Archive for the ‘Thinking Wars America’ Series

Thinking Wars America
1. The Processing Combatants

Posted by Bob on October 7th, 2007

The presidential candidate needed a domestic agenda. Education is a popular political cornerstone, especially since nobody knows what it does! Nobody knows why it does it! Nobody knows how it does it!

So his political “spinners” designed an educational “scam” directed toward marginalized minority children:

  1. “Dummy-down” a test of achievement so a high percent of kids can pass it.
  2. “Drop-out” those who do not pass it so that it looks like an even higher percentage have passed it.
  3. “Boot-strap” the test by tying it to “The Accountability Movement” and labeling it The Standards of Learning or SOL.
  4. “Gussy-up” the SOL by attaching it to the most elevated of ethical missions, “No Child Left Behind.”
  5. “Bait-and-Switch” the SOL by decentralizing accountability to each of the 50 states.

Voilé! Just like that, the “spinners” had thrown out a “sky-hook” and produced the centerpiece of the candidate’s domestic agenda.

What’s wrong with that, you ask?! Everything! In the vernacular of the Spinners, “This dog don’t hunt!”

For one thing, “show-off” test-makers design tests beyond their own capacities (it’s “The Pauper Principle” to go along with “The Peter Principle”).

For another thing, those fraudulent things which are dedicated to children in need are bound to accomplish the opposite effect indeed! They did! The children fell further behind!

On the one side of The Thinking Wars are those people who lead us retrogressively to the fast-disappearing Conditioned Responding standards of an earlier time. Led by politicians, these “Luddites” would have us achieve “Standards of Learning” defined in terms of requirements of The Industrial Age through which we passed 40 years ago.

On the other side of The Thinking Wars are those people who understand that in America today, nearly 80% of the jobs already require thinking skills. These people see the requirements for thinking escalating from Discriminative Learning Systems to Generative Thinking Systems. This is because the movement of globalization “farms out” production jobs requiring Conditioned Responding to “cheaper” employees from less educated cultures in more attenuated economies. Moreover, increasingly, globalization is also yielding service jobs requiring Discriminative Learning, including delivering services as well as producing products, to learning cultures and commoditizing economies.

Thinking Wars America
2. Thinking Skills

Posted by Bob on October 8th, 2007

The processes that enable us to accomplish The Freedom Functions are Human Processing or Thinking Skills. Historically, Human Processing includes the following processing systems (See Figure 1):

  • S–R Conditioned Responding
  • S–O–R Discriminative Learning
  • S–P–R Generative Processing
  • S–OP–R Organizational Processing
  • S–MP–R Marketplace Processing

Together, these processing systems define Human Processing.


Figure 1. Levels of Human Processing (2000–2007)

As may be viewed in Figure 1, in both 2000 and 2007, Americans function at the S–O–R Discriminative Learning Level. S–O–R means that the human organism (O) discriminates the stimulus conditions (S) and emits the appropriate response (R).

For our purposes, S–O–R Learning is more popularly known as “Systems Thinking:” stimulus inputs (S) are transformed into results outputs (R) by discriminative processing systems (O).

Systems Thinking is the basis for developing two-dimensional matrices and multidimensional (and often parallel) branching systems.

The plateaued American performance of S–O–R discriminative learning is overwhelmingly a reflection of “The Binary Function” or BF.

The BF is the source of all Information Technology or IT Systems which dominate the world marketplace. BF has had the effect of reinforcing the distribution of “I” or “O” processing to the world at-large.

Consequently, America has abandoned its search for S–P–R Generative Thinking Systems or “thinking beyond the high beams.”

In so doing, America has undermined its own Generative-Innovative leadership in the world marketplace. By following the IT–BF requirements, America now ranks “back-in-the-pack” with the “Innovative-Commercializers.”

Thinking Wars America
3. 2000—Every Child Was Getting Ahead

Posted by Bob on October 9th, 2007

There is no more totalitarian experience than traditional schooling. And No Child Left Behind legislation has reinforced this totalitarianism:

  • Classroom rows and aisles;
  • Teacher talk—students listen!
  • Drill and skill!
  • Memorization!
  • Testing facts!

We could go on but there is no new learning in further castigating the concept of “totalitarianism as the source of freedom-building.”

The real purpose of presenting the phases of The Thinking Wars is this: People who have achieved a level of “bureaucratic intelligence” by coming through such a debilitating experience as schooling have no right to define the freedom-building experiences for future generations!

The processes that empower or enable us to accomplish The Freedom Functions are The Generative Thinking Processes or Possibilities Thinking Systems:

  • Relating Systems that enable people to receive and negotiate images of information;
  • Representing Systems that enable people to represent elevating images of information;
  • Reasoning Systems that enable people to generate improved images of operational initiatives.

Together, these processes define the Generative Thinking Processes necessary to enable other Components to achieve The Freedom Functions.

We may view the levels of Generative Thinking for youth in Figure 2. As may be noted, in 2000, the youth of the U.S. rate variably on the Generative Thinking Systems:

  • Merging-driven or consensus levels of images of information (Level 4);
  • Systems-driven levels of representing images of information (Level 2);
  • Action-driven levels of reasoning with images of information (Level 4).

