The Essence of Thought
Fishing in their stream of
Great minds discuss ideas;
Average minds discuss events;
Small minds discuss people.
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 - 1962)
US diplomat & reformer
TEXT THE MOB
Why my 3 year old is better at
critical thinking than I am
What triggers this transformation from such an inquisitive
nature of always talking about ideas, to this high degree of
multitasking that often revolves around the discussion of
Attaining experiences as firsts,
without preconceived notions or stereotypes.
The Art of Critical Thinking
If we all think multiple thoughts, at various
depths, how do we cultivate an awareness of
these thoughts in a critical manner?
Think, perceive, and speak out of uncertainty!
McArthur's universal corrective map of the world
How do our perceptions influence our actions, our way of
thinking, and how we view the world.......?
What exactly is critical thinking?
Can there be a distinct definition if we in fact are…
Here are a few of the more popular thoughts about critical thinking:
“Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of
actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing,
synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or
generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or
communication, as a guide to belief and action.”
Critical Thinking as Defined by the National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking, 1987
“the mental process of
actively and skillfully
synthesizing, and evaluating
information to reach
an answer or conclusion”
Critical thinking...the awakening of the
intellect to the study of itself.
Foundation for Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is “active,
persistent, and careful
consideration of any belief or
supposed form of knowledge in
the light of the grounds that
support it and the further
conclusions to which it tends.
Why is Critical Thinking Important?
• understand the logical connections between ideas
• identify, construct and evaluate arguments
• detect inconsistencies and common mistakes in
• solve problems systematically
• identify the relevance and importance of ideas
• reflect on the justification of one's own beliefs
A student’s stream of consciousness
The direction and flow of thought in an individuals
mind at any given moment….
• We cannot control what individuals may think or how
given content may be manipulated to impact
understanding and learning.
• We can control the tools we use to bait and connect
students to concepts through the use of essential
questions and open shared pool of ideas and experieces.
Why we need to teach
Much like we have the ability to walk without
directly learning to walk we have the ability to
think without directly learning to think.
This does not mean that we do not need to facilitate and
coach thinking. There must be a process or culture
created that inspires individuals to sculpt their best
thoughts and problem solving skills in given topics
which impact us directly or indirectly.
TEXT THE MOB
The loss of shared curiosity
• Where has the physically/mentally present
discussion gone??? (civil discourse)
• How technology has impacted the way we think,
communicate and access information..
Life Hacking, Youtubing, Facebooking, Blogging,
Glogging, Tweeting, Streaming, Multitasking, RSS,
Apps, and Tabs.
• We are so connected to the world we perceive, that we
become very uncomfortable without updates, texts,
emails, and calls. We have changed how we interact!
Working to calming the Stream of
• Thinking too many thoughts can become weeds
in the garden of developing ideas
– The importance of developing a comfort with wait
time, in discussion, in the classroom and at home.
Establishing a mindful internal dialog to recognize
thoughts to capture and thoughts to let pass. In
essence the ability to focus.
– Google launches Think Quarterly
Google dubs Think Quarterly as "a breathing space in a busy world. It is a
place to take time out and consider what is happening and why it matters."
The Establishment of a Direct Focus
• Identify a quandary, problem or target
• Create (hypothesis, theory, idea, map, blueprint,
notes, sketch, visualization, goal, desire
• Seek a new and or additional prospective
• Identify multiple sources of research while not
drifting into a totally different quandary, problem
The Pillars of
the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend
what is obscure
the ability to look with understanding at life's work and
make a personal response to them
engagement in discourse (conversation) intended to
Fostering and Cultivating
How do we expose learners to an idea bigger than
they are comfortable with, while digestible in a
that promotes stimulation of personal research
and post conversation…
We have a fairly sound understanding of the Zone
of Proximal Development when it comes to
However can we develop a ZPD for thought?
Fostering and Cultivating
• Creating a culture of dialog in the home, the
classroom, the field, the car and the web.
– Don’t allow a simple answer, ask a genuine why?
– Hosting classroom Seminar
• Building a personal meaning profile for each
– Survey (Text the Mob, Survey Monkey)
– Pose concept questions (What is beauty)
– Show and Tell (Gloggster)
• Knowing or learning what they know
– Be up to date on what your students are plugged into
– At least understand it, even if you don’t condone it!
– Draw out the concept of the “drama” and relate it to
the core of what you are teaching
– Have a spy, get a student to fill you in on what is
“hot” because by the time you find out what the
students are “biting on” many may have swam on.
•Challenge students to speak up and share their
•Respect their ability and cognition, remember they
are often less bias based on expereinces.
The essence of thought is now even more
challenging to obtain with the influx of
information and technology that surrounds us
and often distracts us.
What is one thing you can do to help shape time in
your classroom and your home to promote
discussion around ideas and concepts.
“You have to allow a certain amount of time
in which you are doing nothing in order to
have things occur to you, to let your mind
Mortimer Adler (1902-2001)
American Philosopher, Educator, Editor