Tag Archives: Roger

Founding Principles of Dropout Learning Center

Notes from meeting on January 21st 2014


Roger Dennis
Cristina Cortes
David Weksler
Jon Mannion

Roger stresses the inclusion of the word dropout
In an effort to shame the mainstream

Cristina comments that yoga, dance and mindfulness can be part of the strategy

The Founding principles can be grouped thus

covering passion based learning, no coercion, listening to individual learners interests. Interest based learning
Solution or project based initiatives

to facilitate remote and blended learning, different resources, collaboration, learner organizations, publicity,

use the resources of the city such as museums, municipal resources, parks, libraries and anytime anywhere learning (aided with technology)

to develop abilities of concentration and focus, develop interests and priorities for study and action

following from Manhattan and Brooklyn Free Schools, learners will be responsible to join in the direction of the school, the setting of policy, the judicial process (student court)

and the social capital of the mentors and “teaching” staff,

Further dialog on single/double/triple loop

Adapted from “Field Guide to Consulting and Or
ganizational Development” – to obtain the entire
book, select “Publications” at
Copyright; Authenticity Consulting, LLC 217
Different Kinds of Learning (Loops of Learning)
Key breakthroughs in helping people understand the dy
namics of learning are the concepts of single-
loop, double-loop and triple-loop learning. These con
cepts help you to realize and appreciate the
kinds of learning that you and your client can gl
ean during a project. The concepts are largely from
the works of Argyris and Schon (1974).
Single-Loop Learning (Following the Rules)
The conventional example used to explain this concep
t is the thermostat. It operates in one mode.
When it detects that the room is too cold, it turns on
the furnace. When it detects that the room is too
hot, it turns off the furnace. In other words, the
system includes one automatic and limited type of
reaction – little or no learning occurs and little or no insight is needed. Experts assert that most
organizations operate according to single-loop lear
ning – members establish rigid strategies, policies
and procedures and then spend their time detecti
ng and correcting deviations from the “rules.”
You might exhibit this kind of learning when you notice that your client has not produced a certain
deliverable on time during a project, so you get angr
y at your client and demand that your client
produce the deliverable – without ever really
exploring why your client did not produce the
deliverable in the first place.
Double-Loop Learning (Changing the Rules)
In double-loop learning, members of the organization are able to reflect on whether the “rules”
themselves should be changed, not only on whether
deviations have occurred and how to correct
them. This kind of learning involves more “thinking outside the box,” creativity and critical
thinking. This learning often helps participants
understand why a particular solution works better
than others to solve a problem or achieve a goal. Experts assert that double-loop learning is critical
to the success of an organization, especially during times of rapid change.
To continue the above example of your clie
nt not producing a deliverable, double-loop learning
occurs when you engage your client in discu
ssion about their reasons for the absence of the
deliverable, and whether your expectations were r
ealistic or not. Results of the discussion might be,
for example, that project timelines are changed
or that communications between consultant and
client are improved.
Triple-Loop Learning (Learning About Learning)
Triple-loop learning involves “learning how to learn” by reflecting on how we learn in the first place.
In this situation, participants would reflect on
how they think about the “rules,” not only on whether
the rules should be changed. This form of lear
ning helps us to understand a great deal more about
ourselves and others regarding beliefs and percep
tions. Triple-loop learning might be explained as
double-loop learning about double-loop learning.
To continue the above example, triple-loop learni
ng occurs when, after having engaged in discussion
with your client, both of you discuss the dyna
mics of your conversation, including how it was
conducted, what learning was produced from the c
onversation and how that learning was produced.

nowadays the issue is much bigger

you know, i’ve been a social justice advocate for more than fifty years

but nowadays the issue is much bigger
it’s about how to save all of our lives – and our health
all the anger vented in these left vs. right tirades is playing right into the hands of
all the world’s corrupt governments (which is most of them)
and the greed-inspired corporations

who are poisoning our water, the air we breathe, and our food supply
at such an alarming rate that our grandchildren (and maybe our children) are
not going to stand a chance!
it is time for the regular, everyday people of the world
no matter our religion, nationality, sexual or political persuasion
to come together
and be on the same team!

Roger Dennis article: Learning vs schooling

Most of us agree that education is extremely important, especially for kids of color and poor kids.  But what do we actually mean by education?  Are we talking about real and holistic learning, or are we talking about young people earning degrees?

