Meddling to Mentoring: A New Paradigm for Professors

Aristotle taught the science of motion, and as such he had figured out that a key ingredient to the instructor-student relationship was movement. (Tweet this quote.) Centuries later, Isaac Newton proclaimed his first law of motion: a body at rest continues at rest unless acted upon by an outside force, and a body in motion continues in motion. Both Aristotle and Newton understood a prime principle of pedagogy that Aristotle demonstrated daily with his gait.

A mind in motion (activity) learns, and if it helps, while reading this post, pretend you are walking with me both listening and conversing. Or stop reading for a while, drop down for a few push-ups, or jog. Conversely, neither physical nor mental inertia is a good thing. Molecular biologist John Medina believes that there really is a silver bullet for American education, exercise, but that’s another story.

Motion, whether it’s the flickering image on your TV screen or your instructor in the middle of your classroom, captures your attention. Motion allows the mind to move from old knowledge to new. (Tweet this quote.) Motion prevents us from becoming physical and mental couch potatoes. And motion in the classroom is a primary way learners are transformed through such activities as on-demand writing, giving an impromptu speech, or using manipulatives, whether they are Legos, ThinkerToys, or something else.

Permeating all our prose is the key concept of the instructor maintaining authority. In short, the instructor is a leader, a person who has a shared vision with students . . . and more.

A New Paradigm for Mentoring

Five years ago I was having coffee and a chat in the Faculty Lounge with the chair of the Faculty Senate and the University Provost about the mission of higher education when the latter proclaimed, “The university is in the knowledge-creation business.” Back then, we all nodded our heads in agreement, but now we question that pronouncement and our judgment. If knowledge changes so quickly and is so readily accessible, hasn’t the historic mission of the university also changed? Doesn’t higher education need to develop skills, skills such as creative and critical thinking, teamwork, communication, and a scholarly frame of mind that fosters intellectual inquiry?

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In 2011 at the annual meeting of the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative one of the discussions centered on whether the need still exists for traditional college courses. After all, as Jeffrey Young (2012) states, “In an era when students can easily grab material online, including lectures by gifted speakers in every field, a learning environment that avoids courses completely—or seriously reshapes them—might produce a very effective new form of college” (A14).

I couldn’t disagree with Young and others more, but I do admit the old ways no longer work. What was judged as effective teaching when Hal Blythe and Charlie Sweet began as college instructors 40 years ago and even a few years ago when I entered the profession is now in need of serious change.

Six Roles of the Mentor

PG Mentoring to Meddling 2The focus of our new paradigm is the instructor, whom I believe must be—rather than a sage, a guide, or a meddler–a mentor, a prominent part of the educational experience. And as that mentor, the instructor assumes six distinct, but inter-related roles:

• Facilitator
• Coach
• Artist
• Critical Reflector
• Model
• Scholar.

While you’ve probably heard of the term mentor and could offer a short definition (e.g., a mentor in business is a common practice), do you know from where the term derives?

In Greek mythology Odysseus, just before he started his journey to and from the Trojan War, asked the elderly Mentor to tutor his son, Telemachus. And interestingly, when Athena, goddess of wisdom, later came to Telemachus, she took the form of Mentor. A mentor, then, as the mythic metaphor makes clear, is a wise authority figure who tries to inculcate wisdom in a less-wise individual and transform that learner into an active creative thinker.

Come back to the blog to examine the mentor’s six roles.

book on teaching applied creative thinking

 

Author

Russell CarpenterDr. Russell Carpenter is director of the Noel Studio for Academic Creativity and Program Director of the Minor in Applied Creative Thinking at Eastern Kentucky University. He is also Assistant Professor of English. Dr. Carpenter has published on the topic of creative thinking, among other areas, including two texts by New Forums Press. In addition, he has taught courses in creative thinking in EKU’s Minor in Applied Creative Thinking, which was featured in the New York Times in February 2014. Meet Russell.

A Sensory Integration Diagnosis Glossary for Parents

sensory integration diagnosis glossary

This is the simplest sensory integration glossary I could devise to make it easier for parents to understand some of the common terminology they may encounter when they receive a sensory or autism diagnosis.

8 Aspects of Sensory Integration Diagnoses Explained

I want to underscore that none of the label terminology that refers to neurological or developmental struggles imply anything whatsoever about intelligence or capacity. Parents advocate for their sensory needs children by assuming that they are highly intelligent.

Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

Developmental difficulties are expressed in a variety of ways by individuals who are “on the spectrum.” Frequently the struggle is in social and communication skills. This is characterized by varying degrees of difficulty in verbal and non-verbal expression. Repetitive behaviors are also associated with ASD. Conditions that are included on the spectrum are Rett Syndrome, Asperger Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (called PDD-NOS, an acronym for Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified). Aspects of ASD are motor coordination and physical and health issues like sleep problems and gastrointestinal disturbances. There are many kinds of autism. Research into causation and treatment is ongoing. Do not accept assumptions about autism. Pay attention to your child no matter what diagnosis is suggested.

Bioelectrical Human Field

The human body has an electrical field that can be measured. Its electrical charge is emitted by cells, tissues and membranes. Electroencephalograms, fMRI’s and similar technologies read the bioelectrical field to identify illness or structural irregularities. Meridians, the pathways named in acupuncture and related therapies, are bioelectrical routes. Applied touch is one of the systems like acupuncture and acupressure that contacts this field to promote nervous system balance and sensory integration. New research investigates the relevancy of the bioelectric field in addressing sensory integration.

Dyslexia or Developmental Reading Disorder (DRD)

New terminology will likely evolve for this spectrum of difficulties with understanding symbols. Dyslexia refers specifically to an inability to recognize the symbols used to interpret language but similar disorders may be about the symbols used to understand math or handwriting. The neurological processing of symbols does not occur in a way that allows the individual to process the information those symbols are intended to relay. This struggle is not in any way a reflection of intelligence. This is purely a symbol processing disorder. Healthy compensations are now in place to minimize the limitations and maximize the gifts of dyslexia.

Learning Challenged or Learning Disabilities

These are umbrella terms that can encompass a wide variety of learning difficulties. Sometimes, challenges are labeled hyperactivity or attention deficit (ADHD is the acronym for these). Learning challenges can be in the category of focus and comprehension or they can be with specific skills like reading (dyslexia), writing (dysgraphia), math (dyscalculia) or other skills. There is unquestionably an interface between learning challenges and sensory processing struggles. Sorting through the developmental, physiological and processing aspects of learning challenges can unearth the deep seated needs of the child and lead the way to enhanced academic experiences.

Neurodiversity

Neurodiversity does not describe any particular condition. It embraces neurological uniqueness and the different ways that individuals express intelligence. Some people with learning challenges or sensory difficulties prefer to be called neurodiverse. Many believe there are fewer stigmas when this word is used. Neurodiverse is used in contrast to neurotypical which is the word that describes those who express what is considered to be a more normal development though some would argue that everyone is neurodiverse.

Sensory Integration

This term refers to the innate neurobiological process of integrating and interpreting sensory input. The input comes from within the person’s body and from the surrounding world environment. When this innate process is unbalanced the person is said to have Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).

Sensory Processing Disorder

This describes the neurological traffic jam of mixed or overloaded signals that prevents the brain from filtering and organizing sensory input. Under optimum conditions all the senses work together to promote understanding of who we are and how we are experiencing the world around us. The brain organizes sensory information, assigns meaning to it and sorts out appropriate behaviors accordingly. When this does not go smoothly there can be a painful struggle surrounding behavior. Sensory experience can be overwhelming.

The basic senses referred to in Sensory Integration and Sensory Processing Disorder are:

  • Vision (or sight);
  • Audition (or hearing);
  • Tactile Stimulation (or touch);
  • Olfaction (or smell);
  • Gustation (or taste);
  • Vestibular (or balance and movement); and
  • Proprioception (or knowing one’s place in space).

All sensory input is bioelectrical. All our interactions flow out of sensory experience.

When certain processing difficulties are identified like Visual Processing Disorder or Auditory Processing Disorder they always relate to the difficulty the individual is having in discerning, identifying, filtering or sorting the related sensory information.

