Friday, October 1, 2010

scaffolding integrity and mindmapping with numbers

The idea that logical thinking is a prerequisite for integrity was challenged when I tried my concept of scaffolding integrity using natural numbers and mindmapping. The child associated concepts with one and anavah, which means humble in Hebrew (humility,...). One exercise was to draw the number one in different sizes, from big to small. Then the child was free to draw whatever he wanted, and drew a war scene. A tank shooting at an individual. I asked him to write 'not modest' under it. He agreed.
We like to think children are unwritten sheets, but war may be in their mind.
Another child associated on bitachon, which means trust in Hebrew (relate,...). He drew a swann, because of the similarity of shape with the number 2, a road between two houses, two birds and a mirror. I didn't think of a mirror. It opened a thinking path for me. It made me think about the relationship with yourself as two.

Monday, September 27, 2010

integrity and numbers

Thinking about scaffolding integrity and mindmapping with numbers I resolved to write a booklet for children that combines both. I had pages in my head but am afraid to forget what I imagined. I should sit down and write. It gives children useful concepts.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

scaffolding integrity and the unconscious

What do you mean by unconscious, my husband asked this morning. The unconscious is not one thing. One is not homogenic, I thought, thinking of the complexity of an organism or a society. I think about integrity and ways to teach children about it when my unconscious gives topics that I don't associate with children like war. The unconscious is the realm of repressed feelings and thought and I'm busy with a spiritual make-over? So I started out trying to teach and find my own conscience on the way. First, how is it that we can communicate with each other? that we have a world of ideas to begin with. Are we not that discrete?
I try to understand how music can have meaning as if I was a child and it was explained to me for the first time.
The music is analogical to a story, music expresses or offers a projection screen for thought or visualisation.
In dreams and prethinking, themes arise, food for integrity. What choices have I made or will I make? Am I living up to my wishes of integrity in my fantasy? Or am I going in opposite directions. A plait consists of opposite directions and is nevertheless a unity. Is music a pleasant model for the building of integrity? Like perfume and belief systems?
Meanwhile a lesson synthesised itself in my mind. Maybe it helps to be artistic to show integrity.

Monday, August 30, 2010

école buissonière

More than a year ago I watched the dvd école buissonière that depicts a school between two world wars at the tipping point for letting children express themselves in the classroom. Today the expression of children in the classroom differs when schools increase working with standard materials and try to much to fix life on measures, leaving not enough room for the particular beauty of the momentary occurence not yet catched in words.

mindmapping with numbers

A new schoolyear started with mindmapping and numbers. This time I left the books of numbertheory and mindmapping at home and gave my lesson à l'improviste to about thirty children. We divided in groups with different numbers. "Natural numbers" a child remembered from last year. Free association showed me that most associations with the numbers are in images, some are actually related to the number. Children learned how their brain remembers well concepts with which they associated freely. Hopefully this will help them learn. I don't know yet where to go from here. I have a week to decide what to do with the harvest, a pile of paper with free associations in children handwriting. I want to show a possible direction.
In my thoughts sounds 'logical reasonning', 'categories', 'nature', 'music', 'ethics'... but the child associates to four: cows.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

scaffolding integrity

How can we practically scaffold ethics for children? is a question that lives in my conscience for a few years already. One of my posts tries to give an example of how to scaffold à la Vygotsky, this is to find the zone of proximal development and to elevate thinking accordingly. For a few years I have tried to work this on myself. My challenge was to translate a Mussar (Jewish ethics) course to Dutch and at the same time teach it to someone else. This way of keeping busy with ethics had a profound impact on myself. For every word I had to think if the meaning is what I think it is. It is interesting that in different languages different ideas exist because of language. Integrity doesn't have an adjective in English, it has in Dutch. Does this imply the Dutch percieve integrity as a quality someone can own whereas English percieve it as a state? On the site Integrious a new adjective is proposed : integrious.
Then I tried to teach my children, which is difficult because my own children are more sceptical towards me than children of others. The best result for getting their attention is to naturally blend it into other activities, such as walking & cooking. Another way is to discuss concepts. "What is integrity? Why is it important?" and give them the right books wich provide historical knowledge at the level that is just above their reasoning skills. For my dyslectic son this means I don't look at his technical level of reading but at his level of understanding spoken language and interest. He simply reads it slower. The younger children I explain what integrity is with an example and ask if they think it is good how someone acts, also when we watch television. I get the best result when I have joy doing it. But I keep observing that scaffolding integrity needs construction of logical thinking as well. How to divide sweets in a integrious way needs being able to divide numbers in equal parts. Letting children play with buttons or stones to learn about amounts may be a prerequisite for a more ethical society. The mindmapping of numbertheory is not that distant from scaffolding ethics, nor is playing with buttons and puppets.

