In the back of my classroom, I have an old poster titled “How to Write the Perfectly Bad Essay.” It came with the room, a long list in a small font with no catchy pictures. None of my students gave it a second glance last year. This year, I mentioned it to my Literature class while going over course basics. “I haven’t read it,” I said casually, “but I’m told it has a naughty word on it—so I discourage any of you from looking at it.” By week two, no visual in my classroom had been as thoroughly examined as that poster.
Why would I set up students to disregard my suggestions like that? Because there is something I value even more than obedience—thought. I teach critical thinking skills—curiosity, evaluation of sources, examination of counter-arguments, articulation of original ideas. I want future generations who are capable of thinking for themselves, not just regurgitating information; capable of recognizing problems, not just accepting the status quo; capable of problem-solving, not just waiting for someone else to solve it for them.~ read more ~