The nature of concentration and focus in the development of mastery

by Brett I. Kier | 10 October 2016

For some scientists, the nature of perception is culturally mediated, especially when comparing West and the East. Much of the research seems to indicate that Eastern culture is more naturally inclined to be “in concentration,” while Western culture employs the perceptual habit of being “in focus.” Concentration and focus represent the two primary perceptual paradigms in the development of mastery. The subject-object relations of concentration and focus are fundamentally different, where the former is best understood as a gathering of one’s attention, and the latter a selecting of one’s attention. Both are necessary skills that one must develop in the process of continuous, incremental improvement – or mastery. These are the two primary methods of information processing available to us when communicating with someone or learning a new skill. Concentration is governed by Yin energy, while focus is governed by Yang energy. Both are expressions of intent, with concentration by its very nature being an internal process, while focus is an external process. Taking a closer look at these two processes, (more…)



The relationship between pain and pleasure in the development of mastery

by Brett I. Kier | 5 February 2016

Gaining pleasure and avoiding pain are perhaps the most fundamental motivators of human behavior. It has been rightly observed that too often we are in a state of pain avoidance rather than pleasure seeking. This phenomenon of the human psyche is one of the most significant obstacles in the cultivation and development of mastery. (more…)



The philosophical foundations of discipline

By Brett I. Kier | Monday, 27 July 2015

What is clear in reviewing the different theorists of classroom discipline is that for the most part they are all addressing different aspects of human behavior for the ultimate purpose of creating a positive learning environment, which is why a strong argument can be made that each theorist is simply highlighting a different side of an infinitely-sided die. This is in part due to the schizophrenic nature of educational theory in general, but also speaks to the historical moment we are currently experiencing, where the individual and collective socio-cultural and economic realities are driving a great deal of the shift in students’ behavior. Because human behavior is to a large extent environmentally mediated, it is not surprising to see constant shifts in philosophy and approach about what are the most effective ways to create a cooperative learning environment.

Over the years, classroom discipline has been influenced in a number of ways by various theorists, creating a hodgepodge of philosophical approaches that all seem to agree on at least one fundamental point: (more…)