Wednesday, January 31, 2007

organize cupboards & learning in steps

I don't know about you, but here, after January it is the start of trying to organize my house and especially the cupboards. I have children and the youngest is still at home and he is so full of initiative and exploration. I have cupboards with paint, materials, paper, wool, scissors, and much more... He can make such a tapestry of things, it is unbelievable. When I'm doing the laundry, he can disorganize more than I can organize.
Okay, so organizing is not my strongest point at all. I was not the most organized person before I became a mother, I still am not, but I am on the other end of the spectrum, I have children that make electrical circuits themselves... That should count for something.
First they took apart the box of electrical experiments (it was not a very expensive one) and then they used every little bit in another way than they were supposed to. They wrapped the electrical wire around the arm of the doll to make jewelry.
After two years, my son asked me to buy him exactly the same box for his birthday. I did and he went upstairs. A quarter of an hour later he came down and had put together the circuit exactly how it was supposed to be, and completely on his own.
For those who resemble me and want to think some more or read some more before doing, this link might save you some time and energy.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

multilingual expression and dementia

Are you multilingual? congratulations, you delayed the unset of dementia. Now it will be interesting to check if what I said about being a musician equalling being multilingual is true. In which case being deaf might at least delay dementia. What does this mean for schools? It might mean that the policy of starting to learn languages (and maybe mathematical language) at an early age might have a positive health result.
Now what was I saying?

Healthy narrative writing

Write for your health? Yes, if you write a story you feel better: the “writing cure” research shows that expressive writing improves health. There is an abundance of evidence that professional poets have poorer health outcomes relative to both other writers and to the population at large. The obvious question for a researcher would be: what are the most important differences between poets and narrative writers? Are they differences in education level, in level of intelligence? Is the outcome of the research due to the design of the research?

Friday, January 26, 2007

educator doubts

I'm a mother and I have a problem. I have the urge to do scaffolding with everyone around me. I don't know at what age this started, if I did it before my children were born, or when I was young, but I tend to get into a discussion and take the level higher, if I can. Of course this will be difficult when I know nothing about the subject, but I do try. I will even turn a discussion about cars to a discussion about design and psychology in order to be able to scaffold... I even give puzzles to men in their hands who then start trying to solve the cube of Rubic and then get frustrated. I even don't stop at young men, I even try to get older people to play. Do you think this is annoying? Please tell me.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

just processing over thinking...

Gross (2005) studied responses of children with autism to faces of dogs and humans and found that with autism, children make less global responses and make more errors in recognising emotions than children without autism. This makes me think further...
Is recognition of emotions associated with the same part of the brains as is used in altruism? Is there a connection with global thinking that is located in that area?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Are altruistic people better observers?

Do people that are altruistic look more at other people and metathink more about them? Or do people that look and think more about other people behave more altruisticaly? The interesting outcome of an experiment gives rise to more questions, as is often the case in Psychology due to it's pioneer status. (precisely the reason why I like Psychology)
The absence of activity in the area that is responsible for getting a reward is even more puzzling. This does support my own thought that humans that can do metathinking prefer that over lower reaction patterns and it is in my opinion support for the hierarchy of Kohlberg (stages of moral reasoning ).
In an article of E.J. Mundell at the Washington Post a description of a research published by Huettel and Tankersley online in an issue of Nature Neuroscience.

How the man on the box would have been happy blogging

I started blogging as a way of expressing my thoughts that I used to keep to myself, because most people don't like "deep" conversation as much as I do, though all over the planet many people resemble me and prefer to have these conversations on a broad variety of subjects but cannot always do so. Also I wrote a book and I started thinking about how to market it. A blog would serve both purposes: it's useful for my book and a space to express myself, because I really need to express myself in between doing the laundry.

I think about the man standing on a box in a park and speaking out to the people in the street walking by. How big is his chance at attracting the audience he would have wanted to hear him. Today, I have a better chance to attract some people that will enjoy what I have to say than that man in the park had and better yet, they can actually say something back. I can use keywords in my blog that will attract only those who want to read about that particular subject. How happy would this man have been if he could have blogged...

I have been reading how to build a niche and stumbled on a discussion that I would like to share especially with other writers that blog to build a platform for their book. The discussion is about the choice of wanting to reach large numbers of readers or a small particular audience.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

sheep story of thinking

how a sheep decided to jump over a ditch
I once saw a sheep that was at the wrong side of a fence. I stopped and thought how I could help it get to the other side. While I was thinking, the sheep seemed to realize I was a threat and suddenly panicked and jumped over the ditch all hooves in the air spread in four directions thus getting at the other side of the fence. I was surprised. It seemed this sheep thought before it panicked, and then decided to act upon it. The thinking process took quite some time.
Was this sheep thinking? Did it decide I was a threat? Did it then decide she should act upon her fear? This all seemed to be the case.

who is I?

Is there a publisher that can help a woman, mother and 90% nerd (nerd test, I know, it does not count) to publish a book on a subject that might benefit mothers of potentially smart children? It's been 42 years of doubt whether I should consider myself a language person or a science person, and I'm still multilingual... Help!
Multilingual friends are: deaf friends, minorities, highest educated, lowest educated, authors of the books in my cupboard, technicians (speak the language of technic, mathemathics), mathematicians (speaking in equations), you, my reader. (being cited last is actually an honor)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Is starting with thinking a problem?

