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Validating Ways to Enhance Learning
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What areas to measure?
  1. Virtually any and every educationally measurable quality will show improvements from use of most of the various Project Renaissance learning methods, especially after the initial gains have had some time to assimilate and generalize. The more the test orients toward measuring basic aptitude or basic ability, the more time is needed after the experience for the initial gains to work their way through and generalize within the learner.

    For example, the brain-integrating procedure of Image-Streaming (see self-taught instructions for this procedure in our online book, You Are Brighter Than You Think!) improves student performance on achievement tests and on language skills almost immediately. The effects of that procedure on non-verbal intelligence performance require two to three months to establish, following a given intervention or experience.

  2. Intellectual understanding, in the subject so taught, in nearly all of these methods should be considerably and fairly immediately deepened. The front end of this deepening can show up immediately in expository essays. Later, this deepening will generalize and show up in achievement scores. Not only how you measure but when you measure can be important.

  3. Emotional and social maturity are bound to improve, in some instances dramatically, simply because with such interactive methods the students' pent-up needs for definition, self-expression and appropriate feedback are at last being satisfied. Further such improvement also results because many of these projective interactive experiences give direct insight into, and heighten appreciation for, other people as human beings sharing the human experience.

    These methods also usually reduce stress compared to the ordinary classroom procedures. Reduced stress also generally improves emotional and social indices. Further improvements result from the satisfaction of high-level achieving in classroom or intellectual or artistic or creative contexts. It would be unfair to measure attitudes during the high euphoric hours or days immediately following such experiences, but several weeks later would be a fair measure.

  4. In the area of skills and arts:
    • Tape or record performances.
    • Hang art works on the wall or bulletin board.
    • Hold private and public and institutional exhibits and recitals.
    • Collect informal (and, if possible, formal) judgments from other professionals in the field and keep an easily accessed record of their judgments.
    Though less standardizeable than in other areas, it is in the arts that individual breakthrough gains are easiest to demonstrate (and exhibit).

  5. Language skills gain strongly with nearly all of these methods and practices. Some of these gains are due to the quantity of experience at self-expression. More of these are due to the fact that some of the experiences accompanying various of these methods force students beyond their old habitual language usages. The effort to describe some situations effectively will challenge their ability TO describe. They have to convey new awarenesses, so they have to evolve new ways to use their language even with one another. Result:  very strong, very rapid or immediate, cumulative gains in language skills which can be easily measured.

    With various of these methods, language gains are so very strong that reading comprehension scores will jump even if no reading has been involved during the experimental interval!

    Some significant gains appear immediately, others more over time. In language, both reading and, generally, comprehension will show the greatest gains, grammatical and spelling correctness the least. In this regard we believe it sounder to build fluency first and then (positively) reinforce it toward more correct models than to impose negative correction upon inadequate levels of fluency as is too often the general practice. Have something there to correct before you correct it, instead of discouraging it out of existence.

  6. Aptitudes — Meeting so profoundly the essential human need of self-expression and appropriate feedback can, for many students, release significant gains in many aptitude areas.

    Further gains result from linking various areas of sensitive and far-ranging experience and perception more directly to conscious verbal expression. This links many areas of the brain more directly to consciousness and makes the resources of those areas more readily available to the learner. More of the available resources of brain and mind, including various aptitudes, become engageable.

    Other, more specific gains in various aptitudes result as deepened insight and interest in one context lead to deepened insight and interest in other contexts. Those contexts build a base of further recognition and understanding, and those interests build a higher rate of intellectual or aesthetic feed. Over time these effects cumulatively build aptitude scores.

    Also, the close relationship between language, perception and apparent mental ability means that some of the sharp gains in language proficiency will also gradually and cumulatively build high aptitude scores and I.Q. scores, among other things. Most of the major gains in this category are long-term, approaching their highs from 6 weeks to 6 months after the initial experiences which triggered them.

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Scientific issues

The Feed-the-Loop model and theory completely transform the bases of present educational theory and practice, as well as related professional fields. To the extent that its description of natural processes is accurate, human learning and development can be readily improved beyond measure.

Many specific testable hypotheses and predictions can be generated in that model, and then tested, to verify. This model offers a high point of leverage which will affect much else, both in the profession of education and beyond.

"Pole-Bridging" the brain is another very important specific theory which will apparently transform both education and neurophysiology. A crucial dimension in brain function is how readily various regions of the brain communicate with each other, and how quickly.

External sensory feedback is far more rapid than is internal sensory feedback. If the characteristic functioning of different regions of the brain can be externally expressed and integrated together, the coordination of those activities through external sensory feedback forces a much more immediate relationship between those several regions. This builds specific abilities and aptitudes and even "I.Q." or "intelligence," by whatever definitions and measures.

Pole-Bridging has specific application implications even for instances of severe brain damage and/or mental retardation. The initial test results (the study by physics professor, Charles P. Reinert, on the effects of the practice of Image-Streaming) supported very strongly the theory of Pole-Bridging. Many other and further hypotheses and predictions can be made from the Pole-Bridging theory and tested, defining a key scientific issue. A preliminary description of Pole-Bridging theory is widely available in Win Wenger's book, The Einstein Factor.

Getting magnetic resonance or other instantaneous and detailed studies run on the brains of people learning and practicing Image-Streaming, or some of the other activities associated with Project Renaissance techniques and methods, would be extremely informative not only in reference to particular theories but generally. We ask for help in finding facilities and professionals willing to conduct such studies.

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Conclusion

Begin with what's at hand ... the many methods already published, any tests immediately available, and such newsletter and bulletin-board pieces as your students can generate evidencing the effects of the particular method. Strengthen your hand for further and more formal testing.

If you can report your results to Project Renaissance, we can help you get published, to become an acknowledged professional "authority" in the field. See the convenient Research Proforma guidelines provided. We can also help you plan toward more formal measurement studies, whose results will have better scientific standing. We can also help you problem-solve on such matters as may develop. It is best to go for your initial results quietly, until the evidence is already very well established. This is more so the case for those methods which most help your students.

The procedures, and the results associated with them, are certainly specific enough. From any legitimate standpoint, either practical or humanitarian, they are very well worth the doing.

Besides, we are reminded that American education says that its intent is to foster the values of open-minded inquiry and scientific empiricism. Let us then inquire and gather the evidence.

Proforma guidelines for reporting your results

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Comments to
Win Wenger

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