Linear thinking LO22889

Steve Eskow (
Fri, 15 Oct 1999 10:44:45 -0600

Replying to LO22872 --

Vana Prewitt writes:

>I would wonder then, how would Calvin's thinking change the way educators
>try to adapt teaching methods?

It might help those educators who start with conclusions and then work
backwards, trying to find evidence to support those preformed
conclusions,rather than finding their directions in the patterns revealed
by the evidence.

Some educators, that is, begin by "knowing" that different students have
different "learning styles," and that a fixed curriculum for all is
wrong--and then look for evidence in the research to confirm what they
have already concluded.

Calvin's writing helps to undermine false research that might lead to
errroneous conclusions.

>The purpose of understanding learning style preferences and differences
>is to be more flexible and meet the learner's needs. The focus is on how
>the educator helps the learner achieve the goals, and in accepting that
>not all people will travel the same path to reach that destination.

Every culture knows that children differ: in disposition, in termperament,
in talent, in ability to symbolize, in strength. Indeed, every year Jews
at the Passover ceremony deal with the question of how you deal with four
different kinds of children, and the questions they ask.

Suppose children differ in their ability to learn how to decode black
marks on a page: to read. Calvin teaches us that at the present time there
is nothing in left/right brain speculation that helps teachers cope with
these differences: or help them decide whether to let Johnny stay and non
reader and try to teach him via audio and video.

>Does it really matter which science is "right" if the response to the
>learner is effective?

I think it matters very much. We can cope with the world very nicely
believing it is flat--but if it is round, teachers should know that. And
if the world is Copernican, not Ptolemaic, it is important to know that
humankind is not the geographic center of the universe, painful as that
knowledge may be.

>If right brain - left brain theories were all that educators were
>equipped with when providing education or coaching, I would be alarmed.
>Fortunately, many theories and models coalesce to help educators better
>understand how to be effective in their craft. And because people are
>not at all predictable, we generally need all those combinations at one
>time or another. I know of no educator who attempts to "exercise" one
>side of the brain or another, although they certainly try to develop
>varied skill sets that span traditional right brain - left brain

I think it important to help students understand, and help teachers
understand, that learning involves the pain of giving up comforting
illusions as well as the joy of acquiring new skills and competencies.

Cheers, Vana.

Steve Eskow


Steve Eskow <>

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