Friday, February 29, 2008


A Whole New Mind presented many ideas that I had never even entertained the thought of. It ultimately changed my thinking about a great deal of things, including my education, which I described in the posts about the six senses relating to my classes. The blog discussions we had in class not only covered the book, but issues related to topics in the book. I love hearing other people's views, and it was great to be able to read this book along with my classmates and hear their perspectives on it, which helped to mold my own. Our study of it allowed me to discover and think on my own, something that most classes do not even begin to offer. I loved that we were pretty independent in our reading and could take away what we wanted to from it. This book has forever changed the way I think.

The Six Senses in Science Class

Science is another subject, along with math, that I was completely convinced had no right-brain qualities at all. Once I read AWNM, my mind was opened, however. Design is highly prevalent, primarily in the design of experiments. Experiments must be extremely well-designed in order to run smoothly and gather optimal results. If not carefully planned out, they could herald faulty results, or, even worse, end in disaster. This is yet another example that material objects are not the only things which must be designed. There is also story in science. Some branches of science deal with the study of how the Earth formed, and from there, how life formed and the specifics of this, such as atoms, ecosystems, environmental studies, and so on. Science basically attempts to answer the question of how the Earth formed and studies various aspects of life on Earth. In this way it reveals the story of the Earth and everything on it. This is a rather monumental story!
Science is, in essence, a symphony because all of the individual branches of science come together in some way. Study of atoms and molecules leads to chemistry. Studies of ecosystems and environmental issues mesh together. As students progress, science builds upon itself, and one must have prior knowledge in order to understand and comprehend what is being taught. All ideas in science intertwine to create a scientific symphony!
Empathy and play can aid the study of science, because science can sometimes be difficult because of the many concepts one must grasp. If students have empathy for each other and help each other, yet at the same time have fun with what they are learning, the process becomes painless.
Because science attempts to pinpoint how Earth formed, it has great meaning. Humans want to know how our planet formed, and from this, how we got here. Because science tries to answer this and a great many people listen to these answers, science holds meaning for them.
Science is yet another subject that is left-brained, but with right-brain aptitudes mixed in. And if I had never read AWNM, my eyes never would have been opened to see this.

The Six Senses in Math Class

It is commonly thought that math has no right-brain aptitudes involved with it. I used to think this as well, but since reading AWNM my thoughts on this have changed. Math problems are actually a form of design! They must be designed to solve properly so that they will lead to an answer. Badly designed math problems can be extremely frustrating to the person trying to solve them. I used to think that design applied only to objects, but since reading this book I have concluded that it can apply to absolutely everything, including math problems.
Math problems can also have a story to them because often if one attaches a story to the numbers in the problem they are trying to solve, then it makes this process a great deal easier. Story problems help with this too because when something has a story attached to it, it makes it seem more important and valid, as opposed to simply a set of numbers that must be crunched. Symphony even exists in math, surprising as it may be! Each individual number in a problem or equation works with the other numbers to create a solvable problem or equation. If one of these numbers is off or wrong, the equation or problem will no longer work properly, again creating frustration. If one can have empathy for classmates having a difficult time with math, this helps immensely. Math can be a cryptic subject and one that is hard for a myriad of people. However, if everyone helps and empathizes with each other, then it gradually becomes easier. Play also is present in math and helps while learning math for the very same reason. Math has meaning as well because although numbers just seem like, well, numbers, these numbers can have real-world applications that help people with day-to-day life. One must dig deeper to see this, though.
Until reading AWNM, I was of the persuasion that math merely consisted of left-brain aptitudes and had no connections to the right brain whatsoever. This misconception is not true in the least, as I learned. Math is a left-brain subject with right brain aptitudes. Learning this has sent me on my way to developing a whole new mind.

The Six Senses and the Arts

Not surprisingly, the six senses are related to the arts; more specifically, band. Band is an extremely creative class and until now, I had never thought about it the way I do now. Design is a huge factor because each piece of literature (music) was thought up and created by a composer, who had to use design in order to arrange the notes and arrange the parts to make them pleasing to the ear. Music is full of design, and I am just now noticing this because I used to think that design was something that only applied to furniture and clothing. Story is an aspect because behind every piece of music there is a story and something that inspired the composer to write it. The story effects the way the piece should be played; thus, it is helpful to know the story behind the piece in order to play it correctly. There is a bigger focus on this in high school band than there was in middle school band because as high schoolers we have our instruments and technique mastered whereas in middle school, not as much. Symphony is an obvious aspect in band because of symphonies. We never play symphonies in band because they are very involved and take time to master which we do not have. But symphony has a connection to band through the music we play. Every note in the piece comes together to form a piece of musical literature. Each different section has a different part, but all of these parts contribute to the whole to create a lovely performance. Play is present because not only is band class fun because some of my friends are in there, but there is music that is great fun to play. This music tends to be upbeat and have fun rhythms. It also helps to have empathy for fellow musicians when they are struggling with a particular piece. Every musician knows what it is like to play bad notes and have a difficult time with a piece, so when we empathize with each other, it makes the experience much easier. Meaning is here as well because many of us in band find great joy in playing instruments, making music, and performing for packed theatres. It is our passion, and passions help pave the way to finding meaning in life. Reading AWNM opened my eyes to how much the six senses apply to band, and in changing the way I think about learning in band, it has changed my band experience!

