Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Why Do We Think?

 "I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework."
                                                     -- Edith Ann, [Lily Tomlin]

How do you get students to think? They are great at rote processes, but heaven forbid they are forced to actually think.  Most students today are driven by getting answers but far less interested in understanding what those answers mean.  I am often frustrated by the number of times, I ask students who turn in illogical answers, "Does this answer make sense?"  or, "Is that a logical possibility?" Students need to understand that it is not the answer that is important but, the ability to think that is the ultimate goal.

I use a series of statements I found in a book called Writers INC, to get students to look at the importance of THINKING.

I ask the students to complete the following statements, based upon the question,
Why Do We Think?

We can't help thinking ....

We want to think ....

We have to think ....

We enjoy thinking ....

We need to think ....

I have students complete these statements independently at first.  I then group them in groups of 4 or 5. I ask them to share and write down statements they hear from the group that they agree with.  I usually regroup and share a couple times in order for them to hear several points of view.  I then conclude with a class debriefing, asking the students to share common thoughts, unique perspectives and summarizing the importance of the thinking process.

Brain: an apparatus with which we think we think.
                                Ambrose Bierce

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