Note: This post contains quotes that I have been using for awhile. I am unsure if any of them are verbatim from some single source. If you know a direct source of any of them, I would appreciate a comment.
“There is a mysterious connection between language and thinking.”
How can we access our thinking?
Since it is difficult to think without using (one’s own) language, the natural way to access thinking is through language. The tool to use is the language arts. To access and improve our mathematical thinking we must READ THE MATH, WRITE THE MATH, HEAR THE MATH, SPEAK THE MATH, therefore THINK THE MATH. This is true for all academic learning.
“Choose freely, live creatively, and think critically.”
What does this mean?
Choosing freely means you are choosing and accepting the responsibility of your choice. Living creatively means you are living in a way in which you are creating the meaning of life in your mind. Thinking critically means you are thinking about your thinking and assessing your thinking with good intellectual standards–clarity, relevancy, appropriateness, logicalness, etc. As a problem-solver, citizen, parent, student, teacher, legislator, professional, or any other label one might have, the focus statement of “choose freely, live creatively, and think critically” can keep us directed toward rationality. By rationality I mean, conforming to principles of good reasoning, showing good judgment, being sensible, logical, and relevant.
“What you are becoming is often more important than what you are accomplishing.”
What are you becoming?
A life-long learner? Yes, but what are you learning? It is important to “become” the learner that has good intellectual traits, such as intellectual empathy, intellectual courage, intellectual humility, intellectual perseverance, and fair-mindedness. With good intellectual traits the thinker can be a life-long learner who is productive in a positive manner in a democratic society. The “becoming” is acquiring good intellectual traits and the “accomplishing” is life-long learning.
“Questions drive thinking.”
Why focus on questions instead of answers?
Asking questions is a sign of thinking. Questioning is necessary in order to keep your thinking active. Questions do not need to be asked to anyone but yourself. In fact, the goal, though not attainable in most situations, would be to answer all of your own questions. For every question you ask, ideally your mind will generate two more. Therefore, if you start with one question and pursue your line of thinking, you end with many questions. Questions are a sign of an active mind and not a sign of ignorance. Use questions to drive thinking.
“Know yourself.” “Be true to yourself.”
Who should assess our thinking?
Ultimately, each person must assess him/herself. As you know, you don’t always have another person to assess your thinking. We must constantly work toward the time in which we will assess our own thinking and decide for ourselves its clarity, accuracy, relevancy, appropriateness, etc. Self-assessment should be done on everything that represents one’s own thinking.
“Metaphorically speaking in education, the journey is more important than the destination.”
When are we learning?
We are always learning. The question is, what are we learning? We must view our journey of life as the important time for learning and not just the end of our formal schooling as the time we are learned. Education is never ending. It is like life, in the sense that as long as you are alive, you are also learning. The only destination is to be a life-long learner. When are you learning mathematics, language arts, science, history, etc. ? ALWAYS!