Friday, February 1, 2008

AWNM: Symphony Period 5

Fishbowl Live Blogging Participants
12:14-1:12 pm MST
Gary Stager:Gary is an internationally recognized educator and consultant who has spent twenty-five years helping teachers on six continents make sense of their roles in the age of personal computing and schools more constructive places for children.
Read Stager's review of A Whole New Mind.

Christian Long:
Christian is a high school English teacher and coach working at a college-prep, preK-12, independent school in Ft. Worth, TX. In addition to working in schools as a teacher and coach for over ten years (prior to his return in the fall of 07), he spent several years working with architects/planners, educational and technology leaders, policy makers, and communities to design and build schools from pre-K through the university level. This work took place throughout the United States and around the world.

Judy O’Connell:
Judy writes, speaks, and consults on school technology and library issues. She is an educator and information professional. Currently, Judy is the Head of Library and Information Services at St. Joseph’s College in Hunters Hill in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

241 comments:

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Christian Long said...

Looking forward to today's conversation (esp. after having taken part last week with the "Story" chapter discussion).

I'm semi-secretly hoping someone uses the word "gestalt" as a way to play around with "symphony" today. (he smiles)

And after seeing Gary S. in Philadelphia this past weekend, I'm truly looking forward to learning a great deal from his Q's/insights/criticisms as well.

Needless to say, any out-of-the-box-without-deep-consideration fans of "A Whole New Mind" may immediately cringe a bit at Gary's review of Pink's book (and Pink's use of the 6 sensory metaphors to drive home the global 21C construct) which hopes to define a new way of thinking about the brain, and therefore how we do just about everything we do (now and in the future).

A snippet from Gary's review (see above link -- hint: did you read it all, sportsfans? -- he smiles, curiously):

"Once again, terms like symphony are used as metaphors without the slightest regard for what a symphony is or how it's created."

Interesting, no?

And certainly ripe with provocation (and confidence). And certainly at least one (of many, many, many) things I look forward to hearing the student weigh in on later today.

Oh, and meeting Judy for the first time, too. While I'm drawn in by appropriate and not-so-appropriate uses of Pink's ideas -- as provocations, as opposed to truths -- I am also thrilled that new professional relationships may spark because of this classroom conversation.

With that said, I'm heading back to my advisory and 4th period Hon Eng II class before tuning back into the conversation on "Symphony".

Ciao.

Christian Long said...

One more provocative nugget from Gary's aforementioned review of AWNM:

"Devaluing the arts is not new or the exclusive fault of NCLB. The nation began losing its soul and sense or priorities decades ago."

I hope someone in the student universe will take a look at this one...and engage Gary on the premise.

See all y'all in about an hour.

alexf said...

Going off what Mr. Long said, what do you guys think that Gary S. meant when he said that Pink doesn't really describe symphony? What would it be?

morgant said...

What do artists really think about when they want to invent something new? I'm just curious to see what you guys think.

on pg. 137: "...sometimes the most powerful ideas come from simply combining two existing ideas nobody else ever thought to unite."

Tylerg! said...

I'm not sure Alex, I think it would be things working together the way that they are meant to and everything going well.

beckyg said...

Christian Long-

"Once again, terms like symphony are used as metaphors without the slightest regard for what a symphony is or how it's created."

I think understand what Mr. Stager is trying to say. I think he is looking at the fact that although this chapter entitled symphony it is about seeing the big picture and pulling the details together. I also understand the other side. I think Pink was trying to say that seeing the big picture is like listening to a symphony. You must hear it all and you must put all the seperate instruments together to make a beautiful product, like the details combine to form the big picture.

maddieh said...

I personally don't think symphony is a good name for this sense. It just doesn't seem like a very good description. What do you guys think it should be called instead?

maddieh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ZachH said...

I personally agree with symphony 100%. I have prefer to look at the big picture rather than tear apart the nit-picky details.

morgant said...

Off of what the inner circle is saying, should details and big picture things be separated? Or, should they be incorporated into the same area? What if some people just can't focus on details?

melissaz said...

Christian- I do have to agree with Gary on this one. The arts have definitaly been becoming more and more lost for a few years now. Many schools have been experimenting with a school with out arts to see of they could survive. My teacher has brought to our attention of one school in Greely, at least I think, that completely eliminated the arts program, and their test scores plummeted. And then later they brought back the program and the scores were back to before.

morgant said...

I think I'm getting better at seeing the big picture, but unfortunately I'm always caught up in the details. But, everything really works together.

katyj said...

morgan - i think that sometimes when artists create things they dont think about anything. i know that with art and writing, if you think too much it starts to look wrong, and if you don't really think you just do then thats when the product starts to come together.

Judy O'Connell said...

So p130 there's a statement "symphony is about relationships" - will this help drive the details of joint collaborative ventures? Big picture and relationships - would they be the best combination?

ZachH said...

MaddieH-

I disagree. I think Symphony is a good name for this sense. Since Symphony is about pulling details together to see the big picture. Think about a musical symphony. All of the instruments have to be pulled together to hear the song.

Another name that would mean the same thing is synthesis.

Tylerg! said...

Zach if all we see is the big picture, then nothing would happen. We would just keep looking ahead and not do anything to get there.

Gary said...

Sorry, I lost net access in Borders after squatting during last period in Starbucks.

I am back!

Gary said...

Sorry, I lost net access in Borders after squatting during last period in Starbucks.

I am back!

macm said...

maddieh- I disagree. I think that symphony is the perfect owrd for this sense, because a symphony is a complicated piece of music written to be played by many different parts of the orchestra. So it's the coming together of details to form a beautiful work of art, or a big picture.

stephenf said...

Gary-

Though I do agree with your comment on the fact that we have had a slowly degrading appeal for deatails and the arts. I feel that there has been an increase in TV watching and going to movies. This is especially true of the teenagers today. If you were to ask a teenager today: How many times have you been to an Art or Historical Museum? They will most likely say that the last time they had been was on a fifth grade field trip.

morganw said...

