• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

In a recent (January 30th, 2012) New Yorker article on “Groupthink,” author Jonah Lehrer observes the following: The most creative spaces are those which hurl us together. It is the human friction that makes the sparks. Lehrer's statement, grounded in decades of research in social psychology, is that the most constructive form of collaboration is one in which a diverse group of people, i.e., those from different discipline areas and backgrounds, engage in “the vigorous exchange of clashing perspectives.” Educators who have participated in effective PLCs have learned that some degree of conflict between group members is not only healthy but, in many cases, necessary to move the group forward. However, when strongly-opinionated individuals are unwilling to even consider differing perspectives, progress is unlikely. Perhaps ...

Students and Polarities: A Tool for Critical Thinking
Students and polarities: A tool for critical thinking

Critical thinking skills are part of a set of buzzwords, with twenty-first-century skills, rigor, and creativity, that are bantered about so much that they're more cliché than meaningful concepts. Look at these synonyms for critical, however:

  • Crucial
  • Essential
  • Fundamental
  • Paramount
  • Key
  • Pivotal

Polarity tools can scaffold students as they learn to engage in essential, crucial skills such as the following:

  • Analyzing. Forming a polarity map reveals how well an argument was constructed.
  • Evaluating. Assessing the current position in an infinity loop of a polarity and learning from past decisions and results can broaden thinking beyond simple problem/solution approaches. Unintended consequences, among other things, often surface.
  • Creating. The mapping process is an excellent way for students to craft their own ...
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