Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mind Mind Mind Mind Mind

How we concretely develop Gardner’s Five Minds, I believe, is entirely up to each individual person, given their own needs, based on the life that they are currently living. I’ll explain that more later on.

Firstly I want to say that I was really amazed at how Gardner talked about the 5 minds. Developing these 5 minds in an individual would lead to him/her being equipped to tackle the realities of our world. Understanding and trying to develop these minds would benefit a person to improve his life, more specifically in terms of his career. Gardner’s theory does not only help the individual himself advance in his career but, focusing on the last 2 minds now (Respectful and Ethical mind), it also equips the person to deal with necessary interactions he would encounter in the process of realizing his career, actually practicing his career or trying to make advances in his career and so on.

Although all five minds were interesting, I was most attracted to the first and third ones that he discussed. In talking about the Creative Mind, Gardner mentioned something that I found particularly appealing. He said, “creativity is always called thinking-outside-the-box,” and that “…you can’t think outside of the box unless you have a box.” It’s such a simple explanation but, although it makes sense to me, he based this justification on an earlier point that he made: “I believe that you cannot be creative unless you have mastered at least one discipline, art or craft. And cognitive science teaches us that on the average, it takes about ten years to master a craft.” Given this point, the “box” that he refers to then, when talking about creative thinking, is a field that we all supposedly have to (in the most simple way of saying it) be really REALLY good at. The problem here is that most of the people in this world don’t even have a box. Does this mean that most of the people in this world are not creative because not all of us have dedicated our lives (or at least 10 years, as Gardner discussed) to master a discipline? I don’t believe so. How do you explain this sort of “clash” then? Again I’ll explain this later on together with what I meant in the first sentence of this reflection. I just have to explain one more thing. J

I was inspired by the article of Moses L. Pava and I agree with his arguments that although we have a lot to learn from Gardner’s article, we should not take it literally. He says “what a flat world we educators would help bring about if Gardner’s advice were taken up by us literally!” Pava explored minds of his own with the thought of a well-rounded individual in mind and without the (and I quote) “limiting assumptions concerning globalization, good work, individuality, power and control, disciplines as value-free enterprises, ethics as the point of view of the universe…” This in no way means that Gardner’s theory is, for lack of a better phrase, “less equipped.” Yes indeed Gardner’s 5 minds are also aimed to produce this well-rounded individual, but I believe this aim is slightly bent to, one could say, producing an individual of higher education.

I am not disagreeing with anyone here; neither do I favor one over the other. But, taking into consideration both theories, I came up with my answer on how to concretely develop the Five Minds for the Future. First of all, indeed, you mustn’t take it word for word (even if that really is what Gardner intended). In order to concretely develop the theory, you have to think beyond it – you have to fully understand and apply these 5 minds to yourself - you have carefully breathe it in, in such a way that your own way of thinking and way of life is applied to it as well. I talked about the “box” earlier and asked the question concerning people without boxes and how they can’t be creative. I don’t believe that one cannot literally be creative because he hasn’t mastered for 10 years this certain discipline. On the other hand, I also wouldn’t want to go against Gardner’s theory... and I don’t have to. I’m taking it and applying it more to myself. For example, instead of a 10-year mastered craft, I could view the box as something else that fits my life more. At this moment, I’m not really sure I could discipline or dedicate myself to mastering one particular field. What if I want to get a little taste of everything? Although I’m very interested in the field of communications, I don’t think that I would be for example, the “Mozart of Communications.” I’m still very young and I have a lot of options to explore. But, even if I haven’t mastered something yet, this doesn’t mean that I’m not creative. I still can contribute something unique and useful to my classes or to my job (in the near future). I could view the box therefore, as my old self. I could say I had more than 10 years of being the old me. Then, to think outside the box, I should think outside of that “old me.” And then I start thinking like the new and improved me. That I believe can be considered as creative. I’m breaking out of my old self for the better.

