Erich Fromm claimed that: "Just as modern mass production requires the standardization of commodities, so the social process requires standardization of man, and this standardization is called "equality"."In contemporary capitalistic society the meaning of equality has been transformed. By equality one refers to the equality of automatons; of men who have lost their individuality." The Significant Learning Model, according to the Anthropogogical approach, helps men to redefine of their unique identity.
This significant learning model, which was developed by Nir Golan, an educational and leadership expert, provides tools to assimilate the Anthropogogy approach in order to guide the learner to search for his individualized personality. That way it provides the answer to Fromm's next statements: "Contemporary society preaches this ideal of un individualized equality because it needs human atoms, each one the same, to make them function in a mass aggregation smoothly, without friction; all obeying the same commands, yet everybody being convinced that he is following his own desires."
"Education is identical with helping the child realize his potentialities. The opposite of education is manipulation, which is based on the absence of faith in the growth of potentialities and the connection that a child will be right only if the adults put into him what is desirable and suppress what seems to be undesirable."
The educational system had abandoned the humanist outlook in exchange for the scientific. Instead of significant learning, education was consequently vulgarized, its objective having become to form useful and profitable men, not harmoniously matured and developed personalities. Anthropogogy (human learning) is about creating unique identity for the learner.
It is necessary that individuals learn determined rules (norms), that they acquire habits and that they begin to educate themselves against themselves, or better, against the education forced upon them. That is the main reason for the creation of the significant learning model:
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
Erich Fromm warned us that: "Most people are not even aware of their need to conform. They live under the illusion that they follow their own ideas and inclinations that they are individualists, that they have arrived at their opinions as the result of their own thinking- and that it just happens that their ideas are the same as those of the majority." In step 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. Fromm continued: "The consensus of all serves as a proof for the correctness of "their" ideas. Since there is still a need to feel some individuality, such need is satisfied with regard to minor differences. The advertising slogan of "it is different" shows up this pathetic need for difference, when is reality there is hardly any left." In step 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.
According to Erich Fromm: "This increasing tendency for elimination of differences is closely related to the concept and the experience of equality, as it is developing in most advanced industrial societies. Equality had meant that the differences between individuals must be respected, that while it is true that we are all one, it is also true that each one of us is a unique entity, is a cosmos by itself."
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). 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. Such conviction of uniqueness of the individual is expressed for instance in the Talmudic statement: "Whosever saves a single life is as if he had saved the whole world; whosoever destroys a single life is as if he had destroyed the whole world". Fromm added that: "Equality as a condition for the development of individuality was also the meaning of the concept in the philosophy of the Western Enlightenment. It meant (most clearly formulated by Kant) that no man must be the means for the end of another man. That all men are equal in as much as they are ends, and only ends, and never means to each other."
Erich Fromm claimed that: "Also in contemporary Western society the union with the group is the prevalent way of overcoming separateness. It is a union which the individual self disappears to a large extent, and where the aim is to belong to the heard. If I am like everybody else, if I have no feeling or thoughts which make me different, if I conform in custom, dress, ideas, to the pattern of the group, I am saved: saved from the frightening experience of aloneness."