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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Right / Left Brain Question

I admit, that in many situations, I am slow on the uptake.

I have been reading and listening for nearly 20 years (rather steadily) about the logical left and creative right sides of the brain.  I've read Gardner's theories, I've become a fan of Willingham over the past couple of years. 

I also insert Godin's Linchpin in the mix as well as the Heath brothers Switch book and Robinson's TEDtalk.  There are probably 40-50 books I have read that deal with the issue of left or right brain ideas.

So it is no accident that I would wake up this morning, recalling a dream from last night.  I was recording videos of interviews of actors who won the award of the "greatest, most creative people on the planet" or something like that.  I was recording these actors to show my students how they could be more creative people and gain an advantage over their peers in years to come.  How to be Linchpins, I suppose.

Will Smith, Jerry Seinfeld, Robert Deniro, Betty White, and other people I don't recall were all part of my dream.  [NOTE: this week I watch Betty White on SNL, Meet the Parents, Seinfeld's Standup video-I'm Telling You for the Last Time, and right before I went to sleep I read about Will Smith's son starring in the new Karate Kid -- weird, huh?]

So here is what they said in response to a question of "You are all so creative. You make everything you do seem so spontaneous and effortless.  What is your secret to your creativity?"

Their answer, in unison (I thought that was creative of my brain as it dreamed) was "WE ARE GREAT MEMORIZERS."

Their ability to memorize (very boring, left-brain stuff) scripts, music, and jokes is what allows them to trick us into thinking they are creative. The scripts and lyrics they memorize become second-nature, and they get multiple takes to get it right.  But we don't see the work that goes on behind the scenes.  These performers are not conducting extemporaneous demonstrations of creativity.

Granted it was a dream - my dream, but it made me question all the compartmentalizing that goes on with rational/creative, right vs. left brain, emotional/rational (Heath), schools teaching the creativity out of kids, and how we are in an avalanche of "let's be more creative in school" as a counter-attack to governmental school reform

Many of counter-reformers admire the creativity of the fine arts artistry of actors, musicians, singers, and others - as do I.  But they have one thing in common, it seems to me.  They learned how to use the logical, left, rational side of the brain, and still must do so, in order to arrive at the creativity we admire so much. 

Perhaps we should develop to a "both/and" argument instead of framing our frustration in "either/or" terms.  This might also be why Willingham makes more sense to me than most educational theorists.

What do you think?

Posted via email from Murry's World


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