THEORY AND ACTION: Building a Theoretical Background is an Action Process

Building a Theoretical Background is an Action Process:

The current onset of occidental culture has become somehow chaotic and confuse. While we go through our screens every day, we find an enormous amount of information and data and no matter how focused we think we are, that data stays with us in our perception system and makes us somewhat distracted.

Don’t get us wrong here…we love the Internet, and we believe this is a time of revolutionary opportunities, especially in the field of Education and Science. Everything is available at the same time. We get unlimited access to courses, conferences, seminars (now webinars) and programs that would have taken years of investing and travelling and mailing to make possible.

The question that rules this article is “How do we get to navigate such a wide data ocean without sinking, or getting distracted with every ‘temptation island’ we find in our ways?”

Here at eMindSet, we believe the navigation instruments depend purely on you, your values, your goals and your specific needs.


Whether you are looking for a 2LT (Second Language Training) or trying to improve your #CommunicationSkills, or give your work life an extra lift by educating yourself in the new technologies and #Networking…It is you the Captain and Sailor, it is your own GPS we need to adjust to, and it is your quest the one we encourage.

#MetacognitiveActivities are performed at eMindSet in daily basis, to ensure every one of us are  sailing in the direction of our dreams, goals, and milestones.

We will cover the issue following, explaining how a good strong theoretical scaffold gave us the foundation for building eMindSet #LearningPrograms and why is it so important to invest time in developing your own, in spite of what the production system seems to preach (“keep doing, keep going, only philosophers dedicate time to think about these things”). We do believe the best choice we have is reflecting on the road, learning our roots while we walk, and having a permanent theory+practice dialogue.

Theories and the Fallacy of Philosophy as a Waste of Time

Let’s imagine for a moment that, instead of a 2LT, what we want to perform together is building the house of our dreams. We have the land, the budget is clear, and the workers are ready and waiting in line. We have the plans and we start working accordingly to it. It starts to look amazing, the outside colors match the landscape, and suddenly…an earthquake shakes the ground.

We don’t need tons of imagination to know what happened to our dreamhouse, right?

Because the earth is a living thing, architects and engineers know very well about the importance of building both a good foundation on bottom, and a solid scaffold around the work-in-progress. Now, languages are living things too. What makes us think otherwise?

Culture. Culture makes us think otherwise. We have such an influence from the Industrial Revolution, that we have ended up associating the figure of the “Philosopher” with a Greek marble man sitting in contemplation, speculating about life.

Here at eMindSet, we have discovered that, on the contrary of popular beliefs, reflecting and thinking thoroughly about our theoretical scaffold and foundations, give us the opportunity to work better, faster, and in a more efficient way. In our theoretical structures, we find excellent solutions for everyday challenges, we get a smooth ground in which we “walk the talk”, and we also know our walking enriches and deepens the theories that sustain our activities. Because it is nothing but a permanent Theory+Practice interchange!

Theory and practice interchange

We have based our foundations in Behaviorism and Cognitive Neuroscience since the beginning of eMindSet Learning Programs, and we have gone further in the discovering and adopting of every improvement that allows us to get closer to our main goal: Helping others develop their best potential and learning skills, whether in a Second Language Training process, a Job Finding quest, or a Cognitive+Behavioral Modifying program that would allow individuals a better outcome in their personal, interpersonal, and social areas.

So no, we say. Theories are never a waste of time…Except when they don’t meet action. When this happens, and everything becomes just words and speculation, we go off the track that leads us to #mindsetters goals.


If we considered the first metaphor about navigation system, we could conclude that “there is nothing more annoying than the voice of GPS in a car that is not moving!”

Introduction to eMindSet Theoretical Scaffold

What about us? What is our theoretical framework, the scaffold in which we rely in order to help you develop your learning process?

We would like to change this question. We would like to experiment in the same way we experiment and learn together.


Since “this” is our style, we will only name the theories on which we have based our practices, so you get the opportunity to learn more about them on the Internet or any other resources available. We have previously developed some points about RFT (Relational Frame Theory, S.C.Hayes et al, 2001); and we’ll soon discuss the beautiful derivations of SLT (Social Learning Theory, A.Bandura, 1977). But there are many other previous and further developments that have helped us build knowledge on solid and reliable foundation.

As we’ve stated, our concepts of Learning lie on Skinner’s studies on Operant Conditioning, specifically regarding Verbal Behavior (1957), but we have found great richness in the dialogue between this author and Noam Chomsky (1965) with his LAD (Language Acquisition Device). Some consider these points of view as divergent, we think they are beautifully complementary.

