R is for Reflective Thinking

| February 15, 2014

The ability of thinking is considered an extremely significant power among humans, and it distinguishes how humans are different from the lower animals. Using the word “think” does not guarantee the process of critical thinking. Even Though every individual has an ability to think, it does not mean every individual is able to think well. Dewey (1933) argues that only reflective thinking can lead us to the way of seeking out the truth because it possess an orderly chain of ideas, a controlling purpose and end, and personal examination/scrutiny/inquiry. Reflective thinking is neither a random thought in hearts nor imagination in brains, and it also is not an unspoken mystical realm. Reflective thinking originates from some kinds of confusion, perplexity, or doubt.

Dewey believes the aim of education should be focused on how we can think reflectively instead of overemphasizing how much knowledge we have learned. However, the reality may put educators in a dilemma between learning outcomes and learning process. The reality reveals that only gaining good results can intrigue us to care about what we experience in the process of being successful. Otherwise, our thinking processes or what we experience are/is meaningless.

In order to solve this dilemma, educators need to question ourselves, “Are we hoping to pursue temporary learning outcomes or long-term outcomes? Are we teaching just students’ presence or more importantly their future?”