Alfred North Whitehead also described a cycle; he called it three “periods” in education.
The first he called the freedom stage, the place where the student must choose to be interested, must move toward self-development through joy, a process of becoming, of noticing what happens, wondering, and then being filled with wonder.
The emphasis here is on freedom, freedom that allows the learner to see, to make independent choices.
The second period he called the discipline stage, a necessary period of development of best practice, examining the data, learning the facts, concentrating with purpose.
The third he called generalization, where something definite is known, where general rules and laws are apprehended, when the learner is ready to shed the details in favor of the active application of the principles.
Here real learning happens because knowledge has become invested with possibilities; learning has become active wisdom, “connecting a zest of life to knowledge.”
“ An education that does not begin by
evoking initiative and end by encouraging it
must be wrong.”
— Alfred North Whitehead