#0021 Conservatives and progressives think differently (part V)
As I promised towards the end of the last posting we are going to talk a bit about whether or not our L-Directed and R-Directed brains are genetically pre-programmed into us at birth. If they are NOT then they must be the result of learned behavior. A third possibility is that they may be a hybrid of genetics and learned behavior. My sense—based on observations of my own behavior—is that we are genetically setup to lean one way or the other, but conditioning plays a huge role in which way our brains are destined to develop.
The late Gordon MacKenzie, a longtime creative force at Hallmark Cards, once told a story that quickly entered the folklore among designers. MacKenzie was a public-spirited fellow who often visited schools to talk about his profession. He’d open each talk by telling students he was an artist. Then he’d look around the classroom, notice the artwork on the walls, and wonder aloud who created the masterpieces.
“How many artists are there in the room?” MacKenzie would ask. “Would you please raise your hands?”
The responses always followed the same pattern. In kindergarten and first-grade classes, every kid thrust a hand in the air. In second-grade classes, about three-fourths of the kids raised their hands, though less eagerly. In third grade, only a few children held up their hands. And by sixth grade, not a single hand went up. The kids just looked around to see if anybody in the class would admit to what they’d now learned was deviant behavior.
Designers and other creative types repeated MacKenzie’s tale—often over drinks, usually in a wistful tone—to show how little the wider world valued their work. And when MacKenzie related the story himself to large audiences, people would slowly shake their heads. What a shame, they would mutter. Too bad, they would cluck. But their reaction was, at most, a lament.
In fact, they should have been outraged. They should have raced to their local school and demanded an explanation. They should have consoled their children, confronted the principal, and ousted the school board. Because MacKenzie’s story is not some teary saga about underfunded art programs. It is a cautionary tale for our times.
A Whole New Brain (Part Two: The Six Senses Chapter Four: Design): Copyright © 2005, 2006 by Daniel H. Pink
According to this excerpt, people’s brains are conditioned and the trend seems to show movement away from R-Directed thinking and towards L-Directed thinking. The biggest evidence of this is indicated in the last paragraph where it mentions that the audiences Mr. MacKenzie was lecturing, should have been so outraged by his news as to make them want to somehow make things right—console their children; race over to the school and confront the principal; oust the school board; something; anything. The reason they didn’t respond this way is because as adults, they, themselves, had evolved (or devolved) to a place beyond caring about such things. Why? As educated adults, their brains have been so conditioned. Their brains; the principal’s brain: and all the school board members’ brains have been conditioned by the L-Biased educational institution. This is not an isolated sampling of people who coincidently had their brains conditioned. It’s not some diabolical conspiracy plot designed to intentionally and methodically take control of peoples’ thoughts—to put their thoughts and ideas on the same wavelength in order to achieve a specific goal (We are Borg). Education wasn’t intentionally designed that way, at least not in the beginning…nevertheless the results are what they are, regardless of anyone’s intentions.
Dating back 100 or more years, schools were designed with one thing in mind—teaching the same lesson to several people at the same time, at least this was the case in the U.S. The focus was pure logistics. It was only later, as the concept started to evolve and the need to teach larger and larger groups did education become more focused and specialized. The one room rural schoolhouse was one of the very first iterations of the classroom concept. In this basic design, all students of all the grade levels gathered together into a single large room and one teacher would teach everyone at the same time. As communities grew the demand for bigger and bigger schools naturally followed. In the larger schools the classrooms were subdivided into to grades so as to better manage the students and monitor their individual progress. As this larger school design seemed to catch on, these schools began popping up all across America. The bigger and more expansive this educational empire became the more complex it got; and not necessarily good-complex. In a manner of speaking its complexities were extremely L-Biased in nature. Today a popular phrase used to describe this modern-day teaching method—which may well describe this entire phenomenon is teaching to the test.
Teaching to the test is an educational practice where curriculum is heavily focused on preparing students for a standardized test.
Opponents of this practice argue that it forces teachers to limit curriculum to a set range of knowledge or skills in order to increase student performance on the mandated test. This produces an unhealthy focus on excessive repetition of simple, isolated skills (“drill and kill”) and limits the teacher’s ability to focus on a holistic understanding of the subject matter. This would be an incidence of Campbell’s law, the general principle that a social indicator distorts the process it is intended to monitor. Furthermore, opponents argue, teachers who engage in it are typically below-average teachers. Some research suggests that teaching to the test is ineffective and often does not achieve its primary goal of raising student scores.
Teaching to the test From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
What happened in the evolutionary process of education is that L-Directed thinkers got involved with the logistics of educating people en masse. Once the focus became to develop a system for handling the job of educating more and more children those who were running the show at some point, kind of took their eyes off the ball of their true objective—teaching children knowledge and skills. If we could turn the telescope around for a moment and look back into the past a ways, I believe we could learn much from the 1-room-schoolhouse model of education. What we could learn from this model would not only supply us with useful information about designing a better educational model; it would aid us in redesigning a better, healthier social model. This model would be one that would more naturally gravitate towards an R-Directed Vision of learning, playing and living.