Wednesday, July 23, 2014

When Do We Learn to Think?

I just read an article where the author repeatedly said that college was the time that you learned to think. Not that it was the only place, but it was the best one.

This actually stopped me in my tracks a bit.

Really? We have to wait until we're at least 17/18 to start to learn to think? No wonder things are such a mess! What are kids doing in grade school?? There have been complaints for years and years that our kids are not learning how to really think, they're only learning to memorize and regurgitate. Perhaps that's where this comment came from: the reality that the school system is messed up enough that college really is the first time most students get to learn how to think. The sad thing is that I was working on my teaching degree 20 years ago, was being taught all about the different ways to engage kids in different levels of thinking, but have things really changed? On an official level, the program of studies in our province recognizes these different levels of thought, but with the insistence on provincial standardized testing in grades 3, 6, 9 and the $&#*@! grade 12 provincial exams in core subjects worth 50% of the students' final mark (and this after already having had a final exam worth usually anywhere between 10%-30%), let's just say that the actual thinking is not there.

How different things would be if most schools were Montessori schools--where children are encouraged and left to think (because, really, let's face it, we start thinking at a very young age and simply have it curbed in school to the "right" answer) long before they hit age 18.

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