Sunday, February 26, 2012

Thinking, Who Would Have Thought? – Part B


A tool that mimics the process that your parents employed while teaching you to first talk is the flash card.  According to Wikipedia (again, our favorite resource), flash cards are a set of cards that contains information that is used as a learning tool to aid in the memorization process through a learning technique called space repetition.  Space repetition uses increasing time intervals between the reviews of previously learned material to improve memorization skills.  For years, these cards have been used to make individuals focus on a single correct answer.

With these cards, the mental process of active recall is employed, where a prompt or question is given and the one correct answer is produced.  Again, there is usually some type of positive response associated with every correct answer and usually something negative that is associated with each wrong response the individual gives.  The end result is again “convergent thinking,” where the individual has been conditioned to give the “correct answer” to standard questions that does not require any significant level of creativity on his or her part.

As you got older, another tool was used that took the flash card process to another level.  That tool became known as the standardized multiple-choice format where individuals are again taught to focus on yet more single correct answers.  According to Wikipedia, this standardized multi-choice format is an assessment tool that requires individuals to select the best possible answers from list of pre-selected responses that usually only contains at least one correct answer.

Mostly popular in the United States, the standardized multiple-choice format can be seen used most frequently in educational testing, market research, and elections, where there exists a choice between multiple candidates, parties, or policies.  In this process, a question, an incomplete statement, or mathematical equation, which is often referred to as items, is used to make an individual focus on a single correct answer.

The standardized multiple-choice format usually consist of two parts; an item that is presented as a problem to be solved and a set of pre-selected options that consist of possible answers that an individual is to select from.  In this set of pre-selected options that consist of possible answers that an individual is to select from, there is only one correct answer, which is referred to as the key.  All other answers are referred to as the distracters.

For the purposes of this illustration, we will not discuss the more complex forms of the standardized multiple-choice format.  There are some advantages to using the standardized multiple-choice format from an assessment standpoint but they do not outnumber the disadvantages to using such a format.  Depending on the item writers themselves, his or her training, and his or her personal agendas, items can be subjective in nature, poor in quality, and very ineffective as a teaching tool.

Because of the natural design of the standardized multiple-choice format, individuals are evaluated based on their ability to process and remember all of the information that they have been shown and to make logical decisions and give correct answers accordingly when asked.  Basically, the individual is expected to make the best selection from within the set of pre-selected options he or she is given.

This leads us to some of the problems with using this particular tool.  The main problem with using the standardized multiple-choice format where an individual has to choose the correct answer from within a set of pre-selected options is the fact that the tool automatically creates restrictions in an individual’s thinking process.

With the standardized multiple-choice format, where an individual has to choose the correct answer from within a set of pre-selected options, it tears down an individual’s ability to think, it deteriorates an individual’s ability to reason, and it renders useless an individual’s ability to problem solve.  With the standardized multiple-choice format, the object is to select the best answer from within a set of pre-selected options, but this best answer does not necessarily mean that the choice is the correct answer, just the best choice under the current conditions.

With the standardized multiple-choice format, where an individual has to choose the correct answer from within a set of pre-selected options, items can be written in a way that is beneficial for teaching well-defined, lower-order, or task-oriented reasoning skills, but this format does not lend itself well to teaching any problem-solving or higher-order reasoning skills.  With the standardized multiple-choice format, there is a positive response associated with every correct answer and a negative response associated with each wrong answer given.  The end result is again “convergent thinking,” where the individual has been conditioned to give the “correct answer” to standard questions that does not require any significant level of creativity on his or her part.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is a process known as “divergent thinking.”  According to Wikipedia (you know that favorite resource of ours), “divergent thinking” is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions.  With “divergent thinking,” an individual is free to explore in a spontaneous, free-flowing manner the many possible solutions that can be generated by a question, by an incomplete statement, or even by some mathematical equations, without limitations or restrictions.

Unlike “convergent thinking,” “divergent thinking” improves an individual’s ability to think, builds confidence to an individual’s ability to reason, and encourages the growth and development of an individual’s ability to problem solve.  “Divergent thinking” focuses on exploring many possible solutions to a single question or problem and not just on a set of pre-selected options from which the individual must select.  “Divergent thinking” has been linked to individuals who have personality traits that include nonconformity, curiosity, willingness to take risks, and persistence.  Who would have thought?

Enjoy your blessings. - KW


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Thinking, Who Would Have Thought? – Part A


Did you know that most of us restrict ourselves when it comes to our ability to think and we do not even realize that we do such a thing?  Did you know that most of us specifically restrict ourselves when it comes to our ability to think outside of the box?  Even more specifically than that, is the fact that we completely restrict ourselves when it comes to our ability to think on the things of God.

There is a process that you have been participating in your entire life.  And because this process has been a major part of your life for so long you are more than likely not even aware that you have been a participant in the process.  The process works something like this.  Since early childhood, you have been subjected to a teaching method where you have been taught to focus on one single correct answer.  This ability to focus on a single correct answer is a process known as “convergent thinking.”  Of course, we had to consult our favorite resource, “Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit,” for more information about this topic.  Now, for those of you who are not familiar with this reference site, here is our one product endorsement sales pitch.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Wisdom, Understanding, and Revelation Knowledge - Part II


Now when God grants you wisdom, there are some amazing things that come with it.  First, from his word comes knowledge and understanding.  Next, he reserves his sound wisdom for those who walk in integrity.  He grants good sense, while showing how to tell right from wrong.  But the most amazing of all is when wisdom enters into your heart and knowledge brings feelings of pleasure to your soul, good judgment will preserve you and understanding will keep you, while delivering you from the way of the evil man who speaks fraudulent perverse things.

Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different, or has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth (Ephesians 4:14 KJV).

Wow!  Once the wisdom and truth enters in, then good judgment will preserve you and understanding will keep you.  And you will have the sense to stay away from evil men who speaks fraudulent perverse things.  But there has to be a reason why God’s wisdom is so readily available.  Well, one reason is that once wisdom and truth enter in, then you will no longer be like a child who changes his or her mind about what to believe everything someone comes along with something that sound as if it may have come from God.  You will not have to wonder anymore because wisdom and truth will be inside your heart; they will be a part of your being.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Wisdom, Understanding, and Revelation Knowledge - Part I


As we go through this year of 2012, let us not forget that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law.  Let us not forget that the blessing of Abraham have come to us through Jesus the Christ that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith (Galatians 3:13-14).  Let us also not forget that in everything to give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning us (I Thessalonians 5:18).  And thanks be to God, who has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 15:57), for we are more than conquerors through him that loved us (Romans 8:37).  In this year, let us vow to seek wisdom, understanding, and revelation knowledge as we help each other get to the next level.

God has told us to seek wisdom.  God has told us to seek the know-how.  God has told us to get the ability to use good sense in our thinking, in our judgment, and in our actions.  God has also told us to get understanding.  God has told us to get the ability to perceive and to get the ability to explain the meaning or nature of things.

He has told us that once we have gotten all that we have been told to get, it is then that the revelation knowledge comes.  And when it comes, this revelation knowledge, we will have to be ready to receive it.  And before we can receive this revelation knowledge, we have to be ready to accept it.  But before it comes, we have to do our part.  We have to get all that we are told to get and we have to seek all that we are told to seek.  This is the first step in getting to the next level.