Introduction: Thinking About Thinking

In response to the experience of teachers piloting the course, we’ve revised CIR's opening. Learners were resisting the investigations primarily because they were unlike the "read and remember game" they'd come to expect to play in school.

Mindy Nathan, principal of an alternative school in Bloomfield, Michigan, wrote to us:

"...My kids LIKE and PREFER the surface requests of conventional test questions that don't demand thought. It's like a relief to them. Crossing the barrier – the chasm that exists in their preference for ease and rote response, and the deeper, meatier, cognitive processes – is a gigantic challenge...I am dealing with kids at the end of their frustration level, who have never experienced (or haven't recognized?) true joy in learning."

Two new introductory activities titled "Thinking about Thinking" have been added to address the problem. The activities point out to students that they constantly engage in "higher order" thought processes, and that doing so isn't more difficult than memory work, just different, and far more useful.