Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Lynn Dhority

Second Advisor

Eugene Creedon

Third Advisor

Patricia S. Davidson


The major purpose of this thesis is to examine the relationship between a psychologically safe environment, which the author has termed Children's Safety Zone, and positive learning structures. Together they can of a practical new model for decentralized teaching. Educators create the conditions in which learning discoveries can be made; therefore, an exploration into children's motivations, achievements, learning abilities, intelligences, and values can affect how to effectively approach their learning discoveries. It is the assumption of this thesis that education needs to produce learners who have encountered and acquired a sense of responsibility and control of their own learning. Motivating students to listen to their own ways of learning involves teacher receptivity and a shift of the center of attention to the child. The author's belief is that this type of learning can be a wonder-filled, life long process, particularly when stressful input is decreased in the learning process. Learning that is meaningful and child-based provides experiences that are not saddled with negative, stressful encounters that only end up sabotaging a child's cognitive operations. Creative visualization and the use of imagery can also be used to reduce the barriers of stress and anxiety. Teaching of thematic units, with emphasis on processes, offers another possible means for making natural connections in the brain that facilitate discovery and learning. Teachers can further tie into the brain's natural pattern making potential by linking subject areas to one another, as well as by teaching across grade levels. The author's own personal learning discoveries are perceived as new models for the role of educators as facilitator of learning. Finally, the relationship of learning to thought transformation is explored through the Dialogue Process, a unique approach to life-long learning. The author suggests that these elements can be woven together successfully, creating a new fabric made of community of learners at all ages.