Tuesday, October 4, 2011

You, There—What Do You Think?

Annotation by Kathleen Blough

Bleedorn, Berenice. (2003). You, There—What Do You Think?. In An Education Track for Creativity and Other Quality Thinking Processes. (p. 86-93). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Education.


This summary/analysis pertains to a chapter entitled, “You, There---What Do You Think?” by Berenice Bleedorn in the book, An Education Track for Creativity and Other Quality Thinking Processes. According to Berenice Bleedorn, she believes:

All humans have an inherit urge to learn and to grow, to enhance themselves, and to be recognized as significant in some way. The process of delivering learning is complicated by the fact that humans differ in their basic learning and thinking styles. Assessing achievement only on the basis of standardized tests is a serious limitation to the evaluation of student learning. Unless creativity, empathy, flexibility, vision, global awareness, tolerance for ambiguity, and ethical standards are taught and modeled by teachers, standardized test scores may be high but application of skills and knowledge may fail application for positive human future development, both individually and collectively. (p. xi)

In this book, Ms. Bleedorn, simply draws upon the works of Dr. E. Paul Torrance, J.P. Guilford, Harland Cleveland, Piet Muller, Frank Maraviglia, Josef Mestenhauser, Patience Dirkx, Gary Jedynak, Efiong Etuk, Lynne Krause, Earl Belide, Garnet Millar, Marie Manthey, and many others. She has written essays for each chapter in this book, which reflect her personal journey and her belief system regarding teaching creativity.

The chapter, “You There—What Do You Think?” focuses on giving children the opportunity to think and be heard without fear. I believe in the same thought and idea about teaching—with our world changing so rapidly especially in the field of technology, it is important to note that “education’s responsibility is to prepare the student mind/brain not only for learning, remembering, and arriving at an answer, but also for thinking at complex levels where the answer is not predetermined (p. 86). The emphasis is on developing citizens that practice habits of thought for themselves and the world.

I found interesting and wanted to note that all humans share a common basic value system. People crave “affection, respect, skill, understanding, power and influence, goods and services, well-being and responsibility” (p. 87). If this is the case, then when a student is in school what happens in school can have a positive or negative effect on this value system. The teacher and peers in school can affect children’s evaluation of themselves. I see this in many classrooms with resource students. The teacher comes into the classroom, and the child is singled out, pulled out of the classroom for their services, and the student is left to feel stupid or different because they are singled out. This action leaves the child to think they are stupid, and the teacher in this case, needs to be sure to recognize the child’s individual talents that make him or her special or figure out a way to release a child to special education services in a more humane way.

The rest of the chapter gives hints, advice, and exercises on how to be aware of every student’s personal significance as an independent thinker. The subheadings are: “What Teaching Taught Me about Teaching” and “What Do You Think.”

Notable Quotes:

“It is important to design learning activities that represent a great variety of thinking skills and interests”(p. 89).

“Remembering a student’s name is less important than recognizing something special about every one. Students are neither a name nor a category nor a number nor a research statistic. At any age, they are highly complicated social, physical, intellectual interactive systems, and being so recognized is vital to their thinking, self-concept, and motivation”(p. 89).

Notable Ideas:

“Make use of playful, brainstorming “warm-up” thinking tasks before beginning a serious class. Warm-ups can be designed to relate to the level of experience of students. (Examples: Why would anyone want to live on a farm? Make a list. Why would anyone not want to live on a farm? Make a list.)"(p. 92).

"How is an owl like a scientist? Think of twenty different ways” (p. 92).

“List plus and minus features of riding a bus”(p. 92).


This book written by Berenice Bleedorn gives the reader insights that are relevant to teachers as well as the global work force. It helps make practitioners think about their craft and how to improve student engagement and learning. It made me think about how everyone needs to understand that the human brain has all the capabilities for success, and as educators, we need to provide opportunities for students to grow and expand their individual attitudes and their personal significance. Educators must allow for many opportunities for students to be heard. This seems to be key to a student’s level of intellect. Allowing for quality thinking exercises to occur in the classroom on a daily basis may be a very effective way to get clear and open-ended solutions to problems and issues. Educators are setting the foundation for individuals to THINK. In this book, I’m also taking away to ponder and think about how the learning environment affects a student’s attitude toward learning. The learning environment includes the teacher and student interaction, the classroom structure, the models of instruction, and students as active participants in their learning. I want to focus on the affective factors contributing to the production of creative ideas. It is really important for teachers to pay attention to how they interact with their students. I believe knowing this about quality thinking processes will help me become a better teacher. I will ponder many ideas about my students: Do the students in the classroom feel empowered with the ability to think? Are the activities that are provided go beyond the right answer? Or do educators provide time for students to stretch their minds? Do educators allow time for student’s to think freely and to contribute personally? Do lessons allow for creative expression? Does the teacher really KNOW the student or just their name? These are all wonderful jumping off points and points to ponder when it comes to the idea of embedding creative thinking into the classroom lesson planning.

No comments:

Post a Comment