Tag Archives: critical thinking.

My students learned to think for themselves

Just read this paragraph from here:

As Professor of Anthropology James Lett pointed out twenty years ago in an excellent article titled “A Field Guide to Critical Thinking,” people are taught in our schools what to think, not how to think. Why? Probably because it’s easier. Robert Frost once wrote that he took the road less traveled, and that made all the difference. For us teachers to make a difference, we must stop taking the easy way out.

Reminds me of some of my non-Academy students who want me to tell them exactly what they should be doing, writing, saying, thinking, whatever, and I won’t do it.  My Academy students learned not to ask me for specifics because I would always say, “Use what you have learned to make your own assumptions and do your own work.  I know how I would do the (exercise, speech, project, etc), but I want to see how YOU would do it.”  This was always, though, at the end of a unit where I had guided their learning so they would have a basket of ideas and skills from which to pull.  Maybe other teachers don’t provide a big enough basket.

By the time my students were seniors, they didn’t ask me what I wanted, they did what they wanted, and it was usually very good.