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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Escaping Self-confinement

This is one piece of a continuing series of posts on school improvement reflecting my professional experience. I had prepared this manuscript for publication but time eluded me. The blog posts advance in time and concept in book-form beginning with the Blog post on March 21.

Escaping Confinement

How do you look outside preconceived notions and long standing practices that conspire to suffocate creativity? Here’s another small test to stimulate your process.

Read this sentence:


Now, count the “F’s” in that sentence. Count them ONLY ONCE: do not go back and count them again.
How many did you count?

Answer: There are six “F’s” in the sentence. Many people forget the “OF’s.” The human brain tends to see them, or more correctly, hear them as “V’s” and not “F’s” while reading silently to yourself. You pronounce them silently and apply well-worn phonetic skills that transfer the “F’s” into “V’s” which avoid detection by your eyes.

In closing, I will recount a trick the inhabitants of a small Irish village played on the great magician, Houdini. It seems that Houdini had boasted that he could escape from any jail cell within an hour. The little community had just completed the construction of a jail and challenged the magician to attempt an escape. They complied with his request to walk unaccompanied into the cell.

Once he was alone the magician pulled out a flexible rod hidden within his belt and began his attempt to pick the lock. His efforts were fruitless and time had expired. Nonetheless he maintained his vow to escape. His work was to no avail.

After the time limit, when he wearily leaned against the door of the cell, Houdini realized he had been fooled. The door slipped open from his weight. It had always been unlocked. It was only locked in his mind.

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