Today, I am being provocative but not to an outrageous degree. The de Bono Thinker values provocation as a key element in the skill of lateral thinking. It is a gentle if persistent operation.
Provocation as a thinking process, when used with care, encourages movement in a different direction, sometimes, on a different path. That is where the lateral element enters the fray.
Here is my provocation with apologies to Marie Antoinette, and, to a degree, Herrmann International whom I thank for the opportunity to publish my graphic summarising their ethos:
Whole Brain Learning, as described by Ned Herrmann, the originator of the thesis, is the most desirable sort of learning. It is the most desirable sort of learning because all the potentialities of the brain are used. For those of us bored with teachers who describe themselves and others as ‘left brainers’ or ‘right brainers’, the Herrmann concept goes desirable steps further.
For those readers who no little or nothing about the work of Ned Herrmann, I designed this graphic in 2010 when I was actively promoting his ideas to the de Bono Thinking community.
A Quick Summary to Sustain Thinking Momentum
- Herrmann proposed the brain has four quadrants, A, B, C and D.
- The orientation of each quadrant is described in the graphic. If you choose to click on the graphic, Google will enlarge it.
- The graphic describes each quadrant in a word - centre - and in an adjectival group along the sides.
- Herrmann taught that each of us has a quadrant ‘preference’ or two. It is relatively rare for us to have equal preference to use each quadrant consistently and collectively.
- Herrmann suggests ‘learning’ should encourage use of each of the four quadrants. This is his thesis about brain potentiality - the potential for better thinking, broader perceptions, a greater variety of ideas, of outcomes. The de Bono Thinker should, at this point, be feeling vibrations of empathy.
I am surprised and I hope, well-informed when I speculate - I don’t have any figures to satisfy A Quadrant types - that the Herrmann model is one hundred percent orientated towards business and business training. Education is not part of the Herrmann ‘equation’. It should be.
It should be for two reasons:
- As a commercial organisation, Herrmann could enlarge their ‘earnings potential’.
- In the education sector, application of the Herrmann ‘instrument’ the questionnaire delivered to clients by certified practitioners only, to determine ‘quadrant preference’ amongst other important things, has huge potential.
For example, here are two:
- Teachers, internationally, have been encouraged, if not convinced, to undertake ‘pre-testing’ to determine where each student is ‘at’ in terms of abilities and inclinations. There is a certain skill in designing a ‘pre-test’. Most teachers, in my experience, lack that skill.
- If and when - I believe Herrmann in Schools is inevitable - the ‘instrument’ is used to determine the quadrant preference(s) of students, then teachers can better plan their teaching.
- Of course, the Herrmann instrument has great value for teachers as well, for Faculty Leaders and for school administrators: What are the preferences of my team and how can I/we broaden perceptions? How open minded and creative are our A Quadrant Mathematicians? … and so on.
I invite you to think about people who live or work with, interact with in any arena, who typify any of the quadrant thinking styles. And, I hasten to add, thinking styles in the Herrmann context, can apply to groups and even cultures. I have been asked, by Lithuanian sceptics: *What proof do you have that de Bono Thinking works? There is statistical ‘proof’ of a sort - Professor John Edwards has it - but it is not the sort of ‘proof’’ Sovietic thinkers continue to demand.
Perceptive readers may have gathered I have a mild interest in photography. During a conversation with friends recently, we talked about the nature of photography and its ability as a practical art to satisfy of each of the Herrmann quadrants. Doubtless there are others but ‘taking and making photographs’ was the topic of the moment.
Here is an example of what I mean:
- The photograph in the graphic at the head of the page is a portion of a much larger view of a building facade in Riga, Latvia. I noticed the woman’s head only when post-processing the view.
- By deciding to process the photograph in monochrome, I met some of the adjectives in Herrmann’s A Quadrant - What did I want to achieve? Black and White photography has a specific impact on an audience. That ‘colour’ gives emphasis to the subject matter. There is a strong possibility - logical prediction - others viewing this photograph will feel similarly.
- The ‘way’ to design a monochrome photograph required all the features described as B Quadrant Thinking - organised, sequential and so on.
- The D Quadrant elements were also satisfied - How much of the original should I crop out? What am I attempting to show to the viewing audience - The B&W Photography Community on Google+? What filters can be used to achieve the outcome I think I want?
- C Quadrant - The love of the sun in a cold country with a long winter; the elderly woman in the somewhat older building; the textures of bricks, steel roof, even curlers in the hair…
I began by suggesting this post is provocative. Here is another provocation:
What can teachers do, what can you do, in your school, or your business, what can you design that exploits the brain potential Herrmann teaching promotes?
OK, I know that Photography is a subject for senior students in some schools - in New Zealand, it is one of the NCEA subjects. But Photography is not in the ‘curriculum core’ alongside Physical Education, Mathematics, Social Science…
My Four brain Quadrant Focus was the design and application of simulation games. They certainly required use of the Whole Brain…
What can you do?