Well, in a profound way it could be a moot point.  Because there is a road to take wherein our young people can do both at the same time, i.e. learn and grow to their fullest academic and humanistic potentials, AND get accepted into colleges – including those considered the best colleges – at an equal or probably even higher rate than those who stay on the usual education path.

We’ll tell you more about the college piece in a few minutes, but first a question: Why go off the usual schooling path and take the non-traditional one?


(1) The simple answer is because most mainstream schools do more harm than good to most of our children.

(2) Because we want our children to be safe, happy and healthy in life, not only physically healthy but also emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.

(3) For our children to be safe, happy, and healthy, many realities in today’s world need to change, AND SOON!

(4) Thus, along with academics, our children should be learning communication skills (how to listen effectively, how to give their opinions assertively rather than timidly or aggressively); cooperation and collaboration skills; how to be empowered and resourceful, and creative problem-solvers; how to respect themselves and others, especially those who are ‘different’; how to think for themselves and search for truth! Etc. And…

(5) Students should not only be learning all the holistic skills just mentioned, but they should be learning about what is really going on in their communities, their nation, and throughout the world.  Both the good and bad stuff.  Of course the focus for most of our younger students should be on all the good things going on in the world, but later on our children need to learn about – and learn how to effectively deal with – the real world and its many challenges.

(6) Throughout their ‘education careers’ our children should be encouraged, and helped, to figure out who they are – what they believe in, what special gifts they have, what kind of life will make them feel happiest and most fulfilled, etc.

If our children spend a significant amount of time in educational settings or learning centers that focus on these six areas of development, pretty much every one of them will end up happier and healthier, and better prepared for life.  They will be more optimistic than are most young people in today’s world.  They will have hope.  They will be driven by their dreams instead of being scared by them or not even being able to see them!

The same CANNOT be said for students who attend most public schools – and mainstream private schools!  Most of these students – even those who excel in their schools – will leave those places less healthy than they were before they went there.  Most will have accepted the erroneous belief that one’s worth should be determined by extrinsic rather than intrinsic values.  For example, what is my GPA?  Which college/s did I get into?  Instead of: Do I respect myself and others? Am I a good listener? Do I think for myself and do what I believe is right, even when my stance might be unpopular?

Because their self-concept is usually based on how others perceive them, students from most public and mainstream schools are less confident, less sure of themselves. Their critical thinking and communication skills are usually inferior.  Some will have a certain amount of confidence and hope, but seldom to the degree that they would have if they had attended schools or learning centers that allowed them to flourish holistically! But many, especially in today’s profoundly challenging world, will feel depressed, powerless, scared, confused, lost.

Now, if your child is happy in the school s/he attends, and is learning both academically and humanistically, then of course leave her or him right there!  But make sure you know what the options are, because when your child gets a new teacher next year s/he may begin to dislike or even hate school.

School should be a place that kids ‘can’t wait’ to go to.  Sunday night, and late summer, should be times of great anticipation, not times of dread.

Now to the ‘getting into college’ question.  Children of legal school age who leave the regular school system – with parent or guardian’s consent – are considered homeschoolers.  (By the way, not to worry; if you opt for homeschooling you do not have to do any teaching!  Of course you can if you want to, but you do not have to – there are other people available to teach, and other ways, like apprenticing, for your child to learn; and we will tell you more about that in another writing.)

There are now close to two million homeschoolers in the United States; the number is growing every day.  On average, homeschoolers score at the 85th percentile in Reading, Writing, Math, etc., which makes them very qualified to do college level work.  In addition to their high scores, homeschoolers usually come across more accomplished and more confident on their applications and in their interviews.  AND they usually do better when they get to college than their ‘mainstream-schooled’ classmates.

Stanford University recently accepted 27% of their homeschooled students but only 13% of their traditionally-schooled applicants.  Harvard, Brown, Columbia, Bard, MIT, etc.  They all take homeschooled students!  (some with high school diplomas or GED’s; and some with no kind of diploma at all)

Here are some links:


http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/30/education/30dropouts.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0  (This one pertains more to young people with low academic skills, but much of the info relates to high-scoring homeschoolers too)

http://universityadmissions.ca/homeschoolers/   (excellent blog; Canadian-based but much of the info works for all homeschoolers)