List of 5,000 Educational and Better Thinking Tools
“The teacher’s problem is that of inducing a vital and personal experiencing.”
-John Dewey, The Child and the Curriculum
For teachers of composition, Dewey’s “problem” is ultimately one of relevance. Our students are growing up in a markedly different world from that of our own adolescences. Much that we accepted as permanent has become obsolete. Today’s learning platforms are not actually learner centric. They want the students to be locked within their apps and websites, learn ONLY from their own content and their own preferred formats. But the way we learn in the 21st century is far too rich. We learn from websites, blogs, forums, podcasts, infographics, videos and much more. Discovering the right kind of learning material for YOU at the right time is still too hard.
Certainly, this rapid change is immediately evident in composition. One of our challenges as writing instructors is recognizing that the same writing skills and processes that only ten years ago seemed rooted have been uprooted. For example, in an age of emails, what letter-writing skills will the student need? What information-gathering skills will students require in a world dominated by the Internet? Most important, how do we as instructors help students understand the value of “vital and personal” writing in an increasingly technological and post-literate world? In short, how do we make heartfelt and carefully crafted writing relevant to our students?
It is this very concern that makes incorporation of such value in the writing-based classroom. Student-led inquiry, dialogue, and reflection on text from many different sources open their hearts and minds. This group and individual identification with a piece of literature or art, in turn, serves as a powerful impetus for post-seminar writing assignments. Students are more likely to retain knowledge, understanding, and ethical attitudes and behaviors when they are actively engaged in learning as a collaborative effort.
However, unlike law school seminars, which tend to focus on final answers, modern classroom seminars focus on the process of thoughtfulness. In other words, seminars reawaken students’ innate inquisitiveness by stressing civility, the active acceptance of ambiguity, and the value of communal critical thinking. Central to seminars is the belief that we must embrace a new teaching paradigm that stresses the links between thinking, speaking, listening, and writing.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of the “List of 5,000 Educational and Better Thinking Tools” is that it reinforces the formation of the classroom as a learning community and contribute to the development of vocabulary, listening skills, interpretive and comparative reading, textual analysis, synthesis, and evaluation – predominantly higher-level thinking skills.
Jeff C. Palmer is a teacher, success coach, trainer, Certified Master of Web Copywriting and founder of https://Ebookschoice.com. Jeff is a prolific writer, Senior Research Associate and Infopreneur having written many eBooks, articles and special reports.