Monday, May 20, 2013

What is Holistic Training?

One of the key concepts that underpin ICM's approach to training and ministry is systems.  This is a science of wholeness or holism.  Instead of breaking the different parts into ever smaller parts (reductionism) we look for emergent properties that come as the individual part work together.  People are greater than their individual parts.  Their "person hood" is an emergent property that comes out of all the various parts working together.  If you took the person apart the emergent properties would disappear (see further explanation below).

One of the weaknesses of current models of church development is to view the church as separate from its environment.  We do the same thing with theological institutions like Africa Theological Seminary.  We view the seminary as a whole when learners come to campus but we seldom view it within the context of its community.  In ICM that is changing.  Our major input is learners from around Africa.  While our output is graduates our desire outcome is changed communities.  This is forcing us to see ICM/ATS as more than a "school."  We are changed agents that focus on leaders AND churches as our target audiences.  We see that our work is not complete without engaging communities for change.  As part of the goal we are blessed to have Renita Reed leading the charge to make market place businesses part of the call of the church.  Our goal is to build into the church its critical role to help equip business people to develop for effective and efficient businesses.  This is done as these business owners are recognized as special ministers to the community through their businesses and lives.

Here is a quote and a challenge from Scottish theologian Dr. George MacLeod (1895 – 1991)

“I simply argue that the cross be raised again, at the center of the marketplace as well as on the steeple of the church. Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves, on the town garbage heap, on a crossroad so cosmopolitan that they had to write His title in Hebrew and in Latin and in Greek, or shall we say, in English, in Bantu, and in Afrikaans—at the kind of place where cynics curse and soldiers gamble, because that is where He died, and that is what He died about, and that is where Christians should be and what Christians should be about.”          

Our goal is to once again make the church whole in its approach to train and equip all people helping them to see and understand that we are all part of the glorious call to make disciples in the church and in the community...

Read the latest from Renita Reed:

Systems and Holism (from ὅλος holos, a Greek word meaning allwholeentiretotal), is the idea that natural systems (physical, biological, chemical, social, economic, mental, linguistic, etc.) and their properties, should be viewed as wholes, not as collections of parts. This often includes the view that systems somehow function as wholes and that their functioning cannot be fully understood solely in terms of their component parts.[1][2]
Reductionism is often viewed as the opposite of holism. Reductionism in science says that a complex system can be explained by reduction to its fundamental parts. For example, the processes of biology are reducible to chemistry and the laws of chemistry are explained by physics.
Social scientist and physician Nicholas A. Christakis explains that "for the last few centuries, the Cartesian project in science has been attempting to break matter down into ever smaller bits, in the pursuit of understanding. And this works, to some extent... but putting things back together in order to understand them is harder, and typically comes later in the development of a scientist or in the development of science."[3]

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Myth Buster

There is a television show or was called Myth Busters.  It would take some commonly accepted ideas and reveal them that our common knowledge is often wrong.  What we fail to understand is that what we believe to be true often guides our behavior.  It has been noted that "it is not what we do not know that hurts us the most.  But what we know that is not true."  This has led to a number of books showing that we really are irrational about many things around us.  Part of our problem is that we never ask, "is there any quality research done on this?"

Education is going through a major shake up as our understanding of how we learn increases.  Some bemoan the fact that we are raising children with less and less motivation to do serious reading and writing.  All of the TV and video games are taking time away from serious literacy learning...or maybe not.  Perhaps we are simply following the path of least resistance. We are designed as learning machines.  The key is finding out how we most easily learn and then design our learning and teaching methods to follow these paths where possible.

There are basic learning methods (we are designed to learn certain things in certain ways) that enable us to learning the information and knowledge that will protect us and enhance our ability to live and work in our world.  We have built in mind apps (heuristics) that help us navigate the world around us.  And we have added learning methods, such as reading and writing and programming.  These secondary methods enable us to do much more than our native programs permit.

It is time to understand that while we may be less literate in the future we will become more knowledgeable and capable to face the future.  Read this article by Cisco:  Read Now

Don't be too disappointed to find out that our oft quoted pyramid of learning is not quite what it seems:

We remember

10% of what we read
20% of what we hear
30% of what we see

Here is another shocker for some: There is no validated research showing the validity of basing teaching on Learning Styles.  In fact the validated research shows that the whole premise of Learning Styles is on very shaky ground.  See Learning Styles Debunked.