The concept of “Affordances” proposed by Gibson in the field of Ecological Psychology (1979) has allowed us to overcome the Theory of the Mind towards a (perhaps more humble, but nonetheless effective) concept of Language Development that holds a strong Social component in every side of the phenomenon. The following developments, regarding human+computer interaction, and firstly proposed by Gaver‘s seminal articles on technology affordance in 1991, and then Bradner‘s notion of social affordance, have been of enormous help.


As natural in this dynamic, open framework, we have included some new contributions from DST (Dialogical Self Theory, H.Hermans, 1992), from Teun Van Dijk’s incredible article on Context, Cognition and Knowledge Frames (1977); and a brilliant brand-new article by authors J.Decety and J.M.Cowell (2016) in the Neuroscience of Empathy and Morals is being taken into account.

These are only some samples, from our own experience, that aim to set an example on how a theoretical structure (consisting of concepts, theories, values and collective core beliefs) can help us unfold better practices in this complex, ultra-wired, hyper-connected new world.

Here at eMindSet we are aware that science has not all the answers for human existence, but it offers a great chance called “stay humble, test our hypothesis, remain open for more, trust the process”. Because it is never dogmatic, because it is always open to change, because it questions and tests the limits of understanding, and because we must rely on what others have done before us to keep moving forward in the quest for learning.

We do not believe in panaceas nor do we offer the ultimate solution for your needs.

But definitely, we are in favor of learning together.

Veronica Rebora & Christer Edman – April 2016


How do we humans develop language? An approach from the Relational Frame Theory

What is Relational Frame Theory (RFT)?


RFT is a behavior-analytic account of human language and cognition. It is fundamentally similar to Skinner’s account, and is distinct from most cognitive and linguistic approaches to language, in that ‘‘it approaches verbal events as activities not products’’ (Hayes, Fox, et al., 2001, p. 22). It is fundamentally different from Skinner’s account in how it defines and accounts for those verbal events and activities.

The wide range of topics being addressed and methods being used in RFT may make the field of behavior analysis somewhat more appealing to those who long ago deemed behaviorism ‘‘dead’’ and irrelevant. Hopefully, the intense debate and controversy inspired by RFT will serve to move the field forward and contribute to an increased behavioral understanding of the complexities and importance of human language. Relational Frame Theory: An Overview of the Controversy, Amy C. Gross and Eric J. Fox, Western Michigan University


We have chosen to bring up RFT in this article since even if it has been known for more than 20 years it is a field within language development that needs more research. The reason why it has not been researched more seem to be it is close to a philosophical part of science rooted in functional contextualism.

It is rooted in functional contextualism, a philosophy of science with a focus on the study of an act or event within a particular context (See Hayes, 1993). Functional contextualists believe that there are no unshakable, universal truths; instead, they value what is useful and practical. The basic unit of RFT is the relational frame, which is the “action of framing events relationally” (Hayes, Fox, et al., 2001, p. 43). The idea of a “frame” is like a picture frame in that relational responding can involve any sort of events, just as a frame can hold any picture. Brian Thompson, psychologist resident in Portland, Oregon

Human language and cognition are the dependent parts of relational frames. Our thoughts, reasoning, speaking with meaning, or listening with understanding, we are deriving relations among events — among words and events, words and words, events and events.


There are three main properties of this kind of relational learning:

  • First, such relations show mutual entailment or “bidirectionality.” If a person learns that A relates in a particular way to B in a context, then this must entail some kind of relation between B and A in that context. For example, if a person is taught that hot is the same as boiling, that person will derive that boiling is the same as hot.
  • Second, such relations show combinatorial entailment: if a person learns in a particular context that A relates in a particular way to B, and B relates in a particular way to C, then this must entail some kind of mutual relation between A and C in that context. For example, if by attribution a nickel is smaller than a dime and a dime is smaller than a quarter, then it will be derived that a quarter is bigger than a nickel and a nickel is smaller than a quarter.
  • Finally, such relations enable a transformation of stimulus functions among related stimuli. If you need to buy candy and a dime is known to be valuable, it will be derived that a nickel will be less valuable and a quarter will be more valuable, without necessarily directly purchasing candy with nickels and quarters.

Source: Hayes, S.C.; Barnes-Holmes, D. & Roche, B. (Eds.). (2001). Relational Frame Theory: A Post-Skinnerian account of human language and cognition. New York: Plenum Press.

Relational Learning In Action

From eMindSet workshops

Looking forward to hear from you,

Christer Edman & Veronica Rebora

Are there any advantages on procedural vs conceptual learning?

No, both are needed!