Based on Gardner’s principles, I could make my own “minds,” make “versions” of Gardner’s minds, or do both. Also, I could (and you could maybe call this, as sir Mark explained in his Com200 class, a “Communication Curiosity”) take Gardner’s 5 minds and look at it through a specific role. As I said earlier, I believed that Gardner’s theory was aimed at producing this well-rounded individual. This well rounded individual though is slightly focused on a certain career path. What I’m trying to get at is, instead of looking at Gardner’s 5 minds to produce a person of higher education, why can’t I look at it and consider for example, my role as a daughter? Why don’t I try to make my own 5 minds which would focus on me trying to be a good daughter to my parents? I know it would seem strange at first because we’re talking about multiple intelligences here, but what if taking this theory and applying it to my role as a daughter would actually make an improvement in how I act/behave? Using the idea of Gardner’s five minds, I could address the needs/what needs to be improved with my role as a child of my parents and create minds (of my own) out of those needs to be able to focus more? For example, instead of the Disciplined, Synthesizing, Creative, Respectful, and Ethical minds, a daughter’s (my) 5 minds would be Obedient, Open, Compassionate, Loving, and the(still keeping) Respectful and Ethical Minds. This is just in my opinion. As a daughter, I think I’d need an obedient mind (a “version” of Gardner’s Disciplined Mind), to carry out my chores in ways that would make my parents happier, instead of just doing it to be done with it. Gardner said “disciplinary thinking is the deeply different ways in which scientists or historians or artists approach their daily work.” On the other hand, I, as a daughter could say that thinking obediently would be coming up with different ways or habits that would go beyond accomplishing my chores – either do more chores/good deeds that I wasn’t asked to help out with, or doing them in such a proper way that my parents would notice and be pleasantly surprised. An Open Mind would me thinking, well, openly when my parents get mad at me for example. If I made my own “minds,” dedicate myself to follow them, including this Open Mind that I created, I would then easily remember to have an open mind and not think about what I want (that which my parents won't allow me to do) but what’s actually good for me. Creating these “minds,” through a daughters eyes is a more specific example of concretely developing Gardner’s 5 minds. You don’t have to make your own “minds” though, you can even take one of Gardner’s minds and make your own version of it perhaps. Also, it doesn’t even have to be about a daughter's role, it depends on the person who gets inspired by Gardner’s 5 minds, and realizes that she wants to improve something in her own life that she takes it and thinks of ways to apply it to herself… whether as a daughter, or a mother, or a friend, etc. The possibilities are endless, and they all still were inspired by these 5 minds that Gardner discussed. To be able to get evrything we can, as unique individuals, from this theory, we have to consider our own capacities/roles in life, resources and willingness to apply these 5 minds in our own lives.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Reflection Entry 1 (yes, my home does encourage creativity :)

In the reading, Sir Robinson focused more on creativity in schools than in actual family homes. Come to think of it, I don't recall him mentioning in the article anything about "homes" other than in more general terms such as "lives." Given this, i found that it would be interesting to concentrate more on creativity in my home. *smile*

This is my dad, mom and brother. Just a short explanation before I continue with my point... I caught my 45 year old dad like this. He had fallen asleep in the middle of trying to fix a toolbox for his remote control planes. The next picture is of my mom slicing her cake and being a kid on her 43rd birthday. The last is picture is of my brother. He's eating on the job (he's a chef... or chef-in-the-making). My family, I'd like to say, is very interesting. My friends who know them think so too. They laugh at my mom/dad/brother (not in a bad way of course) and say that he/she was so cute to do this or that because it was silly. My family is not afraid to do what is not "normal." And I just have to say that I absolutely love this about us, about my family. They are wacky and silly a lot of times and they are open to a lot of things. Hold this thought.

One very important point that the article mentioned was that everybody has creativity in them. Nobody can say that he or she is not creative. We all are. It is just a matter of cultivating this (creative) ability. Our creativeness is indeed very dependent on our environment. Where and how we grew up are big factors to consider when we talk about developing any creative talent. This point opened my mind up to thinking of my family and/or my home as contributors to my now more creative mind.

