If you remember , we opened our exploration of visual spatial thinking with Pestalozzi ,
it is fitting we end our course with his star pupil Albert Einstein.
Before we do let us first imagine that you struggle with the concept behind equations
If X + 5 = 9 then what does X equal
The practice of visual thinking is about making the abstract concrete . In this example the idea of an equation [equal] is represented by a set of scales . All equations can be thought of in terms of something tangible . By thinking of algebra [ the letters ] in terms of weights you complete the thought experiment.
In Ken Robinson’s TED talk he talked about education killing creativity . Education teaches test taking at the expense of innovation , risk taking and creativity he argued .
‘conceptual thinking is
built on visual understanding; visual understanding is the basis of all knowledge’
His school’s used maps, diagrams, and other visual materials for
instruction. The atmosphere was relaxed and informal. Memorization by rote was discouraged and individual thinking was developed.
‘Each item of learning was carefully linked to a visual base image in accordance with Pestalozzi’s principles ‘
It is worth restating that Albert Einstein appears to have attended one of the Swiss reformers schools at the age of 15 . Einstein family would appear to be at their wits end , but they had enough money to try again at another school .
They had the mindset that they were not going to give up on Albert. That maybe a change of approach will work for him , maybe he can do this, maybe this is what turns things around for him .
In his autobiographical notes, Einstein (1949), described the nonverbal nature of his thought process: Which had the advantage of superior connection . Exceeding conventional limits on working memory . When it comes to exploration and thought experiments this is a highly advantageous state of mind . promoting pattern recognition at a scale not usually possible
When at the reception of sense impressions,
memory pictures emerge, this is not yet “thinking.”
When such pictures form series, each member of which calls forth
another, this, too, is not yet “thinking.”
When, however, a certain
picture turns up in many such series then precisely through such
r e t u r n … it becomes an ordering element for such series, in that it
connects series which in themselves are unconnected . . .
For me it is not dubious that our thinking goes on for the most part without use of words.