A Cycle of Instruction

Moving Around the Cycle

The movement around the 4MAT cycle represents the learning process itself.
It is a movement from experiencing,
to reflecting,
to conceptualizing,
to tinkering and problem-solving,
to integrating new learning with the self.
 
It is a movement that involves a constant balancing and rebalancing 
between being in experience and standing apart to analyze that experience, 
between subjective and objective,
between connected and separate,
between being and knowing.
 
From connectedness to separation, back to connectedness. 
From “in here” to “out there.”
 
First We Experience
 
When we experience something new, we are initially immersed in it because when we are drawn to something, we approach it with our whole selves. We are subjective, biased, inclined with certain leanings about it. We are subject to it, both apprehending it and captured by it. We are embedded in it. At this point in the learning we are embedduals: caught in the web of our own meaning. 
 
Then We Reflect
 
Almost immediately we begin the process of filtering the experience. We filter it from behind our own eyes, through who and what we are, what our past has brought us to in this particular moment. We internalize newness through our subjective feeling filter. We experience newness in the schemata of our personal world. As we begin this filtering process, we emerge from our embeddedness in the newness and separate from it. We release our subjectivity in our need to become objective.
 
Then We Conceptualize
 
We stand back, examine, narrow our focus. We name it, conceptualize it, attempt to understand it. We move to comprehension. We move to objectivity, to abstract conceptualization, to the cognitive. We move from percept to concept. This separation is necessary in order to really see the newness. Our inner feeling appraises where we are with this new thing, then our cognitive examines. We are interested, curious, intrigued. We separate ourselves from it. We symbolize it by naming it. We look at what others say about it, our peers, the experts; what others have done with it; where it fits into the scheme of the larger world. We move to comprehend it, to have it, not to be had by it.
 
Then We Act
 
But comprehension is not enough. We must try it, tinker with it, play with it, watch it, and make it work. We must do it. Now that it has become the object, we become the object manipulator. We interact with it, we use it, we see how it works for us. First the way others do it, then in our own way. 
 
Finally We Integrate 
 
We change it to suit us, we enrich it. We place it in our world, we transfer it to where we live. We adapt it, making something new of it. We integrate it. We are enriched by it. And we are transformed. 
 
 
 
 
Then, and only then, learning has happened. Learning doesn’t happen until 11:59! This making of meaning, which is learning itself, is in and out, into the self and out to the world, over and over again. We need to relate anew continuously to make meaning.
 
“This adaptive conversation is the very source of, and the unifying content for, thought and feeling…this process is about the development of knowing.”
–Kegan, Robert, 1982