@Alexf - Though I can't speak for Gary S. myself, personally I do not think symphony was the right term either. Symphony makes me think more about how things flow and move together, in more of a combined and fluid manner than Pink describes in his book.

maddieh said...

Zach- I can see where the big picture is important but aren't details just as important? Take the book for example. Dan Pink could easily just have said "Right brain is more prominent than left. There are 6 senses. Use them. Yada Yada Yada. The End." I'm not saying I agree with all the points he makes but there is no way he could have gotten his points across without details.

maddieh said...
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alexf said...

Becky G~
Wow, thank you for explaining that to me! I agree, I think that the title of the chapter, Symphony, was both completely on and completely off. What I’m wondering though, is how do you think that “seeing relationships” relates to Symphony? (Ex: “the inventor, boundary crosser, and metaphor maker”)

Gary said...

Do you think that Pink's book was designed to play upon American's fears of economic threats by people from other countries?

beckyg said...

Morgan-

I think when an inventor is creating something new, they are attempting to create a "big picture" out of many details. It must both have functionality and beauty. If you just make something "pretty" and do not care whether or not it works, the single detail of "pretty" is not important enough to make someone buy the product. The invention must be the whole picture.

melissaz said...

Yes Maddie and Christian- I see Mr. Stager's point in how symphony isn't really described in this chapter. Yes, I can see the relationship, but the relationship seems almost too small to use Symphony to title the "big picture" idea.

Judy O'Connell said...

Great comments about leadership!! You know, there are some people in leadership management positions who seem to only see the big picture - they aren't detail kind of people. Is this a problem for an organisation?

Gary said...

Pink has almost no reference to music in his chapter entitled, "Symphony."

If this is JUST a metaphor, then why use "symphony?"

BINGO - DRAWING HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SYMPHONY!!!!!

morgant said...

maddieh- details are very important. Without all the little details, the big picture would not come together as one. You need both to see the big picture.

Tylerg! said...

Yes Becky it needs to be a whole, but symphony alone can't do it. You need all the pieces to get to the big picture and the steps to put it together.

ZachH said...

I agree with Becky. I understand what Mr. Stager is saying about Symphony being a metaphore but at the same time, it relates to how a musical symphony works. I personally think it is a great metaphore and perfect example for the point Pink is trying to make.

Gary said...

When Pink says that poets make good managers. This might be true if poets wanted to BE managers. If they were managers, they probably would not be poets.

morgant said...

Mrs. O'Connell- I think that it would be a problem for organizations when the owner or whatever only sees the big picture. Sometimes you need to focus on the details in order to make the big picture happen. You need to really see the relationship and put together all the pieces in order to get to the big picture ultimately.

Gary said...

Symphony is not the same as puzzle. It's also not conducting.

Gary said...

Symphony is not the same as puzzle. It's also not conducting.

Tylerg! said...

Gary, I agree. This makes sense due to the fact that as a poet you've chosen your profession, but can't are circumstance affect this? If we are in need and poetry is not working, wouldn't we be drawn to a higher paid job.

Christian Long said...

What I value most of all -- thanks to Gary's review (and the subsequent discussion) -- is that without the metaphor of "symphony" being open for discussion/debate, there would be no inherent 'value' in its use. The very existence of this debate suggests that the metaphor (all 6, actually) are merely provocations...rather than final truths.

Christian Long said...

What I value most of all -- thanks to Gary's review (and the subsequent discussion) -- is that without the metaphor of "symphony" being open for discussion/debate, there would be no inherent 'value' in its use. The very existence of this debate suggests that the metaphor (all 6, actually) are merely provocations...rather than final truths.

katyj said...

Alexf - i tin that i know why Daniel Pink called this chapter symphony but i agree that it wasnt the best title. I think that he called it symphony because of the comparison he drew to a symphony orchestra. Every instrument(the details) weaves into the music to make a beautiful sound(the big picture).

Judy O'Connell said...

I agree too! and I'm glad that you can see the problem with the morgant. Lots of great leaders miss this point and maybe they symphony approach helps make big picture and detail possible in creative ways.

Ryad said...

Gary-
I’m not sure if the original idea was to play up America’s fears but it definitely does seem to make them more of a reality during some points of the book. Even if it was intentional then fear is a good motivator

Gary said...

Shouldn't metaphors inform our discussion?

Pink's choice of metaphor could have easily been "stew." Stew is made up of stuff all mixed together.

Yeah, a real musician!!!!

Gary said...

Shouldn't metaphors inform our discussion?

Pink's choice of metaphor could have easily been "stew." Stew is made up of stuff all mixed together.

Yeah, a real musician!!!!

catem said...

Maddieh: I agree. A lot of people have been referring about muscial symphony, and how you have to listen to it as a whole, however without constant practice and focus on individual instruments the symphony won't sound right.

maddieh said...

Gary- I do think a lot of this plays off fears. They are valid points but I think they are presented in a way that makes it seem like it is ultimately true and we have to change the way we learn to compete with everything. Yes, I think we could focus more on right-brain tendencies but it is told in a way that kind of scares people.

maddieh said...

Gary- I do think a lot of this plays off fears. They are valid points but I think they are presented in a way that makes it seem like it is ultimately true and we have to change the way we learn to compete with everything. Yes, I think we could focus more on right-brain tendencies but it is told in a way that kind of scares people.

Laurenc said...

Gary - I have to agree about your comment on how drawing has nothing to so with symphony. I draw and am in a symmphony oddly enough and can't really see the relation. In a drawing it is the details that make the picture great. The big picture is important but the details make is original

beckyg said...

Gary-

I do not think that Mr. Pink's purpose in writing this book was to pray on American's fear. Out-sourcing is a fact that we have to deal with in todays world. I think he was just trying to give more support for the reason that their is a shift towards right-brained thinking.

alexf said...

