Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Journal Entry 1-September

Journal Entry 1-September 26th, 2008


Pink, D. H. (2005). A whole new mind: Why the right-brainers will rule the future. New York, New York: Riverhead Books.

Daniel Pink's book A Whole New Mind is a book that could fit into any category. I also feel that this book is so monumental in what it discusses that I planned on using it for each possible category of journal entry. I have later come to the conclusion that that might not be a good idea and could possibly cause damage to my grade. In this entry, I will be discussing what Pink calls the Conceptual Age. I have heard many people say that we are in the Information Age, which is true. But the world is shifting into the Conceptual Age. Pink discusses many things that make up the Conceptual Age. The first thing is the idea that the work place is changing. If your job can be done by someone in India, Singapore, China or the Philippines or your job can be done more quickly by a computer, in the very near future your job may not exist. The work place is shifting in another way. There was a time when left brained thinking was king. Things like remembering facts, repeating procedures, and analyzing details were and still are important. But right brained thinking is becoming more in demand. If you are using your right brain, you may analyze details, and synthesize those details to create a "big picture." The left side of the brain is good at sequential things like counting or the alphabet. The right side of the brain is good at weighing all pieces of information and rendering a decision. In math, the left side of the brain would be good at counting and the right side of the brain would be good at geometry. The last way that the work place is changing is the idea of High Concept and High Touch. High Concept has to do with creators and High Touch has to do with empathizers. High Concept has to do with the world of design. Did you know that in America the number of graphic designers has "increased tenfold in the last decade; graphic designers outnumber chemical engineers by four to one" (55). High Touch has to do with the idea that people need quality time from one another. Pink calls the High Touch abilities as a "capacity for compassion, care and uplift" (59). Pink goes on to say, "that the number of jobs in the 'caring professions' --counseling, nursing, and hands on health assistance--is surging" (59).

I believe that much of what Pink says fits into learning very nicely. The first thing that comes to mind is the idea of the new Bloom's Taxonomy. When we teach we strive to get into the top of the Bloom's pyramid. The top of this pyramid fits nicely with the idea of what Pink call design. We are in a time of great abundance. In this day and age we can go to Walmart and buy a toilet brush. It will not be fancy and it will get the job done. We can also go to Target and buy a designer toilet brush. The brush may be ergonomic with a cushy handle and cost $26 dollars. Pink says that people who design, like the people who designed the designer toilet brush, will be in greater demand. People who design create and creating is at the top of the new Bloom's Taxonomy. If we as educators want our students to get good jobs we need to teach them how to create. That requires us to constantly get students to create in our classes. We must strive for the top of the new Bloom's Taxonomy.

What does this mean for schools? How does Pink's Conceptual Age effect school policy and procedures? I think that Pink's ideas will effect every part of education. The one thing that jumps out in my mind is the idea that schools may actually be killing creativity. With the push of standardized testing and No Child Left Behind, what some people call "specials" are being cut to make more time in the school day for Math and English Language Arts. I am in schools all the time and I see no public speaking class, no computer programing and very few graphic design classes. It just does not seem that these classes are emphasized as much as other classes and are often labeled a fluff. In fact, these so called "fluff" classes may be the key to the future success of our students.

One of the reasons that these right brained classes are being cut is because they cannot be easily assessed on a state examination. Whatever happened to differentiation of instruction? Isn't a speech class a form of differentiation? I was a student who is very good at expressing myself orally and found public speeching class to be very beneficial.

In this video, Sir Ken Robinson discusses how schools are killing creativity.


Anonymous said...

I, too recently finished Pink's book and it was a near religious experience. I would not be suprised if he develops a cult following. It's the 'high touch' that we all seek and he's given us permission for it to be ok...

samccoy said...

You discussed a good point about High Touch fields, yet these are the careers that require a very optimistic ethos. I wonder if they can really be supported appropriately, without a change in the structure of the purpose of our society?

Pink is good, and I enjoyed reading his book, a nice synthesis of my favorite mid 20th century thinkers. Many of his ideas are similar to these earlier thinkers, and his vision of the future reminds me of the work of Alvin Toffler.

It seems that Vygotsky may be right when he describes learning as having a spiraling or scaffolding effect. Pink, like each of us, stands on the shoulders of giants.

Keep writing more please, I enjoy reading and responding to your very thoughtful work.

ItIsIRick said...

Cindy, Thanks so much for your comment on my blog. I often wonder if "High Touch" is going to cut it and save American jobs. With tougher and tougher economic times I can see people just wanting to get the job done and care less and less about "High Touch." I think it is a bit harder to have "High Touch" when there is a language barrier from tech support in India, even though it can be done. I guess I just don't see people buying designer toilet brushes when the economy is well, shall we say, in the dumps.

ItIsIRick said...

Sam...Thanks so much for commenting on my blog.

I really find what you say here interesting.

You discussed a good point about High Touch fields, yet these are the careers that require a very optimistic ethos. I wonder if they can really be supported appropriately, without a change in the structure of the purpose of our society?

Pink said that the Master's of Fine Arts is the new MBA. Now, I'm not sure what this has to do with anything but I will say that "High Touch" is part of every job. If it was not for music, a right brained endeavor, then what would people write about? Our lives are rich because of right brained people and high touch professions. I would even argue that right brained professions and "High Touch" creates an optimistic ethos.

I would actually love to discuss the purpose of society, which I don't believe can be summed up easily. I would love to discuss it because then we could get to the nitty-gritty about the purpose of school. Wouldn't we love to answer that one once and for all. I'm not sure if the purpose of school is to pass a test. I'm just not sure about that.

Sam, also, thanks for saying that I write well. That really helps me and makes me feel good (High Touch?). I will continue to blog and possibly more often. Thanks for the encouragement.