So true

Respect the Box.

About Joanne


  1. As I have said in the past, you have to know what is inside of the box before you can think outside of the box. Many educators think that learning what is inside of the box stifles a person’s creativity and ability to think outside of the box. (I really hate that saying.) Perhaps that is why they like constructivism so much. They want students to create their own box, albeit a very small and limiting box.

    Actually, the opposite is true. The more content knowledge you learn and the more skills you master, the greater your ability to be creative. I have seen too many technical papers by authors who are not familiar with the literature of their field. They think they are being creative and original, but they are actually reinventing the wheel. These people are not kindly regarded by their peers, to say the least.

  2. So true, indeed. It’s like a writer (can’t remember who) said in an essay: It is necessary to understand the rules of grammar before you intentionally decide to break some in your writing.

    I can’t stand the term “think outside the box.” I’ve too often seen it used as a code-word for “we’re going to totally discount the LOGICAL way of doing things in favor of some off-the-wall solution.”

    The whole inside/outside the box reminds me of a comic my mom sent me: a cat owner is talking to her cat, admonishing him to “NEVER think outside of the [cat]box”


  3. Mad Scientist says:

    Not everyone who claims to want you to think outside the box actually really wants you to think outside the box.

    Once, at a company sponsored seminar a few years ago that was designed to encourage creativity, the facilitator wanted us to chose numbers between 1 and 10. I complied with his instructions, but when it came to splitting into “evens” and “odds”, I was left alone. See I chose pi. He was not amused.

    The next day, he gave the same instruction, without thinking. Of course I chose “e”. He was still not amused.

    But I did exactly what he was trying to teach us to do: think outside the box.