How do you think?

To answer that question you need to introspect and look deep in your mind and observe. This discussion will explore human consciousness especially as it pertains to education. I was involved in neuropsychology and learning disabilities for a long time and I have found some unique relationships. It is important to understand how your students think. But before you can do that, you need to know what makes you tick. Introspect with me.

When I ask "How do you think?" I am not talking about content or process but how you experience your thinking. This goes beyond the standard learning styles approach, but there most definitely is a relationship.

For me, it started in the second grade. The teacher told the class to image something and she asked everyone whether they “got it”. And I couldn’t do it. I kept my deep dark secret until, many years later, I happened to mention to one of my students that I did not have visual imagery. Her reaction was instantaneous disbelief. How can you think!!!

In that moment I knew people did not think in the same way. How do I think?

I think in spoken words. There are no images to that thinking. I have some spatial imagery, but not at all visual. And then, like my student, there are those who use an image while I am speaking my 1000 words.

Let me tell you about another way I think, by pointing to that famous phrase “Deduction, my dear Watson, deduction.” That is wrong. Holms uses induction, not deduction. Holms took a speck of dust and faint aroma and came to a conclusion. That is induction. It is starting with the pieces and building a whole. Like using Tinker Toy.

Deduction would be more like: “It has been raining for the past week and the man who has not been here, will be dry. I need to look for a dry man.” You start with the overall and explore what flows from that. You are using deduction. Starting from the general and getting increasingly more specific.

Think about a Rubix Cube. I have not the faintest idea on how to move those blocks in any meaningful way. I am very much interested in spatial relations and use a simple measure called the Flags Test.The person is presented with a standard flag and must determine whether rotated forms are or are not be the same as the standard. The task is to determine whether the alternatives were or were not same flag in different orientations.

When I watched people taking the test, two types were immediately became obvious: Those, who rotated the test booklet to try to match the alternative with the standard, and those who did not. What were those individuals doing who did not move the booklet? Some of them were just breezing through the test and were rotating the flags mentally. The rest were were agonizing over "why do we have to do this?"

I belong to the third group. When I do this test I do not match images but talk my way through. “If the cross is on the left of the star and you turned it 270 degrees would the cross be on the right or the left?” I am a fast thinker and I can squeak by, but the Flags Test is not my thing.

Ok, I just gave you a glimpse into the Mind of DrZ. I gave you a summary of my thinking and ways to answer the question, “How do you think”

How important is visually imagery in your thinking?

This is a good ice breaker.
When a song “runs through your head” are you listening to the music or singing it?

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Comment by Robert Zenhausern on November 24, 2009 at 9:15am
There does not have to be a realationship between typing a visual imagery. I would think that kinesthetic imagery is more important. As for remembering someone's face, there are two cases. If I am trying to remember what someone looks like, I can give a verbal description. But more importantly, do not confuse recall with recognition. I may not be able to bring an image of someone's face, but when I see that person I can recognize them. I do not have to recall what they look like. I can see what they look like in front of me.
Comment by Emilie Novak on November 23, 2009 at 4:50pm
If you have no visual imagery, how can you type, remember your mother's face?

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