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Integral Principle #6 – We Become Human Beings in Our Conversations and Languaging

– By Brent Cameron

We arise as human beings in conversation. It is our connection with another and our languaging that creates our thought and our evolving sense of self and other. Our development towards maturity results as a consequence of the kind of conversations we have with others, the kinds of feelings that emerge and that we have within ourselves. Our inner conversations with ourselves are reflections of our relationships with others and ultimately determine how we are with ourselves as a measure of wellness and balance.

Learning arises from curiosity and exploration

I did not want to predetermine what the children I worked with would learn, as I saw such rich learning emerging out of their curiosity and exploration of the world. I realized that each individual is a natural learning organism, and that each child is intimately aware of what she/he is learning and wants to learn. I decided to enter into mutually chosen relationships around learning where each child was the creator, designer and decision-maker about her/his own learning.

In order to manage ongoing plans and ideas about learning, I would meet with the children each morning in a circle for a check in. We would have a chance to talk together and make plans for the day and week about the things that we wanted to do individually, in small groups, together with mentors and together on trips outside of our space.

Meeting in a circle

All our meetings were held in a circle modeling my experiences with Native Americans, Bahai’s and Quakers. Within the first year of working with the children in Wondertree, I built a 6-foot diameter table that we all sat around for our meetings. On this table I painted a mandala to represent first the holistic nature of the self, and second to represent the archetypes of the human psyche as a kind of polyphrenic integration of parts or aspects echoing the use of the medicine wheel by many Native American peoples.


Brent Cameron, the founder of SelfDesign®, completed a doctorate at the University of British Columbia in 2010, submitting a dissertation entitled “SelfDesign®: An Inquiry Into Authentic Learning And Co-Inspiration.” SelfDesign® set the stage for Transformative Learning

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