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Newsletter of Project Renaissance and Win Wenger

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June 2003

 

 

IN THIS ISSUE:

 

* Quote of the Month

* Announcements

* Events

* FEATURE ARTICLE: "Cause and Effect" - by Win Wenger

* Comments & Feedback

* Links - archives, back issues, homepage

* Reader Questionnaire

 

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QUOTE OF THE MONTH

 

"Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions

which differ from the prejudices of their social environment.

Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions."

- Albert Einstein

 

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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 .

 

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

issue of The Stream, please let us know by replying to:

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

 

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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>

 

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EVENTS

 

Free monthly meetings of High Thinktank...Open to the public.

Upcounty Regional Services Center -- Room C

12900 Middlebrook Rd., Germantown, MD.

June meeting: Tuesday, June 10, 2003.

Please check the Project Renaissance website calendar

for details and directions, at

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

 

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Project Renaissance presents

The BEYOND-EINSTEIN SEMINAR

 

June 28-29, 2003 | 8:30AM-5:00PM

Adam's Mark Hotel

120 Church Street, Buffalo, NY 14202

 

This exciting two-day seminar combines the principles of

deliberate creativity and the power of intuitive thinking. The

formula delivers a proven model and associated tools that get

powerful results.

 

Presenters: Dan Knight and Win Wenger, Ph.D.

 

For more information and registration forms, see:

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

 

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DOUBLE FESTIVAL XII - November 2003...

 

Plan now to treat yourself to 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.

 

The theme is "Problem-Solving in the Global Village".

 

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

for further details and for Call for Presentations.

 

 

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Feature Article:

 

CAUSE AND EFFECT

Equipping gifted children with

perceptions of causality

by Win Wenger, Ph.D.

President, Project Renaissance

In my hunger for any kind of reading material, I had read quite a

bit of history before I even entered elementary school. My class-

mates and peers had not. And most of what I'd read to that point,

and for several years after, was popular-level history. It was

always proposing or arguing cause-and-effect relationships. Thus

the concept of causality was pretty familiar to me by the time I

reached elementary school.

 

It didn't occur to me until decades later, April 2003, that

because of this I was perceiving many relationships, and nearly

all of even the most obvious of these relationships were quite

invisible to my classmates. (And I think some of them were

invisible even to most of my teachers.) To them, things "just

happen." Therefore, nothing has much meaning or significance, and

there's nothing anyone can do and nothing that can be done. I was

living in a world of "OhMyGoshWhatIf", and they lived in a world

of "duh". Of course, causality can be highly complex, a hugely

tangled and interwoven web of dynamic interactions, not just a

linear domino-tumbling effect alone.

 

Lev Vygotsky did this beautiful experiment some years ago with

young children trying to draw butterfly wings. He demonstrated

that having words for what we perceive enables us to effectively

"perceive our perceptions." I briefly describe his experiment in

the parent's appendix to my story for children, "The Philosopher's

Stone" - http://www.winwenger.com/ebooks/philstone.htm#Parents .

Having used the "advanced" word "iridescent" in the story, I argue

in that appendix that young children, who ordinarily wouldn't

encounter that word for some years yet, if familiarized with it

and its description, would be discovering and delighting in

iridescence everywhere.

 

I propose here something a bit more ambitious.

 

* * *

 

INFLUENCE. Being influenced by. Influencing other people, other

things, events. Multiple influences. Interactions ......

 

OBJECTIVE. To equip the kid to see, normally, multiple causality

and interaction dynamics where otherwise he'd be stuck for years

and years in a world where things just happen, with no perceptible

meaning or significance and where there's not much anyone can do.

 

* * *

 

Here are several possible preliminary elements in the unit of

proposed instruction:

 

* DEBRIEFING. Almost any game situation when one kid is trying

to advance the ball and the other to prevent him. Questioning

immediately after a play:

Why did you go that way?

Why then did you go this way?

And similarly question his opponent.

 

And, by extension, to situations where a kid is trying to "work"

his parent for something, or "work" his teacher.... to some

situation in a story or even to a real person outside of the

classroom, such as the school principal, where such dynamics can

be identified....

