Grandmaster Maurice Ashley was profiled last month in the New York Times. He's working to help public school teachers become more effective in showing their students how to learn—and he sees techniques for doing that suggested by his experience at the highest levels of chess. Among his remarks (italics added):

  • "A lot of times in education we try to teach kids the one right answer and that leads, in my opinion, to robotic thinking. Real life isn't like that. Is there ever one right answer? Generating alternatives for the sake of alternatives is a good thing."
  • "Knowledge flips every day. What we know becomes wrong tomorrow. We need kids who know how to think."
  • "My method has always been not just to teach chess moves, but to better accelerate thinking and concentration skills."

This is strongly reminiscent of computer pioneer Doug Engelbart's work to enhance organizational intelligence, via improvement of higher-level mechanisms that can then feed into improving fundamental lower-level processes. As Engelbart describes it, an organization's principal work is an "A-activity"; ordinary efforts at process improvement are "B-activities". Bootstrapping is a "C-activity": an improving of the improvement process. Enhancing C-activities pays off in accelerated progress—compound interest. Hence, GM Ashley's focus on teaching teachers to think better ...

(from the New York Times profile "Charlkboards? Try Using Chessboards" by Susan Saulny (12 Apr 2005); cf. Douglas Engelbart's Bootstrap Institute", CaissicMetaphors (8 Jan 2000), IntelligenceAugmentation (25 Aug 2001), NunnSoEver (20 Jun 2003), ...)

TopicThinking - TopicRecreation - TopicProfiles - TopicOrganizations - 2005-04-10

(correlates: GoodFailure, IntelligenceAugmentation, GeoMemory, ...)