C-107. The 4th “R”

Lest formal education, especially as embodied in instructional practices, continue to (merely) evolve, even despite and via vigorous reform efforts, even with the ardor inspired by its developmental objectives and values, we need to add another “R” to reading, writing and arithmetic: Realization (App. XIX, App. XXI; C-103, C-111). Realization per se. Not (just) particular realizations — of whatever number, variety of performance and degree of attainment, but a realization of realization (III; C-81, C-108, C-111). We need to develop this core of and for development.* Students, along with teachers and parents and critics, need this kind of common sense.

What is life – and education — all about? What common sense of life do we need for our development, individually and for the communities (of any type) in which we find or seek membership? Not just the common sense of established practices. (See C-97: late-stage functionality.) We need a common sense of needed functionality – some of which need today’s practices have yet to meet. (See the principles, those requisites and imperatives, which the Nature of Things poses for and imposes on our behavior: III.)

The 3 R’s offer two language technologies, reading and writing plus mathematics, whose practices are helpful. But we still need more help. What about developing technology for Realization? (See C-111.) Isn’t realization what education is for, what the technologies are for?

How is realization to come about if we don’t include ADEPT strategies along with ADOPT and ADAPT as part of education’s metastrategy (App. IV)? If we don’t see that composition and community are as much relevant parties to effective work at the frontier (App. XVI; C-103), to solving problems, as the cognition and communication thus far embodied in the language technology’s 3R’s (C-106)? Composition as but natural language writing offers an incomplete – and vexing, because it is neither simple nor easy – introduction to needed realization. The lesson of the grasp <=> involve interdependency has far too rich a history (C-105), far too much consequentiality, to submerge it in linguistic composition.

Then too there is the matter of “R-word” familiarity. R-words are linguistic terms that have been developed largely as concepts. They pertain to conditions that need to be more fully realized – from needed functionality through three stages of developed functionality (App. XIX). They are words that all pertain to conditions critical to human development. Not to mention a sense of what “growing up” – and school too — are supposed to be about. Early familiarity with many of these R-words would be a useful contribution from formal education. Especially in anticipation of an introduction later to the Realization transform (C-111) and what it can contribute to a more fulfilled life.

An important word like “fire” can be introduced to acquaint students (indeed, all of us) with what Realization and life are all about. Consider the two noun, two verb manifestations of R-words (App. XX) – i.e., “fire” as:
  • Noun 1: needed functionality to supply warmth, light, demolition;
  • Verb 1: needed functionality (capability) to get self and/or others engaged, “fire up,” inspire;
  • Verb 2: needed functionality (compositional) to structure or restructure (e.g., fire an employee);
  • Noun 2: composed structure (that may have needed and/or wanted functionality [XI]; e.g., paper, sticks and match recipe).
Fire, like wheel, is something of great consequentiality throughout human history. Both, however, were first experienced in and as late-stage functionality (C-97), as “natural phenomena” (e.g., lightning strike blazes). They were then and are often still seen as resulting from the action of some agent rather than as only a late stage of Realization. Later, realized as needed functionality, realization’s earliest stage, they were reimagined to begin the realization process of strengthened capability and invented structures – both body and step molecules – whose products offered much more in the way of consequentiality.

The histories of fire and wheel, like those of “grasp” and “involve” (C-105: they are invaluable to help get across the sense of interdependency), are useful early orientations to the human condition, an illustration (and invitation) to the message of the Vermont farmer (C-18): We don’t have to start from where we are … and we will be better off if we don’t always do so, if we can begin anew – lest we find ourselves eddied about midst inadequate practices below an imposing escarpment (0:S-P; App. XVI). (Metaphorically [at least], we need, like Schrödinger’s cat, to be in two places at once, at the frontier of CEM-history and also back at the Nature of Things’ beginning. Minding can make it so.)

A shared sense of Realization affords a grasp of what life and education are all about, a minding grasp that needs to be developed if we are to be able to make the most of imaginative and inventive capabilities and technologies … capabilities and technologies (e.g., via pointed questions: X; App. XXI) which begin with Realization’s needed functionality.

A shared grasp of Realization (R-grasp) between teacher and student might also afford a better working relationship for them, something other than that of sterile instruction (XI: Learning/Knowing >1), something more than apprenticeship. (See C-111: Realization transform, which might help correct the point of view and perspective differences between student as actor and teacher as observer. R-grasp offers a foundation for any constructive working partnership … as much for doctor and patient and for married couple as for teacher and student. It also resolves any sense of an apparent conflict between objectives of understanding things and changing them.)

* This is not the “core” of “core curriculum.” This is not the newest, even the best, canon of what should be learned, to which curriculum and instruction attend at the expense and neglect (XI) of other needed functionality (App. XIX; C-110) – especially capabilities and technology of and for knowing and, more generally, for realization of self, community and union (C-113). This is the behavioral core (III) from which developmental strategies and tactics — i.e., educational policy – should derive. This is the foundation that elevates development above multi-variable context and conflicting “philosophies,” to guided progress. This is what makes help (App. I) and care (C-109) the watchwords of educational practice and relieves some of the abusive stress (of instructional overemphasis) on teachers and students. And it should enable a change from anxious critics (XI: Responsibility/capability > 1?), whether officials, administrators or parents, to helpfully engaged participants in meeting children’s – and community’s – needs. “Realization” is, of course, familiar as a concept. The importance of development is pretty much common sense. But just what is it that needs doing … and why haven’t we done a much better job of doing it? We need this theoretical explication (C-81) of what we are talking about, to make the necessary SGN correction (C-104) with respect to what is called for (C-110).

(c) R.F. Carter