Bob Valiant, 15 March 2004
Thinking Skill Emphasized: Detecting Patterns
Detecting patterns is an important skill that helps us recognize ways to organize data that is seemingly chaotic.
Elsewhere on this web site we document what experts believe will be the basic skills of the 21st Century. For example the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory has identified digital-age literacy, inventive thinking, effective communication, and high productivity as the new basics. Closer examination of these four skill areas indicates a concentration of skills generally categorized as higher-level thinking and their use in real-world situations. Several articles on this site identify these skills and even include teaching activities to help students master them. It turns out that knowing the skills and being able to use them is not enough, however.
Watch this page for articles introducing a new topic to our selection: PERSONAL INTELLIGENCE MANAGEMENT. First to appear will be a presentation given to the Washington ASCD Conference in Seattle by Dr. Robert Valiant and his son, Bob Jr. This will be followed by a more comprehensive article that describes the components of a “New School of Thought” and details of what it takes to construct and manage one’s own intellect.
Life is full of situations that require each of us to solve problems, make decisions, and deal with issues. This is true both in the workplace and in the rest of our lives. Such has been the case since the dawn of time but as the world has become more complex the demand on our intellect has increased immeasurably.
The problem is this: School programs are currently marginalizing higher order aspects of intellectual development. “Higher standards” translates to more standards, often of a trivial nature. Proponents argue that their standards include the higher order thinking skills called for here, but close examination reveals that low-level skills dominate the lists. Further, our classroom visits and discussions with teachers indicate the time spent is shifted far in the direction of rote memorization of content.