness]. What it means is that author clearly strives to evaluate the advantages/disadvantages of an academic career, which she conceives as being associated with the process of gaining ‘pure’ knowledge, quite inapplicable in real life.
- Individual-centered learner – Author perceives the process of learning through the lenses of individualism, as she appears to assess its benefits from clearly personal perspective.
- Introvert – Even though the lower right corner of the drawing contains the image of group of children playing soccer, the ‘learning child’ does not appear naturally inclined to join the game, which serves as the subtle indication of the fact that the ‘child’ does not think of team-based learning activities in particularly high regard.
- Diverger – The author of this drawing subconsciously extrapolates the idea of an abstract philosophizing [symbolized by the image of a ‘child’ sitting in chair] into the idea of purposeless idling, and hence – as such that has very little value, for as long as the process of learning is being concerned. This reveals author’s critical attitude towards the very idea of theory-based knowledge as having value in itself – clearly the psychological trait of a diverger.
- Group-centered learner – The fact that the solitary ‘learning child’ is being depicted in comparatively detailed manner and also the fact that author’s attitude towards what she had depicted appears strongly negative, reflects author’s belief in the beneficence of socialization as the only appropriate framework for learning activities.
- Extrovert – The author of this drawing appears being appalled by the very idea of solitary learning, due to clearly defined expression of displeasure on ‘child’s’ face, who is being forced to proceed with solitary mode of studying.
- Converger – In this drawing, ‘learning child’ is being depicted as someone who gets to be equally benefited from gaining a theoretical knowledge [the images of a ‘child’ studying at the desk and in the classroom environment], on one hand, and from gaining experiential knowledge [the image of child playing ball], on another. This points out at author’s rather three-dimensional understanding of the concept of learning, which in its turn, reveals author as a converger.
- Group-centered learner – There is no depiction of group-based learning activities in this drawing. However, given drawing’s apparent dynamism [the indication of author’s perceptional flexibility], we can conclude that the ‘child’ would not experience an emotional discomfort, when being required to participate in team-based learning.
- Extravort – the ‘child’ does not seem to have innate objections against socializing with others [the image of a ‘child’ indulging in sporting activities subtly substantiates such our conclusion].
- Converger – Even though the process of attaining theoretical knowledge [symbolized by the image of a ‘child’ studying at the desk] is being depicted at the centre of drawing, author does not seem to idealize it as ‘thing in itself’, as Assimilators do, because author perceives this process as having clearly utilitarian purpose – improving ‘child’s’ communicational, writing and professional skills, which would help the ‘child’ to achieve social prominence, later in her life.
- Project-centered learner – In the drawing, there is one image can be seen that clearly reflects author’s project-mindedness, in educational sense of this word [the image of ‘child’ building a pyramid (?) out of bricks].
- Extrovert – Given the fact that author associates one of the purposes of learning with enhancing one’s interpersonal skills [the image of two individuals holding hands, in drawing’s upper left corner], we can conclude that she is perfectly comfortable with the idea of educational socialization.
- Accommodator – The analysis of motifs, contained in this particular drawing, point out to the fact that its author perceives the process of learning as essentially interactive experience. Moreover, she clearly places emphasis onto the beneficence of specifically sporting activities, as the source of relevant knowledge about surrounding realities [the images of a ‘child’ riding bicycle and hanging out with friends, prominently displayed in the centre of drawing].
- Group-centered learner – The fact that the images of a solitary ‘child’ studying at the desk and reading book are placed on drawing’s periphery, indicates author favoring the concept of team-based learning above the concept of individual learning.
- Extrovert – The motifs of team learning, contained in the drawing, leave very few doubts as to the fact that its author is psychologically predisposed towards the idea of attaining knowledge in particularly sociable environment.
- Accommodator – Even a brief glance at this drawing reveals its author as someone who strongly prefers attaining experiential knowledge, while in the process of learning. The fact that the image of a book [representing abstract knowledge] is being depicted directly underneath the ‘child’ exposes author’s dislike of classroom-based studies.
- Individual-centered learner – The composition of images in this drawing [the ‘child’ is located in drawing’s centre] indicates the possession of strongly defined personal ego, on the part of author – hence, rendering him more likely to benefit from individualized forms of learning.
- Introvert – The fact that the arrows [symbolizing the flow of information], presented in the drawing, are being directed at the child, reflects author’s tendency to indulge in self-reflective analyzation, which is the psychological trait of an introvert.
- Converger – The analysis of this drawing exposes author as an individual who is being predisposed towards seeking empirical proofs, as to validity of theoretical knowledge, obtained in school [the scenes depicting ‘child’ taking part in outdoor and home-based activities].
- Group-centered learner – While in the classroom, ‘child’s’ face appears somewhat grim. This; however, is no longer the case in the scene where child enjoys outdoor activities, in the company of his friend.
- Extrovert – Author clearly prefers the experiential learning, most likely because he associates it with the notion of collective educationally-related responsibliness [the images contained in drawing’s upper scene imply author’s discomfort with the idea of being evaluated by the teacher on individual basis].
- Accommodator – It is quite clear from this drawing that, unlike assimilators, its author does not think of a classroom-based learning environment [symbolized by the image of a distant school, to the far right of a ‘learning child’] as only the academically appropriate.
- Individual-centered learner – the rationalizations, articulated in regards to the Drawing 21, appear fully pertinent in this case, as well – author perceives learning process as being more individually then collectively beneficial.
- Extrovert – despite the fact that author seem to possess a strong personal ego [the proportions of a ‘learning child’ have been intentionally hypertrophied], the smile on ‘child’s’ face and the smiles on the faces of her friends suggest that author is more likely to go about actualizing its ego by participating in different forms of extroversive socialization.
- Accommodator – The author of this drawing appears to believe that there are only two fully legitimate ways to learn – gaining knowledge out of socialization with others [represented by the image of depersonalized (collective) individual] and gaining knowledge out of information conveyed by the Medias [represented by the image of a globe]. The essence of both approaches to learning is clearly experiential.
- Individual-centered learner – The fact that, besides ‘learning child’, there is only one individual being depicted in the drawing, implies author’s predisposition to choose in favor of individually designed learning.
- Introvert – even though this image does not contain definite clues as to ‘child’s’ being introversedly-minded, it still subtly implies her being more likely to choose in favor of studying alone, as opposed to studying with others [the image of a ‘child’ interacting with a ‘collective individual’ suggests that neither of the parties particularly enjoy the process].
- Converger – Given the fact that in this drawing, the ‘learning child’ is being depicted taking practical advantage of his theory-based knowledge, there can be little doubt as to author’s tendency to think of the concept of learning as having clearly-defined practical value.
- Project – oriented learner – In the drawing, the ‘learning child’ is shown assembling a chair – a clear indication of author’s affiliation with the concept of project-oriented learning.
- Introvert – The ‘learning child’ appears particularly happy, after having completed his project – obviously enough, the completion of the project had boosted up the sensation of self-worthiness, on his part. And, it is namely introverts who are more likely than others to associate this sensation with the concept of self-actualization.
- Accommodator – In this drawing, the theme of experiential interaction (as the source of relevant knowledge) is being featured rather prominently The ‘child’ is shown participating in learning activities, while clearly favoring theoretical studies [symbolized by the image of book in drawing’s lower left corner] the least.
