How To Teach And Learn To Think?

Traditional education is based on a systematic and mechanical learning process in which the main weight is borne by memorization. Currently, there are many studies that defend a different way of teaching. Learning to think is one of the main objectives of this educational revolution that we are witnessing little by little. The objective is to provide students with tools to search for information and assimilate it critically.

We must change the processes and prepare students so that in the future they can solve problems effectively and make decisions based on a good analysis. For this reason, teaching to think implies that good thinking permeates all our actions in the classroom so that young people become good thinkers and not only dedicate themselves to memorizing.

Why teach and learn to think?

In most educational centers there is usually no educational model that teaches how to use thinking. The traditional school continues to be impregnated with tools, methods and short-term techniques; he spends almost all the time teaching students to solve equations and memorize texts that will probably go to the drawer of oblivion in days without leaving any residue.

Many education professionals are betting on methodologies that bet on understanding, on the value of questions before answers, creating new ways of solving problems using thought. To achieve this, we also need to renew procedures and tools.

“As the soil, however rich it may be, cannot bear fruit, if it is not cultivated, the mind without cultivation cannot produce either.”


What is Thought Based Learning (TBL)?

Today, many educational institutions have taken a step forward, recognizing that the traditional methodology focuses on repetition learning with very little intrinsic meaning. This teaching model is not very effective because critical and reflective thinking is not put into practice .

The learning based on the thought (TBL) provides a more conscious and deep learning that changes the way in which the learner is situated opposite the new information. Robert Swartz, one of the most influential personalities in the field of education and the creator of this method, defines it as a methodology that teaches how to think creatively and critically.

Robert Swartz explains that this methodology came about when he attended a class by a history professor in Boston. He offered his students two different stories to confront and asked them to find out which one they should believe. Swartz realized that these children were learning to decide whether what they were reading was something they should accept as truthful and trustworthy, and he found that this perspective applied to everything.

This active methodology goes beyond the contents, ensuring that students learn to think and have the opportunity to solve real-world problems using those contents, taking into account different options and investigating which is the best solution option. So that the learning process does not depend on memorization, but on the internalization of the contents.

“The result of thinking-based learning is that students learn life-long thinking skills and understand the content of the subjects they study in the standard curriculum in a more enriching and deeper way than in more traditional classrooms.”

-Robert Swartz-

Collaborative thinking in the classroom

Learning to think in the classroom requires the teacher to be a facilitator and guide the teams of students to solve problems, cases and projects together. With this, the active participation of students is encouraged.

Group work is crucial in classrooms where thinking is taught, since all thinking works best when it is collaborative. Thinking together with others about important issues requires teamwork, a way of collaborating with others that makes us reflect and share learning.

The importance of questions to learn to think

Dialogue is an invaluable resource for generating knowledge. As early as the 5th century BC, Socrates realized its usefulness and designed a whole method: maieutics. The Socratic method understands the use of questions as a way to develop thinking. The questions we ask in the classroom are the stimulus for the students to try to answer and / or pose new questions.

The questions are intended for students to increase their ability to structure their ideas, synthesize their responses and defend them through reasoning, increasing their degree of autonomy to move with similar tools in unknown fields. In this sense, a good teacher knows the types of questions and knows which ones are the most appropriate for each situation.

“The highest degree of knowledge is to contemplate why.”


Six Thinking Hats

The Six Thinking Hats is a technique created by Edward De Bono to facilitate the resolution or analysis of problems from different points of view. It favors and stimulates lateral and creative thinking, encourages parallel thinking and is an alternative to traditional reasoning.

The six hats represent six ways of thinking, each with six colors that represent the directions of thought that we can use when facing a problem. In this technique, each participant imagines putting on and taking off a hat to indicate the type of thinking they are using.

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