“A playful mind is inquisitive, and learning is fun. If you indulge your natural curiosity and retain a sense of fun in new experience, I think you’ll find it functions as a sort of shock absorber for the bumpy road ahead.” (Bill Watterson – July 5, 1958 – American cartoonist and the author of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes)

We are the children and learning

Conceptual knowledge is built on theories and lectures and procedural is built on experiences. We need both for learning! A cognitive load is constantly flooding our nervous system with information and if we are successful we can hope a percentage remain of it. In learning we want to get as much control as possible of the information flow for being effective.

conceptual and procedurial learning tools

The conceptual knowledge is the answer for WHAT passive and theoretical theories, ideas, models and definitions we are receiving and need.

conceptual learning in practise

The procedural knowledge is the active part and tells HOW we are applying the concepts. It is when we are mastering our memory we know our ability for learning is on top.

procedurial learning children

Flipped Classroom


Some of the latest knowledge related to learning is the flipped classroom. This is when we use the conceptual knowledge before applying the procedural learning with our teachers. It is the most efficient learning since the students prepare individually before the lessons. They spend only time together on the procedural learning to master the skills/knowledge.

 The acquisition of morphological skill in adults

what we remember

Non-Linguistic skill memory generation are manifest in language skill acquisition. Two independent neural systems subserve long-term memory; the declarative and procedural memory systems.

Declarative novel events and facts (WHAT)

Procedural learning and retention of skills (HOW TO)

Artificial Morphological Rule “AMR”

AMR coincided accuracy and initiated a phase of fluency (Proceduralization). Different stages use procedural and declarative memory for mastering skilled linguistic performance.

Explicit learning relates to the making and testing of hypothesis in a search for structure…

Result suggests that the phonological aspect of a morphological rule is learned implicity and retained as procedural memory and that the acquisition of the semantic aspect of the rule requires an explicit learning making use of the declarative memory. This is consistent with the notion that the phonological aspect of a word (lexical item) is acquired implicity and it’s meaning aspect is acquired explicitly.

DYNAMIC INTERACTION ⇒ Procedural and Declarative Memory
Acquisition of morphological proficiency

Looking forward to hear from you,

Christer Edman & Veronica Rebora

Education for the future is applied by taking the right action in the present

Education for the future is applied by taking the right action in the present

We are all learning something new every day and most of us have learned that an appropriate education is important for getting a job or creating an own business. But an important question is how can we be more efficient in our learning experiences which is eMindSet’s focus.

This article is for understanding how we can improve our education based on science and personal needs for international exchange of knowledge.

United Nations and Education for Sustainable Development

When we are looking at the need of learning a new language we want to put it into a context where our lives are more and more affected by the international communication. It is therefore natural to bring up United Nations and the report ”Shaping the future we want: UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014); final report


A key question is to ask what is sustainable development? According to United Nations definition from 1987, ”Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

UNESCO is the lead agency, ”wants to prepares people of all walks of life to plan for, cope with, and find solutions for issues that threaten the sustainability of our planet.” –UNESCO (2005a, p. 7)

Extensive partnerships and networks – within and between sectors – have been key to the successful accomplishments of the Decade. Children, youth and students have played an important role as agents of change, participating actively in discussions that affect their future, advocating for a transformation in their learning environments and bringing the messages of sustainability and global citizenship home to parents and communities.”

UN use global citizenship which is not described anywhere what they really mean and needs to be further analyzed. It can be seen as an open description of people who are living on the same planet but it can also be seen as a claiming that you belong to a world governance. It is also mentioned that the citizens brings home to parents and communities which seem as some kind of indoctrination and not a mutual interaction including parents, communities and the society. This inspires us to bring in critical thinking and to learn more. We encourage you to think and search by yourself after reading our article!

The Decade provides a solid base for scaling up our efforts to prepare the citizens of tomorrow to respond to the challenges of today. ESD advances quality education through more innovative ways of teaching and learning and the engagement of all stakeholders.”

UNESCO have created a roadmap which brings up their continuing work from 2015 which raise some questions which we are interested in to follow from an international, national and personal perspective. UNESCO Roadmap for Implementing the Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development

”ESD has yet to complete its integration into the mainstream of the education and sustainable development agendas. Furthermore, sustainable development challenges have acquired even more urgency since the beginning of the Decade and new concerns have come to the fore, such as the need to promote global citizenship. Consequently, a scaling-up of ESD actions is required.”

Critical thinking and why education is so important

Neuro Education

Bob Jickling questioning this in his article Why I Don’t Want my Children to be Educated for Sustainable Development: Sustainable Belief”. He wants our children to be educated but about the criticism in educating in sustainable development not as something all agree on. He explains it by taking his 9 year old son as an example where he points out the importance of seeing existing relationships.

