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Archive for May, 2011

This is a great analogy of convergent and divergent thinking. And it’s really short ūüôā

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This is from Wikipedia:

Divergent thinking¬†is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. It is often used in conjunction with¬†convergent thinking, which follows a particular set of logical steps to arrive at one solution, which in some cases is a “correct” solution. Divergent thinking typically occurs in a spontaneous, free-flowing manner, such that many ideas are generated in anemergent¬†cognitive fashion. Many possible solutions are explored in a short amount of time, and unexpected connections are drawn. After the process of divergent thinking has been completed, ideas and information are organized and structured using convergent thinking.[1]

Psychologists have found that a high IQ alone does not guarantee creativity. Instead, personality traits that promote divergent thinking are more important. Divergent thinking is found among people with personalities which have traits such as nonconformity, curiosity, willingness to take risks, and persistence.[2] Additionally, researchers at Vanderbilt University found that musicians are more adept at utilizing both hemispheres and more likely to use divergent thinking in their thought processes.[3]

Activities which promote divergent thinking include creating lists of questions, setting aside time for thinking and meditation,brainstorming, subject mapping / “bubble mapping”, keeping a journal, creating artwork, and free writing.[1]¬†In¬†free writing, a person will focus on one particular topic and write non-stop about it for a short period of time, in a stream of consciousness fashion.[1]¬†¬†¬†

Here is a video from Sir Ken Robinson;

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Closing the Gap

One of the fundamental questions that desperately need to be answered is, “How do we close the gap between hearing and actually educating children to ¬†do?” ¬† I think that this problem is prevalent in every aspects of educational instruction. ¬†I looking at the children on Sunday at church and thinking about how what I was teaching was more of the same thing that they get in school. ¬†Its simply the same model and gets relatively similar results.

The concept of changing education to revolutionize what we do is very scary for a society.  How do we measure?  How do we innovate a system that has not changed in almost a century?  How do it, when it has never exited before?

I think that one of the huge problems in our traditional model of education is that we teach children to sit and listen, and then regurgitate on a test, and then forget.  And then we wonder why our children cannot think creatively, or innovate, or do something that is not a guaranteed success.

We must teach our children to do and not to be passive learners. ¬†And we must start younger and younger. ¬†We marginalize a huge percentage of the population’s ability to contribute to our society and then wonder why when they reach a magic age why they are not producing up to speed. ¬†We must encourage or children to do and to act, to think and to create.

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It has been said that two of the largest predictors of the level of education that a child will go on to attain is based on family income and the education level of the mother.  The Pew foundation for religion did a study of religion and education based also on income.

The shocking thing is that there seems to an almost perfectly linear relationship between income and ¬†college degrees. ¬†It’s very interesting. ¬†So what matters more, and does religion need to rethink how it teaches education in congregations?

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This was a very thought-provoking movie.  I think that it is worth watching.  I was shocked at the number of children who did not meet the 8th grade reading proficiency test.  Even in well off mostly english speaking two parent homes the percentage was in the low 30% could pass the test.  It is shocking.

Jessica

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Robert J. Sternberg from Yale wrote a wonderful book about Successful Intelligence.  I think every parent and teacher should read this book.  Dr Sternberg has done massive amounts of research on intelligence.  He defines successful intelligence as combination of analytical, creative, and practical intelligence.  He also defines each type of intelligence.  He discusses the limitations of standardized testing and how we as a society should improve our ability to distinguish what people will truly be successful in school or occupation.  And to not limit our abilities by an IQ test or preconceived ideas of what counts as intelligence.

He concludes with 20 characteristics of successfully intelligent people.

  1. motivate themselves
  2. learn to control their impulses
  3. know when to persevere
  4. make the most of their abilities
  5. translate thought into action
  6. Have a product orientation
  7. complete tasks and follow through
  8. are initiator
  9. not afraid to risk failure
  10. don’t procrastinate
  11. accept fair blame
  12. reject self-pity
  13. independent
  14. surmount personal difficulty
  15. focus and achieve goals
  16. don’t spread themselves too thin or too thick
  17. delay gratification
  18. Can see the forest and the trees
  19. reasonable amount of self-confidence
  20. balance analytical, creative, and practical thinking

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Khan Academy

This is an amazing video about Math and Science education. ¬†I have been using it for about a month and it is quite good. ¬†It is even fun in a math kind of way. ¬†The practice maps are great. ¬†I am doing math by choice at night ūüôā ¬†It is amazing for closing gaps in a person’s math education but, it also goes through science and history lessons.

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