When a student asks a question or musing, have them infer or guess as many possible ideas as possible. Then they can brainstorm as many solutions to the problem, no matter how crazy or fantastical.
I've been trying this in my classroom as often as possible, and you'd be surprised how many interesting, logical and creative thoughts they come up with.
For example, a student brought up the point that our boys basketball team had lost to a visiting team by a large margin. So I asked them: What could be the possible reasons why this happened? Were we just a terrible team? Or was there more to this story than met our eye?
Soon, they generated a host of great ideas that made a lot of sense. They had better players. They were taller. They practiced more. Our players were short. Maybe we didn't have enough players. And on and on it went.
This notion of critical thinking is so important, especially in this age of persuasion from the billions of websites on the Internet and our 500 channel cable boxes. Instead of our students believing everything they read or hear and jumping to conclusions, they need to think deeply about what's really behind the story. The truth is out there, according to Fox Mulder. They just need to dig a little deeper to find it.
Daniel H. Lee
This blog will be dedicated to sharing in three areas: happenings in my classroom and school; analysis and distillation of other educators' wealth of knowledge in various texts; insights from other disciplines and areas of expertise that relate and connect with educational practices.