Trauma, Shock and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Trauma describes what one has experienced when an overwhelming emotional event persists in its disturbance even after it is over. Shock is a much higher and more shattering order of magnitude of this experience such as what someone who has been in a war zone might endure. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the diagnostic criteria for this psychological condition. When a child with sensory difficulties has also experienced trauma, such as being the child of a veteran who comes home with combat-shock or PTSD or when adoption from an institution is a factor, then trauma informed neurochemistry becomes interactive with neurodiversity. Some people experience the loneliness of being neurodiverse as traumatic. For others a diagnosis of autism or Sensory Processing Disorder is traumatic along with the process of finding resources. People who have lived a long time with sensory challenges not knowing there are resources for them also experience trauma.

book on sensory integration

Author

Stephanie MinesDr. Stephanie Mines is a psychologist whose unique understanding comes from her academic research as well as her extensive work in the field. Her stories of personal transformation have led many listeners to become deeply committed to the healing journey. Dr. Mines understands shock from every conceivable perspective. She has investigated it as a survivor, a professional, a healthcare provider, and as a trainer of staffs of institutions and agencies. Meet Stephanie.

Apply Creative Thinking to Collaborative Novel Writing

collaborative novel writing

Forty-five years ago Naked Came the Stranger suddenly appeared on the bestseller list, but what it took folks a long time to figure out was that the book was a hoax. Penelope Ashe, the purported author, turned out to be a host of writers for the Long Island paper Newsday, and their intent was to prove H.L. Mencken’s pronouncement that “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.”

A Collaborative Novel Writing Exercise

Now you might not be interested in satirizing our country’s literary taste or lack thereof, but you could replicate the fun the staff had—especially if you like dabbling in creative writing.  And even if you don’t, you might want to pick up a copy of our (written with Charlie Sweet) guidebook to writing fiction, Options (New Forums, 2014), and try your hand at the process. Along the way you’ll experience collaboration, piggybacking, glimmer-catching, and a host of other creative strategies we discuss.

What We’re Writing

Since the early part of this year with its ice and sub-zero temperatures was our winter of discontent, a group of five of us decided to try something new. All local writers, we were having lunch at the local Panera when someone suggested that a cure for cabin fever might be writing a group novel. Charlie Sweet and I had been publishing co-written fiction for over forty years, a husband-and-wife team had been writing children’s books together, and another retired professor had been updating old novel manuscripts and selling them on Amazon.com. The five of us had never written together, but Charlie and I had taught two of them in our creative writing class years ago. A “collabo-novel” seemed to be the perfect cure for the winter-time blues.

The Process to Applied Creative Thinking

Henry James claimed in “The Art of Fiction” that all writers should be given their donnee, but when we began, we had no idea what the donnee should be (actually as Jock Ewing told J.R., nobody gives you anything in this world), so we started brainstorming.

Our group had a definite advantage since we came from differing professional backgrounds.  Charlie and I (both college athletes) had spent our careers as English profs while our lone female collaborwriter was a journalist; her husband, a composition instructor with a background in acting; and our “fifth wheel,” a former lawyer who taught in our university’s College of Justice and Safety. As a result, we had both a wide range of expertise and interest.

We should note here that the best productive collaborations we’ve encountered over the years have had similar diversity of background and interest—opposites don’t always attract, but they often produce the best fiction! (Tweet this quote.)

As our merry band started throwing around ideas, we were careful to exercise the cardinal rule of brainstorming: let all ideas live at first.  And it’s a good thing we did!  A natural tendency might have been to stitch together a modern-day crime or romance narrative with “the usual suspects and a relatively plausible plot.” Because we were open to all ideas, however, things got interesting real fast. (Tweet this quote.)

Living amid the foothills of Appalachia, we had for years been subjected to folk stories of strange creatures and weird happenings in our neck of the woods. In fact, only a couple of months before our fateful lunch, no lesser scientific authority than Animal Planet’s Matt Moneymaker and the dauntless crew of Finding Bigfoot (FB) had visited our community after hearing reports of a Sasquatch sighting.

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Ah, ha, said our rhetorician—who had also appeared as an audience member on the Finding Bigfoot broadcast—what if we crafted a story involving a band of bigfoots that had taken up residence in the woods and caves of Eastern Kentucky after migrating from the north along the old buffalo trace that had become I-75?

With that glimmer, we were off and running. Yeah, chimed in our legal eagle, and what if these Appalachsquatches (Charlie’s early contribution) felt encroached upon by the ever-present and constantly-warring drug runners who used the backwoods of our county as a secretive place to ply their profession?

