Education Phase Two;
By; Chuck Thompson
Some years back I took courses in Mega Memory and how we learn. The spoken word is a language of creating pictures and images in our minds for us to understand. Without these pictures, we can not understand what is being conveyed to us by another person. In other words, we think in pictures, not words. Yes you hear words in your head, but there is an underlying part in your brain that is translating all those words into pictures. Now not all words have pictures to them. Some are conceptual words such as no, stop, and don't or do not and not. Try for a moment to think of a picture for no.
Okay, no picture there. Now how about for stop? Well we have the Stop signs all over our roads so we do have a picture for that, or do we? Well no we do not. Again, the stop sign had to be created and is still a conceptual piece with no picture that can be attached to it. This is why parents have such a hard time with their children. Children do not understand conceptual language as there is no picture in their heads for this. Concepts such as time out, scolding or even a mild spank of the butt sends the message to a child trying to teach a concept. In the event you care to argue this, do NOT think of a pink polka dot yellow elephant. (Aha, got ya didn't I). Yes even today at your present age, you still do not have an image for a conceptual word. If you come up with one, the world will pave more gold at your feet than you know what to do with.
Conceptual learning is the toughest subject to learn and also to teach. A child who does poor in math has a conceptual learning disability, not a learning disability. There are no pictures for math. There are symbols that we call numbers for learning, but no pictures. The nice thing about math is that pictures can be applied to the numbers. This does become a problem though when dealing with multiple numbers and subjects such as multiplication and division. I have a son who is conceptual learning handicapped. At 11, he still can't figure out the basic concepts of simple math as he can not apply pictures to it. He still has issues with no, stop, do not and so forth. He isn't at all stupid, he reads like a champ and understands what he reads. He understands and applies picture language very well. Move him into the conceptual world and he is just lost.
Now is he a total lose? Not at all. We have taught him to use an abacus and he flies with it. It's something he does understand as the image is right in front of him. Take the abacus away and he is once again lost. I do a tremendous amount of photography, video production and I build and own a large amount of web sites. He understands all of this and loves it. Now I have to use creativity and conceptual processes in my work to make my work stand out from the crowd. It's what separates average from great. While conceptualizing a shot or video, I am able to explain what I am doing and he gets it. He can see the process and the end results so he understands why I did what I did and how.
We have worked together on creating videos that he conceptualized and created. Some of them are incredibly good, but I am able to see him still getting lost in the process and then recovering as he understands what the end results will be.
So again, even in the conceptual stages of learning it's the hands on experience that make all the difference in the world. My son understands concepts that do not have pictures attached to them when he can do it as a hands on project. Take away the hands on aspect though and he is perpetually lost. In my first article on “The State of Education”, I talked about, “The Cone of Learning”, and at the top of that cone was the actual hands on doing as the number one way people learn. It is equally so in the arena of conceptual thinking and applications. How this can be applied to those with conceptual learning disabilities I have yet to master when it comes to subjects such as math unless the abacus is used and taught to those with such disabilities. This is not an area that is presently addressed well in our present educational system. Let's hope this changes and that is part of what I am seeking to do. My next article will continue in the line of conceptual issues and this promises to be a very hot topic that I am sure everyone can get something out of.