Encouraging Thinking

Thinking is hard work for anyone. It’s natural for students to take the easy road and avoid thinking. Here are some ways you can get your students to think.

  • Give your students something to think about. Present a work of art and challenge your students to think about what they’ve seen, or a musical work with a challenge to think about what they’ve heard.
  • Ask questions that are a little “off the beaten track.” For example, “What problems might you face if you were eight feet tall?” Students can’t answer such questions by simple factual recall.
  • Have your students connect what they’ve learned in one class with what they’ve learned in another class.
  • Require your students to state what they mean in very precise terms. This enhances mental discipline.
  • Encourage your students to question basic assumptions. For example, it is commonly said or written that George Washington had false teeth made of wood. Recent analysis of his four known sets of dentures showed them to be made of gold, ivory, lead, and human and animal teeth.