We continue to discuss Erich Fromm's ideas and their connection to the The Significant Learning Model. Anthropogogy, as a significant learning model, was developed by Nir Golan, Educational & Leadership Expert.
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.
Fromm in his book "The Art of loving" stated that: "Modern capitalism needs men who cooperate smoothly and in large numbers; who want to consume more and more; and whose tastes are standardized and can be easily influenced and anticipated. It needs men who feel free and independent, not subject to any authority or principle or conscience-- yet willing to be commanded, to do what is expected of them, to fit into the social machine without friction; who can be guided without force, led without leaders, prompted without aim-- except the one to make good, to be on the move, to function, to go ahead." Therefore 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.
Anthropogogy: to mean human learning. Anthropogogy: The study of human learning.
(Greek) – Anthrop (άνθρωπ) means human being, and Agy (άγω) means to conduct/ lead.
According to Nir Golan, 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. Another aspect by Fromm: "In addition to conformity as a way to relieve the anxiety springing from separateness, another factor of contemporary life must be considered: the role of the work routine and of pleasure routine. Man becomes a "nine to five" he is part of labor force, or the bureaucratic force of clerks and managers. He has little initiatives, his tasks are prescribed by the organization of the work; there is even little difference between those high up on the ladder and those on the bottom. They all perform tasks prescribe by the whole structure of the organization, at prescribe speed, and in a prescribe manner."
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.
Fromm said 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 opinion as the result of their own thinking - and that it just happens that their ideas are the same as this of the majority."
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.
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. Fromm continued: "We forget that, although freedom of speech constitutes an important victory in the battle against old restraints, modern man is in a position where much of what "he" thinks and says are the things that everybody else thinks and says; that he has not acquired the ability to think originally - that is, for himself - which alone gives meaning to his claim that nobody can interfere with the expression of his thoughts."
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 are discovered by this individual through experiences.
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. Fromm claimed that "In addition to conformity as a way to relieve the anxiety springing from separateness, another factor of contemporary life must be considered: the role of the work routine and of pleasure routine. Man becomes a "nine to five" he is part of labor force, or the bureaucratic force of clerks and managers. He has little initiatives, his tasks are prescribed by the organization of the work; there is even little difference between those high up on the ladder and those on the bottom. They all perform tasks prescribe by the whole structure of the organization, at prescribe speed, and in a prescribe manner."
Fromm left us a massage: "From birth to death, from morning to evening- all activities are reutilized and prefabricated. How should a man caught in this net of routine not forget that he is a man, a unique individual, one who is given only this one chance of living, with hopes and disappointments, with sorrow and fear, with the longing for love and dread of the nothing and of separateness?"