30 October 2011

New Kinds of Smart: Part 1

I am currently reading New Kinds of Smart by Bill Lucas and Guy Claxton, the next text for our Professional Reading Group. Although only a quarter of the way into this, I am already excited by the both the ideas themselves and the way Lucas and Claxton have organised their material, including offering practical examples for teachers. I can see a few posts dedicated to this book.
The first chapter asserts that Intelligence is Composite and reviews theory I am familiar with such as Art Costa’s Habits of Mind. This and other relevant theories have had an impact, not only on my teaching, but on my own skills, knowledge and values. Earlier this year, I decided that I could use some development in two specific Habits of Mind: ‘Gathering Data through all the senses’ (10) and ‘Creating, Imagining, Innovating’ (11).
Essentially, the first of these, ‘Gathering Data through all the senses’, is about being open to the information from a wide variety of sources, and in a wide variety of forms. As I read over a number of my blog posts this last week I realised that blogging has encouraged me to examine information in a variety of forms. I have made links to scholarly books and articles, news articles, video interviews, websites and more. This development needs to be ongoing as I - like many English teachers I’m sure - tend to rely on reading as my way of gleaning information. I would also like to incorporate more visual texts where possible as a way of encapsulating ideas. Perhaps even video!
The second Habit of Mind I’ve chosen to review, ‘Creating, Imagining, Innovating’, is one I am already a practitioner of: using imagination to generate novel ideas and possibilities. In order to focus on these two Habits of Mind I would dearly love to attend one of the Creativity Workshops next year held in New York or Barcelona. The presenters of the Creativity Workshop have developed a unique series of exercises dedicated to inspiring and keeping alive the life of the imagination. They concentrate on creative process rather than product and on the idea of creativity as a way of viewing and appreciating life. I visualize returning with new thinking to help Staff and Students not just access their creativity, but to see how creativity is part of the fabric of learning.
The second chapter of New Kinds of Smart states that Intelligence is Expandable. As a supporter of Carol Dweck’s theory (see earlier post on Mindset) this accords well with my views over the last few years. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of New Kinds of Smart and giving Lucas and Claxton’s work its due consideration. 

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