Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Creative thinking...are you a question mark or a period?

I've been reading, A Whack on the Side of the Head, by Roger von Oech on how to be more creative. One of the questions is, what do Winnie the Pooh and John the Baptist have in common?

Von Oech says, "By the time a person finishes school he will have taken over 2,600 tests and quizzes. We are trained to find the 'right answer' instead of thinking creatively." He said his high school sophomore teacher put a chalk dot on the board and asked what it was. After a long silence, one person answered, "A chalk dot on a blackboard." No one else responded, believing that that was the correct answer,exactly what the teacher was looking for. The teacher waited, then said, "Yesterday I did this exercise with kindergarteners, and they came up with twenty different possibilities of what this is." Neil Postman, an educator said, "Children enter school as questions marks and leave as periods." I agree.

Von Oech says the best ideas are not in someone else's head (the teacher's) they are in yours. We're just not trained to think out of the box.

So, what do John the Baptist and Winnie the Pooh have in common?
I'll bet you're thinking, size. That is because you are trying to come up with the right answer.
The thing they have in common: they both have the same middle name, THE. Kindergarteners get it, but adults would never take the chance of looking dumb, giving the wrong answer.

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