Gary~
I agree. I don’t think that symphony is a puzzle and I was quite confused as to why Pink chose Symphony for the title, but as I thin about it, symphony is about the “band” as a whole. Music doesn’t sound as good when the instruments aren’t playing together, just as a puzzle doesn’t look/work well when the pieces are not placed in the correct spots. In this way, Symphony can be similar to a puzzle. What do you think?

Gary said...

When didn't we need both sides of the brain?

Isn't this just a description of good liberal arts education, the sort of experiences rich children have had for centuries?

How does this inform our thinking about the future?

Judy O'Connell said...

Really? I love the title symphony because of the analogue of all the different instruments - very different - coming together in a creative whole very different from the parts.

morganw said...

@Gary - I agree. Drawing has nothing at all to do with symphony. I also think that by using the term “symphony” he is contradicting everything else he said in the former chapters of the book. He says that we need a whole new mind yet he emphasizes the differences between his metaphorical “right brain” and “left brain”.

ZachH said...

Gary-

I think Symphony is ment to be a methaphor rather than about music. It is meant to show how all sorts of details have to come together to form a bigger picture just like all of the instruments have to come together to create a real, musical Symphony.

I also do recall pink making reference to music when he talks about how symphony relates to music. I may be wrong but i thought there was a breif paragraph or two where he explained Symphony and it's relationships to music.

ryanm said...

gary- yes. i think that Pink has used a brilliant strategy by including things like outsiurcing and job loss. Of course, just because people buy it, doesnt make it a good resource.

melissaz said...

gary- That is a great point that I had never really noticed. I think that Pink is sending messages that are following the threat some people are begining to feel from the increased amount of work that is being sent to other countries. But, I do think his points are valid and could become even more of a threat. Pink is taking a fear of many business men and bring it in to today, trying to, in a way prepare future workers for what they might have to deal with.

morgant said...

Gary- Stew does have many things mixed together, but if you have stew, everything is all over the place. If you think about it, Symphony really relates to music. Music has a rythym to it, and if all the details come together and forms the big picture, its the same as music in a sense.

Am I making sense?

Gary said...

Around 1900, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Americans could play a Joplin rag on the piano. Does that mean that they were better equipped for the 21st Century than people today?

macm said...

In the book Pink makes symphony sound like JUST the big picture and forgetting the details, but isn't the whole point of symphony to perfect the details but then relate them to each other so that they make a beautiful work of art? Could symphony be both big picture and details?

Gary said...

Morgant,

Yes, you make a lot of sense - lots more than Daniel Pink.

hannahl said...

Becky G- I agree that this wasn't the point of the book. However, it definately helps to have a fear-factor. Americans are in fact very afraid of outsourcing. In order for him to get his point across and make it popularized I think that he had to have some sort of fear in the book. Otherwise, people wouldn't think that his right-brain theory is important now instead of later.

morgant said...

Music has a lot of different details put together to make one great piece of music. That is the same with details and seeing the big picture. They have to come together to create something new.

That is kind of what I was trying to get at.

maddieh said...

Gary- I am actually writing my paper on how I think we have used both parts of our brain throughout history and this is not something totally new. I agree with Daniel Pink about the senses but not that this is new or that we need to change totally.

Tylerg! said...
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stephenf said...

Smith Period 5 Class-

Perspective. Bias and perspaective have always been in society. Most people don't look at bias' or racism because we simply avoid our own faults. Off of what Gary said about fear and how Pink used this to grab our attention. What do you guys think about this.?

Tylerg! said...

Morganw, i think that although we only focus on drawing as symphony for the most part. It is not completley left out. Drawing does have something to do with symphony.

Gary said...

Ray Charles was not deaf.

Beethoven was.

Gary said...

Ray Charles was not deaf.

Beethoven was.

Gary said...

Ray Charles was not deaf.

Beethoven was.

ZachH said...

Mr. Long,

I agree with what you said about Pink's book is not the "final truth." I think it is merely his suggestions and personal ideas. I have enjoyed reading this book since it does cause much debate. It is nice to see both sides rather than just being fed information (which too often happens in school.)

Judy O'Connell said...

There was one point that I think was so important. p 130 - "prefix of our times" - multi! This is symphony is a new and special way especially when you are looking at even this class - it is very 'multi' with blogging, video, computing etc. Learning as a multi-modal conversation for you all.

Christian Long said...

Gary: (Love that you're pushing the students, all of us actually, to consider the power of metaphor, as well as the accuracy of any we may use/consider)

My gut tells me that simply by using the word "symphony", he sparks an association that many -- corporate manager, poet, teacher, chef, plumber -- may immediately connect to at as elevated a level as possible without intellectual semantics taking over.

Is it ripe with criticism? Is the word "symphony" inherently incorrect without the "musical" connection? Are we incapable of engaging in a conversation where "symphony" becomes a starting point, rather than the "correct answer"?

I'd like to think so.

As to the use of Pink's book -- and thesis -- to drive home economic fear (abundance, Asia, etc.), OF COURSE is what comes to mind.

That being said, the metaphors (symphony, et al) still are engaging starting points for larger considerations of the world we live in today and the one that is ever-evolving in front of us.

ryanm said...

gary- I think that Americans of the 1900's were well equipped for their era. Now, a lot of people dont know how to play the piano at all. But all those who can, are equipped for the 1900's as well as now...if they can operate a computer also.

ZachH said...

I believe Ray Charles was blind not deaf.

hannahl said...

Ray Charles was blind. FYI

mattw said...

margant - this is in my WRP, but I think that details are more important becasue a drumset or percussion instrument can play in nearly every genre of music. So I don't think the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Selenam said...

I'm an artist, and I've found that in a picture that is supposed to be realistic, if one thing is off, then the whole picture will look strange. In artwork that doesn't look realistic, like Picasso's, the individual elements themselves are less important then how they work together to create a whole picture. So are realistic pictures more left brained, because they are detail-oriented? Are unrealistic pictures more right brained because they make you focus on the whole picture?

beckyg said...

