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Newsletter of Project Renaissance and Win Wenger

published formerly as Capital Ideasmiths

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February 2003

 

 

 

IN THIS ISSUE:

 

* Quote of the Month

* Announcements

* Events

* FEATURE ARTICLE: "Breaking Horses" - Carmen E. Clark

* Comments & Feedback

* Thinktank Report: "Water to Dowse Fires of War" - Win Wenger

* IAL Conference Report: "Some Positive Notes" - Win Wenger

* Links - archives, back issues, homepage

* Reader Questionnaire

 

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QUOTE OF THE MONTH

 

"Interaction" is a two-way exchange of energy, with an amplification

of the energy of each of the two forces. Ordinary "action" is a

one-way movement of energy toward or against something. When I chop

down a tree, I expend my energy without a corresponding exchange of

energy from the tree. Action usually brings about a reaction; the

tree falls, and I have to get out of the way. "Reaction" is a one-

way movement away from. No exchange and augmenting of energy takes

place in either acting or reacting, and we always tire when energy

flows out in this way. In true interaction, however, we never tire.

 

- Joseph Chilton Pearce, Magical Child [New York: E.P. Dutton, 1977,

p.25]

 

..................................................................

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Welcome to all new members who have joined us this month. We hope

to hear from you and to give you much food for thought. Back issues

are available upon request. Just add the month to the subject line:

<mailto:thestream@winwenger.com?subject=BackIssues>

 

~~~

 

SUBSCRIBER OR MEMBER? If you currently only subscribe to The Stream,

you can upgrade your participation in Project Renaissance to full

membership, free. Membership in Project Renaissance entitles members

to additional benefits. If you're not yet a member, please register

now, here: http://www.winwenger.com/regmem.htm - or from link on

the homepage, http://www.winwenger.com .

 

~~~

 

DUPLICATE MAILING? If you received two (or more?) copies of this

February 2003 issue of The Stream, please let us know by replying

to: <mailto:thestream@winwenger.com?subject=duplicate>

 

~~~

 

How you can participate...

 

* You can post messages on Project Renaissance's discussion board

about any Project Renaissance topic and join any ongoing

discussions. No log-in required. Please visit the homepage at

http://www.winwenger.com and click the Discussion Board link.

To post a message right now, click here:

http://bbs.cartserver.com/bbs/b/7733/#PostMessage

 

* The long-established, popular Image-Streaming egroup is here:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/imagestream - requires Yahoo sign-in.

 

* Submit articles, comments or questions for possible inclusion in

The Stream: <mailto:thestream@winwenger.com?subject=TotheEditor>

 

..................................................................

 

EVENTS

 

Meet Win in San Diego Feb. 8 ....

 

I will be at a creativity conference in downtown San Diego, this

February 7-11, 2003, and would be pleased to meet with other

members of this Project Renaissance Society who happen to be in

the area. The best time to do that without incurring costs will

be Saturday evening, February 8, in the lobby of the Red Lion

Hanalei Hotel, 2270 Hotel Circle North, San Diego, CA. Please

message me ahead, 619-297-1101 at the hotel. Looking forward to

meeting some of you. Win Wenger

 

~~~

 

Free monthly meetings of High Thinktank...

Upcounty Regional Services Center --

12900 Middlebrook Rd., Germantown, MD. Open to the public.

Check the Project Renaissance website calendar

for details and directions, at

http://www.winwenger.com/events.htm

 

February meeting: Feb. 25, 7:30-9:30 p.m.

See Win's report of the January 30 meeting below.

