Edjuncture is moving forward with a focus on advanced thinking processes for every level of education.
But Why? Why thinking?
Of course, so much is changing in the post-pandemic time of isolated virtual learning and endless Zoom calls. We are asking students more often to think for themselves… figure out how to do it on their time… and often learn on their own. A few students thrive in this environment, and most don’t do so well. And there are more good reasons for it as educators around the world see that content is easily accessible… for a learner who knows how to think through the content.
Some background. In these first few decades of the 21st century, I have had the privilege of journeying thousands of miles around the globe to collaborate with and learn from fellow educators. During travels to such places as Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, South Africa, Ethiopia, Mexico, Brazil, New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, and here within the United States, these experiences have filled me with a renewed sense of optimism.
Over the course of these travels across diverse cultures and needs, I get a recurring question from Uber and taxi drivers, and others with whom I cross paths: “What are you doing here?” When I offer my typical response, “I’m here to help build thinking schools,” my new acquaintances usually smile politely. Some even laugh and say, “Isn’t that what every school is supposed to do . . . teach children to think?” I answer that many organizations and individuals have helped build actual school buildings, but don’t think about what happens inside the walls: What happens between teachers and students here in the 21st century of virtual learning?
And then, in a millisecond of insight, they answer their own question something like this: “Not really, I guess. Schools don’t teach you how to think. I wish I had learned how to think better. We’ve got to teach students how to think.”
These informal conversations reflect a rapidly shifting awareness of the need for changing all levels and dimensions of education—from pre-K through college and workplace training—in response to increasingly complex problems. Across continents, I am aware of the tension between unbridled optimism and the hard realism of the challenges to change. But some say, “Why change?”
Because the world doesn’t just seem to be more complex. It is more complex. Just touch the screen of your handheld device– an infinite, dynamic library of content that does little to support thinking through the content !
Dynamic new tools and technologies, social media, access to information, and globalization have led many to question whether we have adequately prepared our children for the challenges of higher education and a rapidly changing workplace.
This is one answer to “Why Thinking?”