Tuesday, February 17, 2015

FOLIO Tool 3: The Three Mentors: Questions, Advice and Creative.

Use of Adjectives 

Throughout this blog post, I'll use random adjectives to help guide the thinking directed by the nine tools. Here's a post about generating a list of adjectives: How to create a list of adjectives quickly.

Tool 3: The Three Mentors: Questions, Advice, and Creative 

With the Mentors tools, I imagine there is a mentor sat with me, in a mentoring role. There are three mentors - the Questions-mentor, the Advice-mentor, and the Creative-mentor.

Questions-mentor

The Questions-mentor asks questions about the topic.So, if reading books is my topic then good questions could be, "Are you reading enough?" or, "What books haven't you read?" There are two approaches I can use: I can create a question intuitively, or use an adjective to help me generate a question.

Creating a Question Intuitively

To generate an intuitive question I simply ask the question, "If a Questions-mentor were sat beside me and they asked a pertinent question, what could that question be?"

So, for the topic reading books examples could be:

Are you happy with your reading material?
What knowledge would you like to acquire?
What's the best way to find new books/subjects to read?
etc.

Creating a Question with an Adjective

I can use a randomly chosen adjective to help me to generate a pertinent question from the Questions-mentor.. For this I use the format:

Make up X question.

Then, I pick a random adjective to put in place of the "X", and use it as a trigger to generate a question that has a characteristic suggested by the adjective. Example:

Make up superlative question: What are your favourite ten books?
Make up coupled question: What sequels could you read?
Make up flexible question: Could you try a new genre?
Make up jaded question: Do you stay fresh during reading/studying by taking regular breaks?

Advice-mentor

The Advice-mentor offers advice about the topic. I imagine a mentor is sat with me offering advice. Good advice about the topic reading books could be, "Join a reading group" or, "Improve your general vocabulary" etc. Like with the Questions-mentor, there are two approaches I can take: I can generate some advice intuitively, or use an adjective to help me generate the advice.

Intuitive Advice

To generate intuitive advice I ask the question, "If an Advice-mentor were sat beside me and they offered some pertinent advice about reading books, what could that advice be?" Examples could be:

Check out your local library.
Check out a list of the current best sellers.
Check out a list of the best sellers in your areas of interest.

Advice Created with an Adjective

As before with the Questions-mentor, I pick a random adjective and use it as a trigger to generate some advice that has a characteristic suggested by the adjective. The format is:

Make up X advice

And I pick a random adjective  to put in place of the "X", then interpret it. Example:

Make up feline advice: Read up about caring for my pet cat.

More Examples of Advice:

Make up measured advice: Log how much you've learned in the past 5/10/15 years.
Make up dual advice: Read the same book as your wife so you can compare notes.
Make up smurfy advice: Find classic children's books for my children.
Make up angst-ridden advice: List your main ten problems in life and find out how they are addressed by any books.
Make up evocative advice: Read through your old journal diaries.
Make up messy advice: Have several books on the go at once.
Make up odd advice: Learn to read books written in Latin.
Make up sick advice: Read up on your ailments.
Make up harmonic advice: Polish up on music theory.
Make up satirical advice: Read some work by the famous satirists.

Creative-mentor (How to...more and more)

The Creative-mentor is a little different.The purpose of the Creative-mentor is to start steering the thinking towards creativity and possibilities. I imagine the mentor sat with me has set me a creative challenge. To create the challenge, I choose a random adjective, then increase the degree of the characteristic suggested by that adjective. The basic format is:

How to make (topic) more and more (random adjective).

With the topic of reading books and the random adjective "stubborn" that gives:

How to make reading books more and more stubborn.

What to make of that? Maybe:

Be determined to read and finish a difficult book.

More examples of Creative-mentor:

Find a way to make readings books...

more and more cliquey: Link up with people reading the same book.
more and more sincere: What's the best way to find books that might interest me?
more and more schoolish: How to relearn everything I've forgotten since leaving school?
more and more legendary: How to be as good at reading as Kim Peek. Or (more plausible) research reading abilities such as those of Kim Peek.
more and more odd: Read standing on your head.
more and more dead: Make reading obsolete by inventing a way to download books to your brain.
more and more essential: Invent a "25 books qualification" where you can be tested on your knowledge of any 25 books.

Bigger and Bigger Challenges

I can also, if I choose to, think about what kind of challenge would come from increasing the degree of the characteristic to an impossible or surreal extent. It's an area for letting the imagination run riot and doing lots of wishful thinking. Example: What would it mean to make reading books more and more funded? Maybe:

Set up a scheme so that nobody has to buy a book again.
People could get paid for reading.

More Examples of Bigger Challenges:

To a fanciful or surreal extent, make reading books...

more and more calm. Ways to express information so that it relaxes the reader as well as informs.
more and more musical. Audio books that sing the words as lyrics to well known songs.
more and more white. Books are black text on a white background. Why not white text on a black background? Would it make a difference?
more and more sporty. Make reading books and memorising them a sport.
more and more underwater. Books that are readable absolutely anywhere.

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