Monthly Archives: May 2021

Why does 4MAT Start With Why?

Quadrant 1 is about Making Personal Connections.

4MAT® Quadrant 1 is about Making Personal Connections.


You open the learning process in Quadrant One, bounded by the parameters of direct
experience at 12:00 and reflective observation at 3:00.

Oneness: What Students Will Experience

• Personal, meaningful connections based on experience
• Shared storytelling to correlate meaning
• Meaningful dialogue (no telling in Quadrant One, please) with peers about the possible meaning of the material
• How to see the material in context, encompassed in some larger idea
• How to speak in their own subjective voice

The goal in quadrant 1 is to build camaraderie and to give students a sense of having been there, too. Students will experience the diversity of how others see things while gaining insights into their own experiences in discussions with others. This often creates high interest in the material to come. This is where students become aware of the value of learning.

In Quadrant 1, students will:
• Experience the discrepancies that learning will unravel
• Focus on present and past understandings
• Gain a sense of I know something about this, and I want to know more

The climate is one of trust and openness, with permission and encouragement to explore
diverse meanings. The method is discussion of experiences. The students engage in collaborative
learning, each contributing their individuality. The teacher initiates, motivates, and
creates experiences that captures their atttention and encourages perspective sharing.

Dialogue is at the root of the learning process.
—Asa Hilliard

Your teaching task in Quadrant One is to engage students in an experience that will lead
them to value and pursue the learning you initiate. Get them to see how the material will
connect to their lives.

Learning is not rote; it is how we make meaning. It is directly related to how we feel about
what we learn. When we talk about successful learning, we are talking about feeling,
answering the Why?” questions:

• Why do I need to know this
• Why is this material valuable in my life?
• Is there a larger relatable context?

Answer these questions by making connections with your opening activity.

For example, how would you address the Why? when teaching fractions to a fifth grade class?

Would your answer be Because it is in the fifth grade math book, or Because it will be on
the achievement test
, or Because the state standards require this.

All those reasons have some validity, but they have no personal meaning for students.

Why do children need to learn fractions?

Because they can use them. When they understand that we can look at sections of things in order to comprehend the wholeness of things, when they understand that we can manipulate parts to rearrange wholes, when they understand that some things can be understood discretely, then they will see the importance of fractionness.

In other words, the content you teach must carry its own Why? and its own benefit outside of school. Your students must see the validity of the content for themselves, or you will struggle to keep them focused and attentive.

What is a humanizing relationship? One that reflects the qualities of kindness, mercy, consideration, tenderness, love, concern, compassion, cooperation, responsiveness and friendship. Education needs to focus on human interaction.

—David and Roger Johnson