Galileo, Pisa

“It Is the Mark of an Educated Mind

To Be Able To Entertain a Thought Without Accepting It.”

 Ok, Aristotle wasn’t always right, but if it wasn’t for his quote, Galileo would never have proven him wrong about objects falling at rates according to their weight. Imagine the spectators at the Tower of Pisa when he dropped a rifle ball and a cannonball, and they landed simultaneously.  He entertained Aristotelian thought without accepting it.

Galileo asked critical essential questions of Aristotle’s theory.How is the motion of falling objects determined? Of course, one question led to a series of interrelated subsidiary questions that needed to be asked in order to answer the big essential questions. Does the weight of objects really impact the rate of their fall? Why didn’t Aristotle actually test his theory? What was he thinking?

The best questions to develop natural, critical, thinking skills naturally build on our natural, childlike curiosity. Naturally. Critical-thinking ability depends upon a person’s ability to answer questions by manipulating information, rather than being manipulated by scaffolded questions leading to information overload. The distinction between those who can solve a problem and work their way out of a situation is in the ability to ask the right, critical questions to identify the problem, and then ask what it takes to solve it.

If students practice how ask and answer those questions because teachers expect it of them, then we won’t have need test prep for those pitifully constructed standardized tests. Why? Because the kids have been doing it every day.

Now it is our turn to be Galilean. We must ask of the corporate reformers, “What were they thinking?”

“Who’s on first?” “Naturally.”