Cyclical Learning

Cyclical learning, while often simplified by a circle diagram, breaks many barriers of linear learning (the most standard learning model of Post Industrial Nations. Holistic and Cyclical learning models continue to be the preferred method of instruction in aboriginal and indigenous communities. As all ancestries can be traced eventually to some indigenosity, the learning and respect derived from such models are not exclusive to those with contemporary indigenous blood. They are transformational and life-long for any who attempt to pursue learning from these perspectives.

If you keep going around the wheel long enough you’ll see it all eventually. Just like learning about gardening, you can only learn winter lessons in winter and spring lessons in spring, and what you don’t pick up this year you might spot next, or the next, or the next.

Cyclical learning is an aspect of holistic approaches to education. Models developed around cycles allow for multiple layers of growth and discovery without, however, the insistence on a predetermined or standardized objective to be mastered within a certain time. Some experiences and modules of learning, for example, are not always available. Many stories should only be told in certain seasons, some skills may only be practiced when the weather is just right. If crab-apple blossoms are needed, for instance, we must delay our discovery until that particular moment in spring when the rosy buds peek out and begin to call the bees in a frenzy.

Originateve Learning Cycles

Using Learning Cycles

Learning is an unending process. Yet many models of academic achievement used today are based on linear structures: first grade, second, third, high school, college, Course 101, 102 and so on. Linear models carry both the ideas of cumulative knowledge and finality; there is an end to the learning when all exams have been adequately passed.  Yet this finality can be an inhibitor in actual learning.  One is not a professional when they have finished their studies, on the contrary, they know perhaps the least about their perspective field in those first steps between the graduation hall and the theater of their career.  Linear models are prone to loss if they do not revisit the past to maintain and improve ability, competency and panache.

The learning cycle was developed to mimic the patterns of nature.  Each year, season’s progress in a cyclical, integrated manner, there is linear advancement but also timelessness, repetition, growth and death.  Each year there is a spring, but each spring is unique and therefore not necessarily a new beginning.  The cumulative exists and so do endless chances to perfect, adapt, scrap, and improve again. The joy is in the process as well as the advancement.  Simultaneously, the learner is going back, truly starting again, picking up new skills but remembering old processes like seasons from years past and always augmenting a little, or profoundly to their overall composition.  Or perhaps they stagnate, get into a rut and oscillate between redundancies like a scratch on a record of a plant in permanent night.  Time is different for all learners, some bloom quickly like tulips, some remain all year like roses, cultivating longer growth patterns.  Both are correct.

The Learning Cycle for Amerikanoestudios was crafted around the existing system of the Mayan Calendar and corresponding physical/ psychological/ spiritual metaphors within the cultural history of the system and therefore naturally works to inform a holistic initiative.  Those correspondences have been interpreted and honored for centuries.  Within the Learning Cycle these metaphors are not original but by applying this model old archetypes and wisdom can live again.  The system of the Mayan Calendar was chosen for Amerikanoestudios because the population of learners live in Costa Rica and the system has indigenous relevance to the land and heritage of the learners.  A similar cycle could be made with any rich calendar or cyclical system, i.e. ancient alphabets, runes, or symbology, zodiacs, tarot.  The important aspect is that the system provide relevance of cultural literacy as it will tie in the landscape of allusion necessary for successive critical, emotive and spiritual thinking necessary for transformational development. 

A Learning Cycle provides an interesting- even fun, non-dogmatic framework for challenge and reflection.

Advancement/ Descension

In each degree of the “learning cycle” the student will track through the disciplines, being introduced to concepts both unknown, or that she/he is lacking in as well as channeling their specific strengths and gifts for the directives facilitated by the Mentor.  The movement is always to a greater Breadth and Depth, and therefore a Descension into more powerful learning that flows from long term memory and rich synthesis. Ideally students will transition stages or degrees once every three lunar cycles (similar to a season), however the appropriate time for the shift will be judged by the Mentors- feeling out a candidate for ripeness like a melon or avocado at the market.  Because value is qualitative and variable to the advantages and detractions of a given environment, evidence of  “ripeness” will be collected in a portfolio format and each mentor will write and sign a recommendation for the transition sighting the reasons for the change in status.  Approval for the change must be unanimous among Mentors

Relationship Between a Learner and a Skill

Apprentice/Intern Station:Integration of Concept:
Observer     Awareness
Participant Understanding
Cadre Proficiency
Sage  Integration of Concepts flow from presence,
synchronicity, clairvoyance, telepathy and spirit

Mentor Advancement/ Descension

Mentor Station: Achcauhtl       

Certified Initiated Mentor

Red Mentor    
Warrior of Beauty                  

260 Day Practicum & Leadership

Blue Mentor           
Warrior of Love                     

260 Day Practicum & Leadership

Yellow Mentor       
Warrior of Wisdom                   

260 Day Practicum & Leadership    

Cadre of White             
Warrior of Spirit                   

1 Complete   Learning Cycle 

Proficiency – Bachelor of Mentorship


  1 year Leadership of a Self Initiated Studio


Multi-Site leadership
3 Grand Council Attendances:

2 Complete Learning Cycles Proficient in 3 Languages (6 minor languages)


6 Grand Council Attendances: 3 Complete Learning Cycles Proficient in 5 languages (10 minor languages).