A good education consists not only of the memorization of facts or methods, but, more importantly, of the development of understanding and thoughtfulness, which arouse the mind to curiosity and innovation.
Lately I have been thinking a lot about thinking.
More specifically, I have been thinking hard about the absence of thought in education. The absence of thought in students, teachers, administrators and policy-makers. This year’s political discourse is a wider-world reminder of the ubiquitous lack of thought on the part of otherwise educated adults. We know more but are oddly – increasingly? – thoughtless. Why?
Thinking, in the sense in which I am interested, is not mere mental work (or idle mental noodling). There is certainly lots of that going on everywhere. Thinking in the educational sense is not about doing one’s work. Little thought need go into a typical course pacing guide or by a student in filling in a Venn diagram. Those are mental tasks. Such work cannot by itself yield a truly thinking person.
Note that I am not saying that traditional mental work in school is…
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