Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thinking about Thinking

Every so often I find myself thinking back to someone who greatly influenced my thinking in my formative years. M.C. Escher has always caused me to think about the laws of two-dimensional perception but one of the people who challenged my thinking most in my early years of teaching was Edward deBono and his CoRT Thinking Program. I used it extensively in my teaching with my fourth graders and was always amazed by how good they were at lateral thinking.

The essence of lateral thinking as opposed to vertical thinking is to think in novel ways. For example if you hear the word "scissors" one tends to think of cutting. But scissors also have weight and can be used to form a pendulum to keep time. In another example a car comes upon a flock of sheep in a narrow road that goes on for five miles with no turn-offs or gates. How does the driver manage to speedily go on her way without running over the sheep? The car stops and the sheep are driven back behind the car so that it can proceed. A simple solution but requiring a complete reconceptualization of the problem.

I thought about deBono's ideas today when setting up my Great Educators website for my Schools and Society course. I've always believed that our deeds and actions as teachers should be based on a sound, reasoned personal philosophy of education. The Great Educators page, when it is finished, will contain details of the main ideas of the Great Educators included on the page. Within the next month students will find informative resources for each of the Great Educators that I will add to the page..

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