Hi all,
I just posted something new on my blog about the book, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future.. I know it's been very popular in the education community, and I can see why. We certainly need more creativity and freedom in education.

However, I found some things really bothered me about the book and I share them in my post.

The idea that you have to divide people into two camps, claim that one has been "ruling" over the other and that this must change is divisive. I don't know that I can support a call for creativity based on diminishing the accomplishments and gifts of some people and trumpeting others. Don't we as educators need to celebrate the gifts of all children, not talk about how one type of "mind" will "rule?"

I also found his examples really weak and the creativity exercises uninspiring. Perhaps my expectations were set too high, or perhaps I just took the attack on left-brainers personally.

Read and let me know what you think!

Views: 80

Tags: brain, creativity, daniel, left, mind, new, pink, right, whole

Comment by Miguel Guhlin on April 17, 2008 at 8:34pm
Sylvia, these are just pop educulture ideas. Read 'em, debate 'em, have fun while you're doing it and move on to the next, or start your own. These are valuable only insofar that they get you to think outside your comfort zone. Sounds like Pink's book did that...as he did for me. However, I wouldn't go out and transform the world based on it...it's not like it's the Gospel.
;->

Thanks for sharing,
Miguel
Comment by Sylvia Martinez on April 17, 2008 at 8:59pm
OK, so why are educational conferences spending $20,000 to hear him speak for an hour?
Comment by Dr. Larry Anderson on April 17, 2008 at 10:27pm
Sylvia, maybe it's because the meeting organizers are brainwashed, but since they can't figure out which of their brains is washed, they just choose none at all. Thus, the logic of such a price tag emerges. But, seriously, I think they realize that he will be a "draw," and it's all about padding the income statement. :-)
Comment by Kevin on April 17, 2008 at 10:33pm
Sylvia,
I agree that the Mr. Pink's premise can be divisive but I feel I must share some feelings I had when reading his recent book. As an art teacher and a theater director I viewed my educational surroundings in what might be a different way than many of my peers. The idea that one set of valued skills was valued over others was true where I worked and I would suspect it's true in many schools even before the testing mania and NCLB. Many times in my school the arts were perceived as fluff and nearly glorified "recesses" for kids. I even had teachers hold kids in class and not send them to art to punish them for being behind in their class that "mattered" as if my curriculum and teaching degree wasn't too important. I saw kids excel in art and grow in so many ways through art but when the budget was tight, the math, science and english teachers didn't worry like me that their program would be cut. My music teacher and band teacher friends and I spoke often about this over coffee and we bemoaned our lot a lot. I would offer that the arts should be integrated into all content areas and that creativity and non-linear learning be as common as their counterparts. These are of course broad statements motivated by one teacher's personal experiences but they are my experiences. This book was interesting to me but as Miguel said, I am having fun with this one and will move on but it feels good to have someone trumpet the value of creativity from a momentary pulpit. Too often in education, we swing the pendulum too far in one way or the other but I think there is definitely room for more balanced approaches to learning styles and natural talents. I didn't intend to write a thesis but I thank you for starting this conversation!
Kevin
Comment by Bruce Nightingale on April 18, 2008 at 1:57am
Hi, I cant comment on the specifics of the book as I have not read it! Sylvia's post intrigued me enough to do some research. The following article (link) has some good references for those of you would like to read around the topic a little more.

http://www.aft.org/pubs-reports/american_educator/issues/fall2006/cogsci.htm

I am 'left brainer' - maths/computing background!

Regards, Bruce
Comment by Jeff Branzburg on April 18, 2008 at 4:42am
My issue with Pink when I read him last summer had to to with his references to "abundance." He says:

"Abundance has satisfied, even over-satisfied, the material needs of millions—boosting the significance of beauty and emotion, and accelerating individuals’ search for meaning."

Also, "The prosperity it (L-Directed Thinking) has unleashed has placed a premium on less rational, more R-Directed sensibilities—beauty, spirituality and emotion. For businesses, it’s no longer enough to create a product that’s reasonably priced and adequately functional. It must also be beautiful, unique and meaningful."

True for millions of us, but not true for many more millions. I am consulting in a middle school in the South Bronx a couple of days a week, and the kids there experience anything but material abundance. It is a poverty area. Although everybody searches for meaning, abundant or not, for tens of millions of people in the USA (and billions around the world) I think that products that are "reasonably priced and adequately functional" are a higher priority than "beautiful, unique and meaningful." Not that that doesn't make it better, but if I am hungry and less materially abundant, a simple, less expensive meal is fine.

I agree with Kevin's comment above. The arts have been short changed in schools for years. We used to refer to art and music as minor subjects, while math, science, language arts, social studies, and foreign language were major subjects. Terminology says a lot about views.
Comment by Randy Rivers on April 18, 2008 at 6:26am
Once you've heard his keynote, I believe you would come away with a much different perspective. He emphasizes repeatedly that the "left-brain" skills are still important, but not as important as they once were. He pokes fun at himself as a highly left-brained person, but makes the argument for a more holistic (whole brain) approach to preparing yourself for the economic realities of the coming years.
Comment by Scott Swanson on April 18, 2008 at 8:41am
On the $20,000 point: people pay for two major reasons, IMHO.

(1) They want a perturber. When the needle is buried on one side of the meter, you don't put something centrist in to try to normalize things. You bring a source from the radical opposite to balance it. Put another ("left brain") way: "(x + 10000) / 2 = 0. Solve for x."

(2) They're sheep, and they know that this guy says things they get warm and fuzzy about, and he is expensive -- therefore he must be good, to command prices THAT high in the market -- so they must want him, too.

Yes, I know (2) is cynical, but to thine own self be true and all that.

Sometimes I like to imagine a society that is ruled by a preposterous overemphasis of the "right-brain," as a thought exercise. I find the buildings to be beautiful, the art heart-wrenchingly moving on every corner, and the poetry at every eulogy I attend moving me to tears -- and I have to attend these eulogies daily, because bridges collapse every 20 minutes and cities have a tendency to burn down (though gorgeously and in C# minor) due to insufficient water supply for the fire department (who have these fire engines that make you stop and catch your breath with their daring style -- and the fact that you're choking to death because the seal is no good on your ventilator mask, because the actual tight-fitting rubber can't be molded aesthetically, and nobody came up with polymers yet anyway because they're not sexy).

I could say more, but my left brain is telling me my 10 minutes are up. :)
Comment by Sarah Hanawald on April 18, 2008 at 9:59am
Interesting point. I just wrote a blog entry that references Mr. Pink. I've skimmed his book--which is what I think it merits from me. However, administrators seem to eat this stuff up. Maybe because they can afford the conferences with $20,000 speakers? So, I find it extremely helpful to cite Mr. Pink, Alan November, etc when I'm explaining why I want to do something. The "in the trenches" experts aren't as well known. It's not really the administrator's fault. They have to keep up in every field--I know one who has just had a big lesson in nutrition and health code requirements (not where I work, I hasten to add). So naturally, they gravitate towards the more splashy "experts."

I've been thinking about whether I could explain twitter as Daniel Pink style lesson in empathy. A stretch?
Sarah
Comment by Randy Rivers on April 18, 2008 at 11:34am
I remember a great deal of "po poing" of John Naisbitt's work MegaTrends back in the early '80s, too. His work was based on "data" (which a great deal of proved out over time) and so is a great deal of Mr. Pink's...we're still not very good at understanding the value of data and deep analysis of that data in our field, yet.

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