Inform... Engage... Enlighten... Inspire...

Holistic Intelligence

By Dr Bruce Copley


For almost twenty years as a teacher, lecturer and finally university professor, it never occurred to me that there were any alternatives to the "tell and show" or "talk and chalk" approach to teaching and training. The voluminous body of literature and statistics which seriously questioned traditional educational systems, training approaches and teaching methods somehow never seemed to make an impression on me.

In 1988 it began to dawn on me that dull, boring and lifeless teaching sessions could almost magically be transformed into vibrant, joyful and challenging learning experiences by simply actively involving the whole person. This has lead to the development of an holistic learning system we have called COGMOTICS. The term Cogmotics is a neologism derived from the Latin words cogitare (think or know) and motare (move or do). Cogmotics ensures that all five major faculties (the big 5) which accord us status as human beings, namely the mental, physical, social, spiritual and emotional, are stimulated, developed and actively integrated. Instead of offering merely an objective experience in which the student is only 'connected' to the information/concept through a single faculty the mind, Cogmotics also includes and integrates the other 4 faculties. By doing this and merging the objective with the subjective, a 'whole person connection' with the information, subject or theme is ensured. This triggers natural processes of curiosity, creativity and wonder, which are the keys to unlocking human learning potential.

Inherent in Cogmotics is a process of metalearning or learning about learning. Rather than a focus on conveying information, acquiring knowledge and/or applying a specialised skill or ability, the emphasis in this holistic approach is on becoming a skilled or competent systemic learner. Metalearning highlights the fact that the challenges, burdens and rewards of learning lie not with those who would teach, but with those who would learn. Becoming fully RESPONSE-ABLE or capable of responding fully and holistically to life experiences in both formal and informal learning experiences, is a natural outcome of metalearning.

Traditional education and teaching places most of the responsibility on the administrators, teachers and trainers to both ask the questions and give the answers. Although this approach is well intended, it unquestionably robs learners of their learning responsibility and consequently short-circuits metalearning. Cogmotics fully recognises the folly of throwing answers like stones at the heads of those who have not yet asked the questions. Becoming skilled at asking questions we have never thought about, were too afraid to ask or were incapable of formulating, is an important component of the metalearning process.

Another essential component of Cogmotic metalearning is "systemic learning: past, present and future". Essentially this involves honing and refining our innate learning capabilities, instincts and intuitions which form the basis of our three major learning insights namely, hindsight (afterwards), nowsight (during) and foresight (before). While most of our primary learning occurs after the fact, i.e. through hindsight or experience, quantum learning leaps occur with the development and integration of the other two mechanisms. When this happens it heralds the start of a journey into authentic and efficient personal and professional learning, growth and development.