Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mark Edwards - Metatheorising development - Let's take the student-teacher relationship for example

In this post from a while back, Mark Edwards coherently explains some of the criticisms I have of Wilber's AQAL theory, but explains it better than I can.

This is from Edwards' Institute for Integral Studies blog.

Metatheorising development - Let's take the student-teacher relationship for example

One of the starting points for an integral and integrative approach to meta-studies is the recognition that many different lenses exist for studying a topic. Those lenses can be applied at every level in the sense making holarchy - in understanding and intervening at the empirical level, in understanding and intervening at the middle-range level and at understanding and intervening on the meta-level.

When we study development for example, we can use a stage-based lens, a mediation lens or a learning lens. The stage-based lens sees development as the unfolding of structures (usually interior structures in consciousness). The mediation lens sees development as a mediated movement from the social exterior to the psychological interior. The learning lens sees development as the incremental acquisition of knowledge through the lifespan.

If we adopt these different lenses towards the development process we come up with different explanations and understandings. An integral view is one that brings each of these lenses into focus. I don't see Wilber's AQAL as an integral model of development because it does not use these three lenses but only the stage-based lens (sometimes in conjunction with other AQAL lenses).

To unwrap this a little let's take the student-teacher relationship as an example. From the stage-based view the teacher is at a higher level and the student is at a lower level. The relationship is one of expert to apprentice. There is a qualitative difference in their identities such that the student does not understand what the teacher is taking about until some dramatic mysterious transformation occurs. We see this, for example, in stage-based model of spiritual development where we have the wise guru teaching and assisting the development of the devoted student or disciple. This is an ancient model that goes back thousands of years and is the prevailing model of the he student-teacher relationship used in the AQAL-informed writings and research. There are however, other more contemporary models that have very different models for exploring and representing the he student-teacher relationship.

Read the rest of the post.

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