- Group-centered learner – The learning activities, depicted in the drawing, are clearly of communal nature.
- Extrovert – It appears that the author of this drawing does not have subconscious objections against the idea of being required to interact with others, during the course of a learning process – the apparent dynamism of drawing’s images and prominently displayed smiles on the faces of affiliative learners, substantiate the validity of such our suggestion.
- Diverger – This drawing can be interpreted as such that contains clue as to author’s tendency to continually reevaluate earlier established cognitive matrix [symbolized by the image of interconnected elements of knowledge (rounded objects)], in regards to newly received elements of knowledge [symbolized by the image of incoming rounded objects].
- Individual-centered learner – the author of this drawing appears to possess an unconventional mindset, which suggests that she would be more likely to benefit from participation in individually styled forms of learning.
- Introvert – Author’s depiction of a learning process is highly abstract, which implies her psyche being of clearly introversive type.
- Converger – In this drawing, the ‘learning child’ appears being depicted in the process of educational transformation – initially, the ‘child’ is shown crying [on the account of her failure to pass the exam?]; however, there is a smile can be seen on the face of a ‘child’, when she is being depicted for the second time. Apparently, the ‘child’ was able to utilize newly obtained knowledge, while working on the improvement of her grades.
- Individual-centered learner – The drawing is being concerned with depiction of the process of learning as such that involves a single individual.
- Introvert – the fact that initially, the ‘child’ is shown crying, reveals her being emotionally insecure – clearly the psychological trait of introverts.
- Converger – The fact that the depiction of a learning process, in this particular drawing, appears highly allegorical [author drew parallels between the process of a child growing up and the process of a ‘learning child’ attaining social prominence, through studies], reflects upon author’s ability to recognize different aspects of learning in their interrelation with each other.
- Individual-centered learner – In the drawing, the same ‘learning child’ is being depicted through consequential stages of intellectual advancement. However, there are no indications that the author thinks of this advancement as being concerned with group-action learning strategies.
- Introvert – The depiction of a ‘child’ appears being clearly self-reflective. And, it is namely the fact that introverts tend to reflect upon themselves, which sets them apart from extraverts, who tend to reflect upon others.
- Converger – The ‘child’ in this drawing is shown indulging in qualitatively different forms of learning [studying at school, playing with friends, listening to music] with the same degree of enthusiasm, which illustrates author’s ‘three-dimensional’ insight onto the concept of education – just as most convergers tend to do, author longs for theoretically obtained knowledge to be closely followed by an experiential action.
- Individual-centered learner – Even though author does recognize the importance of a group-based learning [the image of two kids playing ball], the fact that the depiction of a ‘learning child’ appears reasonably detailed, as compared to the depiction of two other children, sublimates author’s subconscious belief in the purpose learning as being individually rather than collectively defined.
- Introvert – The image of a ‘learning child’ listening to music in solitary environment suggests introversive subtleties of author’s character.
- Accommodator – The observation of this drawing leaves no doubt as to author’s tendency to prefer experiential/interactive forms of learning [represented by the images of ball, jumping rope and tree house] to classroom-based forms of learning [represented by the image of what appears to be math equation], as depiction of experiential learning activities is being contextually dominant.
- Group-oriented learner – The depicted experiential forms of learning imply their participants’ willingness to interact with each other.
- Extrovert – The depicted learning activities point out at author being endowed with an assertive type of personality – hence, allowing us to define her as an extrovert.
- Accommodator – The author of this drawing perceives the process of learning as inbounded flow of mostly experience-based information. Given the fact that the image of a book [symbolizing abstract knowledge] appears proportionally underemphasized, we can be certain as author’s subconscious dislike of theoretical learning.
- Individual-centered learner – Because ‘child’ is being placed at the centre of a drawing, we can deduce that the individualized forms of learning appeal to the author the most.
- Extrovert – The expression on ‘child’s’ face [wide opened eyes] exposes her as being overwhelmed with incoming information – evidently enough, author tends to absorb information, in order to be able to ‘digest’ it mentally. At the same time, the fact that the ‘child’ seems to enjoy the process of gaining knowledge as such that is being concerned with socialization, suggests extroversive subtleties of his/her psyche.
- Diverger – The analysis of motifs, contained in this drawing, point out at its author holding an unconventional outlook on the process of learning. The fact that the passengers in the bus [all females] appear smiling, even though the bus is shown rolling downwards in rather dramatic manner, extrapolates author’s deep-seated anxieties as to what he perceives as ‘irrelevant’ [most likely theoretical] learning.
- Group-centered learner – Author clearly thinks of learning from group-centric perspective [the ‘learning child’ is not being emphasized among the passengers].
- Extrovert – the author of this drawing appears to derive pleasure from socializing with others [particularly girls], although he does not think of them as being particularly bright.
- Accommodator – The author of this drawing assesses the significance of learning from accommodative perspective, as drawing’s imagery implies theoretical studies [symbolized by the images of a book and computer] being only situationally relevant.
- Group-centered learner – The inclusion of tadpole human figures suggests author being receptive to the idea of studying with others.
- Introvert – The reason why ‘learning child’ is being depicted in comparatively detailed manner, as opposed to what it is the case with his/her mates, is due to author’s cognitive self-centeredness. In its turn, this implies the ‘child’ being endowed with introversive mindset.
- Converger – In this drawing, the ‘child’ is shown attaining theoretical knowledge [in classroom environment] and participating in activities, associated with the concept of experiential learning [the image of a ‘child’ playing soccer]. Thus, this particular drawing reflects its author’s tendency to think of both modes of learning as essentially inseparable.
- Group-centered learner – The author of this drawing appears receptive to the idea of studying/playing as the member of a goal-oriented team.
- Extrovert – Drawing’s contextual semiotics indicate ‘child’s’ perception of a learning process as being necessarily associated with different forms of interactive socialization.
- Converger – Because in this drawing, the theoretical and experiential learning activities are being depicted as counter-balancing each other [the images of a ‘child’ studying at the desk, watching TV, indulging in verbal communication with others and playing ball], we can conclude that the author is being predisposed towards trying to fuse theory with practice.
- Group-centered learner – Drawing’s imagery point out to the fact that its author would be more likely to benefit from participating in group-centered learning activities, as she thinks of interactive socialization as an important part of a learning process.
- Extrovert – Evidently, the depicted ‘learning child’ does not exhibit introversive anxieties, which allows us to conclude that she would be comfortable with the idea of seeking self-actualization as an integral element of society.
- Accommodator – It is quite obvious that the author of this drawing tends to evaluate the significance of learning from emotional perspective [the prominently displayed expression of pleasure on ‘child’s face’]. Therefore, drawing’s author is likely to choose in favor of experiential types of learning, as being more emotionally intense, as compared to theoretical types of learning.
- Individual-centered learner – The absence of depictions of others in the drawing, implies author’s educational self-centeredness.
- Introvert – The fact that the ‘child’ appears paying close attention to the state of her emotional well-being [the images of hearts], reveals drawing’s author being endowed with clearly introversive mindset.
- Converger – In this drawing, the ‘child’ is being depicted trying to utilize previously obtained theoretical knowledge in practice. Author clearly associates the effectiveness of such ‘child’s’ intention with her willingness to persist with trying to reach practical objectives, despite initial setbacks.
