A classroom programme designed to help students reason in everyday language.
Learning through participation.
Thinking is important: it’s how we make sense of the world and of new ideas. Thinking is also social: we build our ideas through our interactions with others.
is designed to show students how to think about thinking and how to think with other people: a systematic approach to more effectively analyse and engage with the world around them.
By learning how to interrogate ideas—not just those of others, but their own as well—students can identify the reasons that substantiate positions and go on to understand how to distinguish between valid and unjustified reasons. Our programme sees these abilities of intellectual exploration and evaluation as an essential part of education for every student.
We aim to put the focus back on the methodology—the systematic processes—of thought. Over the course of our programme we will work to create a safe and immersive thinking space that is distinct from the regular school environment. Here we will collaboratively examine content from a variety of disciplines and from the students’ own lives to create a community that thinks methodically, reflexively, and analytically.
Reflexive, collaborative, and immersive.
Our programme foregrounds the emergent knowledge generated through intensive collaboration: the classroom community can understand together what no one member would have managed on their own. While we will be facilitating and monitoring during the sessions, our pedagogy is non-didactic by design, so as to let students learn through participation. Since classroom discussions do not always involve every student equally, our programme will work to accommodate different levels of comfort with discussion by ensuring the classroom community adjusts to provide every student meaningful opportunity to engage. This, crucially, allows students to create a metacognitive understanding on their own terms.
We want our programme to be detached from the stresses of the school system, so we will be avoiding textbook content and performance testing. Instead, we will be generating baseline and end-of-programme reviews of the students’ abilities and interests through auto-diagnostic activities and our classroom observations. Our session plans are designed to flexibly accommodate the conclusions of our monitoring as well as feedback from students.
20 students | 25 hours*
The objective of the programme is to develop the intuitive grasp of reasoning and engagement that students already have into a more explicit and precise set of tools. Specifically, the programme aims to address four major tool-sets with overlapping concerns:
The programme uses collaborative and constructively antagonistic argumentation in combination with different modes of participation to create environments for specific thinking exercises. The students will be speaking, listening, writing, reading, debating, and discussing individually, in pairs or groups, and as a class, corresponding to the abilities whose development is being targeted, as well as their own interests and comfort.
Our content will draw from public discourse to cover how we address policy and controversy as well as popular fiction to accessibly analogise complex philosophical issues. To authentically reflect the experiences of the students while still broadening their horizons, our programme will also use examples from their lives to generate discussion.
Comfort with and control over arguments.
At the end of our programme, we believe students will better understand their process of thinking, and appreciate how that understanding can be used to think incisively in different situations. This will equip students to interface with argumentation faster and more accurately, making them more comfortable with both explaining themselves and responding to the views of others.
This has direct implications for students’ academic lives. In the short term, this translates to greater efficiency in reading to identify the specific answers for questions, and clearer written responses; this is of particular use when faced with unfamiliar questions, in examinations or otherwise. In the long term this will help students adapt to the challenging intellectual environment of higher education, especially in universities abroad, where such thinking is demanded as a matter of course.
"Why do it this way?"
Training, research, and experience.
is Apoorv Avram and Aditya Sarin. Most recently, we were both teaching undergraduates at Ashoka University how to write academically, with a view to improving their academic thinking abilities. Between us we have worked with over 250 of Ashoka University’s undergraduates in over 700 individual sessions.
Apoorv Avram studied at Sardar Patel Vidyalaya and St. Stephen’s College, and is currently pursuing an MA in Education from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. He has taught high school students at the Mallya Aditi International School and trained the debate teams at Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, the Vasant Valley School, and the Mallya Aditi International School.
Aditya Sarin studied at The Shri Ram School and Ramjas College, and has an MA in English with an interdisciplinary focus from the Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities. He has taught high school students at The Shri Ram School and Gems International School; edited textbooks for Frank Educational Aids and Good Luck Publishers; trained teachers at DPS Abohar for Kunskapsskolan; and designed, run, and taught at academic internships for undergraduates from across the country.
Our combined disciplinary expertise underpins our research interest in the pedagogy of thought, and we intend to bring to this programme a composite of some of the most rigorously tested and academically exciting work from around the world on teaching thinking to students.