Propositions of PCL

Person centered learning relies on living the three person-centered attitudes. Considering Rogers' Theory of Personality and Behavior (Rogers, 1951/1995, p. 481 - 533) the following 8 (out of 19) propositions seem most important for learning:

I) Every individual exists in a continually changing world of experience of which he is the center.

Rogers (1951/1995, p. 483 – 484) makes this proposition more precise by writing: “An important truth in regard to this private world of the individual is that it can only be known, in any genuine or complete sense, to the individual himself. No matter how adequately we attempt to measure the stimulus [..] it is still true that the individual is the only one who can know how the experience was perceived.” 

II) The organism reacts to the field as it is experienced and perceived. This perceptual field is, for the individual, “reality”. 

III) The organism reacts as an organized whole to this perceptual field. 

IV) The organism has one basic tendency and striving -- to actualize, maintain and expand the experiencing organism. 

Rogers (1983, p. 119) further characterizes the nature of the human being as follows: “We can say that there is in every organism, at whatever level, an underlying flow of movement toward constructive fulfillment of inherent possibilities. In human beings, too, there is a natural tendency toward a more complex and complete development. The term that has most often been used for that is the “actualizing tendency” and it is present in all living organisms. …” Rogers goes even further in exploring and specifying the necessary and sufficient conditions under which the actualizing tendency can most fully unfold itself. In an atmosphere where persons experiences, at least to some degree, the congruencei, acceptancei and empathic understanding of another person, tend to expand, or in other words, move towards actualization. 

V) Behavior is basically the goal oriented attempt of the organism to satisfy his needs as experienced, in the field as perceived. 

VI) Emotion accompanies and in general facilitates such goal-directed behavior, the kind of emotion being related to the seeking versus the consummatory aspects of the behavior, and the intensity of the emotion being related to the perceived significance of the behavior for the maintenance and enhancement of the organism. 

IX) As a result of the interaction with the environment, and particularly as a result of evaluational interaction with others, the structure of self is formed – an organized, fluid, but consistent conceptual pattern of perceptions of characteristics and relationships of the “I” or the “me,” together with the values attached to these concepts. 

XI) As experiences occur in the life of the individual, they are either a) symbolized, perceived and organized into some relationship to the self, b) ignored, because there is no perceived relationship to the self-structure, or c) denied symbolization or given a distorted symbolization because the experience is inconsistent with the structure of the self. 

Summarizing, Rogers expressed the goal of education by the following words that, to me, appear to be getting exactly to the point nowadays, even though the were written about 40 yours ago: „We are, in my view, faced with an entirely new situation in education where the goal of education […] is the facilitation of change and learning. The only man who is educated is the man who has learned how to learn […] how to adapt and change […]. Changingness, a reliance on process rather than upon static knowledge, is the only thing that makes any sense as a goal for education in the modern world. […] To free curiosity; to permit individuals to go charging off in new directions dictated by their own interests; to unleash the sense of inquiry; to open everything to questioning and exploration; to recognize that everything is in process of change – here is an experience I can never forget. […] Out of such a context arise true students, real learners, creative scientists and scholars, and practitioners, the kind of individuals who can live in a delicate but ever-changing balance between what is presently known and the flowing, moving, altering problems and facts of the future“. (Rogers, 1983, p. 120)

» Read on: "Co-actualization"