- Project-oriented learner – The author of this drawing is clearly inclined to think of learning process’s relevance as being practically rather than theoretically defined [the image of a ‘child’ having succeeded with building a tower].
- Introvert – It is quite clear that, throughout the course of consequential scenes, depicted in the drawing, the ‘child’ never ceases to remain cognitively introverted.
- Assimilator – Given the fact that in this drawing, the depiction of a learning process emanates strictly theoretical undertones [the ‘learning child’ is being shown listening to a teacher], we can conclude that the author is more predisposed towards participation in theory-centered forms of learning.
- Individual-centered learner – It appears that in the drawing, teacher addresses specifically the concerned ‘learning child’, which suggests author being more predisposed towards individually designed forms of learning.
- Introvert – The fact that the analyzed drawing does not feature the images of ‘child’s’ classmates, can serve as the subtle indication as to author being an introspective type of learner.
- Diverger – The depiction of a learning process in this particular drawing appears being adjusted to author’s own expectations of what this process should be all about. Apparently, it is not only that author assess the benefits of learning from essentially experiential point of view [the images of singing individuals, cat, Earth, Sun and Moon], but he/she also perceives learning as such that should serve as the mean of its ego’s self-actualization.
- Individual-centered learner – The motifs, contained in this drawing, suggest that while in the process of attaining new knowledge, the ‘child’ would be more likely to focus on fulfilling its own, highly individualized educational agenda.
- Introvert – Given the fact that the author of this drawing appears to be in possession of an acute sense of imagination, she/he would be more likely to choose in favor of individually designed forms of learning.
- Diverger – The psychoanalytical observation of this drawing reveals an undeniable fact that its author does not perceive the methodological framework of a learning process as being linearly defined [the images of unattached parts of human body].
- Individual-centered learner – Because the author of this drawing cannot be referred to as psychologically conventional [drawing’s imagery may indicate its author being affected by a mild form of split-personality disorder], the individualized modes of learning would suit her better than any other.
- Introvert – Author’s rather unconventional conceptualization of a learning process, is being suggestive of her tendency to indulge in self-reflecting. In its turn, this observation provides us with the rationale for defining the author of this particular drawing as introvert.
- Accommodator – The author of this drawing thinks of learning as the process of accumulating a variety of existential experiences [the images of a ‘child’ erecting a brick wall, studying at the desk, indulging in family-related activities, etc]. This leaves a few doubts as to author’s tendency to prefer experiential learning to purely theoretical one.
- Project-centered learner – As it appears from the drawing, its author perceives the benefits of a learning process as being professionally contributive.
- Extrovert – The ‘child’ seems perfectly happy with the concept of interactive experiential learning, which is being indicative of author’s affiliation with extroversive mode of gaining knowledge.
- Accomodator – Just as it is being the case with previously analyzed drawing, the author of this particular drawing thinks of the concept of learning as the process of collecting empirical experiences [the image of a ‘child’ attending zoo with her parents].
- Group-centered learner – It is understood that, while collecting life-experiences, the ‘child’ would have to be willing to interact with others.
- Extrovert – The fact that the author had depicted the process of experiential learning in rather conventional manner, indicates her psychological compatibility with the idea of interpersonal socialization.
- Accommodator – In this drawing, the ‘child’ is being shown in the process of obtaining relevant knowledge, while never ceasing to interact with the affiliative environment [the images of a ‘child’ studying at the desk, playing with her friends, hiking etc], which implies that indulging in purely theoretical studies does not appeal to author’s existential psyche.
- Group-centered learner – The fact that the ‘child’ and the tadpole figures of his friends are shown wearing similarly looking hats, extrapolates author’s endowment with collectivist mentality.
- Extrovert – The fact that the most of depicted learning activities cannot be conceived outside of educational framework of a team-action, suggest that author is being psychologically predisposed towards seeking self-actualization in highly interactive social environment.
- Assimilator – Besides the fact that the author of this drawing wanted to emphasize the academic appropriateness of only theory-based forms of learning [the author had made a point in trying to depict the scene of a ‘child’ studying in classroom aesthetically appealing], he /she also wanted to ridicule the concept of experiential learning by intentionally dehumanizing the child outside of the classroom [the image of a pig-like boy crawling towards the woods].
- Individual-centered learner – The fact that the ‘child’ is being shown rising its hand, so that teacher could single him/her out as particularly bright, reveals author as an individual who would probably disdain the forms of learning, associated with the concept of team-action.
- Introvert – Author’s apparent preference of a theory over practice exposes him/her as being introversedly minded.
- Accommodator – In this drawing, author exhibits what can be defined as the classical educational longing of an accommodator – he/she depicted the process of learning as being concerned with a ‘child’ participating in primarily experiential activities [playing ball, hiking, communicating with others]. The importance of theoretical learning [symbolized by the image of a ‘child’ trying to solve mathematical equations] is being contextually underemphasized.
- Group-centered learner – Virtually all learning activities, depicted in the drawing [with exception of a ‘child’ studying at the desk] imply its participants’ willingness to indulge in team-action.
- Extrovert – The author of this drawing appears emotionally opened to the idea of interpersonal socialization, which suggests that he/she would be able to benefit from being exposed to namely a collective mode of learning.
- Accommodator – Even though the author of this drawing does recognize the importance of theory-based learning [represented by the images of math equation and an unfinished written sentence], she clearly does not hold this type of learning in particularly high regard.
- Individual-centered learner – Given the fact that in this drawing, the image of a ‘learning child’ appears visually dominant, we can conclude that the author happened to be in possession of strongly-defined personal ego – hence, being more inclined towards participation of individualized forms of learning.
- Extrovert – This drawing does not contain implicit/explicit indications as to its author’s emotional unreceptiveness towards the prospect of spending time with others, which provides us with the rationale to define her as extrovertedly minded learner.
- Assimilator – Even though that the author of this drawing had depicted at least two experiential learning activities, the engagement in which ‘learning child’ seem to be actively considering [playing and communicating with others], it is specifically the attaining of a theoretical knowledge, which appears to be in the centre of ‘child’s’ educational attention.
- Individual-centered learner – The author of this drawing clearly thinks that, in order for the ‘child’ to succeed with obtaining new knowledge, he/she would have to apply a personal effort [the centered placement of a ‘child’ in the drawing].
- Extrovert – The inclusion of depictions of team-based learning activities in the drawing suggests author being a highly sociable individual.
- Converger – Even though that in this drawing, the process of a ‘child’ learning about the world appears to be concerned with indulgence in primarily experiential activities [riding bicycle, playing sports, watching TV], author had made a point in placing theory-based studies [symbolized by the image of a ‘child’ near the opened book] at the top of her educational priorities.
- Project-centered learner – While depicting what might account for learning activities, author had shown her tendency to think of them as such that should contribute to society’s overall well-being.
- Extrovert – Author appears being emotionally comfortable with the idea of having to interact, while proceeding with her theory-based and practice-based studies [the image of a ‘child’ placed in close proximity to the group of people in drawing’s upper part].
