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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