Bring on the Thinking

It’s time to rewrite the lesson plan on school.  It’s time to really ponder the value of how we ask kids to use their time.  If the activity doesn’t involve letting kids spend a significant amount of time processing, analyzing or generating and sharing ideas then it’s time to rewrite the lesson plan.

Access to information is now anytime, anywhere.  Employers say they can teach the content, but it’s much harder to teach people to think, problem solve and innovate.  People can look up facts, vocabulary, formulae.  But we can’t look up an ability to analyze or be creative.

It’s time to ditch the content, and let kids spend more of their time digging deep into ideas. Fill in the blank? It’s hard to really sink your teeth into filling in the missing words in someone else’s writing.  Pages of practice examples, getting good at solving problems the way the teacher did it on the board?  There’s no space for innovative thinking on those worksheets.  (Often there’s not even enough space to do the steps kids have been told to do!)

Anyone doing any job will learn the facts and information that they need to use on a daily basis.  There’s too much information for them to learn it all in high school anyway!  But if they’ve spent their school years learning information, without spending enough time thinking, analyzing and solving problems, those years are lost.

The habits of mind people need to be innovative and creative need to be developed starting at a young age, and it’s time for schools to start letting kids spread their wings and stretch their brains.  Fill in the blank and problem solving following someone else’s ideas of the steps to follow won’t stretch anyone’s brain.

It’s time for kids to spend their days developing and sharing their own unique ideas.

It’s time to give them space to change their minds and start again.

It’s time for students to contribute to the evolution of their own learning.

It’s time to foster deep engagement in learning through validating and encouraging curiosity and creativity.

Thinking in schools.  An idea whose time has come.

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