Scaffolding Minds Less Ordinary: Transforming Economics Thinking by Intelligent Looking

Blackshields, Daniel (2011) Scaffolding Minds Less Ordinary: Transforming Economics Thinking by Intelligent Looking. [Conference Proceedings]


Foss & Foss (2002), Foss (2003), Foss, Foss & Klein (2006) and Foss & Klein (2008) argue for an appreciation and encouragement of the entrepreneurial function in all employees. If this is a key employability criterion for the 21st century graduate then educators must consider how personal creativity/entrepreneurial mindset may be encouraged in graduates. Sarasvathy argues that the creative/entrepreneurial mindset derives from an effectual process consisting in individuals appreciating 'how they frame problems, what alternatives [they] perceive and generate, which constraints [they] accept, reject and/or manipulate and how and why [they] heed certain criteria rather than others in fabricating and implementing new solutions' (2008: xiv). This process requires the development of the synthesising and creative minds; minds that Gardner posits are traditionally neglected in disciplinary pedagogies (2007). Perkins argues that thinking is transformed when experiential intelligence is managed by reflective intelligence (1994), the latter remedying the hasty, narrow, fuzzy and sprawling nature of human cognition (ibid: 45-47). This paper argues that the development of undergraduate and postgraduate Economics students' effectual processes can be encouraged by building reflective intelligence performances into disciplinary pedagogies. It reports on the background, design and enactment of a Visual Arts based student performance initiative designed to encourage transformational learning by students. It is argued that these performances encourage students to question their anointed mental models; coaxing them out of complacent and indifferent attitudes that they may have about Art and life enhancing the effectual process of; 'expand[ing] the choice set from a narrow sliver of highly localised possibilities to increasing complex and enduring opportunities?' (2003: 208). A narrative of incidents of transformative learning by students is presented. Emergent findings on the facilitation of undergraduate and postgraduate Economics students on their journeys of personal and professional development through these performances are considered.

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