The Six Senses in History Class

History is a class chock-full of right-brain aptitudes and the six senses. Up until reading this book, I had never thought about history in this way. It is obvious how much story is prevalent in history class because history is essentially the story of the world that examines the things people did, why they did them, and what happened as a result. This also relates symphony to history because separate events and people that are seemingly unrelated actually turn out to be, and their stories come together to form the fabric of human story through time. Empathy also helps in history because we learn about many tragic and sad situations, and if we have empathy for the people that these situations effected, then we can connect and learn about these events on a deeper level. In my class this year, we also manage to incorporate play because my teacher has an extremely sharp wit and applies this to what we are learning to make it fun and interesting. Meaning is found in history class too because almost all historical events have a deeper meaning than there is on the surface, and we as humans can learn from this and apply it to our own lives. Some historical figures, such as Martin Luther King, can also inspire us and change the way we think, which helps dramatically in finding meaning. Reading AWNM has definitely changed the way I think about my learning in history and has aided me in noticing elements that were always there; it merely took this book to point them out to me. This book has definitely altered the way I think.

The Six Senses in English Class

English class contains such a large amount of right-brain aspects that it is mind-boggling. Every time someone creates a piece of writing, this constitutes design. It must not only be neat and easy to read, but the words must connect and flow in a way that is pleasing to the senses. In other words, it must look and sound enticing. Good writing is always well-designed in order to look appealing on the page and engage people in reading it.
Story is an enormous part of English. In most every English class I have ever taken, novels have played a part. Because they’re obviously in story format, they are easier to remember. In fact, I can describe most novels I have read throughout middle school and high school. Teaching us how to read, understand, and examine various works of literature is one of the primary aims of English.
In English, play is not neglected. In seventh grade, while learning about poetry and other writings from Medieval times, we constructed miniature models of castles, since castles were an integral part of this era. I chose to build mine with sugar cubes. We were allowed to work in groups, and my group and I had a fabulous time building this castle (and eating a few sugar cubes along the way). Also, in most English classes I have taken, the teachers try to make the subject matter enjoyable even when it’s somewhat dry (vocabulary, grammar, Shakespeare, etc.). This helps liven it up. English is a deeply interesting subject to me, but as with all classes, it becomes even more interesting when the teacher incorporates play, makes jokes, and generally tries to inject some fun into the learning.
In some works of literature, empathy helps the reader because of sad situations or problems that the characters may have. Feeling empathy, even for characters in books, greatly helps in “getting into” the book more and understanding it.
There are amazing amounts of meaning in books; that is, if one digs for it and consciously tries to find it. It is impossible to get anything out of a book if one simply reads it. At that point, one is just reading words. When you look for meaning in seemingly meaningless parts of a book, you will be surprised at what you find. Sometimes your way of thinking is changed just by looking for meaning in books. Meaning in literature can open your eyes---if you only stop to look for it.
English is essentially a symphony without music. In writing, separate ideas come together to form one big idea or argument. When examined, all elements in a good piece of writing should connect. Most writing is about one large idea, with smaller ideas that connect to it to support it. Symphony can also be found in literature in the same way. There is one main problem or idea in the book, and the events are all related to this problem or idea. For example, in Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind, the basic idea is that right-brainers and their qualities are becoming more prevalent in this new Conceptual Age that we are entering. Abundance, Asia, and automation are three pieces of evidence that support this. Design, story, play, meaning, empathy, and symphony are six traits that people who want to excel in this new world and develop “a whole new mind” must master. Any way you slice it, this is all evidence and ideas that support the idea of emerging right-brainers. Everything presented in this book connects in some way.

As with every other subject, AWNM has altered the way I perceive my learning. When thinking about learning in a different way, it enriches the entire learning experience, and English class is no exception.

The Six Senses in Foreign Language Class

Foreign languages are full of right-brain aptitudes. Symphony is a great example because one must see the language as a big picture, and put the individual words into sentences and phrases in order to make them mean something. And the verbs and nouns are sometimes in different orders, making this difficult, but it is something that one must learn nonetheless. It is beneficial to see the pieces of the language, and then put them together into the big picture, which is speaking the language.
Meaning is also used because when learning a different language, the culture is usually different as well and this comes through in the language. Different languages have different slang, and the words are interpreted differently as well. (This is where the phrase “lost in translation” comes from: since words have separate meanings, translations often do not sound the same as they would have originally.)
Empathy can be found while learning a foreign language because sometimes foreign languages are not easy at all, and if you have a teacher and peers who are willing to help you through the hard spots, this helps the learning dramatically. If the students do not support each other, then learning the foreign language will not be a good experience for anyone in the class. Often, if even an experienced teacher recognizes if a particular part of the language is the opposite of easy, then they will have empathy for the students, and this helps a great deal.
In language classes, story is involved. Besides being fluent in the language that they teach, many foreign language teachers have been to the countries where this language is widely spoken as well. (For example, both French teachers I have had so far have both been to France numerous times.) Because of this, they have many interesting, and sometimes funny, stories about their travels. These stories help make the class enjoyable, fun, interesting, and memorable. If the class has all of these aspects, then it will make learning easier. And because of the difficulty of learning a different language, this is always welcome!
In foreign language classes, there is also room for play. As with story, play helps make class fun and a bit easier. This year, my French teacher has showed us many music videos by popular French musical artists. Not only do we get to hear the proper accent and pronunciation of the words, but it is a good way to unwind and deviate from a normal class.
Design is a factor as well. This year in French II, my classmates and I have been asked to create a skit and present it in front of the class. The purpose of this assignment is to show that we can write proper sentences in French and pronounce French words correctly. It involves design, however, because we get to design the structure of the skit and put the sentences together in the proper manner. We can also have props if we wish. A skit (or any aspect of acting) is an example of design because it must be created then arranged and structured in order to create an effective one.
Foreign language classes are obviously classes that are packed with the six senses! Although I have always presumed this, I have now confirmed it and have thought much deeper on this then I ever have.