Ways of Thinking

Ways of Thinking: Thinking and Learning

For many of us, when we say I think…. we simply mean we aren’t sure. When we know the facts, we stop “thinking.”  Good thinking isn't easy. This girl is obviously thinking seriously.But this isn’t thinking at all. This is just our way of saying I don’t know.

The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think — rather to improve our minds so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with thoughts of other men.      — John Dewey

If the main purpose of an education is to learn how to think, why has no one taught us how to think?

Mei Ling, the student in the picture is obviously deep in thought. It is hard to know is she is thinking about something she has just read, about an experiment she is planning, or about her future.

What is Thinking?

It is hard to define thinking because we use the word in so many ways. Let us look at a few of them:

Non-rational Thinking:

  • I’m thinking about you. This usually isn’t thinking, it is longing for.
  • I’m thinking about going to a party. The speaker isn’t  thinking, he is putting off a decision.
  • I think it’s the right thing to do. He hasn’t decided what he believes.

Rational Thinking is described in many ways. Here are just a few.

  • Reasoning
  • Reflection
  • Analysis
  • Questioning
  • Imagination
  • Searching for answers
  • Critiquing
  • Making a Plan
  • Decision Making
  • Predicting

Our teachers rarely make an effort to teach us these skills, probably because no one taught them.  What a shame.  An educated person must thinking carefully and deeply.

In this website,  Study is divided into three main areas:

  • Organizing information (sometimes taught in school)
  • Thinking about the information
  • Remembering what is most important

We must take   lectures and reading and organize it in several ways, think about it in several ways, and use several kinds of memory skills.

Reading furnishes the mind only with the materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.                               —   John Locke

Although there are many more Ways of Thinking, this website focuses on  the following five ways:

1. Use Mathematical Thinking

2. Use Scientific Thinking

3. Use Critical Thinking

4 .Use  Creative Thinking

5. Use Strategic Thinking

If you are interested in other ways of thinking, check out the Breakthrough Learning website  for College Students   www.breakthroughlearningcollege.com


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