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2. basic to how we think and communicate. Verbal language is the most obvious example of this capacity. As they learn a language children are not only learning how to name things: they are acquiring the patterns of ideas and understanding which are inherent in their language. In learning to speak they are also learning ways to think. But we think and communicate in other ways too. Our experiences are of many kinds and we use a wide variety of ways to make sense of them. Words help us to formulate some ideas but not others: equally mathematics makes possible ideas which are otherwise inconceivable. There are ideas, feelings and perceptions that will not go into either. To understand these we turn to other modes of expression and communication. 45.


Our primary perceptions of the world are through the senses: through light, sound, shape, texture, smell and movement. The fact is that we not only experience the world in these different ways, we think in them too. A person painting a picture is thinking visually; a musician is thinking in sound. Dancers think in space and movement. These are not substitutes for words; they illustrate the rich diversity of human intelligence and the many different modes in which we think and communicate. A painter is not producing images of ideas that could be expressed equally well in words or numbers. He or she is presenting visual ideas. Musicians are expressing ideas that can only be fully understood through music. Conventional education tends to emphasise verbal and mathematical reasoning. These are vital to the intellectual development of all young people but they are not the whole of intelligence.

present time our only way to understand it is through a mathematical type of reasoning. I donÕt think a person can appreciate much of these particular aspects of the world Ñ the great depth and character of the universality of the laws, the relationships of things Ñ without an understanding of mathematics. DonÕt misunderstand me. There are many aspects of the world where mathematics is unnecessary Ñ such as love Ñ which are very delightful and wonderful to appreciate and to feel awed about. But if physics is what weÕre talking about, then not to know mathematics is a severe limitation in understanding the world. Richard Feynmann, Nobel physicist

Most children spend most of their time in school reading, writing and thinking in words or numbers. In higher education, essay writing and note taking are the principal forms of study. Using words and numbers are among the highest achievements of human intelligence, but if it were limited to these, most of personal experience would be incommunicable and most of human culture would not have happened. The worlds we live in are as rich and various as they are because our minds are so complex and diverse. Philosophers, psychologists and educationalists have long recognised this diversity of human intelligence. A recent formulation is Howard GardnerÕs theory of multiple intelligences (Gardner 1993). Gardner identifies seven forms of intelligence: linguistic, mathematical, spatial, kinaesthetic,

The creative artist is an observer whose brain works in new ways making it possible to convey information about matters that were not a subject for communication before. The discoveries of the artist and the scientist are exactly alike in this respect. Artists have discovered new aspects of space with one symbolism just as physicists had with another.

Creative Education

NACCCE report

J. Z. Young, Philosophy and the Brain


ken robinson et al 1999_all our futures  

All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education Report to the Secretary of State for Education and Employment the Secretary of State for...