Let's teach more to think and less to memorize

The debate on education at all levels has begun and the focus is on the current educational curriculum, since, as it is taught, it seems to motivate and lead students more to memorize and less to think . At least this is the opinion of many professionals and researchers, as is the case of Dr. Robert Swartz, a contemporary researcher and philosopher at the University of Massachusetts, who proposes to stimulate thought through teaching. Swartz believes that the natural method of thinking begins with learning to classify and understand things to later develop creative and critical thinking, and from there, make better decisions by achieving effective resolutions to problems that arise in life.


How to stimulate thinking through teaching

Let’s see, below, what is the main objective of teaching in each of the areas proposed by this researcher and the way in which these skills can be stimulated:


  • Classify and understand

The goal is to develop deep understanding and accurate memory in students. As you can see, the development of memory is not something negative, it is simply not the main thing or the only thing existing in a teaching method. To achieve this competence of deep understanding, it is proposed that teachers encourage students to analyze ideas , comparing them, defining them and relating them to other parts and to the whole. Another way is to analyze the proposed arguments, finding reasons or conclusions.


clasificar y comprender



  • Creative thinking

The objective is to achieve an original product for the students, for which certain skills must be developed in them, such as the ability to generate possibilities and the ability to create metaphors . The generation of possibilities also develops fluency in the generation of ideas, as well as flexibility to accept the variety of concepts and to create skill in the process of elaborating them. On the other hand, the elaboration of metaphors allows the student to create an analogy between their ideas and everyday life, which is undoubtedly very useful for the development of students as future responsible adults.


  • Critical thoughts

The goal is to learn to make informed and critical judgments. The aim is for the student to analyze the basic information and to be critical of the reliability of the source, or to be able to demand accuracy in the observations. On the other hand, critical thinking always seeks to make inferences, generate causal explanations, predictions, make generalizations and reasoning by analogy … Similarly, the deduction of the form “if …” or “then …” helps to develop a hypothetical reasoning that stimulates critical thinking.


  • Decision making

Good decision-making is achieved from the sum of the three previous elements, since from them it is possible to foresee the possible consequences. In this way the student is prepared for a more clarified thinking and it is helped him to better evaluate his ideas.


  • Problem resolution

The goal of all thinking is always to find the best solution, and this is important and is intended to solve problems of any kind. These problems can refer to typical academic situations of mathematics or physics, but also more real and daily, so it is sought that the student can develop the ability to solve everyday problems such as choosing the best way to get to school or choose your vocation based on your self-knowledge.


resolución de problemas


For Professor Swartz it is not difficult for teachers to incorporate this method in their teaching, since it is a natural method of learning, only that it is necessary for this to rethink academic methods, to stop the rush to meet and close syllabi without reaching the most important objectives, and deepening about the true meaning of education , which is none other than training students for their future. A future that will undoubtedly entail the need to make important decisions, which can never be made without a minimum handling of reflection, analysis of thought and understanding.

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