Sunday, January 12, 2014

Focus is What I'm Thinking About

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 We've been thinking a lot about what our focus should be at Camarena. I have pushed "digital literacy" which failed to take hold because of its uncertain definition. Since getting input from our entire staff, I've been reading about critical thinking and habits of mind and want to take a stab at clarifying my thinking to this point.

 Could we have a focus on clear thinking?

 What do I mean by clear thinking?

 Thinking that begins with an inquiry - a question. That question is followed by observation and the ability to make sense of a problem. This searching includes the ability to listen empathetically to a variety of viewpoints and make associations with past ideas and interconnect concepts from different fields with the end result of being able to construct viable arguments around the question as well as critique the reasoning of others. After undergoing this discovery process, our students should communicate their thinking with clarity and precision. The final stage of clear thinking involves reflection and revision as necessary.

 Having said all that, it would be very challenging to focus on every aspect of this process.

Make Sense of Problems
Listening Attentively
Construct viable arguments
Critique others
Communicate with clarity and Precision

 So, Where do we begin? It seems to me that we need to begin with the skill of inquiry. We need to become experts at asking great questions and teaching our students how to ask great questions.

Will such a focus allow us to go deep? 

Will this focus allow us to connect this skill to all content areas?

 Is this focus measurable?

 Is this focus worthy of our efforts?

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