TOWARDS THE QUANTUM MIND:
FIRST STEPS IN ACTION
Quantum Mind I
Towards the Quantum Mind: First Steps in Action
CONFERENCE PROPOSAL (October 30, 1985):
Those of you who have heard me speak in the last several months know that I consider these to be extraordinary, mythic times in the evolution of the mind of man. Several key paradigm shifts are occurring as we approach the 21st Century. They include the fact, based on recent scientific information, that intelligence is not a fixed commodity genetically established and unchangeable over a lifetime, or even determined by disease, disorder, or disaster.
New data indicates that the plasticity of the brain is much greater than previously believed; areas of the brain are less specific than formerly thought; memory and intelligence do not necessarily decline with age; the brain can be rehabilitated after accident or disease to degrees unhoped for in the past; the potential development of our ability to think, remember, create, invent, problem solve and problem find is beyond our current ability to imagine.
If intelligence can be developed by specific strategies, if average children can learn the strategies of the gifted, if the mind can be trained to perform at levels beyond our imagination, then the ones who have the most to gain by this paradigm shift are those with handicaps in learning.
In the 21st Century, when the accumulated information in any area is subject to constant shifting and changing, the essential survival skill of all citizens of any age will be their ability to read, to learn and to think. If schools and teachers and educators understand that everyone can learn to be a more effective thinker, that there is no need to give up on the handicapped learners, that they only provide a different kind of challenge. If they understood that gifted and talented children are our nation’s greatest resource to be valued and nourished so that they can lead us into the third millennium in creative and imaginative ways, then our schools whatever form they take in the immediate future will provide different learning environments for all children.
When the IFL was founded we adopted as our mandate “To enhance learning across the continuum of all learners.”
with specific attention to those who were disadvantaged. It is my personal conviction that we can fulfill our mandate in the global sense by directing our attention to accelerating the understanding of the key educators in our community at every level on the new paradigm shift, and it’s meaning for our children, all our children.
Key thinkers have been responsible internationally for this change. They include at the very least, Luis Machado, Ray Nickerson, Tony Buzan, Bob Sternberg, Howard Gardner, Jean Houston, and Marilyn Ferguson. The list is much longer, but those above should make the point. International networks, leaders of huge networks of people have given these leaders voice and forum in meetings and in print. Key thinkers, educators, scientists and scholars in our own community are working in ways which echo, reflect and enhance their work at world class levels. The proposal on new directions for the IFL which follows based on a new kind of forum to catalyze in a most vigorous way action which will benefit our own community of children and youth, and through the ripple effect created here, the international community as well. What a choice this would be in 1985, the International Year of Youth.
While I see our work here as a process, a continuing journey, I suggest a first event to encourage us to embark.
This event would be a forum, a meeting of great minds set to the task of both sharing the essence of their work in capsule form and discussing with each other and with us what the next steps would be in putting these ideas to work in our community. Six to eight international scholars, scientists and educators would be invited. Included in the 10-15 “Faculty” of this forum would be B.C. thinkers, scientists, educators, and scholars who are already working at the leading edge of their own fields and who will remain here to lead us down the path. The IFL’s invited participants in this forum would be the power brokers, the leaders in our own education community who could put action to the ideas. They would include Ministers of Education, Science and Technology and their deputies, Superintendents of School Districts, Presidents of Universities and Deans of Education and their Nominees, School Trustees, Chair people of research and funding organizations, key Executives and Directors of our Knowledge Network and Open University, Chairman of the Universities Council, and the Science Council of Canada, representatives of Federal organizations involved in funding and National Societies for the Learning Disabled and for the Gifted, Nominees of our Co-Sponsoring agencies, and key individuals in our media to publicize the event thoughtfully and with understanding.
The Faculty would make capsule presentations of their work to 75-100 participants and then turn their minds to discuss among them and with us topics, questions, solutions and possible projects around an agenda designated by our program committee with a view to achieve a plan of action for B.C. The meeting would last 3 days.
Dr. Geraldine Schwartz PhD
On May 28-31, 1986, in the graduate student facility at UBC, more than 200 leaders, delegates of their constituencies, met to participate in the catalyst forum ‘Towards the Quantum Mind’. The UBC Faculties of Psychology, Education and their graduate students as well as teams from 21 school districts in BC, some led by their superintendents, met to receive presentations from eight outstanding world class teachers. Among those were:
Dr. Robert Sternberg, Yale University, whose books at that time included Beyond IQ and Understanding and Increasing Human Intelligence. Even then Dr. Sternberg was a leading thinker in creativity and multiple intelligences.
Marilyn Adams from Boston and Harvard, who edited The Odyssey, a curriculum for teaching thinking translated into Spanish for the Venezuelan’s Project Intelligence, whose purpose was to improve the intelligence of a whole nation.
Dr. Luis Machado from Venezuela, the world’s first Minister of State for the Development of Human Intelligence, inspired this international world class project in conjunction with a team of scientists from Harvard University.
Tony Buzan, English author and international speaker, inventor and promoter of the Mind Map and paradigm shifting study techniques, and author of many books translated into fifteen languages, including Use Your Head, and the BBC television series on this topic in 1985.
Jack Taub, an American entrepreneur whose Classroom of the Future idea (a computer connected Classroom Information Utility) was to bring individualized education to the desk of every student.
Eight outstanding presenters were introduced by UBC faculty and entertained at a special reception hosted at the home of Dr. Doug Kenny, past President of UBC. Some 200 participants from all over BC met in the UBC Graduate Student Facility for three days. For the first one and a half days these leaders in education were inspired by the outstanding speakers, and at the half way point the tables turned, and the speakers acted as consultants to the teams planning pilot projects for their constituents. Many outstanding projects emerged. This was the catalyst forum in action!
Each of the speakers spoke for an hour outlining their ideas and focusing on the projects with potential for spin out to the schools. The tables then had a half an hour to discuss what they heard and the potential for their team. Two speakers in the morning and three in the afternoon completed the schedule for the day. On day two, three speakers completed the morning.
Finally, sharing lunch each team chose the project to focus on. Each of the mentors posted their schedules for the next two sessions and the teams booked their times with the mentors they wanted to consult.
The opportunity to have this quality of mentorship and the ongoing ability to consult by phone or mail (before the Internet) was invaluable in insuring the very high quality of the projects and the follow through.
During the final afternoon the teams mind mapped their projects on large paper plastered on the wall. The IFL team agreed to monitor the follow through and support the request for funding and mentorship from the speakers. By this time the delegates from the Ministry of Education had a good flavour of what could be coming their way in terms of quality of the project and the funding requests.
SUMMARY: International scholars scientists and educators were brought before a selected group of British Columbian leaders in education to present the latest thinking on brain science and educational technology. The participants were then able to work in a catalyst forum with the international team of presenters to design innovative educational projects for schools in British Columbia.
Dr. Marilyn Adams – Presenter, Harvard Odyssey Project, USA
Tony Buzan – Presenter from UK, International speaker and author, inventor of the concept of mind mapping
Catalyst Forum – Quantum leaders planning their projects
Dee Dickenson – Presenter, mentoring Quantum Mind leaders
Cranbrook School District in British Columbia created the first North American test site to test a project that teaches higher intelligence. Supported by the British Columbia Ministry of Education Excellence Fund.
Classroom of the Future created in Saanich, British Columbia as one of three North American ‘test beds’ for the technologically integrated classroom concepts. Supported by British Columbia Ministry of Education Excellence Fund.
Burnaby School District, British Columbia, implemented mind mapping into the curriculum of a new high school.
Altogether, 21 school districts were represented at the conference, and each took away something important for their students.