Thoughtful Tuesday

This may be the last, or next to last thoughtful Tuesday question for the summer, so I’ll try to make it count.

You may provide literal, metaphorical, whimsical, or philosophical answers to the following question:

What in the name of academic integrity does it mean to think outside the box?

For a bit of history on the phrase, go here. To quote the opening line from the web page:

‘Think outside the box’ originated in the USA in the late 1960s/early 1970s. It has become something of a cliche, especially in the business world, where ‘thinking outside the box’ has become so hackeyed as to be rather meaningless.

I hesitate to use the phrase for the simple reason that it has become a cliche in my book.

Your thoughts?

5 thoughts on “Thoughtful Tuesday

  1. To think outside the box is not merely solving the problem, but understanding that the problem itself is described problematically, and then to redescribe it.

    • So help me out, Kamran.
      When I am “thinking outside the box” I am:
      1. Understanding (not enough to merely acknowledge) there is such a thing as a problem (problem is neither good or bad here, just an occurrence of sorts – without getting too philosophical on what occurrence means).
      2. Describing the problem.
      3. Redescribe the problem.
      4. Solve the problem.

      Not trying to simplify, just trying to wrap my brain around it.

  2. It is the academics’ responsibility to provide avenues for multiple ways of considering both the questions and the answers. Emerging adults begin to realize that the search for truth is never-ending – that the grey area (the area outside of the box) is far bigger than the black and white areas. Scientists and mathematicians may disagree with this premise as they may have a different notion of “right” and “wrong” but we in the Applied Sciences work to help students know that there are many ways to be “right” (or at least working towards “right”).

  3. “… the search for truth is never-ending…”
    Sounding like a philosopher, Jen.
    If there are many ways to be right, does that mean a) there are no wrongs or b) there are a number of wrongs for every right?

    I’m just trying to figure this out as I get ready to start the Fall semester.

    • In the Applied Sciences we prepare students to work in a myriad of settings in the service of people. Unlike the physical sciences (salt + water = saltwater) or the biological sciences (sperm + egg = baby), the “box” or “one-size-fits-all” paradigm does not work in our settings. There is no exact prescription for raising a child, educating that child, supporting that teenager, etc. Often, our students come to us believing that there is one “right” way (their way) and everyone else’s way is “wrong”. If they enter the workforce insisting on this paradigm, they will fail.
      The idea that there is a parallel “wrong” for every “right” does not fit either. Although there are clearly “wrong” behaviors, reactions, attitudes, that we are teasing apart in order to illuminate them, there are far more “right” ways. (Perhaps I prefer to focus on the side of right rather than wrong- other Applied Sciences folks can weigh in here.)

      Realist- one only need work for CCC for a span of time to realize that the search for truth is truly never-ending….truth seems to be a moving target.

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