Safe learning environments LO12250

Beyond Learning (
Wed, 29 Jan 1997 02:34:27 -0600

Replying to LO12180 --

[Subject line shortened by your host...]

In todays high speed, stressful world, people don't often have the time to
re-evaluate their automatic way of behaving. So, they continue to repeat
the same behaviors over and over. The problem is that many of those
behaviors are coping mechanisms designed to fend off attacks and often
cause more problems than they solve. So, how do we help them change those

> Scott Simmerman wrote in LO12180
> > Anyway, my take on learning is that it needs to be in as safe an
> > environment as we can build, where people can most certainly experiment
> > with novel ideas.

Like Scott, I believe that when providing these novel ideas, safety may
one of the most important ingredients. Think about how many people are
afraid of public speaking. How many of them do you think want to make
mistakes publicly? Turn a video camera on them and ask them to perform
and 95 percent freeze up immediately.

But if they have total safety, they are often willing to try new
behaviors. If they know they will never be criticized, they will try
those new behaviors many times. Soon, the new behavior will become
natural. Once that happens, they will access that behavior when they need
it and we will have contributed to their lives forever.

In response to Scotts comments, Mnr AM de Lange wrote:

> We have in Afrikaans (my mother tongue) a word which describes the central
> feature of this learning environment's safety, namely "geborgenheid". Its closest translation into English would be
> 'sponsored safety'. Thus "geborgenheid" means to sponsor the learner's
> safety in exchange for the learner showing an advancement through
> learning.

I love this term sponsored safety. People don't come equipped with their
own safety for learning. In fact, many of them are so critical on
themselves that they refuse to take risk even when there is no
consequences. So, our job truly is to sponsor that safety for them. And
by creating safe learning environments, we may be providing a gift they've
never had; a vacation from criticism and the freedom to try new behaviors.

Hal Croasmun

PS: Mnr AM de Lange, I respect anyone who is willing to take on the
creation of a Learning Nation. With more people like you, maybe we can
create an entire Learning Planet.


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