Sunday, October 9, 2011

EDUC 578 Post #4-A Whole New Mind

'Is the traditional business world at war with creativity?' photo (c) 2010, - license: Pink's A Whole New Mind was an inspiring and thought-provoking read (well, Part 1 at least, haven't read the rest yet!).  The idea that we're moving into what he terms the Conceptual Age rings true, and that means that we're going to need to make a lot of changes to our educational system in response to it.  The Conceptual Age is the switch from the Information Age and left-brain thinking to an emphasis on the "creator and the empathizer" which is a switch to more right-brain thinking skills.  Pink is not suggesting that left-brain thinking is no longer needed or valuable, but he is suggesting that right-brain thinking has been undervalued and is now more valuable than ever in a time when many left-brain jobs are being outsourced to cut costs.  Now, we value beautiful things and those beautiful things need to be created and/or designed by someone, which requires right-brain skills.  Pink also gives the example of "empathy training" being implemented in nursing and doctor programs so that nurses and doctors are trained to understand the patient better and to be able to relate to them and empathize with them.  Empathy is a right-brained activity and is just one example of how right-brain thinking is starting to be valued more and more.  It is for these reasons and many more that Pink suggests that for the Conceptual Age we need "a whole new mind".  Left-brain thinking isn't going to cut it anymore, we need right-brain thinking skills to advance us as people and as a society.  This affects us as educators because it has long been believed that education kills creativity in students.  The idea that there is only one right answer is stunting students growth and is not engaging their right-brain thinking skills.  School and standardized testing is only cultivating left-brain thinking skills, and so we need to make changes so that students also cultivate right-brain thinking skills.  More art, more empathy, more creativity.  I think that the movement to get character education placed into the classrooms (at least in the school districts I've been in) is an awesome start, but we need to be doing more as educators to inspire, rather than kill, creativity in our students.  After all, if Pink is right, when our students are older they will have to have these right-brain skills to be a successful adult.


  1. Yes, yes, and yes to everything you said about application of cultivating right-brain skills in the classroom.

  2. I got a kick out of the "empathy training" info too! I really connected with the idea of UCLA med students doing an overnight stay as a "patient" in order to foster empathy for patients.