Unsettle the minds – Thinking

My idea of Education is to Unsettle the minds of young and inflame their intellect.

Robert Maynard Hutchins

After finishing my institutional education when I started my own organization I started looking for people to work with me. Over the period I realized people pursued knowledge too much. May be our education / societal structure inculcated the belief that if they are full of knowledge they will be valued more. I was not looking for people who can pour volumes of knowledge but who can create, be decisive, hypothesize and analyze, solve problems effectively, predict and estimate et al. I was looking for people who can think originally.

Consider two Questions

  1. Which gas is used in gas balloons
  2. Which properties of helium makes it suitable to be used in gas balloons

The trouble with Factual question 1 is that it has one right answer which i have to fetch from my memory. The beauty of second Thinking question is that I can deduce the answer from my understanding. It expands my thinking. I can also used that expanded thinking for other applications.

Few pointers to develop more thinking minds

  1. Do not Answer the Questions– Direct answers are killjoys of exploration. Questions should lead us to think, research , hypothesize and analyze in the direction of answers.  Giving the question enough time ripens the seeking of answers.
  2. Ask Open ended questions – Factual questions which leads to the binary answers are not very helpful for explorative learning.  Example – How many seasons do we have is factual question. What different changes we observe in and around us during different period of year is thinking question.
  3. Thinking questions don’t anchor on one right answer but various paths leading to different answers – Example – “Why did Laxman Join Ram to be in forest?” indicates there may be possible one right answer. However, “What could be the reason that Laxman chose to go with Ram in forest?” will lead to many answers. Initiating question with “What” or “How” makes it more exploratory.
  4. Resist the temptation to correcting the wrong answer – Instead ask more follow up questions which can retain the curiosity of original question and eventually leading the seeker to find the answer on their own. Example – “How can you support this answer?”, “How shall we find more about it?”
  5. Planting the seed of thinking mind is better than actually seeking the response or the answer – This will help us to keep free of judgement of any kind. 

The goal is not have the answer but to unsettle and inflame the mind with the fuel of Thinking