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2 - Lists, inventories, groups, taxonomies and frameworks

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 September 2009

David Moseley
Affiliation:
University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Vivienne Baumfield
Affiliation:
University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Julian Elliott
Affiliation:
University of Durham
Steven Higgins
Affiliation:
University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Jen Miller
Affiliation:
University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Douglas P. Newton
Affiliation:
University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Maggie Gregson
Affiliation:
University of Sunderland
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Summary

Bringing order to chaos

The world presents us with a confusion of objects. We seem inclined to order these objects according to their similarities. So, for instance, we divide people into men and women; events into past, present and future; and cutlery into knives, forks and spoons. Organising the world like this reduces its complexity, enables a more parsimonious description of it, and reduces the burden of thought to what can be managed.

Organising the world's objects may be something we are inclined to do, but objects can be organised in a variety of ways. Cutlery, for instance, can be sorted into plastic, metal and wooden items, long and short items, or knives, forks and spoons. Which is best? The answer, of course, depends on what you want to do. If you want to turn a hot coal, the first would be relevant; if you want to prise the lid from a can, the second would apply; if you want to eat dinner, the last would be appropriate. In other words, organisation and purpose go hand-in-hand (Bailey, 1994). An organisation that helps you do what you want is useful and can have survival value.

Here, we are concerned with kinds of thinking and how they have been organised. A particular aim is to assess the potential of these organisations for supporting thought about thinking, especially amongst those who want students to develop some proficiency in thinking.

Type
Chapter
Information
Frameworks for Thinking
A Handbook for Teaching and Learning
, pp. 33 - 43
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2005

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