 

~~~

 

DOUBLE FESTIVAL XII - November 2003...

 

Mark your calendars now for Project Renaissance's annual double

conference on Creative Problem-Solving and Accelerated Learning:

Friday-Saturday-Sunday, November 14-16, 2003

followed by Trainer Training, November 17-18, 2003

at a private facility in Pasadena, Maryland

 

Watch the website, http://www.winwenger.com/upcoming.htm

for further details and for Call for Presentations.

 

..................................................................

Feature Article:

 

BREAKING HORSES

by Carmen E. Clark

 

 

Several years ago, a good friend and award-winning fourth grade

teacher got reassigned to first grade for a year. I asked her

one day how it was going.

 

"Great," she said. "But kinda sad too. They come in so eager

and bouncy and I have to get them shaped up to sit down and

follow the rules. It's like breaking horses."

 

She said she would be glad to get back to fourth grade.

 

That "breaking horses" comment has haunted me ever since.

 

Today, after Project Renaissance trainer training in November 2002,

my thoughts go back to that teacher and to a book I read in the

late 70s, "Magical Child" (1977), by Joseph Chilton Pearce. It says

US education gives short shrift to an imaginative stage that starts

around age seven and explains why fantasy and other kid behavior

may be necessary and important developmental activity. After some

background on "Magical Child," I will go through two ways I think

Win's methods harmonize with Pearce's idea for improving education

and retaining the magic that "breaking horses" probably removes.

 

According to Pearce, Piaget revolutionized the understanding and

valuing of child development, but his approach needed some fine-

tuning. Pearce said children grew in stages, in pendulum swings,

and that each stage filled out growing physical, neuro-logical,

and cognitive development as it built a matrix for the next stage

to fill out. But he said that Piaget and modern educators under-

valued the filling out of those stages and tended to hurry children

to levels they were not prepared for, warping the unfolding of

intricate, natural patterns.

 

He said educators operated on the assumption that children between

ages 7 and 12 or so needed to be pulled from their fantastic,

imaginative urges and redirected to realistic thinking and heavily

verbal instruction that they simply weren't ready for. Yet,

concerted efforts to suppress fantasy at that stage, to break

young, impulsive and inventive, action-powered spirits like so

many broncos, may block natural designs and stunt or twist future

development.[There's much more in the book I just can't go into,

and his cherry-picking of empirical support leaves something to be

desired.]

 

But if Pearce's approach (or modern innovations based on this 1977

book) have something to offer today, I think of two ways Win's

techniques could be useful:

 

1. Train teachers in Image-Streaming and other creativity methods.

With age- and stage-sensitive curriculum, teachers could be trained

in Image-Streaming and other creative techniques, not to teach

them to the children necessarily, but to connect with their own

intuitive reserves. Training teachers in kinesthetic learning

approaches could enlighten teachers and help fill out students'

learning, too. Age-appropriate Socratic approaches to investigating,

exploring and processing experience with the natural world could

teach and also model future creative problem-solving.

 

2. Foster children's awareness and deliberate use of fantasy for

problem solving. Children, if they're as magical as I suspect and

Pearce proposes, probably have their own natural visualization.

But they can get more aware of how they operate and of their

unconscious intelligence and ways they can deliberately use it

better. Certainly having lots of labs and action activity would

build unconscious experiential reserves. In class, they could

predict outcomes by drawing or even guessing a graph line. They

could use their fantasy to develop a myth about a natural phenomenon

and then do a lab to see how it really works and how scientists

explain it today. They could learn creative ways to remember and

integrate ideas, experience, and facts. And they could use some

Wenger and other creative techniques to do group problem solving

and brainstorming. Rather than learn didactically through language,

they could learn how they learn and practice creative problem-

solving.

 

There may be interesting ways to test and update Pearce's ideas

today, as parents, educators, and society search for innovations in

education and improved problem-solving. For example, American

children were known in the 1990s, in studies of mathematics skills

and problem-solving compared internationally, to score at the top in

math problem solving but near the bottom in solving story problems.

Could it be that emphasizing experiential math with manipulatives,

abacus, etc., and tapping into fantasy as problem solving in those

middle childhood years could feed intuitive mathematical wisdom,

match the child's present stage of development and discovery, and

build a matrix for future use of math in real-world problem solving?

 

Project Renaissance does not need to train youngsters to do what

comes naturally, but fantasy can raise their awareness of how their

intelligence works and how they learn. Teachers who have connected

with their own intuitive and unconscious intelligence through Image-

Streaming, Socratics, thinktank and other Wenger and similar

creativity skills, may relate better to their magical young pupils.

 

And if, as Pearce proposes, human development selects for survival,

and naturally follows a preparatory drunkard's path into adulthood

from one pendulum swing to the next, educators could go with that

flow in curriculum and classroom style. Far from breaking horses,

they could nourish children's natural drives and celebrate their

part in a growth process that can't be rushed.

 

I have had the privilege of helping adult Image Streamers connect to

their unconscious intelligence, even momentarily. I've co-experienced

their thrill of discovery. Yet, if and when a natural developmental

stage has passed, an adult has to patch invention back into a frame-

work of "practicalities" and habits that got adopted instead. Imagine

what adult life could be for children-turned-adults who never had to

lose the wholeness we now so eagerly seek.

- Carmen E. Clark

 

