Envisioning the Mind: Children's Representations of Mental Processes
Rice, Rebekah R.
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Inspired by writings on creativity and by Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences, I conducted a series of ten "exercises"- each of them a guided visualization followed by an opportunity to produce art - with nine- and ten-year-old students. The visualizations, which were designed to encourage the students to explore some of the many ways our minds have of knowing and learning, began with a simple relaxation exercise and proceeded to more challenging exercises involving, for instance, kinesthetic learning, sensory awareness, the logical and linguistic mind versus the spatial mind, and intra- and interpersonal intelligence. Following each visualization the students discussed what they had experienced (transcripts of the visualizations and the discussions are included in the thesis). The students responded in visual terms as well: after each visualization, each student created a two- or three-dimensional piece of art from materials such as matboard, construction and origami paper, glue, felt-tip pens, pipe cleaners, and plastic-coated wire. These visual responses have been photographed, described, and scored according to the number of materials used, the number of colors used, and the dimensionality of the piece (photos, descriptions, and scores are included in the "Gallery"). I found, surprisingly, that the visualizations in which the students were the most imaginatively engaged did not always produce the most interesting art, and that girls were much less likely than boys to create three-dimensional pieces, although girls tended to use more colors and occasionally used relief on otherwise two-dimensional pieces.
- Masters Theses