Gary-

I understand that you think if he has entitled a chapter symphony, he should talk about symphony, but like his book, the title is a metaphor, part of the right side of his brain. I think he entitles this chapter sympony because like a symphony, each individual part is ok, but when you put everything together to see the big picture, it becomes beautiful and important. If you put together all the different details and mesh them together, they form a beautiful "big picture" that can be better than the details alone.

katyj said...

Gary-
I think that even though they could play a Joplin rag they would have been sadly lacking in the skills it takes to succeed in todays world. In todays world if you are not politically correct you are setting yourself up for a lawsuit, and this is much different from how things were in 1900. This is just one example but just because someone can play a song doesnt mean that they can see the big picture or find relationships and patterns.

alexf said...

Zach H and Mr. Long~
I definitely agree saying that AWNM is not the “final truth” but is just a beginning. Because of this, what do you feel should be changed about Pink’s book?

Judy O'Connell said...

wheel quote - you know, I thought about this too. But it was a bit flippant - maybe designed to be provocative and make us think.

morganw said...

@Gary - according to Pink, it does. All I think Pink succeeded in making this book is teaching the American public that you really can sell anything. Being able to play Chopin or Mozart on the piano is a different aspect of learning than using a "right brain" or a "left brain".

Gary said...

Symphonies are the result of intellectual processes quite similar to the ones experienced by the programmers Pink dismisses. My fear is that Pink has never had any deep experience in either the arts or sciences.

The best musicians I know are great because of their analytical abilities. They have an ability to understand, reflect upon and articulate their mental processes with great clarity.

There are lots of scientists who are outstanding classical pianists and many composers who possess terrific mathematical talent.

Pink's either-or/zero-sum view of the world is troubling.

morgant said...

Mr. Long- I also think that Symphony is referring to everything flowing together nicely and making something new. That may not be all that easy, but it's just everything coming together for one purpose.

ryanm said...

selenam- i agree. i am also an artist. when i draw, i have a picture in my head. if one thing is wrong, i have to go back and fix it until its at least satisfactory. when you draw, do you have a picture in mind?(just trying to prove a point)

hannahl said...

Christian and Gary- AWNM should not be seen as a new idea. Fear is definately a huge starting point for this book, but he then took somewhat mundane and humanistic ideas and used metaphors and few statistics to make it sound like something new. To me, it is not something that money should be spend on, it is something that all of us inherintly know. It is simply human. Therefore, we are using this book as a starting point in this class to explore these ideas.

maddieh said...

Selena- One thing about art is that it is very emotional, or at least I think it is. Its hard to say that all the peices should go together or not because it is supposed to capture an emotion or a moment. I think the actual painting is what is considered the symphony aspect but not the actual art.

Judy O'Connell said...

Well, these are just examples perhaps to make us think. The comment about 'improving' is so true. It is always about building or combining things in a new way.

macm said...

Gary-
It makes me think of those movies with the ice skaters or musicians, where one has perfect technical precision and the other pours their emotion into his art. Aren't they both beautiful but in a different way? Does this new world not have room for both types of art?

catem said...

On the inner circle: I think that the first one to invent something is not "an idiot" but rather an inspiration for the next one to add on to this. For instance Flemings who discovered penicillin, was not stupid, he just didn't discover all the possibilities.

macm said...
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Gary said...

Do you think that Pink started with conclusions and then backfilled selective quotes and facts to support those conclusions?

Gary said...

I love this kid!!! (the one who doesn't like the Pink book)

You win a $15 Gary Stager college scholarship!

melissaz said...

Christian- I agree. Symphony is not the best title in my opinion, but all the titles are a metephor to spark an idea and more to create new ideas, putting an idea with a word. They are, as you have said, just starting points.

hannahl said...

macm- I totally agree. As a dancer, I must struggle day in and day out with my body and my flexibility because it is not up to par with the other dancers. However, I have a deep passion for dance and I am emotionally invested in what I do, it is not an activity but rather a religion. Therefore I agree with your metaphor and the idea that it is never either or, it is never black and white.

mattw said...

I heard this from the movie "The Sixth Sense";
If you continuously move a pencil on a paper without thinking about it, eventualy you will write what you're thinking. I think that's like putting all your thoughts together into some "symphony/interpretation"

beckyg said...

Gary-

I definately agree with you. We definately need both sides of the brain. We need to function with everything we have and we must develop both sides of our brain as equally as possible. We have talked about this concept before. I think that he is concentrating on the right-brain because in the past we have been developing our left-brain, and now we need to develop our right-brain also.

alexf said...

SelenaM~
Wow, great relation to realistic and unrealistic art. I think that art has to do with BOTH right brain abilities AND left brain abilities. Unlike what Pink said, (I’m pretty sure) is that art is not completely left brained. Art, and almost everything else, need BOTH left and right brains. I’m confused as to why everyone keeps focusing on just one side. Do you feel that we should focus on one side or both?

ZachH said...

Alex-
I don't know that anything has to be changed. It has to be read with an open mind and then interperted. There are two sides and you have to keep an open mind.

Gary said...

You're welcome

Judy O'Connell said...

Education used to be about treating all people as if they have the same brain. Until we changed we couldn't allow creativity.Couldn't pink's book help develop new thinking amongst teachers?

katyj said...

Cate - great point the person who first invents something is not an idiot, he is obviously a genius, if he came up with this new idea. The man who uses the first mans invention to make a new invention is not a copy cat either they are collaborating to make the world a better place.

Gary said...

How about an Amazon gift certificate so you can buy another book?

ryanm said...

gary- i think Pink started with a few points and turned them into "senses" and metaphors. he then found quotes and research to build up his book.

Christian Long said...

