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4 Questions for Life: Powerful Strategies to Guide Critical Thinking

Global economics, advanced technology, the Internet, social net-working, volatile worldwide politics, a planet urgently in need of replenishing and preservation, and other changing aspects of this fast-pacedworld—including evensecond liveswithavatars—suggest that a completely different focus for education is urgently needed. And while the world may change before our eyes, the eyes of stu-dents will still look to educators for guidance, wisdom, and hope for the future. Those who express an urgent need for change in educa-tion, however, stress that students going through the classrooms of America today will not possess the skills, behaviors, or aptitudes necessary to successfully compete in tomorrow’s labor force. They may find themselves with low wages, unsatisfactory employment, or an inferior standard of living compared to their counterparts in other parts of the world.

Without a college education, their prospects get worse. Thosewho opt not to go to college may be faced with a larger burden because of the way job outsourcing is leading to the demise of our manu-facturing industry and its related fields. One in three high school students drops out of school every year, often from boredom or in protest against an education that does not serve real needs. How did this happen? Books, theories, studies, and reports abound about the changing workforce and the skills it requires, yet we have an educational system that has been slow to respond. Laden with layers of standards and a focus on tried-and-true core subject matter, education, for the most part, has been left behind, becoming more and more irrelevant in the changing world. People in today’s workforce need skills that enable them to be mentally nimble, innovative, and creative.

More importantly, education has not included in curriculum in any uniform or focused way skills of critical thinking that teach students how to solve complex, multidisciplinary problems. Crucial skills of creativity, entrepreneurial thinking, communication, collaboration, innovation, and civic responsibility have been mostly ignored.

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