"It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them." (Alfred Adler) This statement sums up Alder's theory of personality in a nutshell and supports without doubts the Significant Individual Learning model (SIL).
Alder calls his theory Individual Psychology because he felt each person was unique and no previous theory applied to all people. The Significant Individual Learning model (SIL), was developed by Nir Golan, educational and leadership expert, in order to help teachers to develop the uniqueness of their student. SIL model is about the significant learning of the individual in order to reformulate his unique identity.
The significant individual learning 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' individual person irrespective of his age.
Anthropogogy: The study of human learning
(Greek) – Anthrop (άνθρωπ) means people and Agy (άγω) means to conduct / lead.
Adler's theory included four aspects: the development of personality, striving towards superiority, psychological health, and the unity of personality.
Nir Golan offers a new definition of Anthropogogy as: "Leading a person (regardless of age) throughout significant individual learning towards behavioral change, which can be implemented immediately as a part of his unique identity." (Golan, 2014)
This significant individual 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- doing
2. Behavior- conceptualization of the action
3. Norm- transformation of the behavior to a norm
4. Value- defining the value in the behavior
5. Redefinition- redefinition of my unique identity
6. Teaching- Using the Anthropogogy model to teach the other
Details of the six stages of the Anthropogogy significant individual 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. Adler wrote, ". . .in every mental phenomenon we discover anew the characteristic of pursuit of a goal, and all our powers, faculties, experiences, wishes and fears, defects and capacities fall into line with this characteristic" (Ansbacher & Ansbacher, 1956). 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." Adler declared that each individual has an incomparable way of life, some are negative and some are positive. In this step, the behavior is transformed into norm and 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.
Adler claimed that every person had an idea about what their perfect self would be like (Cloninger, 1996). He named this image the fictional finalism. Fictional finalism applies clearer direction to decisions that are to be made concerning oneself. Although individuals may have an idea about their image, but they hardly ever understand it. Although the image may be altered, the common direction throughout one's life stays the same.
• The result of Step 4: Defining the value of the behavior by making it significant.
5. Redefinition of my unique identity- self-identity redefined
Alfred described this as feelings of lack of worth. He wrote, "We all wish to overcome difficulties."
"We all strive to reach a goal by the attainment of which we shall feel strong, superior, and complete". (Ansbacher & Ansbacher, 1956)
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.
Personality difficulties are rooted in a feeling of inferiority deriving from restrictions on the individual's need for self-assertion.
• The result of Step 5: Reformulating a unique identity by the learner.
6. Teaching- Using the Anthropogogy model to teach the other
"It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them (Alfred Adler)." Alder was known to use the word superiority complex. This complex developed when a person tried to conquer their inferiority complex by suppressing their existing feelings. He felt that people were constantly trying overcoming their feelings of inferiority to reach superiority.
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 significant individual learning model (SIL) 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, people are focused on maintaining control over their lives. Many psychologists accepted Alfred's popular idea of self-actualization. Adler believed in single "drive" or motivating force behind our behavior, claiming that the desire we have to fulfill our potentials becomes closer and closer to our ideals.