As the piggybacking picked up in speed, each of us threw out possible characters and plot possibilities. Before we paid our bills that afternoon, we had come up with the rudiments of a storyline, a tentative cast of characters, and even a fictional setting, the crime-ridden Clement County.

My job after that first session was to take the basic ideas and see if I could fashion an overall plot. Nothing chiseled in stone; just something to point us in a general direction. What I tried to do was suggest some patterns since Charlie and I have long adhered to our favorite literary theorist Henry James’ belief that the key to both writing and understanding fiction is finding the pattern, the figure in the carpet. (Tweet this quote.) 

For our group of fictioneers, that pattern involved family relationships—especially those of father-son (hey, our group is 4/5th male).

In the following weeks each of us took ownership of certain characters and crafted scenes/chapters involving them. As we completed a piece, we sent it to our collaborwriters for critiques. Then as we met over lunch every other week, we kicked around suggestions. During these sessions we were careful to keep the atmosphere light (any collaboration depends on an absence of defensive ego) and engage in the type of creative play we mention as one of the Nifty-Nine creative strategies in our Introduction to Applied Creative Thinking (New Forums, 2013).

Often we become so engaged in story making that we enter the creative zone going with the flow, another of those creative strategies. Time flies, and we realize the afternoon is gone … and kids need to be picked up from soccer practice.

We’re now in the final stages of the novel’s first draft. Whether we ever successfully market the piece is secondary. Not only has the process taught us a lot about creativity and fiction, it’s been a real hoot–or at least a high-pitched Squatchy roar!

teaching applied creative thinking book

 

Author

author Hal Blythe Ph.D Hal Blythe writes literary criticism to mystery stories. In addition to the eleven books he’s published with New Forums, Hal has collaborated on four books on a variety of subjects, over 1000 pieces of fiction/nonfiction, and a host of television scripts and interactive mysteries performed by their repertory company. He is currently co-director of the Teaching and Learning Center for Eastern Kentucky University. Meet Hal Blythe.

3 Activities for Children with Sensory Issues

activities for children with sensory issues

In my last post, I shared a story about a child who offers a model of what is possible even when sensory struggles are extreme. I discuss my experiences with Sophie and Rett Syndrome because Rett’s is one of the most intractable of sensory and neurodevelopmental conundrums. Any success in Sophie’s case represents promise for other sensory conditions.

After years of treating Sophie, I realize that by falling into compassion and attunement with her I likely provide the most advanced and meaningful service possible. (Tweet this quote.) My work, combined with her mother’s advocacy and follow-through, has allowed Sophie to be able to

  1. enter adolescence without a wheelchair,
  2. create art,
  3. communicate with others, and
  4. be dynamically interactive and expressive.

This far exceeds the standard prognosis for this condition. Today, Sophie is flourishing as a teenager in high school by participating in activities and making friends.

The fourteen indicators of growth and improvement Sophie experienced (see the previous post) are a direct response to interventions I introduced into Sophie’s life. These interventions are 1) applied touch, 2) cranial therapy, and 3) engaged dialogue.

Applied Touch

I used an ancient Japanese meridian or acu-touch system that I have studied for over thirty years called Jin Shin. It employs touch on specific areas that stimulate what is known in Oriental medicine as the extraordinary meridians or eight reservoirs of energy.

Like the ordinary meridians, the extraordinary meridians (also called the Rivers of Splendor) respond by awakening an innate healing response. They do this best with repeated contact. Pressure is not necessary but can be used if the child prefers it as some children with sensory needs do. Two areas on connective tissue are always held in concert. This system can be learned by parents and repeated at home. This is one of its stellar attractions.

Cranial Therapy

I employ a number of basic and simple cranial treatment methodologies to soften connective tissue in the neck and sub-occipital area, at the occiput or base of the skull and on the entire cranium including, whenever possible, the face. I also use cranial-sacral therapies. I aim for cranial decompression, spaciousness and the overall removal of restrictions.

Engaged Dialogue

I mirror back to Sophie what I perceive her to be communicating and wait for verification from her. I also invite her into conversations and share my treatment choices and observations with her. I enunciate slowly and clearly and make sure she can see my lips moving as I make the segments of the words. I do my utmost to be fully present for her.

Engaged dialogue is arguably my most important contribution, alongside the use of applied touch. I talk with Sophie intelligently and participate with her in true conversation. (Tweet this quote.)