~~~

 

To send feedback privately to the author, email to Carmen Clark at

<mailto:ceclark@tds.net?subject=BreakingHorses>

 

To send your comments about this article to The Stream, write to:

<mailto:thestream@winwenger.com?subject=BreakingHorses>

 

To post your feedback or promote a discussion of this topic:

http://bbs.cartserver.com/bbs/b/7733/#PostMessage

 

..................................................................

 

ADDENDUM by Win Wenger

 

1) Because appropriate feedback is perhaps the greatest human

nutrition, special problems are posed for the exceptionally gifted

child. By his or her exceptionality, it is hardest for people

around to respond appropriately to his or her interests, initia-

tives, projects and so on. The exceptionally gifted are by far the

population most likely to be deprived of this fundamental human

nutrition. Consequent maladaptation to this very matter can be

observed in almost every Mensa meeting.

 

2) My work here, Luiz Machado's work in Brasil, and perhaps a few

others, point to giftedness as being not a function of intelligence

but a function of the physical appetite structures of the (limbic)

brain. I've quite a case for this and will write it up soon.

 

..................................................................

 

COMMENTS & FEEDBACK

 

Carmen E. Clark <mailto:ceclark@tds.net?subject=Giftedness>:

I have a little feedback for Win, about his excellent comments on

exceptionally gifted children. I think he did not mention "negative"

feedback, often from people (adult and children) feeling threatened

by the excep-gifted child's talents. I think the negative feedback

can do tremendous damage, since kids want to belong - and peers,

teachers, neighbors, adults from other walks, etc., all potentially

get their digs in. I don't claim exceptional gifts, but, if I might

empathize with that situation from my own experience, my family said

I would respond by dummying down and seeking security in under-

achieving when others seemed poised to pounce on my every mistake

as "proof" I wasn't as smart as I seemed. I also recall mean-ole

epithets that I may be smart but won't be able to love, fight,

charm, etc., my way out of a paper bag compared to those who really

have "street smarts" or "social intelligence" or whatever. Kind of

mean prophecy that as a sensitive child I sometimes internalized.

 

As for the limbic appetite, that seems just AMAZING. Of course I

want to hear all about that right away. Out with the notes!