Friday, June 25, 2010

what is integrity?

When you hear someone say something about someone else, do you stop and check if the grounds are honest? Have you heard both sides of the story? Are the persons focussing on the negative or on the positive aspects of the other? Is the person neutral of tone or e.g. resentful? Who is listening and who is not? Who is curtuous?
The truth is not necessarily what most people say, remember how many used to think the earth is flat and were prepared to execute a scientist who said otherwise. Not the number of people defines integrity. I then asked myself what then defines it and came to the conclusion that when you don't know you need more information, when I don't know I refrain judgement until I have more knowledge about a certain question. Most of the knowledge I have of actuality is of oneliners, short items on the news and we know about bias that accompagnies those. I don't really know much, unless I read more in depth, and even then what do I know.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

mindmapping with number theory (3)

Yesterday was the third day of mindmapping with number theory. We tackled mindmapping today. We wrote the number one in the middle of a piece of paper and read a difficult piece of writing about the number one. Then we tried to understand little by little what was written and decide what we wanted to write on the mindmap. This was difficult because the ideas in the text were difficult propositions like "discrete numbers cannot be divided by zero and this is similar yet opposite to the number one, all discrete numbers can be divided by one." Then we finished with trying to learn the four propositions that we found using a mnemonic strategy, using a list of rhyming words, and inventing images that are easy to remember with the proposition. The first one was of lots of groups of toes that could all be divided by one. I have fun doing this with children who have difficulties with different parts of learning and seing how they manage anyway.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

teaching number theory as remediation and enrichment

Yesterday I had a difficult day, my brain was not working completely. Although I'm on medication I thought "I want a pill." But I still went on and gave my facultative lesson of number theory to four elementary school children that have each different challenges. Although the first thing that leaves me when my brain has 'one of those days' is order (I'm more disorganized) and one child immediately felt more disorganised, they still enjoyed talking about numbers. One couldn't remember what it was what we are doing. Maybe I should write it down for him. We talked about if it's possible to divide by zero and why not. We talked about that even scientists can make mistakes with numbers. I was afraid one of the children might find it too difficult, because I tried to raise the level, but they followed. I made it easy enough and difficult enough at the same time. Don't ask me to put it on paper...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

remediation and enrichment

I've started helping at the new school, a creative school that gets the best results out of children, e.g. making music instruments from both professional (strings, plectrum) and waste material. What I'm doing is mindmapping with number theory and the result after one half hour is that all four children didn't want me to stop after half an hour. It remediates language, maths skills, creative thinking and memory at the same time. I can recommend it as enrichment, motivator, remediation and attention training at the same time in education. It seems to work. After I did a remediating math crossword puzzle and the attention of the children was very good. Of course it's fun to also include some history or funny examples.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

baby morality

Do babies have morality? It seems they start not as an empty leave. In this research children react on puppets that act 'naughty'. They realize this. This would mean it is possible to inherit morality either through genetics, or through the soul or both. Parenting is then more fixing mistakes and changing pathways than really building from scratch. This means children can turn out good without good parenting, or bad without bad parenting. This means excellent parents can have morally challenging children, as indeed happens, and the worst parents can have morally excellent children.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