- Assimilator – By observing this drawing, it is quite impossible to define the semiotic significance of its motifs. Nevertheless, we can still be certain as to the fact that drawing’s author thinks of the concept of learning within the context of gaining theory-based knowledge [the image of a studying desk in drawing’s lower left corner].
- Individual-centered learner – The analyzed image features no depictions of team-based learning activities.
- Introvert – In all probability, the author of this drawing would prefer a solitary learning environment, as the lamp prominently featured on the table, implies ‘learning child’ being no stranger to nighttime studies.
- Assimilator – Even though that, among three depicted learning activities, this drawing does include the scene of a ‘child’ playing soccer, picture’s author appears being more predisposed towards theory-centered forms of learning, as pictorial representation of these forms of learning [‘child’ studying at the desk/playing piano] overshadows the pictorial representation of experiential forms of learning [‘child’ playing the ball].
- Individual-centered learner – The success of learning activities that are being emphasized in the picture, cannot be conceived without its participants being allowed some privacy, while studying.
- Introvert – The author of an analyzed drawing is most likely to proceed with seeking self-actualization as such that comes from within – it is namely emotionally sensitive and introversively minded individuals, who derive a particular pleasure out of playing musical instruments.
- Diverger – There are two possible interpretations for the motifs contained in this drawing: 1) Author tries to mock experience-based education by depicting it being concerned with toilet-training. 2) The author of this drawing does think of a toilet-training as the legitimate learning activity, which is why she depicted it alongside with the scene of a ‘child’ studying at the desk. In either case scenario, drawing’s author is best defined as diverger.
- Individual-centered learner – Both types of learning are represented as being individually designed, which is indicative of author’s predisposition towards individual-centered studying.
- Introvert – The subtle evidence as to validity of such our suggesting can serve the observation of ‘child’s’ emotional reaction to being taught how to use a toilet by someone else – she clearly does not enjoy the process. At the same time, the ‘child’ depicted in drawing’s upper scene appears perfectly happy.
- Converger – it is perfectly clear from the analysis of this drawing that its author does perceive the value of learning from strictly utilitarian perspective – that is, she thinks of theory-based knowledge as something that should immediately come in handy, in practical sense of this word – hence, the image of an ‘educated’ individual preparing meal.
- Project-centered learner – The author of this drawing would be most likely to succeed participating in learning activities that are meant to be followed by practical experimentation.
- Extrovert – Given the fact that the depicted ‘learning child’ seems to gain an emotional satisfaction out of serving food to others, she would be very unlikely to resist socialization as an integral element of learning.
- Assimilator – The depiction of a puzzle in this drawing extrapolates author’s inclination to address life’s challenges by utilizing its ability to operate with abstract categories – clearly the psychological trait of an assimilator.
- Individual-centered learner – The fact that ‘child’s’ facial expression radiates an unmistaken intelligence, points out at individually styled forms of learning as being more suitable for her.
- Introvert – The ‘child’ shown in the drawing appears to possess an introversive psyche, just as it is usually the case with those who like solving puzzles.
- Converger – In this drawing, the author had represented her understanding of a learning process as being concerned with the process of transformation. Initially, the ‘child’s’ intellectual horizons appear utterly limited [the downsized image of a globe]. However, after having gained knowledge through education, the ‘child’ was able to expand these horizons significantly [the enlarged image of a globe].
- Individual-centered learner – Drawing’s motifs appear being clearly concerned with ‘child’ obtaining knowledge as a single individual.
- Introvert – Given the fact that the ‘child’ is being depicted as someone who continuously reflects upon the process of becoming more and more educated, we can deduce that drawing’s author happened to be in possession of an introversive mindset.
- Converger– The author of this drawing also tends to think of a learning process within the context of an individual undergoing physical and cognitive transformation [the image of a ‘child’ growing up]. Apparently, the author thinks of this process as being equally affected by experiential and by theory-based factors.
- Individual-centered learner – The ‘child’ is depicted in the process of learning as a single individual.
- Extrovert – The fact that the arrows [symbolizing the flow of information] are being extended through the ‘child’ into the world, suggest the author of this drawing is being emotionally comfortable with the idea of interactive socialization, as the source of knowledge.
- Accommodator – The author of this drawing perceives the concept of learning as essentially the process of continuous interaction with surrounding realities, represented by the images of children playing sports and communicating with each other. Even though drawing does include the sketched image of a math equation [representing theoretical learning], its contextual motifs imply author being more predisposed towards the idea of ‘learning by doing’.
- Group-centered learner – Given the fact that the theme of social interaction appears central to this drawing, we can conclude that its author would be able to benefit from being exposed to specifically team-based forms of learning.
- Extrovert – Drawing’s motifs leave very little doubt as to the fact that the ‘child’ is longing towards socialization with others, as such that would allow her to realize its existential potential.
- Accommodator – Almost all of the learning activities, depicted in the drawing can be defined as clearly experiential [the images of children singing, riding bicycles, and doing household chores]. Therefore, the author of this drawing should be provided with an opportunity to learn by doing.
- Group-centered learner – Author perceives the process of learning as being concerned with its participants indulging in team-based activities.
- Extrovert – Drawing’s motifs expose the author as someone who thinks of socialization with others as an important part of her life.
- Converger – Even though the themes, contained in this particular drawing, imply that the author does take pleasure in participating in clearly experiential learning activities [the depictions of a ‘child’ communicating with his friends and peers], he nevertheless tends to prioritize classroom-based learning [the image of a ‘child’ being placed next to the book, in drawing’s upper part].
- Individual-centered learner (?) – The analysis of this drawing does not provide us with a strong clue as to what type of a learning style would be preferred by the author. However, it is most likely that he would choose in favor of individualized learning, as the semantic clarity of drawing’s expressions implies a high rate of IQ on the part of an author.
- Extrovert – The fact drawing includes the images, concerned with the process of interactive socialization, points out at author’s psyche as being of extroversive essence.
- Accommodator – In this drawing, the ‘child’ is shown cutting what appears to be a pizza – an activity that can hardly be associated with the process of attaining theory-based knowledge. Evidently enough, author tends to perceive the concept of learning as being synonymous to the concept of an apprenticeship.
- Project-centered learner – Baking and cutting pizza is clearly the project-centered activity.
- Introvert – the absence of significant others in the drawing indicates the ‘child’ being in possession of introversive personality.
- Diverger – The depiction of a ‘learning child’ with his/her tongue stuck out, hands raised, and eyes wide open, appears to be indicative of drawing author’s rather unconventional outlook on the concept of learning. In all probability, author thinks about the process of learning as such that has to do with the ‘child’ utilizing its sensory apparatus to acquaint itself with surrounding realities.
- Individual-centered learner – Author’s cognitive unconventionalism implies that she would be much better off being provided with an opportunity to indulge in individually styled forms of learning.
- Introvert – The absence of communal motifs in analyzed drawing suggest that the author is best defined as introversedly minded.
- Accommodator – The observation of this drawing reveals an undeniable fact that its author associates the concept of learning with participation in variety of sporting activates. In its turn, this exposes the author as someone who would tend to accommodate rather then to assimilate, while choosing in favor of a particular learning activity.
- Group-centered learner – the very fact that the ‘child’ is being represented as someone who likes sports, suggests that he/she would be receptive to the idea of learning as the part of a group.
