By Eddie Huang and Charis Lam
Solving the problems of an increasingly complex world requires the education of critical and creative thinkers. Empowering educators to develop students’ integrative thinking skills—to help students “face … the tension of opposing ideas and … generate a creative resolution … in the form of a new idea [that] … is superior to each”1—is essential to developing the next generation of students. The I-Think Initiative works with K-12 students and educators to teach integrative thinking practices and explicit thinking techniques, which participants use to tackle real-world problems. Similarly, at the university level, the Innovation Hub gives students the tools of design thinking to tackle issues in campus life. Together, we see a need to reframe education at all levels to reflect the challenges of the modern world.
As advocates of design and integrative thinking, we believe answers lie in understanding the educational community. Thus, we are partnering on a project that asks: “How might I-Think and the Innovation Hub collaborate to bring educators from K–higher education together in a way that fosters community?” We want to know how best to support educators who seek to incorporate real-world problem solving into their educational practices. To answer this question, we are going to the source: interviewing educators from K-12 and higher ed on their experiences as teachers, how they engage their students, and how they connect with their peers for support.
We’ll use the insights we gather to suggest potential experiences that will connect educators across all levels and institutions. By building bridges in our education system, we hope to encourage the knowledge-sharing and community development that will encourage great ideas in modern education to flourish.
1 In the words of Roger Martin, Board Chair of I-Think, Institute Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute and the Michael Lee-Chin Family Institute for Corporate Citizenship at the Rotman School of Management, and author of several books, including The Opposable Mind.