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Learning at its Best

Constant Immersion and Emergence

Constant Immersion and Emergence


  I hate the word reform.  Well, let me put in another way, I hate how language, like the words reform, rigorous, and higher standards, has been hijacked by a standard imagery of the never-ending critique of traditional education, without actual changes to the core, instead, choosing to emphasize changes on the periphery.

The contentions of language such as reform, system, rigor and higher standards, nowadays encapsulate the idea of failure, rather than success.  No longer do we equate reform with new formation, but rather, with previous process that had failed, or changed small elements to an industrialized system. 

Higher standards is no longer considered a personal or communal reach for authentic growth, but now is considered a dangerous suggestion of standard approach, standardized tests and arbitrary hierarchical levels.  

Since the suggestions of the previous words (and ones that appear exhausted, such as revolution, free, and radical), no longer seem to develop a certain emotion and/or explanation for a praxis; let us try to think of the phraseology of Constant Immersion and Emergence.  This, at first, might sound like a deep-sea expedition, which may not necessarily be a bad imagery to undertake with this following idea and phraseology: 

   In learning, two main things seem to happen that cause that spark of something new, of something understood, as something different.  The first is the depth of thought.  In my experience, and, I am sure in many of your own experiences, true and authentic learning takes time, but most certainly, takes a deeper critical ear, constant questioning, critical mouth, analyzed thought process, and convincing within one’s self of a particular truth.  There is a reason why we do not go from the introduction of a paper to the conclusion, and that reason, is because the body of the paper, is the depth of our understanding of the idea.  This is an immersion, which must constantly be enacted, both in formal and non-formal learning, both in traditional and non-traditional lens, both in the mind and within the body.

The second thing that seems to happen in that spark of something new, something understood, as something different, is the awakening to these new deeper ideas, something that changes not only our mind, but our heart as well.  This awakening affects us in several ways, but most distinctively is in the way it changes who we are as individuals and eventually as communities.  This is the Emergence.   The emergence from the dark, emergence from the ignorance, the unknown, the dependence; whatever and wherever that comes from inside us from this new understanding, transforms us, it changes what and who we care about and mostly, what and who we are. 

These two elements must be living, always as a constant undertaking, which turns over continually, never allowing for a settling to set in.  So let us consider this approach:  One that is both depth and breath (not breadth).  If we allow for this model to first be consumed within our own sphere, and then spread to others, we might surprise ourselves, both at the re-appreciation of knowledge and re-commitment to humanity.

About caseykcaronna

A 27 year old Master of Arts in Education Degree holder from the progressive, liberal arts school, Goddard College. I am interested in Holistic, Community, Progressive, Democratic and Student-Centered Education. I am currently a part-time employee with the Boy Scouts of America. I am writing my first book on holistic education and looking for full time employment in education, throughout the United States and Canada. I am interested in all things education and hope to make trans-formative changes to the educational system(s) in America and in the process help to improve the lives of the individuals in whom it serves.


4 thoughts on “Constant Immersion and Emergence

  1. We need awakening, for sure, Casey – thank you for articulating the needs for time and inspiration in powerful new learning.

    Schools often imperil and criminalize independence. If we can’t figure out how we like to learn and how to be who we are as individuals, how are we supposed to recognize and alleviate others’ suffering? If we are denied self-knowledge and kept from our inspirations, why would we learn about others or help them achieve their dreams?

    I would love to see more public school classrooms designed to inspire emergent learning. Any favorite examples to share, Coöp pals, public or otherwise?

    All the best,

    Posted by Chad Sansing | August 19, 2011, 9:25 am
  2. Casey, Can you describe an example of “an emergence” for you? I want to know.

    In anticipation,


    Posted by Kirsten Olson | August 21, 2011, 3:41 pm
  3. Hi Chad,
    Thanks so much for the message. I find that emergent learning, regardless of subject happens when the learner can completely and utterly connect one’s self, history and action to that of any subject or idea. It is a continual disconnection between separation of subject matters and life that prohibits an individual learner from the process of an emergent learning. Also, the reason why I connected these two ideas together, is because I think that immersion can be a great benefit to that of emergent learning. One must learn for themselves, must be convicted in that knowledge and understanding, I think, even before it can then be spread and benefited throughout others and the community. Often times, this takes a deep examination and inward turmoil (sometimes) through critical questioning, to eventually come up for a breath. This is why I am a strong believer on the depth of critical knowledge (knowledge related to life and experience), than I am to any sort of breadth (over a wide arrange of subjects and time periods). Does this mean that a learner suffers from not being well rounded? Heaven’s forbid!! I think by interconnecting these ideas, they become well-rounded, while focusing on a depth of knowledge, rather than trying to maintain a memorization of many plains of thought.

    Hi Kristen,
    For me personally, I think that probably the biggest emergent learning that has happened for me, came through my immersion into Holistic Education and my emergent learning of how that connection to my spiritual side, does not need to be separated from my education, teaching, ect. Or visa/versa, that I can use critical thought in my spiritual and scriptural questioning and understanding. As an educator, this was a huge breakthrough for me, as I am becoming an emergent leader on Holistic Education and its importance in learning and society — even so much, that it is the topic of my first book.
    I don’t think emergent learning has to happened on only an education level thought. I believe that it is connected deeply on any subject or idea, either through new knowledge obtained, or original thought, that allows the learner to be free from any bonds that would have held that learner back from embracing this new understanding. I believe it happens in traditional education all the time, but it is only seen through glimpses and isn’t taken into account, if it is not within the classroom walls.
    An emergent learner and learning, is the idea that we breakthrough from what we may have previously been unfamiliar with, or that through self-discovery began discovering on by ourselves; it evokes the sense of authentic learning, but vertically, rather than an unfolding horizontal origami process.

    Thanks for the comments!!!

    Posted by caseykcaronna | August 22, 2011, 10:59 pm
    • Thanks, Casey! I totally agree: it’s better to become well-rounded by discovering the connections between what you learn than it is to be told what it means to be well-rounded and sent hither and yon as a result.

      All the best,

      Posted by Chad Sansing | August 23, 2011, 8:54 am

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