Friday, August 3, 2018

Friday Feature: Critical Thinking

I've spent the last two days at a conference trying to both deepen and broaden my writing and publishing skills. Later this month, I'll head back into the classroom and try to coax critical thinking out of students who are sometimes reluctant to move out of their comfort zones. Not surprisingly, these two things are related.

As it turns out, we like our comfort zones. There's a concept in psychology called confirmation bias, which leads us to grab on to the concepts that support what we already think. Or, as my dad likes to say, tongue-in-cheek: "Don't confuse me with facts. My mind's made up."

But actively stepping outside our comfort zones can be a good thing and we don't need to go to conferences to do that. Increasing our awareness of confirmation bias and intentionally deepening, widening and lengthening our perspectives can take us out of black-and-white, yes-or-no thinking and into a better understanding of not just things, but people as well.

For me, this week, the conference was a great start. Now I need to carry its lessons into my day-to-day life. Most of the time, this isn't difficult.

But sometimes, I like my comfort zone as much as the next person.

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