Monday, April 23, 2018

Dr David Perkins

Dr David Perkins

David Perkins


David Perkins is a founding member of Harvard Project Zero, a basic research project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education investigating human symbolic capacities and their development. For many years, he served as co-director, and is now senior co-director and a member of the steering committee. Perkins conducts research on creativity in the arts and sciences, informal reasoning, problem solving, understanding, individual and organizational learning, and the teaching of thinking skills. He has participated in curriculum projects addressing thinking, understanding, and learning in Colombia, Israel, Venezuela, South Africa, Sweden, Holland, Australia, and the United States. He is actively involved in school change. Perkins was one of the principal developers of WIDE World, a distance learning model practitioners now embedded in programs at HGSE. He is the author of numerous publications, including fourteen authored or co-authored books. His books include; The Eureka Effect, about creativity; King Arthurs Round Table, about organizational intelligence and learning; Making Learning Whole, a general framework for deepening education at all levels; and Future Wise, about what's worth teaching for the contemporary era.

His Answer Was Shocking
When people pre-phrase a sentence with ‘I think…’ the chances are they haven’t really thought at all.

In 2002 I attended The International Conference on Thinking in Harrogate.  I’d started my career by speaking at the Singapore Conference in 1997 and was excited to hear that the UK was hosting the event.

With my video camera in hand, I asked as many attendees and speakers as possible, ‘What makes people brilliant?’
I received a plethora of answers, many of which I researched further and use in my work today.

But one great sage shocked me with his answer.

He was Dr David Perkins; a super brain, Professor of Teaching and Learning at Harvard University and author of 20 books, including the beautifully titled, Archimedes’ Bathtub and Outsmarting IQ.

After asking him the question he paused, closed his eyes and began to think.

And I mean really think.

Beneath the lids I could see his eyeballs looking up, then left, scanning the higher cortex.

Later, re-watching the film, I realised he’d had his eyes closed for a full minute.

He then gave the most thoughtful, well-reasoned answer I received all week.

Having the confidence to stop, close your eyes in a public place and spend a minute in quiet consideration – really thinking – is something I’ve only witnessed once.

The next time you start a sentence with, ‘I think…’ just take a moment to ask yourself if you really have.

Be Brilliant!

Archimedes' Bathtub
by David Perkins

Hardcover Book, 292 pages

Outsmarting IQ

Since the turn of the century, the idea that intellectual capacity is fixed has been generally accepted. But increasingly, psychologists, educators, and others have come to challenge this premise. "Outsmarting IQ" reveals how earlier discoveries about IQ, together with recent research, show that intelligence is not genetically fixed. Intelligence can be taught. David Perkins, renowned for his research on thinking, learning, and education, identifies three distinct kinds of intelligence: the fixed neurological intelligence linked to IQ tests; the specialized knowledge and experience that individuals acquire over time; and reflective intelligence, the ability to become aware of one's mental habits and transcend limited patterns of thinking. Although all of these forms of intelligence function simultaneously, it is reflective intelligence, Perkins shows, that affords the best opportunity to amplify human intellect. This is the kind of intelligence that helps us to make wise personal decisions, solve challenging technical problems, find creative ideas, and learn complex topics in mathematics, the sciences, management, and other areas. It is the kind of intelligence most needed in an increasingly competitive and complicated world.

Using his own path breaking research at Harvard and a rich array of other sources, Perkins paints a compelling picture of the skills and attitudes underlying learnable intelligence. He identifies typical pitfalls in multiple perspectives, and neglecting evidence. He reveals the underlying mechanisms of intelligent behavior. And he explores new frontiers in the development of intelligence in education, business, and other settings.

This book will be of interest to people who have a personal or professional stake in increasing their intellectual skills, to those who look toward better education and a more thoughtful society, and not least to those who follow today's heated debates about the nature of intelligence.

Current Projects
LILA (Learning Innovations Laboratory). This
project on organizational learning and
development convenes a small group of high-
level representatives of major organizations
three times a year to share ideas about
organizational learning, leadership, creativity,
and more. Between meetings, the staff develops
research syntheses reflecting the themes.
David Perkins has led LILA in collaboration
with his colleague Daniel Wilson.
WIDE World (Wide-scale Interactive
Development for Educators). This project,
tackling the problem of scaling good
practice, offers online courses for teachers
and school leaders. Educators enroll from all
over the world and the program has served m
any thousands.
David Perkins helps to lead this program in
collaboration with colleagues Martha Stone
Wiske and David Zarowin.

Visible Thinking / Cultures of Thinking. For a
number of years, David Perkins and colleagues
have conducted research on thinking
dispositions, devising ways to transform classrooms into "cultures of thinking" that foster thinking skills and attitudes through the teaching of the disciplines in a thinking-centered way. A number of schools are participating, with the current primary development site for new materials being Bialik College in Melbourne, Australia, an initiative called Cultures of Thinking. Harvard colleagues Ron Ritchhart and Shari Tishman have helped to lead this work.

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