- Extrovert – Even though in this drawing, there are no depictions of ‘child’s’ playmates, it would still be appropriate to define ‘child’s’ mindset as extroversive – one simply cannot play sports without willing to socialize with others, during the course of a process.
- Accommodator – In this drawing, the depiction of the process of learning contains clearly defined experiential undertones – only two out of five learning activities can be defined as theory-based [symbolized by the images of an opened book and school].
- Group-centered learner – The fact that the drawing contains an image of a group of people inviting the ‘child’ to join them, in order to participate in some type of experiential learning, suggest that the author is being perfectly predisposed towards studying as a member of team.
- Extrovert – The ‘learning child’ appears emotionally comfortable with the idea of interpersonal interaction.
- Assimilator – In this drawing, it is worthy of noticing that, despite having found itself in the environment that presupposes playing rather than studying [the images of trees and shining sun], the ‘child’ appears being completely preoccupied with reading some book. This, of course, reveals author’s subconscious longing towards theory-based learning.
- Individual-centered learner – Drawing’s motifs provide us with a clear psychoanalytical insight onto the author as someone who would choose in favor of individually styled methods of learning.
- Introvert – The author of this drawing appears to possess an introversive psyche [the images of question marks, directly above ‘child’s’ head, suggest that he/she is being in the process of self-reflecting upon newly obtained knowledge].
- Accommodator – The author of this drawing perceives learning as the set of interactive experiences, represented by pictorial symbolizations of classroom-based studies, interactive socialization, and the incoming flow of Media-related information.
- Individual-centered learner – it appears that the ‘child’ spends a considerable amount of time reading [the image of an unsolved math equations and the fact he/she is shown wearing glasses]. In its turn, this implies that the individualized forms of learning would suit author the best.
- Introvert – ‘Child’s’ glasses may be indicative of the fact that he/she is being referred to as ‘nerd’.
- Accommodator – Even though that the ‘child’, depicted in this drawing, appears to be listening to teacher’s lecture, her attention is being focused on what is going on outside of classroom – namely, on some of her friends playing ball. This points out at author’s subtle dislike of theoretical studies.
- Group-centered learner – Drawing’s motifs imply that the ‘child’ would be able to benefit from being exposed to team-based forms of learning [while addressing ‘child’s’ educational needs in individualized manner, the teacher is shown depersonalized (no eyes, no mouth, no nose), which means that the ‘child’ is most likely to forget what she just has been taught].
- Extrovert – The ‘child’ appears clearly attracted to the idea of running out of the classroom and starting to play with friends.
- Converger – In the drawing, theory-based learning activities [symbolized by the sketches of a computer, book, classroom, TV], are being counter-balanced by experiential learning activities [the images of a ‘child’ playing and communicating with others]. This indicates author’s tendency to aim at combining theory with practice – the psychological trait of a converger.
- Group-centered learner – It appears that the author of this particular drawing would prefer group-centered learning [at least two learning activities, depicted in the drawing, are best defined as cognitively interactive].
- Extrovert – In the drawing, there are no explicit/implicit indications as to the author being endowed with psychological insecurities, in regards to socialization – hence, she is best defined as extroversedly minded.
- Accommodator– In this drawing, author wanted to express his outlook on the concept of learning as the process of a ‘child’ gaining primarily an experiential knowledge, which explains why ‘child’s’ eyes and ears are being intentionally overemphasized. The fact that the image of children studying in classroom is being placed remotely from the ‘child’, can serve as an additional proof as to validity of earlier suggestion.
- Group-centered learner – The depiction of learning activities in the drawing emanates clearly defined communal undertones.
- Extrovert – The earlier articulated arguments also point out to the fact that, while learning, drawing’s author would have no objections against interacting with others.
- Accommodator – The observation of motifs, contained in this drawing, leaves no doubt as to author’s predisposition to think of the concept of learning from experiential point of view [the pictorial representation of theory-based forms of learning is being absent in the drawing].
- Group-centered learner – The expression of happiness on ‘child’s’ face suggests that he/she is not only being receptive to the idea of group-learning, but enjoys this type of learning immensely.
- Extrovert – Drawing’s motifs reveal an undeniable fact that the author does think of socialization with others as an important part of her life.
- Converger – The author of this drawing appears to appraise the value of a particular form of learning by assessing the extent of such learning’s practical relevance [the image of a ‘child’ chopping wood].
- Project-centered learner – The fact that the ‘child’ is shown chopping wood, reflects upon author’s subconscious longing to think of just about any learning activity as being potentially beneficial to a society, in practical sense of this word.
- Extravert – the presence of a sketched portrayal of socialization [the scene of three individuals communicating with each other], suggests that the author is being inclined to seek self-actualization by interacting with others. Thus, there can be few reasons to doubt author’s affiliation with psycho-type of an extravert.
- Diverger – The depiction of a ‘learning child’ in this drawing, exposes its author’s inner anxieties, as to what kind of learning activity can be considered the only appropriate [the question mark above ‘child’s’ head indicates confusion]. The same can be said about the expression of sadness on ‘child’s’ face – apparently, the domineering presence of parents in the background does not help the ‘child’ a whole lot.
- Individual-centered learner – It appears that this ‘child’ might never cease critically assessing the proclaimed purpose of a particular form of learning, which is why he would be more likely to take advantage of individually styled learning, as being specifically adapted to her psychological makeup.
- Introvert – The fact that the presence of smiling parents [directly behind the ‘child’], does not seem to positively affect his/her mood, exposes this ‘child’ as an introvert with a tendency to doubt the validity of just about any type of scientific notion, associated with what ‘child’ perceives as an oppressive authority.
The results of earlier conducted interpretative research, based upon proposed methodology, can be summarized as follows:
- Out of the whole sample of seventy-one students, nine (12.7%) have shown in their drawings clearly defined assimilating leanings (in their pictorial depictions of a learning process the motifs of attaining theory-based knowledge appear dominant). Thirty-two (45%) students have proven themselves accommodators, in Kolb’s sense of this word (they associate learning with the process of attaining primarily experiential knowledge). Twenty (28.2%) students have exhibited the cognitive traits of converges (their drawings point out at these students’ tendency to think of theoretical knowledge as being inseparable from its practical implications). Ten (14.1%) students have fallen into the category of divergers (students’ depictions of learning have revealed their predisposition towards assessing the relevance of just about any type of knowledge from critical/unconventional perspective).
Thus, the number of students that give preference to experiential forms of learning appears significantly larger, when compared to the number of students from other three categories.
- The pictorial depictions of learning, on the part of all seventy-one students, can also be addressed along the lines of Belton and Scott’s theory. According to the data, obtained during the course of an interpretative analysis, thirty-three (46.7%) students would choose in favor of individually-centered learning, twenty-seven (38%) students would choose in favor of group-centered learning, and eleven (15.5%) would choose in favor of project-centered learning.
As it appears from diagram; whereas, the gap between the numbers of individually-centered and group-centered learners cannot be referred to as utterly drastic, this is not the case when the numbers of students, affiliated with both earlier mentioned categories, are being compared to the number of project-centered learners.
