4MAT Pure and Simple Book Excerpt

Teaching seldom begins with meaningful experiential connections. Instruction often begins with lists of what must be learned—couched in measurable objectives concerning materials that are frequently outside learner experience and interest. Recent research from the Gates Foundation finds that less than 3% of teachers demonstrate regard for student perspectives.

And so teachers hear the incessant, ubiquitous Why do I need to know this? question.

Some claim this is the way it must be. Students need patience. There are many things to learn. It takes too much time to explore the underlying meanings, to excite students about what must be learned. That’s just the way it is. Students are expected to ignore the need for meaningful experiences (in school at least) and just learn the material. They are told the reasons will become clear later. 

1. ConnectBut something very important happens when you begin with an experiential connection.

The learner is caught up in it. There’s a level of emotion, an impact and a newness often accompanied by an ineffable sense of recognition. The learner reflects and ponders, seeks out more knowledge, and has the desire to talk it through and discuss it with others.

Teachers must begin by enabling learners to confront new learning from the vantage of their own experiences. Engaging in this process means coming to balance with the otherness of the learning. It’s about the learner and the learning. It’s about being and knowing. This process is at the heart of 4MAT pedagogy and is the key to all successful teaching. 

The 4MAT Model is a process for moving people through a dynamic learning cycle:

  1. To connect learners to significant concepts through the lens of their own experience, and to bring them together to share their perceptions
  2. To introduce them to excellent knowledge and ideas,
  3. To teach them to critique and examine, by creating multiple practice activities that enable all learners to achieve mastery, and
  4. To encourage creativity, by moving them beyond content for its own sake to the adaptation of learning in their own lives.

4MAT requires teachers to convince learners of the value of the learning by drawing it forth from their own experiences, then leading them through the work of the experts to their own work, their own use of it.

It is as open-ended as the very student diversity it serves.

About Teaching Book Excerpt

And What of the Learner?

What happens to the learners in schools if most learning activity takes place at 6 o’clock, if learners primarily sit and listen to lectures?

How does the child who needs to linger in experience fare in such schools? type1

And what of the child who needs more reflecting time?

How does the child fare who needs to do it to learn it?

And what of the child who doesn’t take anyone’s word for it, but has to find out  personally?type2

How do all these children succeed? How are they judged?

These are legitimate learners. They are intelligent, they have a right to be who they are. They are just different.

 

In life outside of school, or in the world, these type3differences  are good.

They form the foundations of great and creative teams.type4

Schools must include them all.

About Learning Book Excerpt

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

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The 4MAT Learning Cycle

4MAT LEARNING CYCLE

SOURCE: About Teaching Book,  from About Learning, Inc.

4matLearningCycle.jpgThe 4MAT Learning Cycle is a process for teaching to individual learning differences and maximizing brain-compatible learning. 

This blog post briefly describes each progressive phase of The 4MAT framework, how to create lessons that move through all four quadrants.

The 4MAT Cycle requires that teachers establish their conceptual goals, create classroom climates that are conducive to honoring diversity, set up essential questions that go to the heart of the concepts, and create a total learning cycle, complete with multiple kinds of assessments.

Here is a very brief overview of the 4MAT Learning Cycle. Please keep in mind that the cycle moves like a clock beginning at 12 o’clock and moving on to 3, 6, 9 and back to 12 o’clock.

Quadrant One: Answering the Why? Question

A lesson unit must begin with an experiential beginning. It must begin with your students and their own perspectives and ideals. You open the learning process in Quadrant One, bounded by the parameters of Direct Experience at 12 o’clock and Reflective Observation at 3 o’clock. You create a climate of trust and openness.

Quadrant Two: Answering the What? Question

In Quadrant Two you move learners from experiencing to conceptualizing through reflection, bounded by the parameters of Reflective Observation at 3 o’ clock and Abstract Conceptualization at 6 o’clock.

The question you focus on Quadrant Two is What?

  • What do my students need to know to master this content?
  • What are the essence pieces, the core concepts that will lead them to understand more with less?
  • What parts of this content do I need to emphasize so they will understand it at this core level?

Quadrant Three: Answering the How? Question

In this quadrant, bounded by the parameters of Abstract Conceptualization at 6 o’clock and Active Experimentation at 9 o’clock, learners move from expert knowledge into personal skills and usefulness, the beginning of the return back to themselves.

The question you focus on in Quadrant Three is How?

  • How will my students use this in their real lives, (not just their school lives)?
  • How will this content affect their power?

Knowledge is the most powerful problem-solving tool there is.

