Thursday, February 17
Learning to Think
It's funny how things come in threes (apparently). This week the theme seems to be education ...
1. Lately I've been considering how little coverage of the subject of thinking featured in my schooling. It was an unspoken rule throughout that thinking was something you just did, and you were either good or bad at it.
Our old friend de Bono would argue that there has been a major deficiency in Western education over the years, in that we've been focusing solely on left-to-right, critical analytical thinking (so-called Socratic method). I feel there's something in this. In response to this problem, he developed his CoRT programme for schools, designed to help children find alternative and better ways to think.
But having quickly trawled the web to bring myself up-to-date, I found evidence of change at
http://www.teachingtimes.com/publications/teaching-thinking-and-creativity.htm. Not being a regular at schools these days I've asked for more details, and if I find evidence of strong take-up I'll post again on this subject.
2. Whilst mulling this over in my mind, I found myself en route to an open forum at the House of Commons on Wednesday morning. The event was run by NESTA, and centred around its publication "Creative Clusters". Although I didn't spot education as a major theme of the report, many of the audience were extremely exercised about the policies of the cross-party panel of MPs, which they felt threatened education in support of the creative industries. They're right to worry: the creative industries are footloose and could migrate away from the UK more easily than other sectors.
(I've yet to understand exactly why Feargal Sharkey was there. He was only two seats away, so perhaps I should have asked him?)
One of the MPs on the panel was Damian Collins (Con) who regaled us with stories of his time at Saatchi and Saatchi advertising agency.
3. Lo-and-behold on the train home I found a Times article quoting the CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi. Apparently Kevin Roberts has recently said:
"Originally I thought business schools gave you a fantastic toolkit, a great framework, but sent you out with zero creativity and innovation skills.
"But as I gained knowledge about business schools and the MBA, I realised that not only is there a lack of creativity and innovation, but also they miss business-savvy judgment and decision-making skills."
If we're to take any of this at face-value, it seems a shake-up is beginning. There's room for improved education about modes of thinking other than the analytical at primary schools (where the really deep changes can take root), in secondary and higher education (where we all too often follow the paths prescribed by others), and certainly in vocational education such as the MBA (where we should have long ago recognised that effective business leadership demands individuals to apply creative thinking as a matter of course.