 

~~~

 

Kate Jones <mailto:kate@gamepuzzles.com?subject=Giftedness>:

Grown-ups can be so thoughtlessly cruel. My mother would often say,

"Go to the train station, see if your brains have arrived yet." (It

sounds more insulting in Hungarian.) I really feel for you, Carmen.

There seems to be a connection between giftedness and sensitivity.

My heart aches for your and my little girl selves - and other gifted

children - for what we had to endure. We can just hope to convert

the experience into greater wisdom and empathy now. And I hope

you realize it was not a prophecy, just meanness, and that by now

you've got rid of whatever negatives you may have internalized then.

 

..................................................................

 

Report on High Thinktank Meeting

held January 30, 2003

 

WATER TO DOWSE THE FIRES OF WAR

by Win Wenger

 

Preface: Yesterday (Thursday, Jan 30) morning, public radio news

featured a new seawater desalination plant going online as a

major part of the water supply of Tampa Bay, Florida, with a second

such plant already on the drawing boards. This was newsworthy

because it reflects a recent drastic decrease in the cost of water

desalination technology. At the time, this was just an item heard

in passing.

 

Last night, our monthly D.C.-area thinktank met again in Germantown.

This session, as have several others, featured use of our "signature

process," the "High Thinktank Method," on several questions of wider

general interest. This process presents questions to answerers in

such a way that only one's subtler faculties know what question is

being asked - the verbal-conscious "left brain" hasn't a clue, and

so does not know which way to bias the mental images coming in

response as answers in order to fit them to its expectations.

 

This makes "High Thinktanking" an especially accurate process for

questions of general importance and current interest, questions on

which people consciously have already staked out their positions

and garnered expectations which normally would not leave room for

them to do any original thinking on those matters. In much more

complete form, instructions on one method of High Thinktanking

can be seen, step by easy step, for free in the "CPS Techniques"

section of the Project Renaissance website:

http://www.winwenger.com/htt.htm

 

Last night, because of a shorter meeting time, we limited ourselves

to two questions. The results of one of them we are following up

elsewhere and in other ways. The results of the other one are the

subject of this advisory.

 

***

 

The question: "What would be the best resolution now of the

situation between Iraq and the USA?"

 

Most participants did not consciously know what question they were

answering, until after they had recorded the image-impressions they

had gotten in answer to it and sorted out the elements-in-common

among those answers. (Several participants, misunderstanding the

instructions, did see the question before answering it but never-

theless got results in line with the other answers.) Strikingly,

water and waters were a major feature in each image generated in

answer to the above question.

 

Putting two and two together to come up with at least three: not

only Iraq but the entire Middle East is a water-starved region.

For one-twentieth of the cost to the U.S.A. of the next war with

Iraq, we could install enough of the new inexpensive water

desalination plants to irrigate the entire Middle East (the

original "Fertile Crescent") several times over.

 

Which would make more change in the Middle East in directions

Americans would like to see: such a major desalination/water-

supply/irrigation project, or another Gulf War?

 

Watering the Middle East would also begin to "dry up" the sources

of terrorism. Extreme money and extreme poverty so closely side-

by-side in those ruined lands can generate innumerable terrorists

until doomsday. Turning the Fertile Crescent fertile again, our

contribution, if you will, to Allah's Garden, would transform that

whole situation into much more favorable directions. Even the

prospect, in advance of the reality, if we announced a project of

such vision and scope, could well be enough to quickly turn the

Iraqi situation without a war.

 

Factored in and shrugged off, demonstrations and petitions aren't

going to make a difference. This might. As of the writing of this,

the week or so is critical as to whether or not we go to war with

Iraq and see another hundred thousand or so human lives lost.

 

Mention this idea to at least 2-3 other people, that with the new

inexpensive water desalination technology as exemplified in Tampa

Bay, ten to twenty billion dollars can accomplish many times more

and better than can another Gulf War at the cost of 100,000 lives

and $100 billion. If this idea can spread strongly enough and

rapidly enough that policy makers will actually take a look at it,

we might actually be looking soon at a much better world than the

one we are currently living in.

 

Please mention this idea to 2-3 others today.

 

- Win Wenger

<mailto:wwenger101@aol.com>

 