If I want to solve problems in mathematics I’ve got to have mathematical concepts.

But there’s a difference between teaching knowledge as a tool that facilitates problem solving and teaching it simply as a thing to be memorized.

Quadrant Four: Answering the If? Question

In this quadrant, bounded by the parameters of Active Experimentation and Direct Experience, learners complete the movement back to themselves.

They refine their use of what they have learned, integrating it into their lives.

The question the teacher focuses on in Quadrant Four is If?

  • If my students master this learning what will they be able to do they cannot do now?
  • What power will they have attained as persons?
  • If they learn this, what new questions will they have?

Want to Learn More?

To learn more, we invite you to download our new 4MAT 2018 Research Guide. Or call About Learning at (800) 822-4MAT to or learn how to become trained or to receive training in this innovative teaching method.

Copyright 2018, About Learning, Inc. Exclusive providers of the 4MAT Teaching and Learning Methodology throughout the world.

Introducing the 4MAT 2018 Research Guide

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4MAT 2018 Research Guide

For almost 40 years, the 4MAT Model has been empowering educators to create transformative approaches to teaching and learning. Administrators and teachers at all levels of education as well as leaders and trainers in the business and corporate community have been using the 4MAT Model of Learning to facilitate effective learning with their students and trainees.

4MAT’s successful use requires the reorganization of instruction to employ a wide variety of learning methods and requires a re-design of instruction to maximize its impact on learners. 

An organization’s success rests on its learning ability. The 4MAT Model of Learning provides principals and teachers, leaders and trainers at all levels with a framework to guide learners in the use of their individual, inherent learning abilities in order to assimilate new demonstrablle useful knowledge.

In today’s dynamic world information and skills are not static, learners need to move from a fixed mindset to one of growth.

As more educators and trainees embrace the 4MAT Model of Learning, they seek research that proves its effectiveness and The 4MAT 2018 Research Guide helps fill that expanding need.

This books includes 3 sections, including…

An Historical Perspective of 4MAT

This first section features the primary research theories and educational philosophies of those who form the base of the 4MAT Model. The work and insights of the researchers listed here have inspired the foundation of 4MAT regarding the nature of learning: The making of meaning, in a learner-centered, experiential cycle, through ordering and constructing knowledge of understandings not yet known, by naming experience in dialogue from individual internal frames of reference in a social process based on sharing power.

An Overview of The 4MAT Model

The Model is described with the details of the eight steps.

The Latest Research and Studies on the Impact of the 4MAT Model

The final section is a compilation of some of the research from our first studies of 4MAT in 1985 to the present. These include some of the latest work being done in Saudi Arabia, Ankara University, Thailand and the School of Pedagogical Sciences at Mahatma Gandhi University. These were chosen as a cross-section of a typical sample from a much larger group.

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Balancing 12 O’clock and 6 0’clock on the 4MAT Model, an About Teaching book excerpt

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 4.09.10 PMAbout Teaching Excerpt (Bernice McCarthy)

We now know that Piaget’s formal reasoning is only one aspect of intelligence.

The processing of learning into active behavior with hands-on and adapting mechanisms must take an equal place in the current definition of intelligence. Hands-on learning can no longer be regarded as lesser talent.

Yet the schooling definition of thinking remains quite narrow. It is limited to the 6 o’clock things, the reasoning and analysis things.  And somehow that need, to teach the 6 o’clock kind of thinking, has become the only kind of thinking to teach. We ask our students to stay often in the receiving mode, studying facts and analyzing, examining what the experts have done.

While this is a part of all  learning, it is just not enough.

With formal thinking as the highest level, the best thinkers are the abstract thinkers, and direct experience takes a back seat. Using these stages, we view children through the narrow bias of logical ability, neglecting to take into account the whole range of knowing that human experience is.

We start with the concrete and we move to the abstract. But it is not just the ability to be abstract that we are after.  Learning is active doing. Learning is problem solving, creating hypotheses, tinkering with them, drawing conclusions, and much more.

In Piaget’s conception, we have a vivid description of the functions of the left cerebral hemisphere. The whole brain needs to be engaged. There is no hierarchy on the cycle. All parts of the cycle are equally necessary and equally “intelligent.” Together they comprise the wholeness of how we learn. It is not better or smarter to be at  6 o’clock. It is simply a part of the cycle. We need to return to direct experience by using what we learn. The cycle represents how each of us learns at whatever developmental stage. The cycle describes how we move from direct experience to expert knowledge, through reflection to action, and then to integration.

Learn more about the About Teaching book!

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