- The motifs, presented in drawings, point out to the fact that their authors can be generally classified as introverts (those who do not think of socialization with others as being particularly beneficial to their existential/professional agenda) and extraverts (those who tend to explore their existential potential through socialization with others). According to an obtained interpretative data, the mindset of twenty-nine (40.8%) students can be referred to as introverts, and the mindset of forty-two (59.2%) of students can be referred to as extroverts.
- Among introverts (29), students’ affiliation with Kolb’s theory is being patterned as follows: eight (27.6%) respondents have exhibited the traits of accommodators, eight (27.6%) respondents have exhibited the traits of assimilators, seven (24.2%) respondents have exhibited the traits of divergers, and six (20.1%) respondents have exhibited the traits of convergers.
Thus, among introverts, respondents’ proportional affiliation with different learning styles (as defined by Kolb) does not vary to a significant degree.
- Among extraverts (42), respondents’ tendency to affiliate themselves with different learning styles is being patterned differently: twenty-four (57.2%) students have shown themselves being more predisposed towards learning accommodation, fourteen (34.1%) students have exhibited the traits of convergers, three (7.3%) students appeared being potential divergers, and only one (2.4%) student ended up being categorized as an assimilator.
Thus, even though among extraverts the sub-category of accommodators appears to be dominant (just as it is being the case among introverts), there is no smoothness in how it proportionally relates to the rest of sub-categories.
- Out of the whole body of assimilators (9), none have exhibited predisposition towards any other learning style but individual-centered (as defined by Belton and Scott).
From provided diagram, it appears that among assimilators, there is a strongly defined tendency to indulge namely in individual-centered forms of learning.
- Out of thirty-two accommodators, eighteen (56.3%) students have shown that they would prefer group-centered learning, eleven (34.4%) students have exhibited an unconscious inclination to participate in individual-centered forms of learning, and only three (9.4%) students have revealed their potential affiliation with project-centered forms of learning.
From provided diagram, it appears that among accommodators, there is a tendency to indulge in particularly group-centered forms of learning.
- Among convergers (20), respondents’ cognitive pattern appears to be concerned with their tendency to choose in favor of primarily project-centered forms of learning: eight (40%) students have demonstrated their views on learning as such that that have to do with the process of completing concrete projects, six (30%) students have indicated their affiliation with individual-centered learning, and six (30%) students have shown that they would be more comfortable indulging in group-centered learning.
- Within the category of students that we have defined as divergers (10), respondents’ learning inclinations is being patterned as follows: seven (70%) students have displayed predisposition towards individual-centered forms of learning, three (30%) have shown their unconscious affiliation with group-centered learning, and none of the students had exhibited a potential to benefit from exposal to project-centered learning.
As it appears from provided diagram, the fact that divergers are known for their tendency to adopt a non-conformist posture, while pursuing with studies, correlates with individualistic subtleties of their cognitive psyche. However, the same diagram points out to the fact that it would be inappropriate to refer to divergers as individualists en masse.
- When we look at how students’ affiliation with extroversive and introversive psycho-types correlates with their likelihood to associate themselves with different educational approaches (as defined by Belton and Scott), the percentile fluctuations will appear more drastic. Out of twenty-nine students, identified as introverts, twenty-four (82.8%) have indicated their inner predisposition towards particularly individual-centered forms of learning, four (13.8%) have unconsciously chosen in favor of project-centered learning, and only one (3.4%) student had dominant motifs of group-learning presented in his/her drawing.
The interpretative data, in regards to how sampled introverts perceive learning, indicate strongly defined individualistic mindedness, on the part of students from this particular category.
- Out of forty-two students, identified as extroverts, twenty-six (61.9%) have shown their tendency to prefer group-centered learning, the drawings of eight (19%) students contained motifs of project-centered learning and eight (19%) students have indicated that they would be more comfortable indulging in individual-centered forms of learning.
Thus, the results that we have obtained while conducting our interpretative/qualitative inquiry, point out to the fact that, when it comes to defining the origins of students’ unconscious longing towards differently designed educational approaches; it is namely the particulars of students’ psycho-type that should be considered principal (the proportional fluctuations on diagrams appear particularly noticeable when correlative links are being established between respondents’ affiliation with introversive/extroversive psycho-types and their education-related anxieties).
Given the fact that collected drawings did not only provide us with the insight onto participants’ learning inclinations but also allowed us to categorize these inclinations, points out to this study’s premise as being perfectly legitimate. Moreover, there are many reasons to think that the proposed methodology for exposing students’ beliefs about learning is being more effective, as compared to prompting students to articulate these beliefs verbally or in written form. The validity of this statement can be seen when we define the qualitative essence of students’ written explanations as to how they perceive learning. Generally, these explanations can be categorized as such that expose students’ attitudes towards learning as essentially collective process, on one hand, and as an individualized process, on another.
Moreover, in many cases it proved practically impossible to use written explanations to identify the extent of students’ affiliation with even these two loosely defined categories. For example, there is essentially no qualitative difference between how participant 62 writes about her idea of learning: “Learning can happen always and everywhere. When the child uses his or her sense organs to acquire the information and uses the intelligence consciously or unconsciously to process the information”, and how participant 64 articulates her vision of what learning should be all about: “A child not only learns at school, but also in the daily society (tv, books, others). Learning is something he/ she does with all sense organs”. Yet, after having conducted a psychoanalytical analysis of motifs, contained in both students’ drawing, we were able to identify participant 62 as Diverger/Individual-centered learner/Introvert and participant 64 as Accommodator/Group-centered learner/Extrovert. In other words – by analyzing students’ written explanations, a researcher would not be able to learn much about the specifics of participants’ cognitive predisposition.
At the same time, the utilization of psychology-based educational theories to expose the essence of students’ beliefs about education, by analyzing the motifs contained in their drawings, did not only allow us to gain a comprehensive clue as to what should be considered the best way to proceed with designing educational theories, but also as to how individual’s learning-related anxieties correlate with the particulars of his or her existential uniqueness. Thus, it would not be an exaggeration to suggest that this study’s foremost objective has been fulfilled – the method of visual introspection may indeed be used to prompt students to articulate their beliefs about learning in a manner that can be categorized along the lines of a variety of educational and psychoanalytical theories, for the purpose of increasing the effectiveness of educational process.
The conceptual validity of study’s premise also explains why obtained interpretative data largely supports the soundness of suggestions, upon which we have hypothesized earlier. Just as we had predicted, introvertedly minded students are indeed more likely to choose in favor of individual-centered forms of learning, as such that allow a higher degree of intellectual flexibility. And, it is namely the intellectual flexibility that should be considered the foremost psychological trait, on the part of students with introversive mindset. This is exactly the reason why, within the group of students, identified as introverts, the representational affiliation with Scott and Belton’s cognitive psycho-types appears comparatively evenly distributed (diagram 4). In its turn, one’s ability to adopt varying attitudes towards solving a particular problem (intellectual flexibility) is being often correlative with his or her ability to succeed in academia, as one’s chances to score high, while IQ tested, implies student’s capacity to consider an application of a variety of different approaches to dealing with a challenge.
