Learning Change

Learning Change Project: 8 Blogs, +7300 Readings

Posts Tagged ‘thinking

More than Cool Reason: “Withness-thinking” or “Systemic thinking” and Thinking about Systems

Many of our difficulties in our practical lives are not of the form of “problems” that we can solve by reasoning; nor are they are “empirical problems” that we can solve by discovering something currently unknown to us by the application of a science-like methodology. They are difficulties of a quite another kind: they are relational or orientational difficulties to do with how we, as practitioners, spontaneously respond to features in our surroundings with appropriate anticipations ‘at the ready’, so to speak, thus to ‘go on’ within them without being (mis)lead into taking any inappropriate next steps. Difficulties of this second kind are not solved but resolved in the course of our ‘moving about’ within our surroundings, in our tentative explorations of the possible next steps they make available to us. Thus the outcomes of our inquiries as practitioners are not to be measured in terms of their end points – in terms of their objective outcomes – but in terms of what we learn along the way, in the course of the unfolding movements they led us into making. In other words, rather than resulting in nameable ‘things’ out in the world, i.e., products, their results come to be registered in our (still in process) embodied capacities and sensitivities. What is special about this kind of learning without explicit teaching, is that it occurs spontaneously, throughout our lives; it is basic and prior to all our more self-conscious learning and teaching. It gives rise to what I have elsewhere called withness-thinking or thinking systemically, and my purpose here is to explore the collaborative nature of the practices involved in such sensitivities coming to be shared within a social group.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

August 4, 2015 at 3:11 pm

Culture and Systems of Thought: Holistic Versus Analytic Cognition

We propose a theory of how systems of thought arise on the basis of differing cultural practices and argue that the theory accounts for substantial differences in East Asian and Western thought processes. We find East Asians to be more holistic, attending to the entire field and assigning causality to it, making relatively little use of categories and formal logic, and relying on “dialectical” reasoning. Westerners are more analytic, paying attention primarily to the object and the categories to which it belongs and using rules, including formal logic, to understand its behavior. The two types of cognitive processes are embedded in different naïve metaphysical systems and tacit epistemologies. We speculate that the origin of these differences is traceable to markedly different social systems. The theory and the evidence presented call into question long held assumptions about basic cognitive processes and even about the appropriateness of the process-content distinction.

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Philosophy in the 21st Century – Socratic Philosophy that Engages with People

The way I see it, philosophy should serve human flourishing. To this effect, philosophy should break away from its academic and scholarly boundaries, take seriously its Socratic origins, and develop communicative strategies that work in the contemporary context. Philosophy is the art of thinking and its chief instrument is reason. Each human being possesses the potential for thinking and for insight. Accordingly, philosophy should strengthen that capacity. Philosophy aims to contribute to the creation of a better life as a result of an individual’s improved thinking. Thus understood, philosophy is more an activity than a discipline. Indeed, in my opinion philosophy should insist on personal, context-sensitive, multi-methodological, multi-layered and polyphonic dialogue with people. Connectivity and relatedness are of the essence. Philosophy thus conceived operates across paradigms and covers existentially, pragmatically and humanly fundamental aspects of life with energy, excitement, a sense of integration and a feel for the relevant.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

October 30, 2014 at 6:35 pm

Paradoxical Thinking as Intervention to Promote Peace

In societies involved in an intractable conflict, there are strong socio-psychological barriers that contribute to the continuation and intractability of the conflict. Based on a unique field study conducted in the context of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, we offer a new avenue to overcome these barriers by exposing participants to a long-term paradoxical intervention campaign expressing extreme ideas that are congruent with the shared ethos of conflict. Results show that the intervention, although counterintuitive, led participants to express more conciliatory attitudes regarding the conflict, particularly among participants with center and right political orientation. Most importantly, the intervention even influenced participants’ actual voting patterns in the 2013 Israeli general elections: Participants who were exposed to the paradoxical intervention, which took place in proximity to the general elections, reported that they tended to vote more for dovish parties, which advocate a peaceful resolution to the conflict. These effects were long lasting, as the participants in the intervention condition expressed more conciliatory attitudes when they were  reassessed 1 year after the intervention. Based on these results, we propose a new layer to the general theory of persuasion based on the concept of paradoxical thinking.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

July 30, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Posted in Conflict, Peace, Thinking

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Developing Young Thinkers – Enhancing children’s Thinking Skills

It is increasingly popular to ‘teachthinking skills in schools. A diverse variety of programmes exist to support practitioners in this task, and some research has been gathered on the effectiveness of individual approaches. However, the difficulties when assessing the development of thinking skills are widely documented. This study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of teaching thinking skills explicitly to 11/12-year olds by infusing thinking skills into the curriculum (i.e., teaching thinking skills simultaneously with subject content). There were three intervention conditions: collaborative, individual and control. The effectiveness of the intervention was evaluated with a combination of standardised and study-specific pre- and post-tests. Results demonstrated statistically significant gains for both the individual and collaborative learning conditions in a range of thinking skills. The greatest increase in performance was seen in the collaborative learning condition. Educational implications for policy and practice are discussed.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