Agree with Gary re: "fear". Then again, if we feared nothing, we'd consider "change" to be unnecessary.

In my limited scope of language and Pink's "research", I'm at peace that he uses fear (literally and in a latent fashion) to grab eyeballs...and posit his premise.

As to the "either/or" construct, again I agree with Gary.

I am growing every weary of the Western need for "either/or" debates. While a powerful analytical pedastal to spark conversation, rarely does the real world operate in an "either/or" manner.

Whether it be a 21C/School 2.0 vs. "Classic" education argument, or the "left" vs. "right" brain debate, the ultimate "answer" is moot and irrelevant in real time.

Whether we agree or disagree with Pink's assessment of cognitive (i.e. brain) study or metaphorical applications, he never fully argues that the "left" side of the brain should replace the "right" side.

He merely offers that the playing field should be leveled, and that an individual or team that possesses that an agile use of both will adapt faster in the open market (economics, ideas, design, you name it).

I never read the book as an "either/or" once you got past the bumper sticker ideas.

Your thoughts -- Gary and students -- about this?

Selenam said...

ryanm-Sometimes. Sometimes I have a picture in my head and try to draw it, and if I get something wrong doing that, I do have to go back and fix it. But one thing I like to do is close my eyes and randomly draw four lines. I open my eyes and draw something using those four lines. It really depends.

Tylerg! said...

This book is built on a left brain opinion on why you shouldn't believe in a left brain. It contradicts himself and what he is writing about.

morgant said...

Mrs. O'Connell- I think it really could help. There are different learners out there, and teaching one way cannot accomodate all of them. So, if teachers can incorporate some of Pink's stuff in teaching, it may benefit students.

Gary said...

Throughout the book, Pink introduces a metaphor, like right/left brain and then quickly says, "that might not be actually true or relevant," but then continues to make his case based on the theoretical foundation he undermined.

Gary said...

Throughout the book, Pink introduces a metaphor, like right/left brain and then quickly says, "that might not be actually true or relevant," but then continues to make his case based on the theoretical foundation he undermined.

mattw said...

I actually agree with morgan, because Pink's book slowly turned into a textbook.
- I appreciate the idea, but what right-brain person would read this book?!?!

morgant said...

Now, I agree with Pink on the Symphony chapter and stuff, that is why I'm writing my paper on it, but I don't necessarily agree with the other topics of Pink's book. Like everyone has said, he can be a little hypocritical and such.

katyj said...

to everyone
I personally agree with morganw
Mr. Pink is very hypocritical. To incorporate what laurenc said too, Mr. Pink is telling us to see the big picture by giving us the details. he is telling us to be right brained by appealing to our left brains. How is telling us to be one thing through the oppisite way going to get us to be the first way?

morganw said...

@Gary - an Amazon gift certificate would be great.

Gary said...

MacM,

Every city has a legendary player who has remarkable musical technique and never leaves the practice room. That does not make her a great musician or artist.

An artist reflects her age, culture and experiences outside of their art.

Technique and artistry are critical. They are probably mutually dependent as well.

whitneys said...

I read Mr. Stager's article and the quote

"Devaluing the arts is not new or the exclusive fault of NCLB. The nation began losing its soul and sense or priorities decades ago."

really caught my attention. I partially agree and disagree with Mr. Stager's comment. The NCLB emphasizes the importance of standardized assessments and using those tests to evaluate the education system. Therefore, schools focus on preparing students for these tests. These assessments do not include the arts but focus on left brain knowledge. Thus, the arts are less important in education.
However, when he mentions the nation losing its "soul and sense", I have to agree. It is not just the United States specifically, but the human race as a whole. The same advancement of technology Pink says allows more right brain thinking, also allows a lack of right brain thinking and emotion. We turn to pills to give us the emotions we desire or we text people rather than having a real conversation with them. These are just minor examples but show how emotion in particular is being lost. Without emotion, there are no arts.

ryanm said...

tylerg! i agree!!! Pink is contradicting himself over and over and over. he is very repetative and is hypocritical. but he used outsourcing and job loss into it, and people buy it for getting an edge on that. they dont catch that when theyre not reading for it.

Judy O'Connell said...

@morgant would it be good for all teachers to read this book?

maddieh said...

Tyler- I think one thing why everyone thinks the book is so contradictory or hypocritical is that people in general will distort facts to get there point across. Everything can be interpreted many different ways. Using one part of a fact is not unusual at all. Look at politicians...

beckyg said...

I agree with what Morgan said. I think the portfolios are not very usefull. I think that he is trying to develop the right-brain to equal the left brain, but I think we can't just seperate the brain. I do not like the idea of the Chad school from a former chapter because it does seperate people and make sure they are only with others like them. I think this is completely against his entire idea of symphony. Seperating people by one idea rather than putting them together like in symphony so that they can learn together and teach eachother.

macm said...

mattw-
Haha none. This is a book by a left-brained man written about right-brained people for left-brained people. Have you noticed that this is a book based on a thesis? He is approaching creativity scientifically, which just doesn't work.

ZachH said...

Ms. O'Connell,
I think the book is very thought provoking and has several good ideas. I don't think it has a lot to do with education but I agree whole heartedly that it can start great discussions and get ideas flowing. At Arapahoe, several of my teachers have quoted it in class and Ms. Smith informed us that our principal is using it in staff meetings. I think it can help anyone who wants the help, but you can't take it as 100% the truth.

macm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stephenf said...

Tyler-
If Pink didn't contradict himself he never would have been challanged to look at the right brain. If we don't have a challange then we don't grow. Gary has done a great job in challanging us. He has made us question what we think of AWNM and in that way possibley have made us stronger by finding our own answers.

morgant said...

Mrs. O'Connell- Well, not all teachers will want to read this book. Some teachers like the way they give their students information and have them regurgitate it to them on the test. But, I think it would be beneficial for most teachers to at least get a few ideas from it. I don't know about reading it though.

Gary said...

