In keeping with the premise-flags I’ve raised the past few weeks I want to reinforce one above all at the risk of alienating a fair chunk of you too. And that is that process is more important than content. The systems of thought I highlighted in the previous post indeed give the learner the reason to learn and acquire content in the first place.
To use the trial-as-teaching-strategy yet one more time, the creative, futures-based; process-based teacher would use such a strategy to help learners engage information, not for information’s sake, but in order to solve a problem. In this case, to weigh evidence to come to a reasoned conclusion.
If students wish to be successful at the targeted process, of necessity, they’d be obliged to find the right facts and information to prove or to disprove their case. Thus working from the top of Bloom’s pyramid, assessment / evaluation, down to the LOTS, the Lower Order Thinking Skills actually have a reason to be learned in the first place!
The first process we will explore thoroughly and again through the P21 lenses as appropriate, will be Decision Making.
The Decision Making process, as they all are, is not nearly so straightforward as it is sometimes considered. If we took it on a flat and linear basis, and I throw a cautionary red flag up here, let’s think about what a decision might look like:
1. It begins with Facts or data.
2. These suggest a goal.
3. The goal suggests several alternatives.
4. The decision – maker must apply futuring skills to consider the if-thens of each choice.
5. Based on the decision-maker’s values and feelings, (s)he chooses and acts on a decision most aligned and most considered to likely meet the decision maker’s goal.
6. If the choice does not achieve the goal, the decision maker might reconsider and try a new option.
Let’s flesh that out:
1. The king has imprisoned the fair maiden and instructed her to turn straw into gold. She cannot and fears terrible punishment. Rumplestiltskin shows up and says that he will do it for her if she will promise him her first born child.
2. Her goal is to survive.
3. Her choices are to say yes, to say no, or to lie and not intend to keep her promise.
4. She reasons, if she says yes she will need to keep her promise. If she says no she will fear punishment from the king. If she lies she might survive and manage to keep her first born.
5. She wishes to survive. She chooses “yes”.
6. She not only survives, she marries the king’s son and has a child. Now Rumplestiltskin shows up and demands what she promises!
The good teacher, now seizes the moment and involves her class in her decision , her values, the extent to which she had considered the consequences of her choices.
So now the fairy tale, goes beyond its considerable fairy tale elements and is elevated above the fable’s “facts” and becomes an opportunity for helping her students recognize how decisions may and often are —- made.
And the value for Edufuturing I think it pretty obvious. Tomorrow’s students will need to make reasoned, futures-oriented, consequence-calculated, choices that must be grounded in clear, moral, and healthy values not only for their good but also for that of the societies they will be leading.
But ah, if decision making were only as simple as I have depicted above. Next post.