Thursday, January 30, 2014

The abstract of the concrete world and the words we know. Coping Skills.

What is an abstract? It is a description, a scripted version of a concrete thing - or some might say an attempt to de-scribe.
We say that when children have a concrete mind, at around seven, they are ready for school.

This means that, at around seven, a child has built enough experience - which is a memory of the environment to which they were exposed - to be self directive enough to attend school.

So this “ concrete mind” ( which may have new fangled terms at present) is an abstract of the exposure, experience, opportunity of the child those first seven years ( or so).

This abstract is a map of the concrete/physical world. 

So, accordingly, the words - which are clarifications and ordering of our world - one knows will determine the ability of the child to assimilate new information and balance out past events as experiences. A child that has a broad vocabulary, thus, is a child that has had some clarification about their world. They have been structured. They have more coping mechanisms.  I say this because I read an article where an education person, stated that “ schools teach math and parents teach coping skills.” This makes no sense, because math and vocabulary are coping skills, they are the tools of order and measure, description, they are the measure of the concrete into an abstract, the abstract, the reflection of the concrete physical world. They are the bricks in the wall of understanding that are the structure of the abstract of the concrete. Without them, people/children cannot cope. Thus to separate the two, is mis-information.

We have children that have not had enough structure, despite this being what any parent would want most for their child. Partly, because this is not understood, and thus not taught by parents. Or, this is understood somewhat by some, but is not taken far enough. Also, some of the words, if we check them, are not understood as much as we might believe them to be understood, because we learned them in a social scenario and did not check the meaning - which is not to blame anyone, as the solution is the only place of direction. Reaction, as self justification, or blame onto another, is not correction. 

In all, we have children entering school, who lack coping skills because their abstract map of concrete reality is limited, or has developed unclear meanings to words.

In practicing on the violin, if I practiced something in fear, it remained the next time I played the piece. If I practiced in a rushed manner, this remained. If I practiced with a thought/judgement about something, this remained. So, I actually created more work for myself, because I had to stop, slow down, walk every part again clearly focusing on the piece, or the section. Once the addition as a thought within my mind was no longer present, and I had practiced with focus, then not only was it easier to remember the piece, it was easier to play it. And, as this accumulated, it was easier to read other music, and catch myself when wondering off as I played/sight read/ approached new forms etc.

It is no different with words.

If our children have an abstract of the concrete world, as their inner GPS/”concrete mind”/ abstract mind ( what is in effect an ordered natural ability to take in the measure of their physical outer world),  meaning, if our children have a direct memory, then their ability to see directly, and thus self direct, be self responsible, they can cope with reality. I mean, people can spend 51,000$ a year for this! This is how important this is, and the simplicity of this is only hidden within mis-information and as play on words because this has not been taught to parents. And, as we can see, it is the responsibility of the parents. 

On the side, we have all experienced having beliefs, that we find out are not really fact. It appears difficult to accept this. But in effect, when what we believe, as our abstract mind - our VERSION of physical reality - conflicts with reality, we experience cognitive dissonance. This means, just as when I found it difficult to play, because I had practiced with a VALUE judgement, that I was “ being” within myself a state that was not clear, not direct,  I had practiced in an instability, an attention/intention that was not clear. As this, I practiced instability, and the outcome was instability. So, our abstract minds, can have added values and/or be limited in scope. 

So the words we know, are very important. And the necessity of the scope and clarity of the words we know determine the strength of our abstract of concrete reality.  This in turn deter-mines consequences that are not what is best for us and our children - our ability to cope with reality has a more direct memory, which is in effect a more direct seeing of reality.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

ADD and the importance of repetition and physical memory.

I have studied a lot of music. One of the things I did was speed rhythms. This was a way to prepare an absolute focus, because one had to break down every movement, and then speed it up. One worked this until a whole scale was played. The process focused one on the task totally. This in turn developed a focus that enabled a process of developing an absolute focus, to the extent that that focus as a behavior became embedded. When I used this, and it was very calm, I could learn something much faster. This meant that how one focused determined how much time it took to learn something.

Repetition done with absolute focus has no emotion to it, no feelings about it. It develops a clear understanding of the form without added values. Dancers know that repetition places the move into the physical body, where it can be easy to direct, easy to recall and then the dance move can be done with ease and directed, played with. it was the same with the repetition and focus mechanism in music for me. Because of this, I realized that there was a state of being where learning was not all that difficult. And, I had a master teacher tell me about this. He said, “ if you focus correctly, the time spent learning is shortened.”

