Saturday, 17 April 2010

Learning to think

Sometimes I hear that the amount of what children learn in New Zealand is far less than what they learn in Holland. That may be right but that doesn't have to be a disadvantage. In New Zealand they put more emphasis on less academic subjects like art. Art is good to balance the brain. Your brain works best if you make as much use of the left and the right part of the brain.
We are lucky here that a lot of learning is not confined to books. The children go to the beach to examine rock pools. There is lots of outdoor education. Some schools have vegie gardes etc.
When you include many senses, seeing, hearing, feeling, you are more likely to retain the information and when you have fun you learn better too.
But the best thing is that my children learned thinking skills. A skill which I think is essential for all children and should be taught at all schools.  When you just learn to memorise information without questioning it,this is like swallowing food without knowing what you eat. The latter of course happens a lot as well in western society.
My daughter learned the thinking skills of Edward the Bono at primary school. He says that thinking has to be learned and that very intelligent people are not automatically better thinkers but that intelligence can work against it. He says that if an intelligent person has a view on something than they use their intelligence to defend that view. Therefore there is never the need for him/her to explore the subject again.
My son did a philosophy course at high school in which he learned critical thinking and to question things. We surely noticed this as he became good in reasoning. He learned about Socrates , a Greek philosopher who was one of the founders of western philosophy. Socrates asked questions like what is beauty and what is wisdom.

Furthermore I found a nice story which teaches you to think (before you gossip)

In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem.One day one fellow met the great philosopher and said, "Do you know what I just heard about your friend?"
"Hold on a minute," Socrates replied. "Before telling me anything I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Triple Filter Test."
"Triple filter?""That's right," Socrates continued.
"Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you're going to say. That's why I call it the triple filter test.
The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"
"No," the man said, "actually I just heard about it and..."
"All right," said Socrates. "So you don't know if it's true or not.
Now let's try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?""No, on the contrary...""So," Socrates continued, "you want to tell me something bad about him, but you're not certain it's true.
You may still pass the test though, because there's one filter left: the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?"
"No, not really."
"Well," concluded Socrates, "if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?"
This is why Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem. Friend, use this triple filter each time you hear loose talk about any of your near and dear friends.

Have a great day and take time to think. Love Marja


  1. I agree - we need to learn to think more. In my day at school it was all about rote learning, not understanding.

    It's taken me years to realise the importance of the latter.

    Artistic endeavours are all about thinking and feeling too, an integration of both. Thanks, Marja.

  2. Children here only learn English while the dutch children almost certainly learn at least one other language maybe 2. But ours do learn a lot of art and nature study and some Maori culture too.

  3. Thank you for stopping by Paree! Much appreciated. And now I've found your blog which I think is excellent! For one thing, New Zealand is such a gorgeous country and your blog is not only very well done, but offers much of interest.

    Best wishes!

  4. "Well," concluded Socrates, "if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?"

    If such a criteria was put into effect here in the United States the country would be almost completely silent, and I would enjoy living here again.

    Tells you what I think of most of my fellow Americans.

  5. Hello there, Marja! How are you?
    I came to thank you for your visit.
    And I read what you've written. I really admire Socrates. He was a great thinker. I already knew that story. It's very useful sometimes, with some people! :)
    big hugg from the other side of the world to you my dear! :)

  6. Hi! Marja,
    that was a wonderfulpiece of thought u shared through this post,
    education is something that makes an individual capable to respond and live in this world, its not the certificates he possess....
    thanks marja :)

  7. Is this a coincidence?

    But I am reading precisaly now "La Apología de Sócrates" (I don´t know how to say in English)

    It kept my attention about him something that a teacher told me when I was a child ... I can´t remember but around eleven or so.

    Of course I didn´t have read anything of him yet but his name "Sócrates" somehow hold my attention.

    What this teacher was saying that day at school about him was narrating the way that he drank ( I don´t know either how to say this in English) but the way he drank his sentency to death with total peace.

    I like him. I think he is a good Master. I can´t understand why we humans (the crowd in general) are always killing and crucifying them. I Hope this will change and we can build A New Earth before we end up killing the whole human race?

  8. Marja, I agree with the first comment...


Thank you for your comment