Like many pages here this starts from external source material and then builds.

Another example of the spread of the Process Arts as a perspective across disciplines and reaching even the conservative land of M.I.T.


The Community Problem-Solving Project @ MIT, is a learning space for people and institutions worldwide. The users of their site work in all three sectors--public, nonprofit (or non-governmental), and private--and across them. They work on a wide variety of issues, from housing and health care to education and the environment, from labor and economic development to crime and public safety and "comprehensive" community change. They are managers, organizers, supporters, investors, educators and trainers, evaluators, everyday citizens, and more, working in cities and rural communities around the globe to tackle important social problems and seize opportunities to promote change

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Learning to know, do, be
We call this site a "learning resource" for people and institutions worldwide, and we mean that in the broadest possible way. Here in the U.S., it's back-to-school time this week, from nursery school to advanced graduate school, and so it may be worthwhile to reflect for a minute on (a) what learning is about and for and (b) where and how it happens.

What learning is for, what it's all about

More and more, we need ways to learn that help us know and do--but also "be" in new and more effectve ways.

It's common to think that learning transmits knowledge, as in "facts" and perhaps opinions and other kinds of ideas. When learning happens, knowledge is gained. But this is just one of its purposes. Learning can also build skills, which implies not only having the background knowledge about something--a bicycle, a social condition, a civic organizing initiative, a special region or community--but having some ability to usefully use that knowledge in the world. In the very, very old days, before formal schooling existed on a large scale, people apprenticed to "master" craftsmen, often their fathers. The master woodcarver, for example, taught the apprentice about wood but also taught specific techniques for working the wood and what tool to use for what purpose.

So knowledge and skills cover the "knowing" and "doing" aspects of learning, and those two are often closely linked. What we've learned in the past generation, though, is that important kinds of learning are about identity and will--"being"--having the personal capacity to re-think your place in a community, organization, or project team. Apparently successful practitioners from all over the world tell us that the most difficult challenges they face are not limited to knowing or to formal skills but to understanding what roles to play in order to be effective--and then summoning the courage, patience, and other emotional resources required..

Learning to "be" is a very personal kind of learning, often as much emotional as it is rational. It tends to happen best when people we trust help us reflect on and learn from our own experiences. This is one reason good parenting is so important and can have such a lifelong impact. Now we need caring, insightful others to help us mine our experience throughout our lives, expanding our personal capacities, helping us recognize our limits, helping us choose roles that are a good fit with who we are and leave other roles for other people to perform. Some of the most respected "leadership educators" in the world employ these ideas, but they're accessible and useful for all of us.

In terms of what learning can produce and what it's for, it's not just the knowledge or skill, then, but the will and self-awareness that matters.

Where and how learning happens

As the world changes and learning needs change, so--slowly--do our ideas about where and how learning should happen. School is an important place for learning, and for reasons outlined above, so are the home or other arenas where people we know help us develop--relatives, community leaders, mentors at work, friends, and so on.

More and more experts on learning are identifying self-directed learning, team learning, and organizational learning as key mechanisms for producing learning. The reason is that no school or caring person in our lives can imagine every type of task that will be demanded of us. We need ways to learn flexibly, almost anywhere and anytime. And to do that, we need more than accessible resources and infrastrastructure--such as the Internet--we also need to think of ourselves as lifelong learners and the ability to get those around us to be willing and able to learn continuously, too.

Being a lifelong learner doesn't mean studying constantly, not in the traditonal sense of preparing on a topic. It does mean looking for ways to gain mastery as we do our work day-to-day.

We're hoping the tools on this site give you flexible ways to learn, both on your own and with others, so that you're headed "back to school" on a regular basis, from anywhere in the world on any set of topics, learning to know, do, be--more effectively.
Date Created:
Sep. 03, 2003

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Title of theme
NEW - Pathways Completed and Available in PDF Format

The Pathway to School Readiness has been revised and expanded and two new Pathways have been assembled. These resources are now available in PDF format by clicking on the titles below.
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As a result of efforts to assess how to make these rich bodies of knowledge most useful for those acting to change policies, implement programs, build infrastructure, establish connections, and allocate resources, we have concluded that standing alone, Pathways are unlikely to have significant impact. We believe that to be used effectively, this information much become part of larger efforts in which change agents are able to tailor it to accomplish specific purposes. We hope that making the Pathways available in electronic form will make it easier for others to adapt and make use of the information we have collected.
We welcome your comments and suggestions regarding both the content and utilization of these resources. Please write us at
This website holds a wealth of findings about what it takes to improve the lives of children and families living in America's tough neighborhoods. Community coalitions, providers of services and supports, funders, and policymakers will find a broad collection of information about what works in social programs and policies to achieve desired results, including increased rates of children ready for school and higher numbers of economically successful families.
Click to read more >>>

Learn What's on the Site:
This website displays two Pathways that hold extensive information about what communities can do to improve outcomes for School Readiness and Family Economic Success. Go directly to a Pathway by clicking on one of the icons to the right, or click here to read more >>>
Learn About the Pathways Approach:
PMI assembles and organizes findings from a wide array of sources, including research, theory, and practice, and across diverse disciplines and systems. This approach results in a uniquely extensive collection of usable information, all in one place.
Read more >>>

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