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"Think outside the box" is not only an incredibly uncreative way to say "be creative", those who chant this mantra usually have no idea what the box looks like. 
 
Now research is showing that the think-outside-the-box cliché is "dangerous" and "flawed" myth. The "new" discovery that made it's way to Psychology Today comes straight from the old, and should sound familiar to my students:
 
Learn the proven fundamentals well enough to creatively apply them in dynamically changing context.

The farmer said the marker commemorated 198 samurai who were killed at that spot during a war, and the stones were marking their eternal tomb—which we had just turned into our personal playground, oops.

To assess the viability of team learning methods foreign to Japanese higher education, a mixed methods action study project was conducted with remedial students in a Japanese college. Called Team Hachi Project, the research found support for the assumption that Japanese college students could increase academic learning and performance through interdependent learning methods.

This Wall Street Journal broadcast emphasizes the mission of higher education with military personnel. In short: Facilitate transition to civilian life, strengthen resilience, influence mission readiness.

"Degrees will open doors" is a myth that many college students mistakenly accept as entitlement. Students who buy into that myth have a tendency to do the minimum required for earning a degree and fail to develop the knowledge and skills they need to be successful at a job. It's like paying for groceries and leaving them at the checkout stand; then expecting to be fed by others once we leave the store.

Rachel Belle of  97.3 KIRO FM interviews Brent Duncan in graveyard above Noda Village

Road trip into the disaster areas with media personalities and journalists. From Rachel Belle, journalist for 97.3 KIRO FM:

Ron & I were taken 2 hours south of Misawa to a seaside village called Noda Mura that was almost completely destroyed when the tsunami sent ocean waves over the 40 foot sea wall. 40 people were killed & 400 homes were washed away. Ron and Rachel were shown around by a volunteer who's been helping there since Day 1.

Japan disaster documentary interviews Brent Duncan in Noda Village debris fields

A Japanese documentary about the disaster areas in Iwate Prefrecture one month after the initial stages of disaster included an interview with me. This blog entry contains the background story about and excerpts from Higashi Nippon Daishinsai: Iwate" (東日本大震災:岩手県野田村[抜粋] The Northeastern Japan Disaster: Iwate

High atop a bluff, Brent Duncan and his wife Penny watched as the Pacific Ocean overpowered the shoreline and blanketed communities along the northeastern coast of Japan. As surge after surge of water rushed inland, Duncan, a lead faculty member with University of Phoenix, knew the low-lying areas would be badly damaged. When the devastating earthquake and resulting tsunami finally ran their course, hundreds of miles of Japan’s coastline lay devastated and tens of thousands of people were dead or missing...

Charity is not typically part of traditional Japanese culture. However, as a response to disasters like the Great Northeastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011, thousands of Japanese are going against culture to offer selfless service for strangers. This article about a volunteer trend that has emerged from the aftermath of an unprecedented disaster suggests and important question to consider: Will tradition crush Japan's trend toward western-style charity practices or are we witnessing a major societal transformation?