Saturday, March 31, 2007

Think, think, think...critically

According to a recent insert in the Dallas Morning News, the most important skill for people to succeed in the business world??

Critical thinking.

Do we encourage that in our kids?

MBA programs, the insert explained, hand people cases/scenarios and ask them to look at and discuss them critically. How much do we prepare our children for that level of critical thinking?

How often do we ask our kids what they think about something and why? How well do we teach them to network and get to know people from different sectors so that they have more than their isolated corner of the world to draw from? How does the fact that our children (especially our urban children) are segregated...from other ethnicities, other socioeconomic levels, technology access, resourced schools, etc...impact their future?

Check out these facts:

Skills recruiters find attractive in MBA graduates:
Ability to think analytically............78%
Ability to think strategically..........71%
Quantitative skills 58%
Leadership skills 56%
Oral communication skills 53%
Creative problem-solving skills 52%
Ability to integrate information 51%
Project management/implementation skills 51%

Skills recruiters feel MBA graduates need to strengthen:
People management 35%
Leadership skills 30%
Interpersonal skills 26%

I would argue that these skills are not limited to being a necessity in MBA programs.

What are we doing about it for our lowest income, lowest performing kids? They deserve to know, and be taught, this "secret."

When I was in grad school, a professor stated that something like 60% of the jobs of our future have not even been thought of yet. Though I can't seem to find that statistic anywhere, it makes sense to me. Our world is changing fast. Technology is very different now than when I was in school...and that wasn't that long ago! Despite this fact, I see critical thinking being taught less and less.

Are our schools teaching these critical thinking skills?...or does the school and the area where you live determine whether you receive these higher order thinking skills?

As parents, teachers, and community members, are we fighting for everyone's kids...or are we only concerned when the outcome affects our own children?
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