Brain Training

Training for your Brain

Knowledge

Education already focuses on this since most subjects are knowledge subjects. There is no substitute for knowledge. On the other hand, knowledge is not a substitute for everything else. Complete absolute knowledge would make logic and thinking unnecessary. Thinking is the use of knowledge to achieve a purpose that cannot be achieved immediately.

Intelligence

This refers to "innate ability, whether inherited or acquired through early environment. This innate ability is a potential which had to be expressed in an operating skill (such as thinking) to be effective. Thinking is related to IQ as driving a car is related to the car itself. It is a mistake to assume that the more able do not need to acquire thinking skill. Tape recorded discussions and essays show that more able students are indeed more articulate but not especially skilled at ordinary thinking. There does not seem to be much that education can do about innate abilities (possibly because we define innate abilities as those about which education can do nothing), but education can attempt to develop thinking skill. An increase in this skill can help to make up for deficiencies in the other two areas. Thinking

The last aspect of this education "trinity," thinking represents the practical use of knowledge for a purpose (or pleasure). Thinking skill is not a substitute for knowledge or IQ, but a way of enhancing them. Well developed thinking skill may make good use of limited knowledge or ability.

Thinking Skill and Ability

The figures shown here illustrate how skill in thinking relates to innate ability. Each figure represents a "scan area" in the mind. A scan area is the field of ideas, images and information that are brought into consciousness by a particular question.With the more able there is a wider scan. There is also a higher density of tracks representing more concepts and more experience.

If the answer to the question (indicated by A) falls within this scan, then the more able person reaches it easily. The less able person with the smaller scan does not reach it. In the second situation the less able person has developed methods for directing attention (that is what thinking skill is about), and so reaches the answer as well. In the third situation the answer lies outside the immediate scan area of even the more able person who fails to reach it.

But the trained thinker may still be able to reach this answer by directing attention.

1.The answer falls within the larger scan of the more able person. The less able person cannot reach it.

2.The less able person has learned how to direct attention (thinking skill) and can now reach the answer as well.

3.The answer lies outside the scan of the more able person but the less able person may still reach it by directing attention.

Acquiring the Skill

Some skill in thinking may be acquired naturally through ordinary everyday living - it is not easy to transfer this skill to new situations. Some skill in thinking may be acquired as a spin-off from other subjects - but this tends to be tied to particular information. There is no reason why a deliberate attempt to develop thinking skill by directed practice should not be added to these other methods, especially as experimental results suggest it can be effective.

One advantage of developing thinking skill directly (as a specific subject) is that the skill can be applied to any situation since it has not been developed in a specific knowledge area. Another advantage of the deliberate method is that it becomes possible to separate thinking skill from ego.

This is a very important and difficult matter for only when the separation is effected can we look objectively at thinking. One should be able to say: "My thinking in that situation was very poor" without condemning oneself as a dunce. The tennis player who says: "My backhand was not working this afternoon" has separated skill from ego. Thinking is not natural: like swimming or riding a bicycle it becomes natural only after you have learned how. With thinking, however, failure is not as obvious as drowning or falling off a bicycle.