Our Thinking Curriculum
Natively, we're pretty bad at thinking — but few things are more important than thinking! And we can all become much, much better thinkers.
The cognitive science is in: the moves that matter in thinking (observation, rationality, creativity, knowledge, logic) really can be improved. IQ isn't the end of the story: all students really can become much more powerful thinkers.
But schools don't train these moves systematically.
What if a new kind of school could cultivate the many elements of good thinking?
To cultivate knowledge, our schools will —
- immerse kids in the stories behind where knowledge comes from — the epic narratives of history, science, math, philosophy.
- foster a culture of geeking out.
- prompt kids to savor the most interesting things they've learned each day.
- use an algorithm to let kids preserve the most useful things they learn forever.
- give kids an experience of what really deep, Ph.D.-level understanding tastes like.
- coach kids in the art of posing questions and hunting for answers.
To cultivate logic, our schools will —
- teach math intensively, yet simply — helping kids grasp how each small piece fits into the whole.
- train in computer coding from an early age.
- entrust kids with dumbfoundingly complex issues to chew on, and challenge them to explain their answers.
- make the long list of logical fallacies common knowledge.
To cultivate creativity, our schools will —
- think together by splaying ideas on walls.
- pepper kids with math puzzles that require imaginative leaps to unravel.
- provide students with thought journals, and the time to use them.
- drill children in de Bono's "thinking tools" to prompt out-of-the-box ideas in all subjects.
To cultivate rationality, our schools will —
- ground kids in the multitude of cognitive biases.
- engage the scientific method throughout the curriculum.
- help student flirt with ideologies that portray our problems as black and white — and then press against the limitations of all such simplistic systems.
- raise kids in the grand diversity of ways of seeing the world.
The goal of our schools is to cultivate students who can think clearly, and wonderfully, about any issue.
Contrary to popular belief,
the brain is not designed for thinking.
It's designed to save you from having to think,
because the brain is actually not very good at thinking.