Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Whole New Mind

I recently read Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind which explores six senses which are necessary for success.  Pink examines America’s growth from the agricultural age to the conceptual age.  While at one time, it was necessary to be left-brain dominate for success, those are also the skills and jobs which are currently being outsourced.  Pink’s assertion is that Americans need to explore their right-brain aptitudes in order to compete in this global market and develop a whole new mind (hence Pink’s title).

He outlines six senses, or essential aptitudes: design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning.

Design: Not just creating a product, but creating something that is aesthetically pleasing.

Story: Anyone can argue a point, but in order to effectively persuade and communicate, you need to develop a compelling narrative.

Symphony: Left-directed thinking analyzes; right-directed thinking synthesizes. This synthesis is looking at all the components and using them to create a symphony.

Empathy: The ability to imagine yourself in someone else’s position and intuit what that person is feeling (p. 159).

Play: Problem solving, self-expression, self-exploration and humor.

Meaning: Meaning is the key to happiness. One should see one’s work as a calling. Drive/ambition is the pursuit of meaning (and the topic of Pink’s current book, I presume).

In upcoming posts, I’ll address each of these six and my attempts to cultivate them in my life and work.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Passion for Literacy

I have a passion for all things literacy: reading, writing, texting, speaking, blogging, viewing, podcasting, listening…the list could go on. Merriam-Webster defines passion as “intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction.” That last part, conviction, really resonates with me. I have a strong belief that literacy is a foundation for all other skills. I also think literacy is more than reading and writing – we must consider the 21st Century skills that our students will need to succeed.

No longer does composing mean writing an essay. Composing is creating something, whether alone or together. It may be on a computer, on paper or even on a napkin. As educators, we must recognize that students are encountering various literacies and modes of expression and determine how we can equip students to succeed.