Which strategies do you use for dealing with conflicting ideas?

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The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. — F. Scott Fitzgerald (1930’s)

That was then.

Today, as we are exposed to different cultures, different politics, different customs, different philosophies….and the pace of information and change acceleratesthe challenge has been grown and multiplied.

Being able to function while holding two conflicting ideas is a good start — but it’s no longer enough.

We need to be able to be able to function while we hold thousands of conflicting and co-evolving ideas.

Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think. -- Albert Einstein

Why is this important?

Whenever we run into opposing ideas we tend to think of them as roadblocks. We tend to give up thinking beyond the conflict.

We stop thinking.

We stop learning. 

It’s an artificial, self-imposed limit in human potential.

Our ability to move beyond these thinking roadblocks is one of the things that makes people better than computers.

We need to prepare to leave the relatively easy problems of logic and math to computers and graduate to harder problem-solving — the kind of problems humans are equipped to solve.

We just need to learn how.

(Is your school teaching you this? If not – demand it.)

Strategies for dealing with conflicting and opposable ideas

Here are some of the strategies that come to mind.

Please add your strategies in the comments for this blog post.

Which strategy do you use?

  • Context classification — (how do you detect context? and how do you classify?)
  • Time distribution — (how do you decide when and how to distribute?)
  • Change distribution — (how do you classify change and decide to distribute?)
  • Integration — (using “and” rather than “or”)
  • Analyzing contrasts and similarities between opposing ideas
  • Prioritizing — (based on what? How?)
  • Logical deconstruction – analyzing the logic behind the ideas
  • Other strategies?

What about you?

How do you manage conflicting ideas?

How do you navigate between them?

We are learning here. Prototyping ideas to deal with new challenges.

Add your comments  on this blog post

or feel free to email me: info@DanMontano.com

P.S.

I want to make sure you have realistic expectations. It’s likely I won’t be able to answer your questions until much later. Proceed with an assumption that you’ll be thinking along with anyone else who participates in the comments section.

A Marginal Gains approach to learning design

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idealskunkworks

This year I am a taking a cognitive science led approach to learning design within a Level 7 (MBA) module. At first, I wasn’t sure if it would make that much difference to my approach; I had considered cog-sci perspectives in previous learning design exercises and I have produced well-balanced learning environments, demonstrated via learning attainment on the part of my students (exam/assignment/dissertation scores) and the traditional post-module satisfaction survey (happy sheets), scattered with a fair number of nominations for student-led teaching awards.

The problem is that I had a L7 course bomb last year – I had a mix of international/UK/EU students who presented challenges the like of which I had not experienced before. To protect the innocent, I will not be shedding too much light on the nature of those challenges, but suffice to say that the student’s learning behaviours just didn’t meet my expectations. To be fair, if…

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A Few Remarks on Critical Thinking – Part 1

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Anatomy of Teaching

Women become persons under Canadian law.

Critical Thinking is an educational motherhood issue. Who could possibly be opposed to critical thinking? Surely students should learn to think critically so that they can be informed, critical citizens in a modern democratic society.

I’m not about to dispute the general value of critical thinking. Rather, I’d like to delve into the issue over a few posts to see if I can clarify what critical thinking is and isn’t, and what teachers can and should do about it.

In 1990, the American Philosophical Association published a Delphi Report on Critical Thinking, with Peter Facione as the primary author. The result was the culmination of a process by which scholars from science, humanities, social sciences and education worked (via mail!) to develop a consensus on the nature of critical thinking. The report did not prescribe teaching methods for critical thinking (see my Bad…

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LAUSD Ditches Pearson and Apple

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Diane Ravitch's blog

John Deasy’s ill-fated commitment to buy an iPad for every student and staff member (he called the program a civil rights issue) loaded with Pearson software for $1.3 billion is finished.

The district is canceling the program and demanding a multi-million dollar refund.

“Los Angeles Unified told Apple Inc. this week that it will not spend another dollar on the Pearson software installed on its iPads and is seeking a multimillion-dollar refund from the technology giant.

“If an agreement cannot be reached, the nation’s second-largest school district could take Apple to court.

“While Apple and Pearson promised a state-of-the-art technological solution for ITI implementation, they have yet to deliver it,” David Holmquist, the school district’s attorney, wrote in a letter to Apple’s general counsel. The ITI, or Instructional Technology Initiative, is the district’s name for its iPad program.

“Holmquist said the district is “extremely dissatisfied” with the work of…

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Is your brainstorming costing you money?

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Bite sized brains

Problem-solving and brainstorming in a rut? Problem-solving and brainstorming in a rut?

When thinking gets stuck

I’m sure you’ve seen it.

You know, when the team is called together around the table to brainstorm. You’re all supposed to suggest brilliantly clever ideas in enormous quantities without necessarily judging or condemning any other ideas

Except it doesn’t really work that well. Does it?

Usually, the classic brainstorm becomes a shoutfest where the earliest, loudest voices get the most airtime and grab the most attention, and subsequent ideas become variations on the already established themes.

By and large, if this is your experience of brainstorming, you’ll appreciate it doesn’t work. You’ll also see how, once we have a concept in mind, we can easily get fixed on it.

Like candles and pliers.

A cognitive problem

Duncker's (1945) candle problem Duncker’s (1945) candle problem

Here’s a puzzle. If you have a candle, some matches and a box of thumbtacks, how would you attach…

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Making Good Decisions – Cognitive Biases and Logical Fallacies

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The I Am Group's Blog

By Tony Koutsoumbos, Fundraising Specialist for the I Am GroupThinking,_Fast_and_Slow

Last night I delivered a talk on the impact of cognitive biases on decision making and the logical fallacies that turn faulty assumptions into false conclusions. Below is a summary of the key points and – more importantly – a list of the most common biases and fallacies.

In a nutshell:

The ability to think quickly is a prized asset in a demanding job, yet it can lead to bad decisions by embedding flawed assumptions in our system of thinking. However, by scrutinising the link between these assumptions and the conclusions they lead us to, we can prevent this from happening.

Fast Thinking v Slow Thinking:

In his 2011 book, Thinking Fast and Slow, Nobel Prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman argues that humans have two different systems of thinking: the intuitive system and the logical system. The intuitive system is fast and…

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