In recent research (Shraiky, Markette & Markette, in press), we explored what working graduate students valued most from their graduate education. Consistently, successful graduates from diverse masters programs ranging from design, business, nursing, and education noted that critical thinking was the most valuable benefit of graduate school. It gave us reason to ponder why haven’t these people learned to think long ago? (This article regarding the graduate school research will be highlighted here in a later post)
However, the finding is a fascinating parallel to Dr. Derek Cabrera’s (2012) work, Thinking at Every Desk, and the four critical skills necessary to think: distinction, systems, relationships, and perspectives. It points to a vital responsibility of parents, teachers, coaches, and scout leaders to begin teaching children to think long before graduate school. Learning to think is a critical skill in a global environment that changes this rapidly. After all much of what I learned in my undergraduate finance degree is dated, but the lessons in thinking remain useful to this day. Upon reflecting on my childhood, I never fully grasped how my parents did this naturally. Common banter at my dinner table growing up often went like this: Dad, “Boys, what’s heavier? A ton of bricks or a ton of feathers?” To which my brother and I would race to answer. He then, would follow with a question like, “Which one would you rather have land on your head?” and “Why?” Little did we know that buried in this chitchat was genius parenting–we were learning to think.
This is topic is gaining momentum and warrants reflection. Watch Dr. Cabrera’s TedX video here to learn more about learning how to think.