Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Element and Whole Brain Thinking

This from my friend and colleague, Ken Wall.

I've just finished reading for the second time a really outstanding book by Sir Ken Robinson, The Element.

Sir Ken is probably most well known for his TED lecture in 2006 on how schools and our education systems are killing creativity in our children. His argument in this great talk ( was that the education system mainly recognises and rewards traditional left-brain thinkers. He doesn't suggest - and neither do we - that the traditional and basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic coupled with science are not important. Ken Robinson is suggesting, and we agree, that there is a lot more to being good at school - and in life - than being good at the basic left-brain subjects.

But what happens to right-brain thinkers? How do they get on in the left-brain education system?

The Element explains, through many examples and personal stories, how every one of us can find ourselves in our own personal Element, and achieve everything we are capable of and enjoy our lives to the fullest. One of the key principles of the Element is that we need to challenge what we take for granted. This is particularly important given the rate of change we now face and even more so as we go into the future. Children starting school today will leave school in 2022. What are we going to teach them to prepare for the day they leave school in 12 years time? Rather than focus on what is happening outside, Ken Robinson suggests that we might be better off if we focus on ourselves, what we are good at and what we would really like to do - our Element. The book takes this discussion a stage further and shows how each one of us has a point - the Element - at which our natural talent meets our personal passion. This idea has a very strong connection with our personal preferences and skills as measured by the Neethling Brain Instrument (NBI).

The NBI can give us a clear indication of our thinking preferences (personal passion?) and our personal skills (natural talent?). These two NBI profiles can therefore add considerably to the personal insights required for people to discover their personal Element, and to make more informed decisions about their future, or the future expectations of their nearest and dearest. It can also explain why you love - or hate - your current job, subject choices or career path. So don't leave it too late!

A good starting point would be to complete two NBI profiles - Personal Skills and Thinking Preferences.

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