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Archive for ideas

In Search of Deeper Learning

Deep Learning

A new book by Mehta and Fine about remaking U.S. high schools says their research shows it is the extra curricular work in teams to accomplish a big task, such as putting on a theater production, where they learned and enjoyed the most.
The authors, credit these type of projects with instilling critical thinking, collaboration, and effective communication, all I suggest essential in the business world. The authors also included content mastery though I would say given the ease of using technology to look things up, is not as important as having enough knowledge to recognize what you do and don’t know.
Instilling the the skills that make up critical thinking can improve collaboration and effective communication because it requires bringing in various viewpoints, asking good questions, listening effectively to each other, and working through more than one logical position or argument.

Crucial Conversations

Who do you attract into your conversations and teams at work? Are they as much like you as you can find? Do they think like you? Does that feel good!?

Consider for a moment what happens at work if everyone thinks alike. Why do you need more than one of you?

Instead consider for another moment what happens if you work with people who complement you, who think different, who add to the diversity and options to be considered. Now this may seem confrontational and difficult at first. But at least you would all be needed because you are not just clones.

Being open to the value of different opinions and viewpoints can result in much better decisions.

Your Knowledge, keep it growing

No one can take your education away from you. What you learn is yours forever. OK I know there are diseases that can rob our memories. I’m not denying that. But other than that your life is enriched by knowledge, by curiosity, by interest, by paying attention, by seeking more understanding, more than anything else you can acquire.

focused attention by conscious breathing

Conscious Breathing
You will relax whether or not that is your intention when you do conscious breathing. Slow down by counting to 3 as you breathe in, hold for 3, then slowly breathe out to the count if 3. It feels so good, do it again. 3 or 4 breaths like this will allow you to more easily face your work and life challenges or just get back to work calmly.

Tony Buzan, in memorial

Tony Buzan
June 2, 1942 – April 13, 2019
Tony Buzan is the person who brought mind mapping into my and many people’s world. He taught us and pushed us to use color and art and our brain processes as we organized ideas and brought out our own creativity. His voice, his British accent, is in my head as I think of all his books that I have read, all the times I recommended his Mind Mapping for Kids book, and all the times I shared the advantages of mind mapping with an audience. Thank you Tony Buzan.

Are You a Thought Leader?

Thought leader
Is this a compliment or an insult?
If you are truly one of the knowledgeable ones in a particular field, others may be looking up to you, expecting you to know more than they do. They may come to you with questions and take what you say as truth.

We can learn from what we know about Socrates (470 – 399 BC), after all these years, not to jump in with a solution, an answer. First ask many questions so that you both are thinking more deeply about the problem. In many cases the person with the problem will discover the answer.

One of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “seek first to understand before seeking to be understood,” is a more current reminder to listen, ask questions, learn, before offering your thoughts, even if you are considered a thought leader.

When you are feeling defensive

Tell me more about that…

When you are feeling defensive the last thing you might want is to hear more negative comments. But if you show openness to hear what the other person is saying it can change the mood and tone of the ‘conversation.’

It also gives you time to reflect. What is prompting the comments? Why are you feeling defensive? Is there some truth you would want to know? Is there something you want to acknowledge? Rather than deny, perhaps you want to say, ‘there might be some truth in what you are saying.’ I didn’t realize, or I didn’t mean what it sounded like.

The power of sincere questions

Questions are a sign of intelligence, of interest, of curiosity, of caring about the other person and the topic, and of being a critical thinker. Can you think of anything else you can say that is this powerful?

Questions, to be able to drink in that power, must be paired with power listening.

Once you ask that question, it is essential that you become silent, wait for and pay attention to the answer.

Some people try to answer their own questions. Some think that the other person pausing to think before answering means they don’t know what to answer.

Just like asking the question is a sign of interest in the other person, waiting and paying attention to the answer is a sign of respect.

The power of sincere questions

Questions are a sign of intelligence, of interest, of curiosity, of caring about the other person and the topic, and of being a critical thinker. Can you think of anything else you can say that is this powerful?

Questions, to be able to drink in that power, must be paired with power listening.

Once you ask that question, it is essential that you become silent, wait for and pay attention to the answer.

Some people try to answer their own questions. Some think that the other person pausing to think before answering means they don’t know what to answer.

Just like asking the question is a sign of interest in the other person, waiting and paying attention to the answer is a sign of respect.

Mental Models for better & easier solutions

Mental models
Why do some people find ‘simple’ mathematics problems so impossible. I used common fractions for my research but it wouldn’t matter which specific concept I had chosen.
The answer I discovered and proved was that children and adults alike, who had a mental model of the concept, could solve the math problems. Those who didn’t were using rote rules that had no meaning, no models in their mind, so they made mistakes or gave up. They often could follow the rules successfully as long as the next problem looked exactly like the last one. If presented a problem that looked different, they couldn’t picture how to modify the rules, they couldn’t see where or how it matched up to the last one or something they had seen before.
Mental models are built by drawing, building with objects, and imagining.
One type of mental model that can help with thinking clearly and making strong decisions is the mind map. It helps you brainstorm lots of options and then it organizes those options for consideration.