Yesterday an insight was on my path when I was on my bicycle coming home with the groceries for the weekend. Insights don't always come when I want them to come, they tend to come on days I clear my head when doing a chore or relax and let go. My thoughts then wander in their own pace and feel like sailing on a smooth lake with a mild wind.
Thinking skills should be tought to achieve higher order education, but what about when you start out with higher thinking skills? Is there no challenge in education when you start with high processing?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

from special to mainstream education

I gave a link to an explanation on scaffolding before. The idea was first followed in special education. It is very popular right now. I see a trend that novel education ideas are first used with the children that have the highest need for help (mediation) by their higher educated teachers and then when it is succesful finds its way to other childrens education. Autism is a spectrum where there is high need of help in education. Many autistic children can only learn with intensive training and don't transfer knowledge. Others function at a high level, but have typical impairments. One way of support for parents is looking at other parents who use techniques with their children, e.g. a video on scaffolding.

Puzzle: U = E x V / I x D ?

Puzzle: what does the equation U = E x V / I x D signify? hint: (probably Social) Psychology.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

extra something

Now on Serendip an article on Howard Hoffman. This veteran is a painter, a teacher, a psychologist, a physicist or a mathematician in one person. It's a highly inspiring person, only by reading about him. His method is use of humour and observation. There is some extra thing that survivors have... Is it more taste for life? Was he obliged to think deeper because of his experience? I recognise the ''extra something" from some other veterans / war survivors I know. A certain passion for living, for making living worthwhile?

language skills and social studies

Social studies are putting effort in expression. Mixing different skills in curriculae is a worldwide enhancement of education.

Monday, January 15, 2007

ancient design, complex percieved as chaos

Jan, quality never goes completely out of style. E.g. this toy is an example of how an ancient toy, Jacob's ladder, still is interesting. I remember playing with one when I was a child. Would you put an oscillating chaotic pendulum on your desk? I think it is not chaotic, but looks unpredictable because the movement follows more complex rules. The same goes for a lot of things we perceive as chaos, because we fail to understand the complex rules that organize behaviour. That is why a lot of people are afraid of people who behave in an unpredictable way. The same is true for culture, living with a handicap...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Optical illusions with article references

Sites with optical illusions typically contain pictures with or without movement. This site from Michael Bach also contains explanation and titles of articles for further reading and references.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

musical therapy & time

This article describes how time is dual, both cyclic and sequential. The musical therapist then describes her impressions of what happens in musical therapy. She uses the terms 'flow', 'time dissolution', 'creative receptive experience'. There is some vagueness and contradiction in her self-report, but nevertheless, it made me think back at music lessons and I recognised what she described. Should this article be rewritten to fit the needs of less global researchers? Maybe. I would not know exactly how to make the details less contradictory or factual.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

global learner & details

I know a student that experiences constant friction between 'detail' and 'creative thinking' in learning. At one of the best schools in this region (somewhere in the Netherlands), the method "first the building blocks, then the play" is preferred. This means there is much attention for details, precise skills and knowledge. Felder and Soloman give advice for this difficulty. When you are a global learner, it is important to have an overview of what you learn, before you start learning details.
Felder and Soloman listed some important differences in learning styles between students and give concise advice.
Further reading about education, current discussions, at Serendip.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

fluids in space and theorizing

That there are limits to visualisation is clear when we look at how research handles a problem like fluidity of a substance in space. There is a difference between thought and practice. This means that we have to experience whether what we think is true is indeed true. But we need to pre-think as well. If we don't pre-think, we might make mistakes like not taking the right material to do experiments in space. Thus the importance of theorizing. It gives direction to the experiment and is our best shot at doing the right thing.

true and false in teaching

It is paradoxical that a teacher who uses lies in his lesson might actually teach best thinking about true and false. Read an inspiring essay of Pjammer about his teacher and his style of teaching critical thinking by experience. I actually use this method with my two year old. I say some statement that cannot be true and then say: "That cannot be true, can it?". I then enjoy the pensive expression on the little face.

Thursday, January 4, 2007


I wrote a book this summer. I started writing in 3 languages and ended with two manuscripts, one Dutch and one English. The subject of my book is knitted into the posts on my blog. I'm choosing to be openly mysterious about it until I have a "yes" from a publisher. Another reason for mystery is that I think there should be more little cognitive challenges in live in general. More puzzles to make you think faster. My book however is written to clarify. It is my intention that after reading my book, suddenly you read my blog and experience the world around you and your relationships sharper and clearer, as if you were wearing some new kind of mindspecs.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

think faster, get better

On this blog
I found an article that states that thinking faster is good against depression.

Now knowing smart children that have problems with adjustment to school because they think faster than school wants, is not this article saying: "we found a relationship between thinkingspeed and depression. People who think slower than they are programmed to do get depressed. The cure is to let them think at their own pace, that is thinking fast."

I don't know. I just know that if I don't blog or do some kind of cognitive challenge everyday, I am not a pleasant person and the laundry seems like a very heavy chore.

The reactions on the post are worth reading too. Especially the one of the man who has different kinds of music for different kinds of activities.

*new* item at Chez Odile is the metachat where Creatives and Thinkers meet.

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