 

* ATTRIBUTES. Make a list of identifiable attributes of that

person. What are some of the things you are less likely to do

when you are short than when you are tall? What are some of the

things you are more likely to do? Why? Why do you think (that

person) does such-and-such? Could there also be other reasons

why he does that? What else does he do that maybe something else

could be causing?

 

* DEFERRED GRATIFICATION. Stay put for now, but - when you are

hungry, what do you want to do? Who here's hungry right now?

Stay put - but why AREN'T you running off right now to get some

food? (On into an analysis of other considerations, even their

interactions, and rudiments of strategy...)

 

Those of you with much experience with young children: Is my

observation correct, that to the vast majority of young children

today, cause-and-effect relationships are mostly invisible, even

the obvious ones, much less multiple causality and interaction?

That there are consequences to their living in a world where

things "just happen," without meaning or significance, and that

nothing can be done about it anyway, so why pay attention?

 

Does something like this seem do-able to you? Would it have the

significant effects I've pointed to?

 

I invite your discussions and ideas. Please send your feedback to

any of the links listed below. Thank you.

 

- Win Wenger <mailto:wwenger101@aol.com>

 

~~~

 

To send feedback privately to the author, email to Win Wenger at

<mailto:wwenger101@aol.com?subject=Causality>

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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COMMENTS & FEEDBACK

 

Michael Lacy wrote:

 

As a parent wanting to give my child open eyes to the world, I

have realized that they are not mine to give to my daughter, but

rather that I am only a guide to help her find them herself.

That said, children learn best when they are being themselves,

children. I think that any 'method' that interrupts the flow of

imagination and experience with pointed questions and analysis

deprives a child to some extend of her natural tendency to explore,

create, and discover. The very beauty of children is in their raw

experiencing of the world, something we adults have long forgotten

because we have become so caught up in analyzing and predicting.

What I try to do is to live my life according to the 'ideals' and

'morals' that I believe in.

 

And by doing this without direct analysis and intellectualizing

of every passing moment, I find that my daughter picks up on it

instinctively without my saying a word to her about it. Children

imitate their parents, and experience is the best teacher of

anything.

- Michael Lacy

 

~~~

 

Win Wenger <mailto:wwenger101@aol.com> asked:

"Is my observation correct, that to the vast majority of young

children today, cause-and-effect relationships are mostly

invisible, even the obvious ones, much less multiple causality

and interaction? That there are consequences to their living in

a world where things "just happen," without meaning or signifi-

cance and there's nothing can be done about it anyway so why pay

attention?"

 

~~~

 

Michael Lacy responds:

Yes, your observation is correct. However, that's just the way

children are. They learn over time and some learn more than

others. I would also say that to a vast majority of parents cause-

and-effect relationships are invisible, even the obvious ones.

Just this weekend I was at a hotel and I heard a baby crying in

the next room and these were the exact words I heard from its

mother: "What are you doing?!! Why can't you just be quiet, you

spoiled little brat?!!!"

The single most important cause-and-effect relationship (at least

to me) is that of the effect of parents interactions with their

children. I cannot even begin to emphasize how important this

relationship is in fostering an environment for children to see

the world with open eyes.

I'm not sure if I answered any of your questions, but the main

point I wanted to emphasize is that to teach children to see the

world as it is requires little to no effort if that is the way

you live your life. Teaching does little more than apply labels

to things and require that you memorize them. Teaching by example,

however, connects mind and body together into a unified experience

that allows children to grow.

 

- Michael Lacy

 

 

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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

 

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UNSUBSCRIBE: If you do not wish to continue receiving this

newsletter from Project Renaissance, please send an email to

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

 

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PROJECT RENAISSANCE

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READER QUESTIONNAIRE

 

1. When making an important decision, do you tend to look at the

situation mainly emotionally or logically, or both?

 

Emotionally____ Logically____

Both____

2. When you find there is a conflict between what your emotions and

your logic tell you, do you tend to side with either, or seek to get

the two into agreement?

 

Emotions____ Logic_____ Integrate____

 

3. Which, in your experience, is more effective in persuading others

to your point of view: discussions based on emotions or on logic?

 

Emotions____ Logic_____ No difference____

 

 

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

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

long answer is indicated.

 

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