Saturday, August 12, 2006

Forest and/or trees

Yesterday, while discussing the most attractive arrangement of book covers for a banner heading for our course Blackboard site, the office specialist commented that I must be a "concrete sequential" thinker, based on my preference for a particular order, whereas the order she had suggested - which was energetic and unbalanced - reflected her tendency to be "abstract random."

We talked about forests and trees. Definitely, I see trees first and then inductively think about the big picture, the forest they create. Working with students who start with abstract concepts such s "freedom" and trying to get them to add specific concrete examples to illustrate the principles is a challenge, just as trying to get the concrete detail students to raise to a generalization and summary. When students (or anyone) can raise to a metacognitive level to consider her ways of thinking, that helps with writing. Bonnie and I love to talk about cognition - such as her favorite paradigm, the Meyers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator.

Another student, arguing for more women in politics, contrasted the benefits of women's empathy compared to men's natural systemitizing (spellling?) that leads to less connection and more war. Maybe this binary parallels the concrete / abstract above. Often I start systematically, and then step back to tap into empathy.

Hmm - more thinking on this is necessary.

Meanwhile, it's a nice cool 48` Saturday morning with no grass seed field burning likely today.


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