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The Dialogic Learning Weekly #196

The Dialogic Learning Weekly #196
Welcome, you made it to another Friday. Congratulations. I hope you are safe and well. In this week’s issue: magic + bias, learning + ownership, principles + creativity.
Let’s get into it.

Your Blindspots
Over the last few weeks I have been exploring the concept of blindspots. I reflect on the obvious stuff I miss. Sometimes this is a solution to a problem or a person’s perspective.
We all have blindspots, it is just that we lack awareness of them. I suppose that is why they get the name. Our strengths, skills and talents often shroud relational insights from us.
  • Where you see a straightforward decision, others get stuck in the complexity of choosing.
  • When others feel anxious and uncertain about the next step in a project, you wonder why things aren’t progressing.
  • Where you ruminate and over analyse, someone else shows you a simple path that helps.
It is powerful reflective practice to first accept that you have them. (What assumptions am I making here?) And then to challenge that default assumption, bias or blindspot by reframing. (What do you see here? How do you see this differently? What would X think?)
To help illustrate some of our attentional blindspots here is a short TEDx Talk that combines two things I have been fascinated with since childhood. Cognitive bias and magic. Well one of them at least.
Enjoy the dry humour of Kyle Eschen as he explores the psychological techniques that underlie theatrical deception.
The art of cognitive blindspots | Kyle Eschen | TEDxVienna
The art of cognitive blindspots | Kyle Eschen | TEDxVienna
Who owns the learning?
The notion of ownership and learning have always sat awkwardly for me. I have long pondered on the blog and article headlines I see about “Students taking ownership over their own learning” as if we were repatriating a long lost heirloom.
This week I shared on the Twitters my thoughts and received a wide range of responses I think you will enjoy too. Click on the tweet below to see the full set of responses.
Tom Barrett
I have always been puzzled by the way learning is referred to as something that can be 'owned'. It is not a possession.

I understand responsibility, but saying, "students owning their learning" seems an odd turn of phrase. Like we are returning a possession.

What do you think?
A couple of responses that really resonated for me included Toby’s:
ن Toby E Carson
@tombarrett I say it.
I mean it in terms of 'be in charge of' or 'assume control of'. In this sense they already 'own' it, It can't be taken from them - but they can nurture it by assuming responsibility for that ownership. I can help them do this but only they can actually do it
And these comments from Mark:
Mark Sonnemann
@tombarrett Agreed. Suggests if S's aren't learning it isn't on us as T's. Description of the relationship between learners shouldn't be transactional. It is richer and more dynamic. Can't think of 1 word. S's should be connected to it, should have meaningful input, should be a shared work.
What do you think?
The Art of Producing Ideas
In 1939 James Webb Young published A Technique for Producing Ideas. He posits a five step creative process which is underpinned by two key principles.
The first [principle is] that an idea is nothing more nor less than a new combination of old elements.
The second important principle involved is that the capacity to bring old elements into new combinations depends largely on the ability to see relationships. Here, I suspect, is where minds differ to the greatest degree when it comes to the production of ideas. To some minds each fact is a separate bit of knowledge. To others it is a link in a chain of knowledge. It has relationships and similarities. It is not so much a fact as it is an illustration of a general law applying to a whole series of facts.
Consequently the habit of mind which leads to a search for relationships between facts becomes of the highest importance in the production of ideas.
James L. Adams explores this combinatorial approach when he outlines the block to creativity: No Appetite for Chaos. If we have such a low appetite for the messiness and uncertainty of creativity…
The process of bringing widely disparate thoughts together cannot work too well because your mind is not going to allow widely disparate thoughts to coexist long enough to combine.
Find out more about James Webb Young’s approach in the Brainpickings article below.
A 5-Step Technique for Producing Ideas circa 1939 – Brain Pickings
Thanks - have a great weekend. Let me know what resonates.
In dialogue we trust.
~ Tom Barrett
Did you enjoy this issue?
Tom Barrett from Dialogic Learning

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