THIS SEGMENT, I would like to speak a bit about creating an
authentic learning environment—a place where the dividing lines between
“student” and “teacher” might even, on occasion, become a little blurred.
We have all heard the accolades that are given to those who “teach by
example,” those who have disciplined themselves to walk their talk. But I
wonder how many of us have given any thought to the power of
learning by example? How many educators allow their own childlike
curiosity to be a predominating tone that moves them through their
In the same way that lines of distinction are tightly drawn between who
must play the “educator” role in school, and who is supposed to be the
“student,” so there will be tight distinctions made between “work” energy
and “play.” This, in my opinion, is a highly destructive pattern to get
into, because it carries over into adulthood, and can dominate the whole
of a person’s life.
My Spiritual Guides, The Reconnections, have taught me that there is a
third type of life force, if we care to choose it. They call it “plork,”
which is the hybridization of play and work. It provides a direct link
into what is called the Magical Child Self, through spontaneous action and
Now Moment Awareness - and creates a conduit for that energy back onto the
Earth Plane, through retrospective examination (de-briefing), once a
“wave” of opportunity has passed.
THE MAGICAL CHILD SELF
Many people have written about the Magical Child Aspect in human
personality and behavior. Some folks connect it to fantasy and wonder, so
they call it the “Peter Pan” or “Wendy” Interface. Others simply equate it
with spontaneity, fun, or light-heartedness. They have an experience, or
they see a play, and exclaim: “It made me feel like a child again!” And by
the look on their faces they clearly believe that such a result was
nothing less than magic.
For our purposes here, I would simply like to suggest that a
person knows that he (or she) has become connected to his Magical Child
Self when he gets “turned on,” either physically or emotionally. When I
say this, I realize that usage of this expression can bring to mind a host
of sexual connotations that educators just might wish to avoid. But can
they? Doesn’t the issue of sexuality raise its head daily, on every
playground and in every classroom across the land?
Physical bodies were created to be “turned on.” They thrive on
it. Our focus of attention narrows, nervous sensitivity becomes more
acute, and blood rushes to the areas of the body that most need it in
order to spring into action. We feel alive! We see something, we respond
to it as a life stimulus, and we want more and more. We want to drink from
that cup until we are satisfied. And then we move on.
The term “magical” is important to our discussion here as well. What it
means to me is: “I don’t know how that happened.” Isn’t that the essence
of magic? If you can figure it out, it isn’t magic—its logic. In our
society, we ordain certain individuals to play the role of “Magicians,”
which is a simple term that says: “I don’t know how he did that.”
So here we have them, the twins—Magic and Logic. The former is what turns
us on, and the latter is what makes us feel safe and secure. In order for
humans to have a full-spectrum educational experience, both of the “twins”
have to be part of the deal.
PLANNING OR PLAYING?
Now that we have introduced the possibility of an activity called
“Plork,” and have extolled the importance of connecting with that Magical
Being who lives inside of us, the next step in our journey is to inquire
how much of that connection needs to be (or even can be) planned, in order
for life to stay pleasant and meaningful?
Those of you who have read me for awhile may have noticed how fond I am of
Allie Keys, that fictional “Star Girl” who is the central character in
Steven Spielberg’s Mini-Series, Taken. Allie is about ten years
old in the story, and she is constantly spouting off her own lovely form
of personal wisdom, which beautifully reflects what it’s like to be a
meta-human who is attempting to function within a very human world. For a
list of these quotes, the reader may want to examine a great site that has
compiled them. It can be found at:
segment, Allie is speaking to her father, who compliments her on her
soccer playing, asking how she seems to control the game around her
through conscious projection of thought. Allie is a goalie, and she always
seems to bring her opponents down. She tells him: “I fool myself, see? I
tell myself that I am going to go right, when another player comes my way.
I believe it, and I focus upon it with all my heart. Because I believe it,
he believes it. But then, suddenly, I go left. It catches him completely
off-guard, and I am able to bring him down.”
At this point, Allie’s Dad begs the inevitable question: “How do you plan
when to go left?” She responds: “I don’t know. I am afraid that if I ever
figure that out, it won’t work anymore.”
This wonderful insight, spoken in a simplicity that both purifies and
edifies, gives us a clue about how planning relates to a successful
“plork” experience. We can have a plan—if fact, we must! If we don’t, our
anxiety or forces of entropy will erode us. If you aim at nothing, you
always end up hitting it.
However, included in any plan must also be a readiness to go off into a
completely new direction, if circumstances warrant. In all things, we must
be willing to risk embarrassment and confusion if we are to avoid
mediocrity. And, by the way...that is a pretty neat word, isn’t it?
“Embarrassment.” Right in the middle of it, there are two smaller words:
“bare” and “ass.” Yikes! Caught with our (proverbial) pants down!
How many times has a teacher made a mistake in speech, while
introducing some subject, and used a (forbidden) word instead of the word
he or she intended? His face gets red, his skin flushes, and the kids (if
they realize what he has done) start laughing their heads off! The same is
true about little “bloopers” in speech that kids make. They’re wonderful,
and lists of them are flying all over the Internet.
aspect of creating an authentic learning environment, then, is just that:
Be authentic! If you spend your time planning and posturing, in advance,
what you’re going to do in your plork—you’ll tend to become mechanical in
the dispatch of those plans, or bored.
If something that you’re plorking with doesn’t turn you on, DO SOMETHING
ABOUT THAT. I used to love my Economics teacher in the 9th grade. His name
was Mr. Dunphy. He loved Austria, and had traveled there several times. On
more than one occasion we would get nearly to the end of class, and he
would suddenly close his Economics book, and say to us: “I’m tired of
talking about this. Let’s talk about Austria.”
The mere exercise of this option, in my young mind, was a thunderous
thing. I have never forgotten it. In one of those little “sidebars,” Mr.
Dunphy taught me how to say “thank you” in Russian. I was very interested
in the Russian language in those days, because I liked the way the actors
spoke it in that movie The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming.
How does that relate to economics? I don’t know. And I’m afraid that if I
try to figure it out, it won’t work anymore.
So here we are, dancing with Star Children and teaching "Sex Ed" in the
classroom! However, instead of studying anatomy and technique, we are
invoking and utilizing powerful forces that live underneath what we think
of as "the sex act." We are fanning flames of curiosity, making room for
spontaneous experimentation, and daring to risk a bit of em-bare-ass-ment
that may come when folks become absorbed in the enthusiasm of the moment.
Sex is more than anatomy! It's a state of mind! And, it is ageless.
If an educator has ceased learning—right now, in this moment—then he has
also ceased teaching. These two energies are flip sides of each other.
When one is enlisted, the other must be allowed to come along. If that
doesn’t happen, we’ve redirected a noble profession away from being
potentiators of youthful power and turned them into glorified babysitters.
Next month, I’d like to discuss the shift of momentum that occurs between
riding a wave of learning opportunity and processing that experience after
the wave has passed. I welcome your comments and questions along the way.
We’re all here to learn!
ON TO PART 4