Saturday, March 26, 2011

Study Principles

There are several barriers to successful study. Two are often taken for granted, but should be given some consideration at the beginning of any course of study. They are false data and skipped prerequisites. Is it a valid subject that is to be studied? Is a valid text on this subject available to the student?
Have all prerequisite courses been taken? Are there any lower level subjects that the student is presumed to understand in order to continue with this subject?
In order to be successful in a study the student must have a self-determined desire to understand and apply the subject. There must first be a desire or intention there to get into communication with and make a mental duplication of the theory, facts and objects of the subject. This starts with an intention to get, receive, and have his own mental “copy” of the material . There is an agreement with self to understand what was actually communicated by the author or the lecturer. The communicated media is written or spoken language. Language is composed of words governed by the language grammar. Words are composed of etymons— the smallest phonetic units that carry at least a bit of meaning of their own.
When a student, in reading a text or listening to a lecture, comes to a word that he does not understand, at least not in the given context, he must clear up for himself the meaning of the word in order to stay true to his own self agreement to understand what was communicated. If he continues on without clearing up the meaning of the not understood or misunderstood word then he has violated this agreement with self to make his own copy of the studied material. At some level the student knows this is wrong. How deep or shallow this level is depends on how honest the student is being with himself. He is in violation of his own self-agreement, which may be rather strong. The physical manifestation of continuing beyond a word that was not understood is a yawning or a desire to yawn. There is also a mental “blanking out” or inability to duplicate that begins right there at the not understood or misunderstood word. The desire to yawn will disappear, and the “blanked out” area immediately following it will reappear if the meaning of the word is clarified using a dictionary. Do not overlook the idea that clarification of the meaning of a word using a dictionary may also require the clarification of any other not understood or misunderstood word(s) encountered in the dictionary definition. So another barrier to successful study is the word that is not understood or misunderstood. It can be overcome by a student who is honest with himself.
The key part of this is self-honesty. It is really very simple. If the student clears up the meaning of the word he will be able to successfully and comfortable continue with his study and the door will remain open to successful application. If he does not clear it up he will have diverted himself off his purpose of making a duplicate of the study material and will be less successful in his study. He will feel less comfortable in continuing to study, and less able to face up to continuing it. His ability to apply the data that he has studied will be compromised, possibly severely.
The last barrier to study is a lack of the physical presence of the object or objects under study. A common manifestation of this is when the student is attempting to remedy this by holding or rubbing his head with his hands, or fiddling with or playing with some object. A better remedy, for the purpose of study, is through the use of photographs, diagrams, pictures or models of the object(s). The student can also create his own diagrams with pencil and paper or model using clay. Small objects can also be used by the student as representations of the real objects so that he can then show himself how these objects would interact with each other according with the theory under study. These last few actions listed of creation and demonstration are also a good cross-check to verify that the student is able to apply the knowledge studied so far. If he is not able to apply competently and comfortably then his study has gone astray somehow. A review of the study should then be done to see at what point this occurred, and any needed corrections should be made.
During the course of study the student should frequently refer to his own desire to apply what he is studying. Once he has made a duplication of a part of the study material he should then apply his own volition to it. All data are not of equal value—some are more basic than others. It is a good exercise to periodically make an alignment of the data studied into a hierarchy of most fundamental to most specific data. He should also make a point of bringing the new data into application. How could he apply it? How useful is it? Can he diagram it or “show” himself in some way how it would be used?
The barriers to study, then, are false data, skipped prerequisite, misunderstood or nonunderstood words, and lack of physical presence of the object under study. Each can be avoided or remedied. Be honest with yourself for best results.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Trick of Group or Team Awareness

A large part of the reason that knowledge and understanding of groups and group dynamics is not so easy to come by or to communicate about is that a component of the universe we live in is a scale or set of steps of different levels of analytical awareness of components of groups. The steps are always traveled in sequence. At each step the individual will be aware of, and so able to deal with and communicate about the group component or quality pertaining to that step and the group components of all steps below his current level. The awareness is an analytical awareness rather than a spiritual awareness. A person in a good spiritual state may not necessarily be high on this scale. The analytical awareness is a self-determined recognition of specific items within the individual’s team environment as belonging to a general category in the list below.

The trick is that he will NOT be aware of, and so UNABLE to deal well with or communicate well with any of the group components that relate to any of the specific scale steps ABOVE his current level of awareness. A partial exception to this is that if a person is really applying himself in a group context he will begin to be aware of the group component of the next higher step. If he continues along this line he will at some point fully gain the awareness of the next scale step component. This process can be made easier if the individual acquaints himself with the scale, determines at which point he is located, then informs himself what the next step is. He can then bring his focus to bear more fully or directly on the group component “in the offing” as he participates successfully in a team or group activity.

I first came across this scale listed in a writing by Ron Hubbard. It is such a useful philosophical tool, and such a part of the fabric of the universe we are all living together in that I hate to see it tucked away in an out-of-the-mainstream publication where few will ever see it and fewer still apply it. I hope you will see through your own application of it that it is more than just one person’s subjective ideas, that it can be independently observed, and so should be made available for all to freely use and communicate about. It is a terrific philosophical tool for use in de-aberration and improvement of the group or team member.

A Terminal, as used here, is just an ending point or terminus for a Line. A Terminal can be a machine, a piece of equipment like a telephone or computer, or a person occupying a post with the viewpoint of a hat for a particular job.

A Line is an established route or path for particles to flow along.

By Particle is meant any unit object that gets moved, relayed, transferred, changed, modified or communicated within an organization.

So an organization is a set of Terminals with Lines laid out between them for Particles to flow along. Hopefully the organization Terminals are of a high enough quality, quantity and competency and with proper Lines arranged between them to allow a viable flow of Particles that can be changed, modified, combined or separated to form a viable flow of Products (another type of Particle) that can then be exchanged with the environment for support and tolerance.

Here is the list of steps listed from top to bottom:

    Operating to handle particle flows and correctly change particles

Notice that there is a repeated pattern on the way upward: some kind of Significance, then a kind of Particle, then a type of Line, and finally a type of Terminal.

Everyone is at some point on this scale of steps. In order to effectively communicate to a particular person you will have to talk about group components that are at or below his level. I hope this helps in coaching or communicating about teams or groups.