Don't you think symphony was used as the metaphor because it provides liberal enlightened cover for his zero-sum economic and vocational arguments?

alexf said...

Mr. Long~

I agree! When I first started reading this book I felt as though Pink was (as to say kindly) “messing us up and being hypocritical.” I expressed this to the class and they saw it the completely opposite way. Now that I have read the book, I don’t see it as an either/or option. I feel like Pink is merely suggesting that we look into the future. You can’t always focus on what is happening or what has happened. Now I really do think that Pink is just saying that we need to make it leveled, which I feel is just. (Of course, now the class disagrees!)

Judy O'Connell said...

ON p.136 pink reminds us that symphony in music terms show us that each member of the orchestra and conductor has their own responsibilities. This takes us back to relationships and the notion of creative efforts while learning or innovating.

morgant said...

I also think that this book has several really good topics in it and many good ideas.

ryanm said...

judy o'connell- no. i dont think that every teacher should read this book. they would try to prepare their students for a world that may not exist. Pink focuses on the eventual "takeover" of rightbrained people and how left brainers will eventually become substandard. teachers will avoid the "left" approach and leftbrained people will suffer.

Gary said...

is that really how scientific theories work?

You don't invent a theory and then search for evidence.

maddieh said...

Is it just me or does it seem like older people are getting more out of this book than students? But wasn't the book written for adults?? Could this be because teaching has changed or have we as learners already changed and adults need help to change everything they have previously learned??

hannahl said...

Whitneys- I definately agree with Mr. Stager's idea that the country lost its "soul and sense" already. It is a sad truth that unless we make a big push, this trend of less empathy and less art will continue. Our society is based on technology and TV shows. We are no longer judged by American Authors, or journalism (that is a whole different story). It is losing its stamp of originality because of the lack of emphasis on arts. It is important that we realize this and work to improve it.

mattw said...

On my comment WAY earlier about the curvy letteres; On pg. 136 in Pink's book, it says Perspective is more important than IQ, or something to that effect. I love that idea.

Tylerg! said...

Maddieh, it is a good point, but then people will doubt him if he is contradicting himself.

Gary said...

Isn't the "there aren't any new ideas" line a convenient technique for dismissing criticism of his work?

If so, then Pink has profited handsomely from cutting and pasting other people's ideas.

katyj said...

morgant - somehow i agree with you too. Though Pink constantly contridicts himself, there are nuggets of truth in what he says. We do need more emphasis on arts, though i dont think that the "right" brain is as pivotal as he makes it sound.

catem said...

Macm: I agree. He is saying that you need all this creativity, and he doesn't really have much creativity himself. Sure he wrote this book, but all he really did was bring together all these ideas from a ton of other reasearchers and make them work for his book.

Judy O'Connell said...

@alexf I enjoyed hearing your thoughts actually - as it shows how we all notice and react differently to things. In a way, different reactions to Pink's book highlights how ideas and views are so easily different - and also how easily ideas can become repressed. You demonstrated a 'thinking' Pink approach after all :-)

mattw said...

Maddieh - yah, I've noticed that. Younger people are more right brained and it switches with age?

Ryad said...

Gary-
I agree, mathematical and scientific theories are both based on the gathering of information and experiments then making a theories out of the results. It almost seems that Pink worked backward.

melissaz said...

@Christian- I completely agree. I do think that Pink is basing his book off of an either/or idea when he needs to focus on the bringing together of ideas. He waves in and out Right and Left brain, not how they need each other. Yes he is bringing in examples of how they need to work together, but I don't think enough. It seems the whole book has a large portion of focus on the Right brain, not the positives of the left brain as well. After reading what he has to say, it sounds like the Right brain is better than the left. I have not heard anything posiive about the left brain and how we need that as well. We aren't going to be able to only survive off of the right brain. I think that he has some valid points, but he still needs to perfect many of his ideas.

Gary said...

So, if Pink's book is about survival, what will you do differently to adapt and survive having read the book?

hannahl said...

gary- I definately think that Mr. Pink was compensating for his lack of right-brained experience by using widely known liberal ideas to cover his factual, statistical, analytical approach to this book. He used nothing but facts and therefore didn't make me feel any strong emotions, as a good book should.

ryanm said...

tylerg!- they wont catch it if they are not looking for it. i think that this book is aimed at people looking for an edge in the future. they dont want their job to be outsourced, so they are looking for the outsourcing part.

stephenf said...

I definitley agree with Matt W. As I mentioned in my other post, there is somany ideas based on perspective that finding true facts and ideas can be very challanging.

Gary said...

Even if multi-tasking IS new, how has school taught you to do so?

If school didn't teach it, then it's natural and you learned to multi-task by being in a context in which it was useful.

Being over-scheduled and overwhelmed isn't multi-tasking.

alexf said...

Hannah~
Well, according to Pink, we DO NOT need to push for this change from “left-brained controlled society to a right-brained controlled society.” He says that because of Asia, Automation, and Abundance, this will occur naturally. Why would we push for something that will “guaranteed happen?”

alexf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
katyj said...

Gary - very good point. By saying that there are no new ideas, he is also kind of dismissing his own work and saying that no one needs to read this book because the idea is already out there.

ZachH said...

Gary,
I agree that isn't how science works. Your data should prove or disprove your highpthesis. However, you do start with a hypthesis and then try to prove or disprove it. I think maybe Pink started with the hypothesis then tried to find evidence to support it.
I know it isn't very scientific to only present one side, but you rarely hear people arguing both sides at the same time.

I don't know if that makes sense or if it answers your question.

Selenam said...

Alexf-I think we should focus on both. If you only focus on one, you are missing out on the benefits of the other. Focusing on right brain would make a very good big picture, with very few details, and focusing on the left brain would make very good details, but the details might not work well together to make a good big picture. If you focus on both, then you can focus on details, but see how they come together in the big picture.

Gary said...