not knowledge but wisdom

We should be more interested in wisdom than knowledge. But how to teach wisdom in children. Logical thinking, knowing the difference between true and untrue seems a good start. Then it becomes difficult because virtues are dependent on value systems that may vary according to background. Although I think you can translate concepts of value systems and find out there is some accord possible between different value systems. We can agree to believe in laws of nature, in the good of a social system, in the necessity of a law system, in good and wrong although we may differ in detail which makes the world so interestingly diverse. How to teach wisdom according to differences? It is not impossible. A 'tour d'horizon'? Discuss virtues? Teach tools? Are there wisdom tools? Being able to listen to each other seems very important.
Understanding language rather than focussing on how it's written. Maybe we should define limits, in order to be able to keep your own value system but still develop a common wisdom with limits for the teacher as well. Difficult.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

thinking fallacies

Thinking fallacies listed by Aristotle are still common. I may be using these myself. Missing the point probably leads to many conflicts that could have been avoided. It leads to loss of efficient use of time, human resources, possible cooperation.
Pointless fights, unnecessary stress.

exploration parent

Now I am working on a concept to help at school for enrichment of the program. I will be an 'enrichment parent'. This doesn't cost money for school, I can contribute to the education of my children and share my knowledge (I have studied psychology including statistics) and explorative fun. Every child that is motivated (or if motivation is the problem, needs this) is welcome. The concept of enrichment parents involves adapting to the level, interest, learning disabilities, knowledge of the child, therefore I choose to work with mind mapping. If one child only wants to make drawings and the other to search in literature, it's completely okay with me. I start from what the child already can say, knows, can read, can find, has concepts about. We learn how to learn. We add. If a teacher has a special request, I'll be helping. If a teacher wants me to search for info I'll do that.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Anxiety for creativity

Discussing the role of the brain in creativity is something like discussing the role of the carparts in riding. It usually leaves out the part of the one who steers the brain. But even so, with the use of technologies, e.g. MRI we can observe what parts of the brain are active when we make music or solve a problem. Howard Gardner discovered that specialisation of brain exists calling this different intelligences. A musical intelligent brain uses different parts of the brain more than a maths / reasonning brain. The question is, is this due to a preference of the soul that shapes the brain as it matures, is it shaped through nurture or is it innate? I know a psychiatrist and he is not too happy with my idea about the existence of the soul. We differ in opinion. Through meditation I've experienced some of the potential of the soul. I've seen this explained in an article on thinking. Thinking with the soul is another level of thinking that surpasses the rational and programmed and preference.

In this paper, the role of anxiety is discussed in performing music. In an anxious experience, I percieved myself outside of my body. As if I were a soul looking down at my body. Thoughts seemed to have endless time. I was in a place quiet. Untill I drew back into my body. But knew then what to do. Maybe playing music with the abilities of the soul is induced by some anxiety.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

brain noise or brain music?

In 2006 Pouget discovered that brain noise fits well a Poisson distribution, implicating the sound of the brain fits Bayesian computing. Neurons are not just randomly making noise, this noise is meaningful.

I propose an idea that the brain is a music instrument, and intuition it's meaningful overtone. Maybe this is why we can love music, it reflects our own thinking, musical brain, always busy to search accordance between firing neurons. Now my question is: if you believe in g'd, who plays the instrument? Is it the brain (the machine), is it the soul or is it g'd, or is it a combination of all three?

It would mean that communication results in sound in the brain. Do we translate all input of our senses (partly)into sound? Or is it just the decision making that is accompanied with Bayesian computing?
Is playing the instrument pulling snippets out of a library of meaningful ideas? This research of Pouget inspires me. And even though he focusses on the machine and I on the player and designer, I'm curious about how it continues.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

meaning of ten fingers

When I was a little Odile, I used to look at buildings and ask myself what was the meaning of the amount of stones used to make this particular row of bricks that composes this wall. What is the meaning of two hands, ten fingers. Why ten? Instead of disappearing, these questions are still alive, very much so. So now I decided I'm going to explore this further, and since no meaning comes from science or arts sec, I find myself listening to this little Odile again. I find myself reading aboutkabbalah and it reflects better my creative thinking and feelings. Maths, puzzles, language, ... are full of meaning. Meaning is not a bunch of isolated copied thoughts accumulated.

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

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