July 9, 2014 at 7:35 pm

Posted in Children, Skill, Thinking

Tagged with , ,

Complexity Thinking and Methodology: The Potential of ‘Complex Case Study’ for Educational Research

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Complexity theories have in common perspectives that challenge linear methodologies and views of causality.  In educational research, relatively little has been written explicitly exploring their implications for educational research methodology in general and case study in particular. In this paper, I offer a rationale for case study as a research approach that embodies complexity, and I explore the implications of a ‘complexity thinking’ stance for the conduct of case study research that distinguishes it from other approaches. A complexity theoretical framework rooted in the key concepts of emergence and complexity reduction, blended using a both/and logic, is used to develop the argument that case study enables the researcher to balance the open-ended, non-linear sensitivities of complexity thinking with the reduction in complexity, inherent in making methodological choices. The potential of this approach is illustrated using examples drawn from a complexity theoretical research study into curriculum change.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

October 30, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Apprenticeship in Thinking: Cognitive Development in Social Context

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This interdisciplinary work presents an integration of theory and research on how children develop their thinking as they participate in cultural activity with the guidance and challenge of their caregivers and other companions. Consider the relation of guided participation and creativity, and the roles of challenge and sensitivity of other peoples’ support of children’s effort. The author, Barbara Rogoff, a leading developmental psychologist, views development as an apprenticeship in which children engage in the use of intellectual tools in societally structured activities with parents, other adults, and children. The author has gathered evidence from various disciplines–cognitive, developmental, and cultural psychology; anthropology; infancy studies; and communication research–furnishing a coherent and broadly based account of cognitive development in its sociocultural context. This work examines the mutual roles of the individual and the sociocultural world, and the culturally based processes by which children appropriate and extend skill and understanding from their involvement in shared thinking with other people. The book is written in a lively and engaging style and is supplemented by photographs and original illustrations by the author.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

January 10, 2013 at 11:30 am

The Role of Intuition in Thinking and Learning: Deleuze and the pragmatic legacy

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How can this theorizing help us in an actual educational setting? The teacher’s task in a classroom, then, in order to get things moving, will become one of providing the appropriate conditions, as Firstness, under which something new would be produced. A classroom permeated with a creative potential of desire, curiosity, trust, and interest towards discovering something as yet unknown, has a possibility to turn into the experimental, beloved by both Dewey and Deleuze, laboratory. All one should ever do when teaching a course, Deleuze says, is ‘explore it [a question], play around with the terms, add something, relate it to something else’.

The saying goes that children are natural philosophers, precisely because children have affects and percepts, posited by Deleuze, in abundance, and here are we, adults, children no more, whose routine conceptual thinking has been reduced to the level of Secondness in the form of solely instrumental rationality. And again, in order to get things moving, teachers are to establish the Firstness, even more—as perpetual, and sharing the inquiry, inquirers—to become Firsts themselves, so as to enable their students to acquire experiential knowledge of the facts, as Secondness, by assigning multiple values of meanings, as Thirdness, to their own experience.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

December 3, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Design Thinking for Social Innovation

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Designers have traditionally focused on enhancing the look and functionality of products. Recently, they have begun using design techniques to tackle more complex problems, such as finding ways to provide low-cost healthcare throughout the world. Businesses were the first to embrace this new approach—called design thinking—and nonprofits are beginning to adopt it too.

One of the biggest impediments to adopting design thinking is simply fear of failure. The notion that there is nothing wrong with experimentation or failure, as long as they happen early and act as a source of learning, can be difficult to accept. But a vibrant design thinking culture will encourage prototyping—quick, cheap, and dirty—as part of the creative process and not just as a way of validating finished ideas.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

June 20, 2012 at 11:20 am

Network thinking

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Curtis Ogden at The Interaction Institute provides a very good summary of the differences between network-centric and hierarchy-centric thinking, called Network Thinking:

  •     Adaptability instead of control
  •     Emergence instead of predictability
  •     Resilience and redundancy instead of rock stardom
  •     Contributions before credentials
  •     Diversity and divergence

One major challenge in helping organizations improve collaboration and knowledge-sharing are getting people to see themselves as nodes in various networks, with different types of relationships between them. Network thinking can fundamentally change our view of hierarchical relationships. For example, using value network analysis, I helped a steering group see their community of practice in a new light, mapped as a network. They immediately realized that they were pushing solutions to their community, instead of listening to what was happening. Thinking in terms of networks, networks lets us see with new eyes.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

December 15, 2011 at 11:32 am

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