Module 4 Abstract and Analogy
My definition of Abstract – physical or mental
creations which modify our senses of reality.
With consideration again for my overall class topic of creativity in learning space design I begin this assignment at the central learning space core; the human mind. I referenced an analogy of the human mind with a garden in my reflections and it is here from which I will draw some abstract conclusions about why the two seemingly dissimilar items share so much in common.
This illustration became my starting point as I considered the relationship between the mind and a garden.
I will not make the assertion that I am the first to make this analogy or consider the two in this abstract form, however, I hope to offer some interesting insights as I explore the two together.
The human mind moves through various stages of development from infancy to aged adult. Minds vary across the spectrum from those considered genius or gifted, learning disadvantaged and many in between. Much like a garden or soil that allows for growth, the human mind can be very fertile, substantially suitable for development or barren to stimulus or seeds.
Each instructor, parent, sibling, peer, co-worker and a host of others plant seeds of information in the mind garden not knowing what will take root, grow, wither or die. Some individual minds take several plantings before they grow something; some ignore the seeds
allowing others to take them and grow something in their mind, while the most fertile thrive on almost every seed tossed in their mind.
Instructors or teachers have a unique responsibility to the mind garden, much like the gardener to the field. They must till the mind’s soil carefully, looking for the right seeds to plant at the right times. They must pay special attention to the growth or lack of after the information seeds are planted being sure to provide fertilizer or eliminate weeds when the mind garden doesn’t show progress. The mind weeds come in many forms including distractions, influences, environment and even the gardener himself/herself.
A poor mind gardener misses opportunities for growth such as proper times to plant, the amount to plant, when to fertilize and when to start over. A master gardener knows exactly what, when, where and how to plant to create mind gardens that produce a high yield.
“A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.” (James Allen, As a Man Thinketh)
The design of learning spaces that has been my focus helps afford the gardener with useful tools perhaps creating fences to keep things out or in, utensils to plant more effectively and efficiently, however, ultimately each teacher or gardener of the student mind has responsibility for the mind garden harvest.
The mind garden does have one advantage over the garden of soil in that the mind garden owner can help decide the growth. “My mind is a garden. My thoughts are the seeds. My harvest will be either flower or weeds.” (Mel Weldon) Don’t we all have a mind garden needing assistance to grow and responsibility to help others grow a prosperous mind garden?