15 December 2010


Do you find thinking easy? Do you ever wonder about this thing we call "thinking"?

As a learner myself, it is something that I wonder about - how do we human beings actually think? What different kinds of thinking are we capable of? Are learning and thinking in any way related?

Howard Gardner, a developmental psychologist, is best known for his theory of multiple intelligences, and has been one of my favourite influences since I began teaching. 

I enclose a short video where Howar Gardner talks briefly about multiple intelligences and assessment:

According to Howard Gardner, "We have schools because we hope that some day when children have left schools, they will still be able to use what it is that they've learned. There is now a massive amount of evidence from all realms of science that unless individuals take a very active role in what it is that they're studying, unless they learn to ask questions, to do things hand on, to essentially recreate things in their own mind and transform them as is needed, they ideas just disappear.  The student may have a good grade on the exam, we may think that he or she is learning, but a year or two later there's nothing left. 

 If, on the other hand, somebody has carried out an experiment himself or herself, analyzed the data, made a prediction, and saw whether it came out correctly, that's the kind of thinking that's going to adhere, whereas if you simply memorize a bunch of names and a bunch of facts, even a bunch of definitions, there's nothing to hold on to. "

As I have suggested elsewhere, one of my beliefs is that instead of only accepting  Descartes' s maximum of  "I think, therefore I am", one may also perceive learning as doing, and consequently say  "I do, therefore I am". Hence, knowledge becomes something that an individual does, and not simply something that we have stored away to forget.

Learning and thinking are not always that simple.

But we are able to train our minds and to improve our learning patterns. Richard Davidson is a Professor of Psychology and here you can find videos with Richard Davidson discussing issues related to social neuroscience.  If you are intrigued by the research and discoveries that social neuroscience is achieving, explore Social Neuroscience , which offers news and videos in the field of social neuroscience.

Have you ever felt trapped in a web of thinking? Stuck in your thinking? Not able to find a solution?

 Lateral thinking is a term coined by Edward de Bono,  and may be just the kind of thinking that may help you generate ideas and solutions.  Edward de Bono is a thinker who has greatly influenced the field of creative thinking and the teaching of thinking as a skill.

According to de Bono, "lateral thinking is for changing concepts and perceptions".  Six Thinking Hats  is one of his best known books and really worth your time to try out. Listen to what de Bono has to say on lateral thinking:

Thinking. Learning.

Do you agree that thinking is a skill that can be learnt?

Do you think that education needs new ways of thinking?

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