The authenticity of my relationship with Sophie elicits her progressive and increasing capacity for vital and appropriate social engagement. My attunement to her is a learnable skill. Sophie’s mother says her intimacy with her daughter has deepened because of what she has observed and learned from my interactions with Sophie.

Creating an Environment for Sensory Integration Success

What I want to underscore is that it is the nature of the practitioner-recipient relationship that creates success. A key factor to compound effectiveness is recruiting active and consistent parent involvement whenever possible. Sophie’s mother shines as an example of this by treating Sophie at home regularly. This is one of the main reasons why I selected this case study to share with you.

I believe that if care providers follow such a path of limbic stimulation that all their other therapies will increase in potency. The general theme of limbic stimulation revolves around

  1. faith in human potential,
  2. value of attuned communication, and
  3. consistency in applied interventions by caregivers.

Limbic stimulation is a treatment for Sophie’s sensory dysfunction. The foundation of her treatment is as follows:

  1. Responsive interaction (i.e. present, relational, deeply curious)
  2. Applied touch
  3. Active parental participation
  4. Follow-through treatment at home

Neurological resilience is driven by the power of love that is directly and consistently manifested through attention and skill. Just the intention to inquire into the truth of someone else’s authentic experience and bypass your own projections will initiate the neurochemistry of love. This fine tuning that requires so much patience pays off and ripens into real, observable change.

Providing this relational field for a child with sensory challenges is like providing miracle doses of a hormonal solution. It’s a completely natural and free elixir that lubricates resiliency.

book on sensory integration

 

 

 

 

 

Author

Stephanie MinesDr. Stephanie Mines is a psychologist whose unique understanding comes from her academic research as well as her extensive work in the field. Her stories of personal transformation have led many listeners to become deeply committed to the healing journey. Dr. Mines understands shock from every conceivable perspective. She has investigated it as a survivor, a professional, a healthcare provider, and as a trainer of staffs of institutions and agencies. Meet Stephanie. 

Overcoming Obstacles in Teaching Creative Thinking Skills

teaching creative thinking skills

An ever-increasing number of professors are teaching creative thinking skills as part of higher education curriculum. As with other disciplines, these teachers are facing an onset of unique obstacles.

Joining New Forums Press are Eastern Kentucky University’s Co-Directors of the Teaching & Learning Center (Ph.D. Charlie Sweet and Ph.D. Hal Blythe) as well as the Director of the Noel Studio for Academic Creativity (Ph.D. Russell Carpenter). In this interview, they share how professors can overcome obstacles common to both teaching creatively and teaching applied creative thinking.

Follow the discussion and submit questions on Twitter at #ScholarChat.

Teaching Creative Thinking Skills Key Takeaways

As the professor, you are expected to know everything in your discipline. That approach is not always the case in the creative classroom. You’re looking to the students to develop new knowledge and contribute to the conversation. When it comes to the creative classroom, a different set of demands emerges. While you are the subject-matter-expert, you have to know when it’s best to get out of the way and let students take over—i.e., let the students guide each other and the class.

  1. Cede some control. Teaching creative thinking skills, then, necessitates being willing to surrender some authority to the students. You have to be willing to watch them make mistakes, even when you know they’re going down a dead-end road. Rather than constantly correcting or micro-managing, you have to let students go down that road to find out it’s a dead end.  To teach creativity effectively is to relinquish authority so students will have the opportunity to share ideas that are new, provisional, or non-tested. (Tweet this quote.) This process helps determine the success of a truly creative classroom.
  2. Model. You’re not just a mentor. You have to exhibit creativity both in what you teach and the way you teach it. (Tweet this quote.)
  3. Start small.  The project of changing from a traditional to a creative classroom can be overwhelming. Don’t think you necessarily have to change everything in one semester. Start with one assignment or lecture that could be more engaging or interesting. Collaborate with other professors to teach a class or write an article.
  4. Begin with two premises—all people have the germ of creativity within them, and creative thinking can be nurtured in the classroom.  Teachers will often discover that they are more creative than they originally thought and their definition of creativity is altered. As creativity is often tied to the arts, people in chemistry, physics, social studies, and other fields often believe they cannot be creative. They can be if they are willing to look for the creativity within.
  5. Take risks. Don’t be afraid to let your students fail . . . or yourself.

teaching creative thinking skills book

A Sensory Processing Disorder Case Study

sensory processing disorder case study

Despite ongoing research, the causes behind what we call sensory processing disorders remain unknown. This is because causation is likely a mixed bag of genetic, epigenetic, environmental, neurodevelopmental, and cultural factors. The important question Ph.D. Stephanie Mines addresses is what we as parents, therapists, educators and care-providers can do about this growing epidemic in an empowered and sustainable way, no matter the causation.