Let’s look at words. Words develop conceptual ability. For instance, until I had the words that described chemistry I could not answer the questions. If I had to get these words through layers of memory as impulsed values of good and or bad, as a past of negative reprimand or positive reinforcement , which is what behaviors of peer pressure and social competition is that is the life in the classroom,  it would take me a really long time to absorb the new vocabulary.Thus, by the third grade, my ability to take in new information while focusing on and  juggling all the values that had accumulated within, would slow down my ability to learn. As this, I have lost my natural divergent thinking ability that can only exist within absolute focus, here. And, within this, imagine a teacher having to teach a lesson and resolve all this in the classroom that is itself a peer group? They can’t. To move through emotional values present and teach the lesson in the space allotted and provide the repetition needed that will vary by degree, is an impossibility within the present systemic form. 

Within this, can we begin to understand how our children’s promise and potential is slowly lost, taking years to recover. And, does this cost money? And, by the time the children are adults, years of development, within a natural ability to learn at greater levels, is lost and or, has been suppressed.

Does this behavior describe our children, our autistic children and our ADD children and our ADHD children? Does it describe us, the adults?

Is there a way to refocus the child from their natural learning/ divergent thinking ability, to get in a broad vocabulary without emotional values, and with clear meanings to words? Can the structures as the words be placed directly into the physical memory, where the words as placeholders are recalled with ease, enabling the child to answer questions and thus see patterns, because the fabric as the building blocks are stable and used with ease? Thus, when a compound structure is given, that child is not juggling uncertainty on top of new forms.

Would this build a self confident child, a child that builds self trust and skill, leading to a successful adult? Would this create an adult that is focused here, instead of that distracted ADD, ADHD child. Is there solution in the starting point of the dis-ease, instead of trying to answer to reactions as the consequences?: I mean, look at the word as the dis-eased state of being: attention deficit dis-order, or attention deficit hyper-activity( distraction) dis-order?

Our school systems have structure that is beneficial. But, if the starting point of the child and how we learn and take in information is not understood by parents, our children lose what is a natural ability to learn. Our public schools are designed to teach a specific sequence of lessons, with each given a certain amount of time. Thus it is the responsibility of the parents to ensure that the child’s natural learning ability is of a sound structure.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Losing the innate ability of divergent thinking.

There is the famous TED talk done by Ken Robinson, where a group is given the task of thinking up ways a simple object can be used, and the group comes up with many possibilities. A similar example is called the candle and the box. A candle is placed on a table with a box. One is required to figure out how to get that candle on the wall without the wax dripping all over the floor when lit. Many would rub their heads and see only a box and a candle, others would see the box, the tacks holding the box in form and the candle, and take out the tacks, un-fold the box, reshape it, use the tacks to hold and tack a shape onto the wall that would hold the candle and catch the wax. Some call this divergent thinking, some might call this critical thinking skills.
The group that excelled at divergent thinking were Kindergartners. The majority of this group were, as far as divergent thinking, geniuses.
But, this ability was lost by the time these children were in the third grade. 
There are other studies where workers are given tasks to do. When a measure of cognitive skill is needed and a reward given for completing the task, do not do the job as well as when they do the cognition for the joy of figuring out the task.  This shows that the placement of a positive reinforcement diverts full direct  focus and limits cognitive skill. It is the carrot and the stick placed, as a gain, that motivates yet limits at the same time.  And to note, on another front, this suggests that humans innately enjoy solving problems, but when placed in survival do-or-die/win-lose situations their natural  ability to use  divergent thinking becomes limited. 
In studies of child performance, children that come from lower economic levels, tend to have a smaller vocabulary and more negative reprimand impulsed, because  a lack of vocabulary creates a lack of clarity of description of form and purpose, thus more frustrated behaviors, which is the inner map unequal to the other physical world.This is limitation to form and function and as such vocabulary/structure and instead accumulation of values as good and bad that inhibit the child. From such a state how can a child process knowledge and information presented as words in school, and how can a teacher process and correct what parents built as a cognitive map that model  limitations. And is it the responsibility of a teacher to correct what is essentially a lack of self responsibility? Obviously, a teacher cannot do this, no one alone can do this, it is the parents and the teachers and the community that as all one, paying attention and being responsible, that does this.
In both instances impulsed values inhibit/suppress that innate divergent thinking skill of a human because they distract attention. Impulsed accumulation of negative reinforcements from lack, and/or positive reinforcements as motivation divide a child from a natural common sense. Both become the cognizance within, slowing down divergent thinking, because the child is caught up in impulsed values as a cognitive map instead of direct seeing. And if we think about our class structures, this varies by degree, and yet it shows the division of men through suppression via punishment and reward instead of common sense understanding of practical reality.
What if a child could retain that divergent thinking skill and build a strong and varied vocabulary? And what if that vocabulary were of clear, absolute meanings? Would the foundation of the child be a cognitive map that was clear, able to process knowledge and information unfettered by limiting values?
Would this carry that innate human ability of divergent thinking up into the third grade and beyond? Would this create stable children that had what it takes to be a success in this world and as this members of the community that because they were stable and able to think critically possibly create a body of humans that lived the full potential of the human as a group? Would this not create self directive, self responsible human beings?