..................................................................

 

Report on IAL Conference

held January 16-19, 2003

 

SOME POSITIVE NOTES

by Win Wenger

 

Many of you reading this know of my concerns for the International

Alliance of Learning ( http://www.ialearn.org ). You may have

sensed that, heading into their annual conference this January

in Alexandria, VA, I had gotten very pessimistic about the chances

for survival of the one professional membership organization in

this country whose avowed purpose is the pursuit of better methods

of teaching and learning. I'm happy to report that I'm now quite

optimistic.

 

The conference itself was excellent; this function has always

attracted dynamite programs and presenters. The two hundred who

attended, though the smallest number in quite awhile, were somewhat

above expectations. My own presentation session was, again, very

well received and attended. Several of us haunted the corridors

and sessions, pressing Socratic packets into various hands,

proposing research as a key way to propel the organization forward,

and some of that appeared to "take."

 

A major positive at the Conference was the Town Meeting hosted by

Charles Bubar (who is a long-time friend and has been to our

Thinktank). The event wasn't on the official schedule, but was

attended by 45, including our own Gerald Hawkins, who made some

excellent representations there, and of course yours truly. The

IAL Board now inescapably knows that our concerns, and some of

our proposed solutions, are very widely shared by the membership,

and that these have some solid bases. Many members made excellent

points at this session, which may have been the turning point for

this whole organization.

 

Two additional positive notes - both much to my pleased surprise.

 

1) Several complete sets of the old SALT (Society for Accelerative

Learning and Teaching, IAL's former name) Journal exist, so that

some excellent research, done in the old days, can and reportedly

will be scanned quickly and put up at the IAL website for easy

reference for members to point to in justifying their own efforts.

 

(2) One professor in Australia has a number of doctoral students

performing dissertation research on accelerated learning, I hope

to be able to tell you more about this soon. So research on

accelerated learning will shortly be up from several quarters,

where individual members wanting to try out one or another AL

technique in their own classroom, and measure the results, can

readily get to it and refer to it.

 

A new local chapter is in process of formation for the DC region.

That is an excellent idea if it can be brought off - all action is

local, and there is a huge need right here.

 

Lastly: follow-ups have been made. Normally, IAL has an exciting

conference, there're about 3 days of enthusiasm, then the whole

thing disappears until it's time to revv up for the next annual

conference. Promises have been exchanged, and already I've gotten

in articles to both the new Journal of Accelerated Learning &

Teaching (Lyelle Palmer, ed.) and the IAL Newsletter (our own

Elliott Ryan, ed.), and when I get back from San Diego I'll be

doing additional follow-ups to make sure that our efforts do

indeed bear fruit. The environment in which Project Renaissance

works is much better for us if a viable IAL is there active in it.

 

Work in progress......

 

- Win Wenger

<mailto:wwenger101@aol.com>

 

..................................................................

 

LINKS

 

* Back issues of THE STREAM by email upon request from

<mailto:thestream@winwenger.com?subject=BackIssues>

* Archived copies of Capital Ideasmiths are here:

http://www.debateit.net/projren/newsletter/index.htm

 

* Project Renaissance homepage: http://www.winwenger.com

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

UNSUBSCRIBE: If you do not wish to receive this occasional newsletter

from Project Renaissance, please send an email to

<mailto:thestream@winwenger.com?subject=TheStream-unsubscribe>

 

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PROJECT RENAISSANCE

..................................................................

 

READER QUESTIONNAIRE

 

1. Have you ever used Image-Streaming to help you resolve a problem

with successful results (check one):

 

Often ____ Sometimes ____ Never ____

 

2. If you have received positive results and helpful answers from

Image-Streaming, would you be willing to write up an example to

share with our readers?

 

Yes____ No_____ Maybe_____

 

3. Which others of the many problem-solving techniques published by

Project Renaissance on its website have you tried, with good

results? Mark all that apply.

 

Borrowed Genius ____ Toolbuilder ____

Crabapple ____ Freenoting ____

Over the Wall ____ Woodswalk ____

Beachhead ____ Windtunnel ____

 

Other ____________________________________(specify)

 

 

To return this questionnaire, simply reply to this email, deleting all

but the questionnaire portion. Mark your answers with an X.

 

..................................................................

 

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