In her debut interview on Scholar Hangout, Stephanie Mines shares a case study of what is possible even when sensory integration disorders are extreme.

Her research and work in sensory processing disorders has led her to authoring numerous books; her latest: New Frontiers in Sensory Integration. Stephanie works with people around the world on how they can help children coping with sensory disabilities.

You’re invited to follow the discussion and submit questions via Twitter at #ScholarHangout.

Sophie’s Sensory Processing Disorder Case Study Takeaways

  1. Focus on Health and Potential: Sophie’s case study teaches us to believe in the intelligence of neurodiverse children and youth and to maximize their potential through our empathic attunement to them. Despite daunting predictions, Sophie has defied the statistics by remaining mobile, engaged, participatory and vibrantly healthy.
  2. Integrate Applied Touch Methodologies: The clinically tested applied touch interventions that Sophie has experienced do not conflict with her other therapies. On the contrary, they enhance the effectiveness of other therapies by increasing her overall relaxation, receptivity and health.
  3. Advocacy is Enlightened Parenting: As parents heighten their awareness of their child’s intelligence and gifts they become authentic, educated, and informed advocates. Advocacy is a path to enlightened parenting as it encourages adults to differentiate and refrain from projection through increased awareness of who the child really is separate from the adult.
  4. Limbic Stimulation is Interactional Reciprocity: Limbic stimulation requires interacting with the child from their perspective, following the child and sharing their experience. Rather than trying to get something to happen, the adult learns what is already happening in the thoroughly experiential, somatic and non-conceptual world of the child. All children immediately benefit from this co-participatory congruence that validates their unique beinghood. They sense the non-judgmental, non-evaluatory relationship as safe and liberating. This immediately supports learning and development.
  5. Storytelling and Mirroring Enhance Development: Narrative and imaginative storytelling in a playful and positive way relaxes the child’s nervous system and cultivates a healthy sense of self. Both mirroring and storytelling counteract the isolation that plagues neurodiverse children who are acutely sensitive to their difference. Because mirroring and storytelling require relationship, they enhance limbic development.
  6. Use Your Brain to Anchor a Sensory Needs Child: Neurodiverse children frequently experience overload that can be chaotic due to the fragmentation in their sensory filters. When adults are stable, differentiated co-participants in the child’s experiential world their interaction with the child serves as an anchor to support and ground the child. This increases the child’s self-confidence and gives some ballast for their interface with others.

Meet Stephanie Mines in Oklahoma

Stephanie will be facilitating a family friendly event that includes children’s activities (geared for children with sensory needs), healthy snacks, readings from her book, and handouts for parents and caregivers. The event will be from 2 to 5 p.m. on July 19th at Uptown Grocers, Edmond, Oklahoma. Autographed copies of New Frontiers in Sensory Integration will be available.

A workshop on July 20th at Third Street Yoga in Edmond will offer in-depth advocacy support for parents and caregivers of children with sensory needs.

book on sensory integration

 

 

 

 

 

Author

Stephanie MinesDr. Stephanie Mines is a psychologist whose unique understanding comes from her academic research as well as her extensive work in the field. Her stories of personal transformation have led many listeners to become deeply committed to the healing journey. Dr. Mines understands shock from every conceivable perspective. She has investigated it as a survivor, a professional, a healthcare provider, and as a trainer of staffs of institutions and agencies. Meet Stephanie.

Why Faculty Teach Creative Thinking in Higher Education

creative thinking in higher education

University and college faculty across disciplines are inverting the traditional lecture-style classroom. The adoption of a new paradigm for teaching creative thinking in higher education — traditionally thought to be for arts and humanities classes–is arguably the future of academia.

