Documentary ignites conversation around aim of education
- Deborah C. Hoard, producer and director of "Re:Thinking," a new documentary designed to inspire educators and community members to reimagine schools, discusses the educational concepts behind the film in an interview with District Administration.
- The film, which hopes to start a conversation among educators about focusing on the development of critical thinking skills over rote memorization, asks the overarching question “What if we taught students how to think, not what to think?”
- "Re:Thinking" is predicated on the work of Derek and Laura Cabrera, cognitive scientists who apply systems-based concepts to educational settings. The documentary examines the way different schools put this learning approach into practice.
Re:Thinking could be worthwhile viewing in a mini-conference or professional development setting because it could open a floodgate of ideas about the purpose of education. In the midst of measuring students' grasp of standards, educators sometime lose focus on the real goal: the development of lifelong learners who can think critically and solve the problems that face them in their personal and professional lives. The film’s focus on classroom participants as “learners” rather than “students” is part of that approach.
The systems-thinking approach featured in the film is another example of how business management concepts can apply to classroom learning. The idea of collective intelligence rather than individual intelligence, for example, is an idea that is gaining traction in some circles, and because teachers are preparing students (or learners) to be critical thinkers in the workplace, it only makes sense that some crossover between business and education would take place.
Though it seems counterintuitive, the film points out that test scores at some schools are higher for students who had teachers who embraced the “thinking skills” approach over those that focused on teaching to the test. The focus on critical thinking skills and emotional intelligence, which brings connectivity to solutions, may just aid in the measurement of standards-based learning after all.
- District Administration Getting to the true nature of learning in K12