School divides knowledge into artificial chunks so it can fit a labor schedule for teachers.

Knowledge has always been more integrated and interconnected than school recognizes.

Judy O'Connell said...

Some employers are looking for creativity and 'multi-modal' people, even employing people with different backgrounds, who bring a multi-direction ability to be creative to a company.

maddieh said...

Matt- It seems like it. I think that we are just more used to using "right-brain" in our daily lives because of new technology and all that whereas adults are learning to learn to keep up with everything that us teenagers already know. That is why I think a lot of teenagers don't get much out of this book because we already use those senses. Personally, I think the teachers at Arapahoe should be reading this book and not the students. It is a valid book for a different age group.

mattw said...

@GARY - i think it may be an excuse, however my history teacher said that every piece of literature or event can be almost perfectly similar to another event or literature piece in history. I don't know if he's right. Do you think so?

Christian Long said...

Before I head out to coaching my 8th grade soccer team for their final game of the season, I want to ask -- Gary, teachers, students -- what book in recent years would be a better fit conversationally for the widest spectrum of people?

Let's agree that Pink's work -- like most -- is laden with faults, especially if it will be digestable by a wide audience, not just academics in a particular strain of research.

Let's agree that metaphors are inherently weak when it comes to linear review and "either/or" politics (both as the writer and as the audience).

Let's assume that at best this bok will be a speedbump in the road 5 years from now as other biz-to-life books take over its spot on the bestseller list.

Let's assume all of this.

With that said, what book that has been published in the last 5 years, would be a better fit to pull such a diversity of thinking and reaction by as wide an audience as Pink's book grabs?

And would it be of "value" beyond the echo chamber of one silo of expertise?

Curious.

And ready to head to Amazon as soon as that book is mentioned.

Cheers!

ryanm said...

gary- i think that Pink's book, if as contradictory as we have all said, is of a hypothetical situation. living standards are at an all time high, and soon, people might not even have to work. i dont think we will have to adapt because Pink is jst expanding on already known facts.

Ryad said...

School did not teach me how to multi-task. It tried to teach me that I needed to focus on just what they were teaching me. I learned to multi-task when I discovered I could be talking in class and still get an A on the test.

stephenf said...

Gary-

I feel that we learn to multi-task when we are put into situations that require multi-tasking. This can not be taught in a school room and it it not something we're born with. We learn it through experience.

morganw said...

Judy O'Connell and RyanM - I agree with Ryan. Encouraging teachers to all read and use this book and follow its principles would do the opposite of its purpose.

I do, however, think that more people need to be aware of the arts and more (I dislike using this metaphor) "right brained" senses such as Pink describes in his book.

And, to survive after having read his book, I am not going to change anything right away. I am going to continue to sing, act, write and draw. I will be aware of what Pink is saying, but I will most certainly not follow him religiously or take his book as the final word.

ZachH said...

Gary- I am very overschedualed and very busy. I don't know that it has taught me multitasking, but I can deal with it through multitasking

Laurenc said...

Gary - once again I agree with you completely. No one ever taught me how to multi-task, I just started doing it. Along the lines of school, I don't think 4 hours of homework is mulit-tasking...just a large amount of work for each class. We don't talk about history in english and we don't use music in math.

morgant said...

Thank you for joining us Mr. Long!

melissaz said...

Maddieh- That is a great point and who knows, a lot of the facts Daniel presents may sound like great facts to back up his point, but maybe those facts weren't ment to prove those points.

beckyg said...

Gary-

I think that despite what Mr. Pink insinuates, this change is not happening that fast. I do not think right-brained thinking has already replaced left-brained thinking. I think right now we need both sides of the brain and I think we should use both sides of our brain always.

alexf said...

SelenaM~
Then, according to your previous comment, do you think that there are certain activities which require more left-brain or right-brain usage?

Gary said...

@melissaz

The great scientist, Marvin Minsky, refers to the left/right brain stuff as "The Dumbbell Theory."

http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~cfs/472_html/Intro/MinskyArticle/MM5.html

http://edge.org/3rd_culture/minsky/minsky_p3.html

rsabey said...

Gary, I am sure you are being bombarded with questions but I just have one more.
America seems to have thrived on left brained thinking, yet I think we must move forward. i personally disagree with both you and Pink (dont take offence please)I think Mr. Pinks ideas are... interesting but presented incorrectly. He leaves no room for you to think and for the reader to broaden the horizion. But I do think some of his sences such as design and Empathy are crucial to happines.
I think both you and Pink are looking at life as too black and white, look in the gray and tell me how you think America can progress incluing all people.

macm said...

Question: Do we really need to abandon ALL left-brained jobs and tasks? I know that because of 'automation' and 'asia' people need to learn to be right-brained, but doesn't the creation of a new idea by a right-brained person create the demand for left-brained jobs? I mean come on. We're nenver going to be completely automated, because a)people are cheaper and b)they don't need to be repaired. Also with asia, we have been advancing faster than anyone else since the space race or even the atomic bomb. What makes Pink think it would stop now?

morgant said...

beckyg- I agree with you. I think this change is not happening fast. So, you do need a foundation in left brain skills as well as right brain skills in life.

Gary said...

Surely, schools can and should be reorganized.

However, connections between knowledge domains isn't the same as multi-tasking.

I truly admire the teachers involved in this process for having the courage to let cranks like me disagree in a public setting. Bravo!

Tylerg! said...

of course alexf, there are jobs that are step by step jobs and thei9r are jobs that require extreme creativity. There are people that have to do these and if you tried to do the opposite job as a left or right it wouldn't work out very well.

mattw said...

gary - I'm guessing "The Dumbbell Theory" is based on the fact that if you have to much weight on one side of a dumbbell, then it's nearly impossible to lift the bar. That's like the "Whole New Mind", right?

morganw said...

@Christian - thank you very much for joining us for a second time for our fischbowl.

morgant said...

macm- No, there will always be needs for left brain job. I really like your point that for every new idea, we will need more left brain jobs.