Joining New Forums Press are Eastern Kentucky University’s co-Directors of the Teaching & Learning Center (Ph.D.s Hal Blythe and Charlie Sweet) as well as the Director of the Noel Studio for Academic Creativity (Ph.D. Russell Carpenter). In their debut interview on Scholar Hangout, they share why faculty are incorporating creative teaching and thinking into the higher ed curriculum.

You’re invited to follow the discussion and submit questions via Twitter at #ScholarHangout.

Key Takeaways for Teaching Creative Thinking in Higher Education

  1. Prepare students for success in business and academia. The top intellectual skill is no longer critical thinking, but rather creative thinking. Companies need students who come out of college able to think and initiate creativity for themselves–people who are not going to coast on current trends or accept common thinking, but will develop new, original ideas. Businesses are looking for risk-takers.
  2. Encourage students to do their best work. The classes that foster creativity are the ones that develop students to push new boundaries. Get the most out of your students by encouraging them to do their best work—set the bar high. Be interested in cultivating their creativity.
  3. Embrace creativity no matter your field. A few years ago creative thinking was perceived as something reserved for the arts and humanities. Scholars have since realized that creative thinking reaches across all the disciplines. It is now taught in education, business, and psychology. A cross-disciplinary approach has replaced what used to be exclusively artistic.
  4. View students as co-facilitators. The research of McWilliam and others suggests that faculty need to start looking at students more as co-facilitators. Doing so effectively creates new knowledge in the classroom. When students come into a flipped classroom situation, for instance, they take more responsibility. That new approach lies at the core of the “flipped” process.
  5. Accept the risk involved. You’re turning over much of your class time to students. They are guiding discussions and activities. Not many of us are yet comfortable with that concept, but it can lead to a deeper and more lasting level of learning.
  6. Keep up with research. One of the problems with flipping a classroom is that the approach is new. While we don’t have many studies on what kind of deep learning flipping promotes over long periods of time, the early studies are favorable.

creative thinking in higher education

 

Welcome to New Forums’ New Plan

New Forums Press Content Distribution

New Forums Press Content DistributionWhen we began our publishing effort more than 30 years ago with the acquisition of a single academic journal, the avenues for providing content to scholars were straight forward — and few.

Paper and ink, with content assembled painfully from varying word-processing tools (often having to be rekeyed), cut and pasted into camera-ready copy that was then sent to a printer, who then shipped the journals and books back for mailing – that was the norm.

The internet was in its infant stages and to just have a website up and running was a major accomplishment, and so primitive that by far most awareness of a new offering was attained through direct mail.

Thank goodness, those days are gone, forever! The internet and other digital technology has been a boon to publishing efforts of all stripes, and to a measurable extent has leveled the playing field so as to open new avenues for the world of ideas, especially in academia. (Tweet this quote.

We have been able to benefit from these trends at New Forums Press, but would like to do more; and, thus with the posting of this message, we revise our avenues of providing information through tools such as social media, information blogs, and electronic newsletters and books. We call this “Our Plan,” and it involves:

  • Identifying “key forums” we wish to focus on in addition to our traditional offerings. These are highlighted on the default page of this site.
  • Launching a blogging platform to facilitate and speed up the flow of information.
  • Recruiting “featured authors” we feel are well suited to provide blog posts that support our plan of action.
  • Reaching out with electronic newsletters, books, and other formats that prove to be of benefit to our readers and authors.
  • Spreading information through social media, webinars, and whatever medium furthers the goals of “Our Plan.”
  • Offering other free “publications” to include eBooks and eTools that enhance our various content vehicles.
  • Accepting more submissions by aggressively seeking relationships with authors and scholarly activities, such as Eastern Kentucky University’s Noel Studio for Academic Creativity, our partner for the Applied Creative Thinking key forum.

Of course, we will continue our more traditional print publications, our proven online offerings, and the title categories developed over the years that have endured. Our plan, though, is to provide focused content to a wider audience in a more convenient manner.

Join us today by signing up for one or more of our free newsletters and receive articles, offers, and discounts right to your inbox!

About the Author

DougDollarIconDoug Dollar, Ed.D., is President of New Forums Press, Inc., Stillwater, OK. An infantry veteran of the Vietnam war and a retired Major General, US Army, he is a member of the board of directors for the Scabbard and Blade Collegiate ROTC Honor Society. He has cultivated a life-long interest in publishing efforts.
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