The first existential principle says that man exists first and then defines his essence by the choices he makes and his actions.
The second principle is that at every moment man is free (free will). No external agents can influence an individual unless he chooses to let them.
Along with man’s freedom comes the “burden of responsibility” (Pine, 2005, p. 18).
One last principle is that man is a subject, not an object. Every person is an individual and is unique.
The anthropogoy approach is based on these common existential principles:
Anthropogogy: The study of human learning.
(Greek) – Anthrop (άνθρωπ) means human being, and Agy (άγω) means to conduct/ lead. Anthropogogy: to mean human learning. Teaching should be carried out alongside the comprehensive development of the human being regardless of his/her biological age. Therefore, the child learner should be treated like an adult learner.
According to Nir Golan, Educational & Leadership Expert, Anthropogogy has four basic principles:
1. The independent learner: the perception of oneself as an independent entity. A person sees him/herself as someone who is self-directed; choosing what to learn, how much and how to learn it. The role of the teacher is not to give ready answers to predetermined questions, but to help the learner find out for him/herself what the important questions are and how to answer them. Through these questions, the dependence – independence conflict will decrease and there will be fewer objections to learning. The teacher must strive to know the student personally instead of just knowing about him through past records and test data. The student has dignity and is a valued individual in the existential teacher's eyes because of his freedom and his capability to make himself an individual (Pine, 2005, p. 19).
2. Adapting learning to that person's needs: the person is ready to learn when he/she needs that specific learning process, and it is incorporated into daily tasks and social functioning. He/she sees that the learning process serves his/her personal development. The teacher’s role is to help students define their essence and needs by giving them freedom so these children can start to recognize their potentialities.
Since every person has their own characteristics and needs, therefore, the most effective way of learning is to adapt learning to the needs and characteristics of that individual person with reference to their emotional and mental components, and not only to cognitive and behavioral aspects. The teacher needs to provide an environment where the children can explore and discover the personal meaning of events (Pine, 2005, p. 20).
3. Renovating learning: In the digital age where there is widespread availability of network information, learning should give news and added value to the learner.
People approach learning in possession of their life experiences. For learning to be more significant, the learner needs to connect the current learning knowledge with his/her prior knowledge. As such, educators have to find out the prior knowledge of the person and his/her previous experiences in order to connect it to the learning experience and not teach him/her things they already know. Thus the person who teaches should renovate learning.
When children are in a classroom being taught it usually has no effect on them unless it has personal meaning. The important things in life need to be decided by the learner and must also be discovered by this individual through experiences (Pine, 2005, p. 20). To just give the child information is not letting the child learn.
4. Immediate and practical learning: The main motive for human learning is for problem solving. The learner has a need for the immediate application of the learned material, so learning has to be more focused in giving solutions to the particular problem. Learning which cannot be implemented immediately is perceived as a waste of time. Learners must be free to decide what is good and relevant for themselves in their life. What the child decides to internalize expresses the things he finds important and what his values are (Pine, 2005, p. 22).
Anthropogogy, as a significant learning model, was developed by Nir Golan by assimilating the four aforementioned principles.
The Anthropogogy model assumes that the distinction between children and adults is no longer relevant in the digital age and that each student should be treated as a 'whole' person irrespective of their age.
This significant learning model provides tools for the teacher to assimilate the Anthropogogy approach in six steps, throughout which the teacher uses dialogue in order to guide the learner. It requires the teacher to participate in the student's existence and always be with him and to see how the student sees things (Pine, 2005, p. 19).
Anthropogogy as a significant learning model:
This significant learning model provides tools for the teacher to assimilate the Anthropogogy approach in six steps, throughout which the teacher uses dialogue in order to guide the learner.
The six steps are:
1. Action- needs identification and learner performance
2. Behavior- conceptualization of the action
3. Norm- transformation of the behavior to a norm
4. Value- defining the value in the behavior
5. Identity redefined- redefinition of my unique identity
6. Teaching- Using the Anthropogogy model to teach the other
Details of the six stages of the Anthropogogy significant learning model:
1. Action- carrying out an action for the first time in response to an internal or external need. The teacher identifies and reflects the need of the learner: leading him/her to do what they did not do previously. The learner performs the action for the first time together with coaching from a professional person. The learner then experiences the consequences of his/her action and evaluates his/her response.
• The result of Step 1: Recognizing by the learner his/her need and the actual carrying out of the action for the first time (alongside reflection).
2. Behavior- conceptualization of the action:
The learner repeats the action using clear quality and quantity measurements. The learner then describes the action, helping him/her to improve the repeated action and transfer it into standard behavior.
• The result of Step 2: Conceptualizing behavior and standardizing it according to the expectations.
3. Norm- transformation of the behavior into the norm:
Norm is defined as "a standard of achievement or behavior that is required, desired or designated as normal". These standards of behavior are "shared by members of a social group to which each member is expected to conform." In this step, the behavior is transformed into norm as an expected behavior.
• The result of Step 3: Understanding by the learner of the benefits of turning the behavior into the norm in order to reinforce the behavior in a social context.
4. Value- defining the value in the behavior:
The meaning of the behavior is defined to the learner as well as the benefits that may be gained from the norm to the learner and to his/her surroundings. The value then becomes the guiding principle to making future decisions connected to the behavior; helping decide when and how to use this behavior. In this manner, the behavior becomes more significant.
• The result of Step 4: Defining the value of the behavior by making it significant.
5. Redefinition of my unique identity- self-identity redefined
The values are acknowledged by the learner and assist in redefining his/her unique identity. The learner knows how to describe their newly unique identity and explain what their unique contribution is to those around them. Although the learning process affected one behavior, it helped to redefine his/her whole identity to him/herself.
• The result of Step 5: Reformulating a unique identity by the learner.
6. Teaching- Using the Anthropogogy model to teach the other.
The learner becomes the teacher ("Melamed"). The learner uses his/her personal experience as a role model and teaches the other using his/her own unique identity. He/ She applies the Anthropogogy model to lead a new learner to significant learning.
• The result of Step 6: Continuity of the learning process according to the Anthropogogy model to achieve significant learning for the learner and for the teacher.
The Existentialism and the Anthropogogy aim for the advancement of mankind and independent thinking. Gerald Pine states that, “The teacher reveals himself as an inquiring, questioning, and valuing person who conveys spontaneity, curiosity, warmth, and empathy; who listens and attends to others; who conveys acceptance and respect; who understands affective as well as cognitive meanings and intents; who confronts in a genuine and caring way (Pine, 2005, p. 24). Existentialism and Anthropogogy will provide one with the opportunity to accept change in an ever changing world. It will help one to appreciate life by developing values on what is important to them according to what they see, think, and feel and not by what society imposes on them. The significant learning model provides tools for the teacher to assimilate the Anthropogogy approach, throughout which the teacher uses dialogue in order to guide the learner.
Pine, J.G. "Existentialism Teaching and Learning". Academic Search Premier. (Nov. 1, 2005). Retrieved on November 1, 2005, from http://web36.epnet.com