Therefore, it is not merely by pure accident that introvertedly minded students (commonly referred to as ‘nerds’ by their friends) exhibit much higher degree of dedication to studies, as compared to what it is the case with extrovertedly minded ones – such state of affairs is being dialectically predetermined. As Chastain (1975) had put it: “The evidence is overwhelmingly in support of individual cognitive styles in learning. Some learners are more analytic while others are more non-analytic. The trend as one matures is to become more analytic… The non-analytic (group-centered) learner is more impulsive and more susceptible to immediate perceptual experiences and more impatient for answers” (p. 336). The earlier suggestion corresponds rather well to how diagram 5 represents the distribution of cognitive traits among students identified as extraverts. As it appears from the diagram, out of the bulk (42) of extrovertedly minded participants, only one student had exposed his/her willingness to indulge in abstract theorizing, as an integral part of a learning process. The observation of this particular diagram points out to the validly of our earlier hypothesis that students-extraverts usually opt in favor of group-centered forms of learning, because such learning is being the least concerned with prompting students to utilize their ability to operate with highly abstract categories, on individual basis.
Nevertheless, the same diagram also shows that the percentage of extrovertedly minded students, whose drawings contain indications of these students being predisposed towards converging theory-based knowledge into a practice, is best referred to as substantial. What it means is that, just as we have predicted, extraverts are more likely to attain academic prominence by choosing the professional career associated with the variety of liberal sciences, which imply their practitioners’ willingness to socialize and to remain project-oriented, while growing ever more professionally qualified.
Although, we believe that study’s main objectives have been fulfilled, the results obtained during the course of a study, still leave a number of questions unaddressed. For example, despite the fact that study’s interpretative data does imply that the factor of biological determination plays an important role in defining the qualitative essence of students’ cognitive predisposition, this data does not provide us with much of an insight onto how this predisposition relates to the particulars of students’ ethno-cultural constitution. Also, study’s results do not clearly answer the question of whether students’ learning inclinations may be adjusted, in order to correspond to educators’ expectations. Nevertheless, we believe that study’s inconsistencies do not derive out of conceptual fallaciousness of its premise, but out of the lack of information, in regards to participants – something we had to deal with throughout research’s entirety. At the same time, it would not be an exaggeration to suggest that study’s inconsistencies are being counter-balanced by its overall discursive attunnes.
The realities of post-industrial era, associated with the process of Western societies becoming increasingly multicultural and with the process of more and more people opting for careers in service-related and information-related sectors of economy, create objective preconditions for students with accommodating and project-centered academic leanings to be able to attain social prominence, even despite their somewhat lowered intellectual capacities. As it was noted in Stamps’ (1994) article: “Extroversive intuition excels at generating possibilities… introversion produces the personal viewpoint, and extroversion enables one to share a viewpoint with other people” (p. 107). We believe that the proportional representation of extraverts and introverts within the sample (59.2% and 40.8%, respectively) is being generally descriptive of current state of affairs in the field of public education in Western countries, within the academic curriculum of which, the legitimacy of the very concept of rationale and the variety of affiliative concepts (such as IQ), continues to become increasingly undermined, due to institutialization of ‘celebration of diversity’ policy.
It is well worthy noticing that none out of clearly defined assimilators, had motifs of group-based learning presented in its drawing (diagram 6). The same cannot be said about the participants, categorized as accommodators, convergers and divergers, who had proven themselves much more open-minded, while contemplating on what particular learning style would suit them the best. Thus, it will only be logical to conclude that, when it comes to designing an educational strategy, meant to be applied in the classroom with substantial number of assimilators, teachers should never be overly enthusiastic, while encouraging this type of students to take part in group-based of project-based learning activities. Given the fact that, in order to retain their jobs, Western educators are now expected to profess their belief in students’ ‘cognitive equality’, it often results in creation of a situation when teachers go about proving their professional adequacy by intentionally lowering the educational standards within a particular academic environment, so that even not overly bright students (usually consisting of representatives of ethnic minorities) would be able to acquire diplomas.
In her article, Mitchell (2003) states: “Multicultural education in liberal, Western societies is concerned with the creation of a certain kind of individual, one who is tolerant of difference” (p. 392). Therefore, even when some students’ ‘difference’ is being concerned with their inability to succeed in theoretical studies, it never prevents particularly progressive teachers from suggesting that, despite this ‘difference’s’ apparent non-productiveness, it nevertheless must continue being ‘celebrated’ at the expense of depriving bright students of a chance to learn at significantly faster pace. In its turn, this explains why Kolb’s learning style theory had fallen out of favor with many today’s educators, as being too deterministic.
According to Freedman and Stumpf (1980): “The use of the (Kolb’s) theory as a basis for making normative judgments about educational practices should be suspended” (p. 447). Nevertheless, the results obtained during the course of this study; do support Kolb’s theoretical insights on why it is namely assimilators, who are being particularly capable of providing a momentum to the pace of cultural and scientific progress in the West, after graduation: “The greatest strength of assimilators is in their ability to create theoretical models. They excel in inductive reasoning and integrating disparate observations” (p. 445). Apparently, the underrepresentation of assimilators in the sample correlates rather well with the academically recognized notion that, in most cases, the concept of quality actualizes itself as something opposite to the concept of quantity. Moreover, it correlates with what most teachers are perfectly aware of – in every class; the number of truly gifted students is necessarily much lower than the number of not so gifted ones.
Another interesting aspect, associated with an obtained qualitative data, is that this data indicates that, even though convergers and divergers do exhibit similar psychological traits, extrapolated in their clearly defined tendency to think of
individual-centered forms of learning in particularly high regard, the participants affiliated with these two categories differ rather drastically in how they perceive the actual purpose of learning. Whereas; convergers appear to think of this purpose from essentially practical perspective (40% of converges have manifested their unconscious predisposition towards project-centered forms of learning), divergers seem to think of the concept of learning and the notion of establishing themselves socially as quite unrelated (none of divergers had opted in favor of project-centered learning). This again, proves the full validly of Kolb’s definition of divergers as ‘natural born detractors’, who despite being capable of finding an unconventional way to solve a particular problem, rarely prove themselves capable of defining how their proposed solution relates to objectively existing reality: “People with this learning style (divergers) are best at viewing or reflecting on concrete situations from many different points of view. Their approach to situations is to observe rather than take action” (Kolb, 1985, p. 7). Nevertheless, it would be inappropriate to refer to divergers as socially passive individuals en masse – as practice indicates; one’s perceptional unconventionality often paves the way for such an individual to excel in theoretical studies.
It is understood, of course, that the sample of seventy-one students cannot be considered fully representative. However, there are good reasons to think that even if this sample was much larger, the written explanations as to how students view the ‘learning child’, collected from participants, would not be quite as variable as it is the case with participants’ pictorial representations of such a ‘child’. Therefore, the very fact that, during the course of this work we have proved the validity of an above statement, is itself indicative of study’s premise being rationally substantiated – when it comes to gaining an insight onto how students perceive learning, teachers would be much better off asking students to depict their vision of learning on paper, as opposed to prompting them to contemplate about this notion in written form.