Judy O'Connell said...

We do need depth to knowledge, breadth and flexibility. Using Pink's ideas we can really add value to the learning experiences. I'm hearing some great comments about how we need to change the education experience. Cross subject thinking will create much better possibilities for big picture thinking

hannahl said...

Alexf- I do not agree with Pink that the world is changing into a right-brained place. It is just the opposite. Schools and countries are not so subtely shoving the arts away and classifying them as hobbies, never a livelihood or a calling. This is very personal for me because as a dancer, many people have told me that I am an idiot for wanting to dance professionally because it will be a huge struggle to maintain a life. Unfortunately, this happens all the time. Especially with technology and the dumbing down/popularization of the arts, it is so hard to believe that we will ever change from a left-brained to a right-brained world, although I wish it would.

melissaz said...

Gary- as I have read this book, everytime I notice that these aren't new ideas. He is not creating any new points, but he is displaying them to the world. He is taking facts and creating points so as to send this message to the world.

He may be making money off of old ideas, but isn't he pretty smart to be able to actually make the profit that other's havn't?

stephenf said...

I agree with Becky. We need to have both sides of our brains. One problem I have had with our fischbowls is the fact that we continue to look at both sides individually, which Pink has suggested to us but the "Big Idea" remains that we need A Whole New Mind.

Laurenc said...

Mac - I agree, left brained jobs will always be neccesary. Machines can't take over all of them as Pink states..that is just impossible

I also don't think it is possible to outsource as much as Pink says. What answer does he have for customer service? You can't fly someone out of India to California to fix something and not all problems can be solved over the phone

Gary said...

@mattw Your history/literature teacher's idea is probably correct. You could teach lots of skills and concepts through anything else.

All of the arts reflect the society of that moment in time.

For example, I know a noted historian who told me that she would teach history by having students read mystery novels by Dorothy Sayers because Sayers' characters use the tools and techniques of a historian to solve mysteries.

alexf said...

TylerG~
But going back to what Selena said, “If you only focus on one, you are missing out on the benefits of the other. Focusing on right brain would make a very good big picture, with very few details, and focusing on the left brain would make very good details, but the details might not work well together to make a good big picture. If you focus on both, then you can focus on details, but see how they come together in the big picture.” Now how do you feel about using only one side of the brain? Would you be missing out on the benefits of the other side?

Christian Long said...

@all-students: Thanks for having us. Ultimately, as adult participants, our job is NOT to tell how to decide this debate. At best, we are afforded the ability to ask questions, but we -- like you -- are hardly in agreement as to the final outcome. The book cannot live up to all of our wishes. It can only spark the conversation. Which -- perhaps I'm being naive -- it has done admirably so.

Be well!

See you next week when you hit a new chapter.

ryanm said...

rsabey- i agree with your belief that empathy and design are key to happiness. i hope you dont mind if i help answer your question. I think America can progress if we are done with being so politically correct and start caring more about people. from there, we can start to expand our ideas and get off our high horses.

catem said...

Beckyg: I strongly agree with you. If left brained thinking just took over in the twentieth century, then we aren't suddenly going to POOF be a right brained society. I don't think that left brained thinkers are going to be left out in the cold in the next five years, but rather that right brained thinking will slowly be intergrated into society.

Judy O'Connell said...

"Learn with our whole minds" what a great statement :-)

beckyg said...

Gary-

I think that the idea of multi-tasking is what Mr. Pink wants to get across in this chapter. I think he is trying to say that we need to integrate more subjects rather than having them so divided.

katyj said...

Gary - just because you do not agree with "popular" opinion doesnt make you a crank. i think that it is very important to not only see one opinion. If you only see one opinion then you agree with that opinion. But if you see more than one point of view then you can form your own point of view.

maddieh said...

Rachel- I agree. I don't think Mr. Pink is entirely wrong but I don't think Mr. Stager is entirely right. Just like symphony, we need to take the big picture of Mr. Pink's book but forget the details because they actually seem to blur his message. But, we can't get caught up on those details or we learn nothing from him. Also, being completely against him never allows us to learn or here him out. Even if we don't agree with some of Mr. Pink's thoughts, we need to keep an open mind.

hannahl said...

@Gary- I find your point very true about how arts reflect the times we live in. I mean, just look at Bob Dylan or M.A.S.H. It is one of the greatest ways to tell what a society was really like by looking at the culture and the art that came from that era. Otherwise, facts will be the only things that we know of those people, who are so much more than numbers.

mattw said...

I think you need the left mind to learn and the right side to give a crap.

alexf said...

HannahL~
(Well for one, I don’t think you are stupid for dancing :D) Anyways, how then do you feel about Asia, Automation, and Abundance? Do you think that Pink is completely off in what his research has shown? Are there some points that are true or is it all false?

Gary said...

Kids go to school to be taught.

That doesn't always ensure that they learn.

Tylerg! said...

Alexf, that is true, but that doesn't mean there aren't souly left and right brain jobs. And if you tried to do a job as a left brainer that was meant for a complete opposite right brainer, yoiu wouldn't do a good job and get fired.

whitneys said...

Gary - I agree with your point on multi-tasking and connections between classes. Connection between knowledge is about using the same skills for all subjects.

Judy O'Connell said...

@all students It is really exciting to me as a teacher to hear your ideas , and soak up your symphony of ideas.

ZachH said...

I agree Mr. Long,
Even if you disagree with the book, everyone has to respect the variety of ideas and the remarkable debate it has opened up.

Thank you for joining us. I appreciate your insight.

Gary said...

Thanks Katyj,

I'm frequently on the wrong side of conventional wisdom.

melissaz said...

To go off of macm- What if in many years form now a similar converstion will be happening on how to bring the world to more left brain terms? we are pushing the right brain so much that maybe we could lose the important aspect of left brain that we also need.

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