Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Discovering Your Brain Dominance and It's Relevance to Creative Thinking

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Another classic homework assignment. I honestly don't even remember writing this, but found it interesting to revisit nonetheless.  It's my take on Mary Forehand's interpretation of Bloom's Taxonomy.

The Cognitive Domain of the New Millennium is a 6 level pyramid which shows the different types of learning. The six levels are Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analyzing, Evaluating and Creating. Remembering is the ability to recall previously memorized data. Understanding is the ability to apply meaning to what is remembered. Applying is the ability to use your understanding in different ways. Analyzing is the ability to make decisions based on that data and justify ones position. And finally, Creating is the ability to bring it all together into a coherent whole and develop a concept or point of view.

Forehand gives the following example, based on the Familiar Goldilocks and the Three Bears story to demonstrate these six levels:
  • Remember: Describe where Goldilocks lived.
  • Understand: Summarize what the Goldilocks story was about.
  • Apply: Construct a theory as to why Goldilocks went into the house.
  • Analyze: Differentiate between how Goldilocks reacted and how you would react in each story event.
  • Evaluate: Assess whether or not you think this really happened to Goldilocks.
  • Create: Compose a song, skit, poem, or rap to convey the Goldilocks story in a new form (p. 1).
In primary education, we often do not move higher than the Remembering level. This is also true for most education gained through a two year institution. In many subjects such as history or early science classes, we learn and are expected to memorize lists of facts or orders of events and have instant recall of those lists. We often do not reach the Understanding level in these classes. In other subjects such as mathematics and literature, we do reach into the Understanding level of learning, but this is the peak.

To me it’s the top two levels where it really all comes together. In the Goldilocks example, this is deciding whether or not she really visited the home of the three bears, and then being able to create a new work featuring the character of Goldilocks. If you can do this, then you really know the characters of Goldilocks and the three bears inside and out. It’s not simply memorizing the story and being able to answer questions as to what happened and when it happened, it’s getting inside the head of the characters and really knowing what makes them tick. What happened to Goldilocks that lead her to the doorstep of the bears and why she thought it would be acceptable to enter their home?

This approach to research is definitely more challenging than any other research that I’ve done before. It’s not simply gathering the facts and being able to conclude what they all add up to. It’s finding meaning that is not spelled out for you. It’s going beyond stating that “x number of people think y” and instead finding why when nobody has specifically told you why. It’s deciding whether or not the story told by your research is plausible. It’s being able to put your findings in general terms that can be applied to other situations and circumstances. Then you are using both sides of your brain together to attack a problem.
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