“Should education aim to advance a particular end such as sustainable development? Is it the job of education to make people behave in a particular way?”

For example, my son at nine years of age, could go to a map of the world and identify an astonishing number of countries, but this was hardly sufficient to convince me that he was educated. We expect the educated person to have some understanding of the relationships between these bits of information which enable a person to make some sense of the world; the educated person should have some understanding about why a relationship exists. We might also wonder if the ability to think critically is a necessary criterion for the educated person. Again we would expect to find considerable agreement; we would be reluctant to say that a person was educated if we judged that he or she could not think for him or herself.”

We need more knowledge especially in language, notified by Ann-Christine Valberg in her paper Nordic Comparative Analysis of Guidelines for Quality and Content in Early Childhood Education

The competences believed most important in a situation of global, multi-polar competition are good outcomes in a limited number of skills areas, especially language (communication in the mother tongue and foreign languages), mathematics, science and technology, along with metacognitive learning, social competence, cultural awareness and entrepreneurship”

We are all in one or another way faced to the importance of ”selling” and Daniel Pink has brought up a great point related to the ABC’s which we add to the knowledge of education and sustainability development. Ambiverts, Problem-Finders, and the Surprising Psychology of Making Your Ideas Happen

Pink goes on to outline “the new ABCs of moving others” — attunement (“the ability to bring one’s actions and outlook into harmony with other people an with the context you’re [sic] in”), buoyancy (a trifecta of “interrogative self-talk” that moves from making statements to asking questions, contagious “positivity,” and an optimistic “explanatory style” of explaining negative events to yourself), and clarity (“the capacity to help others see their situations in fresh and more revealing ways and to identify problems they didn’t realize they had”).

When comparing what we are learning as adults and children there is a clear connection. We need to bring in individual, inspiring, positive and playfulness. It is also pointed out in a report for pre-school children that we need dialogue, participation and interaction. But as the UNICEF report and critics and Daniel Pink shows it is valid for older students and adults as well.

Early childhood educators role more generally to contribute to children’s language development is problematic in the form of the idea of a balance between the child’s own play world and the teacher’s inspiration language making. Finally, highlighted the fact that how adults use language also reflects the attitudes and values that children are being affected by. All these aspects and suggestions for activities with children are central in preschool practice. But no one really talking about, or use the terms dialogue, participation and interaction – key concepts for the child to become an active participating partner in their language learning.

We need to have a plan and set goals for succeeding with our learning

To be passionate about something is the most important then we “only” need to know how to accomplish what we want to achieve. David Bailey has described how he taught himself a new language within only 17 days. “The Secret to Learning a Foreign Language as an Adult

David Bailey book and glasses

Every morning he wrote for hand during 1.5-2 hours since he believe it is the best way to memorize things. While he wrote he listened to a recorded language course twice. The lunchtime he spent with friends who only spoke the language without caring about slowing down when talking with him and he was forced to speed up or starve. On the afternoons he listened to music with and read books especially children books which he thought was both funny and easier to start with.

To use at least an hour daily to repeat the standard phrases like where are you from and what do you like etc. are essential as an ice breaker in all communication. Learn also to use the filler words since they give you more self confidence and even if they are not necessary you feel more comfortable. They give you also time to remember other words for the conversation.

Another great advice for learning and achieve something is described by Arno Ilgner a climber. He explains it very well in his article, “A Different Way of Setting Goals

Arno Ligner

  1. Be present in the moment and set up process goals. it is easily understood since you cannot climb anywhere if your thoughts are somewhere else than focused on where you are right now and give 100% of your attention.
  2. The learning process, be in the moment and focus on what you are doing and the next step to accomplish no thinking about the end goals. They only give you expectations and end goals are for your vision but never let them distract you.
  3. Be committed meaning that you immediately follow up with a decision. This is why the present and process goals are so important you cannot accomplish anything if focusing on end goals.

There are no learning styles we are learning from everything and it depends on the topic and context what is best suited. But we can always work for combining and including new learning by using different tools and methods as Christian Jarret has written about in his article, All You Need to Know About the ‘Learning Styles’ Myth, in Two Minutes and Sacha Chua’s sketch clearly shows.

Sacha Chua learning

Looking forward to hear from you,

Christer Edman & Veronica Rebora

New beginning start fresh

Dear MindSetters‬,

January means new beginnings and opportunities… All seems brand new and we encourage you to start fresh, knowing it’s NEVER too late to run after your goals and dreams.

eMindSet Chapter oneWe will be working on a morning schedule for this month, as we develop new strategies and improve our service. It is our privilege to have you around! Feel free to contact us for any info you might need.