Together, The Generative Thinking Processes are calculated to enable the achievement of The Freedom Functions. Unfortunately, the limitations of Systems Representing inhibit Reasoning from achieving the highest levels of Operational Initiative.


Figure 2. Levels of Generative Thinking Processes (2000)

Thinking Wars America
4. 2007—Every Child Falls Behind

Posted by Bob on October 10th, 2007

Now we may view the current levels of Generative Thinking for youth in 2007. The youth sampled demonstrated at least one level drop in ratings of their thinking systems (See Figure 3):

  • Order-driven or authoritarian in imposing directions without getting input, an imitation of their teachers in dictating images of information;
  • Sentence-driven in a retreat from systems or operational representations to conceptual or sentence representations of images of information;
  • Goaling-driven in a precipitous fall from exploring, understanding, and acting to a poor facsimile of goaling; e.g., discriminating the action behavior and studying for it.


Figure 3. Levels of Generative Thinking Processes (2007)

A mere seven years later, the youth demonstrated a precipitous fall from historic highs in thinking:

  • No longer were they Relating on “Merged Images” of responses.
  • No longer could they apply the “Systems Representations” of experience.
  • No longer did they strive for the risk-taking, entrepreneurial “Action Courses of Reasoning.”

It is no random occurrence that No Child Left Behind has dominated their learning experiences: “Every Child is Left Behind!”

In summary, the biggest tragedy of “No Child Left Behind” legislation is that We the People got “stuck” with the conditioned responding of its fraudulent promulgators.

The first thing that we must teach our children is this: You simply cannot tell a lie and expect it to come true!

The first accountability which we, ourselves, must assume is this: We simply must not believe a lie even if we hope that it will come true.

Perhaps the most that we can do is to get our so-called “educational leaders” to read simple texts such as this. Maybe they will become motivated to get some empowerment in Generative Thinking Systems. If they can learn to think, there is hope that they may no longer surrender to the Totalitarian side of “The Thinking Wars.”

Every child should learn to think. Then they’ll be free!

Thinking Wars America
5. Every Child Gets Ahead

Posted by Bob on October 11th, 2007

“No Child Left Behind” is legislation that leaves every child behind. It simply does not prepare the 21st century learners for the world they must address. This is a world that requires Generative Thinking Skills. This is legislation that delivers only conditional responding skills.

Generative Thinking Architecture

The mission of Generative Thinking is to create responses where there were none. Indeed, the precise definition of Generative Thinking is as follows:

To create responses that the stimuli were not intended to elicit.

In other words, thinking generates new and more productive responses to the continuously-changing stimulus conditions of our time.

There are three sets of processing systems involved in Generative Thinking:

  • Relating to elicit images;
  • Representing to develop new images;
  • Reasoning to generate or create the most productive images.

These processing systems are transformed into thinking skills in systematic training programs.

Relating Skills

The first set of processing skills emphasizes “Relating to Elicit Images.” This means that we employ our “Information Communication Skills” to obtain images of any phenomena or circumstances (See Figure 4):

  • Responding accurately to get others’ images;
  • Initiating operationally to give our images;
  • Negotiating merged images of phenomena.

Relating is the essential beginning phase in Generative Thinking because it yields images of conceptual information with which to reason.


Figure 4. Relating to Elicit Images

Representing Skills

The second set of processing skills emphasizes “Representing to Develop New Images.” This means that we employ our “Information Representing Skills” to develop new images of any phenomena or circumstances (See Figure 5):

  • Sentences or conceptual levels of information;
  • Systems or operational levels of information;
  • Schematics or dimensional levels of information.

Relating is the necessary transitional phase in processing because it yields us images of operational information with which to reason.


Figure 5. Representing to Develop New Images

Reasoning Skills

The third and culminating set of processing skills emphasize “Reasoning to Generate the Most Productive Images.” This means that we employ “Information Reasoning Skills” to generate newer and more productive images of any phenomena or circumstance (See Figure 6):

  • Exploring by expanding images of information;
  • Understanding by narrowing images of information;
  • Acting by defining information objectives.

Reasoning is the culminating phase in Generative Thinking because it yields us new and more productive information objectives for acting.


Figure 6. Reasoning to Generate More Productive Images

To sum, the three phases of Generative Thinking are “nested” or “housed” in generative thinking:


Figure 7. The Phases of Generative Thinking

Relating elicits the images that Representing develops and Reasoning processes generatively. Systematically trained and implemented, Generative Thinking creates totally new images of information with which we can create our own changeable destinies.

In summary, perhaps the most grievous harm of “No Child Left Behind” is this: because we actually “swallowed the bait—hook, line and sinker,” we got “stuck” with the “switch, hook line and stinker”—the empty promises that we made and “kept” to our children.

We placed the students in “double jeopardy.” Those who were initially “held back” by adults, were now systematically “held back” by their teachers, all in the name of “leaving no child behind.”

In transition, the best thing that can be said about “No Child Left Behind” is that children are learning the wrong things. The worst thing that could be said is that they are getting “dumber” as they achieve higher standards.

Our conclusion may be best represented by the question asked by the “Prime Mover” of this legislation:

“Is the children learning?”

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