My mom and my dad never limited me, education wise, to solely follow what they wanted. They supported whatever decision I made, whether for high school or for college. They believed that I would do my best if I followed whatever my heart wanted me to follow. I say parents are strict but at the same time very open. They know that I know my limits. They were my very first teachers, and it was because of their way of teaching that I became who I am today. I consider myself as a very creative person. It doesn’t always show through obvious ways such as my ability to make art etc., but that’s not the point here. The article gave new meanings to creativity. And a very important meaning that I picked up was that creativity is an openness to think about alternative possibilities – possibilities that may lie outside of what is “normal” or that may not “conform,” but are thought of and acted out anyway. I do think I’m creative. I have that openness. Sometimes it gets trapped because I don’t have the confidence to show it off, but I’m working on that. This creativity, this openness, I believe, was developed in me because of my family. As I said earlier, my family is not afraid to do what is not "normal." This is not in a scary, crazy way of course, I’m just saying that they (and me included) are open to doing a lot of things if it means accomplishing something for the good or simply being happy or catching a few laughs. An example of this is what my dad did to make a police office (Burnham Park Headquarters) in Baguio. Other engineers would plan to make the same old design – a small space with concrete walls; your very basic office structure. But, to save more money, my dad proposed something else. He used container truck parts and created a different looking office space that was just as sturdy, kept cool during hot days, and was indeed spacious enough for meetings, etc. To top it off, he instructed them to paint it brightly and with a few painted flowers on the base to keep up with Baguio’s Centennial Theme. It was very simple looking, but it was out-of-the-box enough to be included in the local newspaper. Baguio policemen loved it, and so did other people passing by actually. They thanked him for how many days. This is just one example of how my family can think out of the ordinary.

Similar to what I said earlier, I am who I am today because of my family. If I had a different family, if I grew up without their values and everything else they taught me, then I wouldn’t be me. I wouldn’t have that creativity that I believe I have. The point I am talking about here also, like what the article mentions, extends to education. Let me just quote a few sentences from the article,

“The fact is that a huge amount can be done to cultivate creative abilities. It’s to do with providing the right conditions for growth. Providing these conditions is one of the main challenges for education and for arts policy. Our current systems of education do not provide these conditions and they were never intended to.”

Indeed, if a school only prioritizes academic ability then how are students able to think outside the box? How are we able to develop new ideas if we are taught by our schools to follow this or that because it is the only right way? Going back, it is the same with family. If my parents were too strict and only wanted me to follow whatever they wanted without me being able to reach my own dreams then the creativity in me would be defeated. As I’d grow, I’d be more and more defeated. The world needs new ideas, and how are new ideas supposed to be developed if everybody just follows the same thing because it’s right? We learned in class that this course (Com 207.3) is about “thinking about what we can’t think off – what is beyond thinking.” I believe that more educational institutions should develop that idea as well.

I read an article that describes institutions that make creativity a priority. The article was from a university in Norway, but I wondered if we had that here in the Philippines. If we grow children to be more creative, then we would soon have creative teachers. These teachers would then get into schools and influence other children to be more creative. Everybody has a part in fostering creativity. Whether you are a teacher or a parent, a student or/and a daughter, everybody has a part in developing creativity in someone else. Let’s all do ours.

Friday, June 18, 2010

More Than Just A Shopping Bag!

This is my first time blogging and I'm not quite sure how to start haha. Hmmm... Ok first of all, my full name is Kylee Therese S. Lagman. Like I said in class, you can call me Ky/Kylee... or whatever name you wanna call me... just let me know. :P I'm a Baguio girl, and I love that I'm not from the city... although I've lived here for around 5 years now (and don't get me wrong, I love it too), there's just no place like the breezy and small city of pines to come home to and relax. Also, my family's there, and we're a close bunch. Oh! Any time you wanna go to Baguio, I'll be happy to show you around (maybe after we get to know each other a little more first hahaha).

I described myself in class as a "shopping bag" but, you will all soon (hopefully) see the true side of me: I'm not just a girly girl who likes buying pretty things in malls. :) hah.
I love a lot of things. :) I love fashion, but I also love extreme sports. I love books, but I'd also (sometimes) rather watch the movie version instead. I'm curious, I'm optimistic, I'm hard-working, I'm compassionate, I'm laid back. I'm a boy, I'm a little kid, I'm a lot of things you wont expect. I'm also kinda shy (hihi). So if you find me not talking that much in class, don't think I'm a snob, haha. k thanks bye.