Creating a New School of Thought

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THINKING IS NOT A FAD!

Leading futurists agree that success in the work force of the future will REQUIRE critical and creative thinking and problem-solving skills. Although these topics are included in the benchmarks and essential academic learning requirements of virtually every state in the country, only a small number of schools can claim any real progress.

WHY IS THIS TRUE?

Most schools and school districts have either completely neglected thinking or have treated it as just another topic to be added to an already crowded curriculum. The standards adopted across the nation require a huge reservoir of factual information be learned, leaving precious little time for thinking deeply about any of it.

If thinking is viewed as the fundamental process of schooling, a new vision for schools of the future comes into focus. Thinking, when considered as the fundamental framework for learning, becomes an armature upon which the total school program can be built. As the core concept of education, thinking cannot be ignored in day-to-day school affairs. Factual information learned in the context of real problems is not only more palatable to students, but more memorable. Information as a sidebar to inquiry teaches both process and content. Information to support decision-making can be taught each day as can creative uses of facts and concepts.

A New School of Thought is required to meet the demands of the future. If we are to truly serve our students we must go beyond the rote learning of the past

WHERE CAN WE GO FOR HELP?

State and regional education agencies can usually help locate the kind of assistance needed to develop the capacity of the local staff for the changes required. What is essential is someone who:
Understands the change process
Has experience in critical/creative thinking and decision making
Can teach effectively and relate to teachers on a personal level
Will commit to a sustained effort.

CONCLUSION

The last decade has provided us with a wealth of information about the brain and learning although much of it has been ignored in our quest for standardization of curriculum. Thinking cannot be taught as content, but must be learned in the context of real problems and life situations. It is time to begin the work necessary to design the programs that will help our children learn to manage their own intelligence, to light the beams that will illuminate their future paths.

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