The earlier suggestion; however, does not imply that the conclusions we have come to, while conducting the study, should be thought of as representing an undeniable truth-value. It is important to understand that study’s conclusions are being affected by why Foucault used to refer to as ‘predominant historical discourse’ – as it is being the case with just about any qualitative research. This is why, even though we have attempted to substantiate our decision to pursue with the study in a way we did logically, it would be intellectually honest to admit that the rationale behind our decision is itself the subject of currently predominant socio-political discourse, concerned with multiculturalism. As Gadamer (1962) had put it: “The idea of an absolute reason is not a possibility for historical humanity. Reason exists for us only in concrete, historical terms, it is not its own master but always remains dependent on the given circumstances in which it participates” (p. 239). In its turn, this explains why, even though study implies a contextual importance of a variety of factors, related to participants’ ethno-cultural affiliation, we have made a point in excluding these factors out of study’s methodological apparatus.
Nevertheless, such our decision simultaneously represents one of study’s apparent strengths – the obtained qualitative data and conclusions, based upon this data, are being the least affected by the process of a researcher interacting with study’s subjects. According to Klein and Myers (1999): “Interpretive researchers must recognize that the participants, just as much as the researcher can be seen as interpreters and analysts” (p. 74). This is why, while conducting this study, we strived to minimize the factor of social interaction with participants (in few instances, even participants’ gender has not been clearly identified). Moreover, the earlier consideration also explains why it was namely by asking participants to draw how they envision learning (as opposed to asking them to write on the subject), which we thought was methodologically appropriate, given the subtleties of a researched subject matter. Whereas; participants’ written explanations are being primarily concerned with exposing their rationale-driven attitudes towards learning, students’ visual depictions of a process reflected their deep-seated anxieties, in regards to the topic, unaffected by authors’ rationalistic considerations, whatsoever.
In our case, the under-representativeness of a sample is being compensated by the fact that the obtained data was not influenced by students’ subtle intention to pursue their personal agenda, while participating in study. Therefore, there are good reasons to think that the insights we have obtained, while conducting our research, and upon which we will contemplate in study’s concluding part, feature a certain degree of implicational universality.
As we have mentioned earlier; nowadays, there is a clear trend in Western system of education to regard all students equally capable for benefiting from being subjected to a particular educational strategy, regardless the specifics of these students’ psychological makeup. The results of our study reveal this assumption as conceptually fallacious – the analysis of motifs, contained in students’ drawings, point out to the fact that there is an apparent dichotomy in how students, belonging to a particular cognitive category (as defined by Kolb), view the concept of learning and their own relation to this concept. Therefore, it would only be logical for educators to conduct a psychoanalytical research onto particulars of students’ cognitive predisposition, before beginning to address their professional objectives in a classroom. This suggestion correlates perfectly well with economic and socio-political implications of Globalization.
In Globalized world, peoples’ value as productive members of society will be reflected by their ability to attain excellence in a very narrow professional field. Those who would fail at that, will simply be brushed aside by the forces of Globalization as resources-consuming ‘burden’. As Rudra (2002) had pointed out: “The conventional wisdom is that expanding international markets, increasing the extent of professional specialization, and prioritizing efficiency and national competitiveness concerns (associated with the process of Globalization) will undermine the welfare state” (p. 413).
Therefore, it represents the matter of crucial importance for educators to set students on the path that would lead them towards attaining a high professional excellence in the future. And, in order for students to be able to attain such an excellence, they would have to focus on becoming professionally valuable since the early stages of their lives. Therefore, teachers must be able to identify students’ learning inclinations early enough, so that these inclinations would be observed, throughout studies’ entirety. For example, it would be inappropriate to expect a particular student, who pursue with studying as assimilator and who is being predisposed towards individual-centered forms of learning, to take an advantage out of being forced to participate in a form of studying where the factor of interactive socialization plays an important role. Alternatively, it would be inappropriate to expect extrovertedly minded student, who thinks of learning primarily in terms of being able to interact with others, to excel in purely theoretical studies.
And yet, as of today, the system of Western education continues to be based on euro-centrically defined rationalistic matrix – in other words, it is specifically assimilators, capable of an abstract theorizing, who are being assumed representing the bulk of student body in just about any place of learning in the West, simply because most educators, who happened to be introverts/assimilators themselves, idealistically believe in students’ ‘cognitive equality’. In his article, Levinson (1999) had made a good point while stating: “We (teachers) are in some sense the final products of the formal schooling enterprise. We may therefore fall victim to a certain epistemological myopia, assuming that students who undergo Western-style schooling appropriate knowledge and form worldviews in ways similar to our own” (p. 598). Yet, even a brief glance at diagram 5 reveals that, within the sample, accommodators represent the overwhelming majority, which means that these students’ psychological constitution is being quite inconsistent with many teachers’ view on learning as something solely concerned with the process of learners being taught theoretical concepts in rather mechanistic manner.
It is understood, of course, that the social value of someone proficient in software designing is much higher than the value of someone who specializes in psychological counseling, for example, simply because the number of professional programmers, who are being paid for pushing forward a scientific progress, is much smaller than the number of psychological counselors, who are being paid for talking. Nevertheless, in Globalized world, it is much easier even for people not associated with ‘hard sciences’ to attain social prominence, if they prove themselves quick enough to occupy a well-paid professional niche, simply because the globalized economies are being characterized by exponentially growing power of their service-based sectors. However, in order for them to be able to do it, they would have to be given a chance to learn in the manner that is being the most consistent with the workings of their psyche.
Such our suggestion implies that an entirely new approach should be utilized for class assembling in schools, which would be consistent with the realities of post-industrial living that in their turn, deem the traditional view on students as simply the recipients of knowledge, somewhat outdated. As Lengnick-Hall and Sanders (1997) had put it: “One of the challenges facing educational institutions worldwide is the increasing diversity of students… Recent research suggests that student roles in the educational process should be conceptualized in ways that go beyond traditional views of them as customers for or recipients of education” (p. 1335). Nowadays, children are being automatically qualified to enroll into a particular class, for as long as they are being of an appropriate age and for as long as they do not suffer from intellect-impeding genetic diseases.
However, such state of affairs cannot be considered fully adequate – as we have shown in the study, it is not students’ age that defines their views on learning, but the unconscious subtleties of their psyche. Therefore, it makes very little sense, for example, to teach the basics of ‘hard sciences’ to those who think of theory-based learning as ‘boring’. Regardless of what was the essence of an applied effort to encourage them to pursue with such learning, the effects could hardly be positive. But, the worst of all – by being required to spend valuable time to acquire theory-based knowledge, extrovertedly minded accommodators are being simultaneously deprived of a chance to indulge in the form of experiential learning that suits them the best – hence, becoming less professionally competitive on future job-market. The same applies to assimilators and divergers, who are being commonly exposed to the forms of learning that do not connect with how these students expect to be taught. Unfortunately, this idea is still being often regarded as too innovative, in order to be implemented practically.
The foremost insight, in regards to a researched subject matter, that we have obtained while conducting the study, can be put forward as follows: even though it continues to remain a fully appropriate practice, on the part of teachers, to think of students as representing a tabula rasa, upon which education-related information can be recorded and stored, it would be wrong to think of the process of recording such an information as being mechanistically defined. As study’s conclusions indicate, a continuous observation of students’ learning predisposition, on the part of teachers, should become an integral component of designing an educational strategy. The practical implications of an earlier suggestion should become the subject of further research.
For future researchers, we would recommend focusing their attention on how students’ idea of learning correlates with the specifics of their gender, age, class and race affiliation, and also on how the variety of environmental factors, associated with students’ upbringing, affect such an idea.
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