Creative Teaching & Learning

A Think Piece

Ian Gilbert, the acclaimed author of The Little Book of Thunks, argues that in an era of information overload and uncertainty children need to be encouraged to think for questions rather than for answers.

It’s a curious thing but I can’t remember ever hearing the phrase ‘My brain hurts’ when I was a classroom teacher, yet it’s a phrase I hear all the time when I am working with young people these days. But then, these days, I’m not trying to teach them anything. I’m trying to make them think. The question of whether learning was a subset of thinking – or was it the other way around? – had vexed me a long time and the main reason I had come into the wonderful education profession was to help young people improve their thinking skills. Or was I helping them to improve their learning skills? Do we teach thinking to young people as a way of improving their learning or would we do better to teach children how to learn in order to improve their ability to think. After all, as the advocates of a knowledge-based curriculum point out regularly, you have to have something to think about.

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