Encouraging High School Students to Think Deeply, Alone and Together

Summary: This article describes a strategy which can be used to encourage students to think deeply and learn to share their thoughts with others in the classroom. The author guides her students to think deeply first in conversation with her, then with a peer and a larger group. She gives examples of how this can be incorporated into lessons and spread more widely, even out to the community.

Source: Hannah North Tadenev, Edutopia, August 8, 2022

Description: “How can I ensure that every kid feels seen?” … “How can I foster small group discussion in the beginning of the period and independent reflection at the end?” While these questions are important, the time came for me to stop worrying so much about where students were sitting. Instead, I started thinking about what ideas my students are sitting with—and how much space I was giving them to do that. My inspiration was Henry David Thoreau. He wrote, “I had three chairs in my house. One for solitude, two for friendship, and three for society.” Sherry Turkle, in her phenomenal book Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, challenged readers to consider how social media’s constant connection has robbed many adolescents of Thoreau’s recommendation for productive introspection and selective company. These ideas led me to create what I call One Chair Moments, Two Chair Moments, and Three Chair Moments, though they aren’t really about chairs or seating. I teach the quote and structure to my students in the beginning of the year, so the following ideas become a shared class vocabulary.

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