On April 27, 2001,
LDI President Jan Visser was the third annual speaker in the
David Kinsey Dialogue Series, organized by the Center
for International Education (CIE) at the University of Massachusetts
at Amherst. Visser's contribution in this framework also included
a workshop, on April 28, 2001, on the Reinvention of Learning.
Below are abstracts of the 2001 David Kinsey Lecture; information
about the David Kinsey Dialogue Series (as well as about the
man in whose memory it is being organized); and the full text
of the paper presented in the lecture series.
1) Presentation on
Landscaping the Learning Environment to Create a Home for
the Complex Mind.
The starting point
of the presentation is a definition of human learning as a dialogic
and social phenomenon. The same definition posits 'constructive
interaction with change' as the overall purpose of human learning.
I argue - based on research, and taking a retrospective look
at my experience in developing the conditions of learning around
the globe - that such things as the acquisition of specific skills
and mastery of particular fields of knowledge are part of a more
comprehensive perspective. They start making sense within that
larger context and are at risk of losing their meaning if no
proper attention is paid to that overall setting. The metaphor
of a landscape is used to highlight important aspects of the
overall context in which human learning evolves. The learning
landscape can be seen as made-up of various sub-landscapes, which
include - but are not limited to - the media landscape, the socio-cultural
organization landscape, and the instructional landscape. Integrity
within and among those various landscapes is an essential feature
of the learning landscape.
Existing discourse about learning emphasizes its relation to
instruction. However, existing instructional practice tends to
see the human mind as the end-point of the learning process rather
than as its active ingredient. It also tends to look at the mind
as uniform across individuals. It furthermore looks at the mind
as an expression of the individual, paying little to no attention
to mind as an expression of the feelings, perceptions, and the
capability to think and will on the part of communities that
learn. I thus contend that a more complete vision of mind is
required, arguing that the development of such a vision goes
hand-in-hand with creating the conditions of learning in terms
of the variety of landscapes referred to above, while doing so
in an integral and holistic fashion. Stated differently, the
development of our humanity is contingent upon the development
of a broader conceptual framework for both the human mind and
The workshop at UMass,
Amherst, drew on LDI's experience in running 'Reinvention of
Learning' workshops in different parts of the world, normally
over periods of several days. The Amherst worshop was a scaled
down version of the regular format with a reduced number, and
more limited scope, of the various items normally included in
the program. The morning session on Saturday April 28 was used
to actively engage participants, through exercises and discussion,
in mind expansion regarding the issues raised in the presentation
the day before. While that session had a structured character,
the lunch period that followed it as well as the afternoon were
used for individual and small-group consultation. The objective
of such consultation was to explore how research and development
work undertaken at UMass Amherst in general, and CIE in particular,
could contribute to the mission and vision of the Learning Development
Institute, and how practical ways could be found for the building
3) Information about
David Kinsey; the David Kinsey Dialogue Series;
The following information
was provided by the Center for International Education (CIE)
at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst:
David Kinsey was
a professor at the Center for International Education , specializing
in the areas of alternative forms of community development, participatory
and action research, creativity and evaluation, and adult literacy.
David's thinking was formative to how CIE views these areas,
and influenced students who are now academics and community activists
in the US and abroad. As a memorial, a fund for a speaker series
was established to bring to campus individuals who represent
the interest areas and the nature of David's work.
This year's series will be the third time it
is organized. The first guest speaker was Colombian sociologist
Orlando Fals-Borda, one of the founders of Participatory Action
Research, and a world leader in alternative community empowerment.
The second speaker in the David C. Kinsey Dialogue Series was
Irish anthropologist Eileen Kane, the founder of the first anthropology
department in Ireland, and a highly respected author and lecturer.
The Center for International
Education (CIE) was established in 1969 as a graduate academic
and research organization committed to promoting participatory
research and evaluation in development settings. In its teaching,
research, and programs, CIE strives to link international and
domestic activities, and to promote constant dialogue between
theory and practice. CIE has a long and successful history in
designing, implementing, and evaluating educational initiatives
in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
4) Full PDF text of
the 2001 paper published in the David Kinsey Dialogue Series.
Landscaping the Learning Environment
to Create a Home for the Complex Mind is the title of the paper authored by
Jan Visser for the David Kinsey Dialogue Series. It was published
as Number 3 in the series by the Center for International Education,
School of Education, University of Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts.
The publication date is 2001. Printed copies are available from
the Center of International Education at the (production) cost
of $ 3.-- (excluding costs of shipment).