Thursday, December 1, 2016

Tactile Learning for Life Skills Development

Abstract of Paper for presentation at the International Conference on Life Skills Education (ICLSE-2017) organized by the Indian Association of Life Skills Education at Pune, Maharashtra, 3rd – 5th February, 2017 

Natural bodies having the capacity for self-nourishment, growth and decay are said to have “life”. Human organisms get life from the cells living in their bodies, and all living cells on this planet are DNA software/information driven biological machines. The body’s cells drive the body to seek nourishment – needed for their own individual integrity and life – from the environment. Vander’s Human Physiology textbook says, ‘Those processes responsible for the goal-directed quality of behavior are the motivations, or “drives” for that behavior’ and, ‘Learning is the acquisition and storage of information as a consequence of experience.’ Learning is a crucial ingredient of motivation. Information of the experiences of the body’s internal activities and body-states is acquired – generally without conscious awareness – by the somatic or tactile senses, and stored in what physiologists call ‘implicit memory’ – one’s “implicit knowledge”, which also includes the DNA information. And, information of the conscious experiences outside one’s body is acquired by the external sense organs and stored in ‘explicit or declarative memory’. The intellect/mind can use information stored in declarative memory to form words (declare) and to think with, but the mind cannot access the implicit knowledge and use it in its intellective tasks. This makes it difficult for an individual to gain mastery over one’s own behavior and skills, because it is one’s implicit knowledge which initiates motivation.

The ancient Indians had developed a tactile learning technique – called “Yoga”, “Sankhya Yoga”, “Vipassana” or “Mindfulness” – for becoming consciously aware of their own implicit knowledge, empowering them to become emotionally balanced and virtuous, and to achieve fulfillment. This paper gives a physiologic explanation of this Indian Psychology yoga technique, and shows the way it can be practiced – even by young children – for the development of Life Skills, and for alleviating many of our social problems.

Keywords: Learning; Somatic Senses; Indian Psychology; Yoga;

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