This winter I am part of a group, along with several teachers from our board, who are figuring out how to take integrative thinking in K-12 education to the next level. What needs to be explored? What don’t we understand? What needs to be developed? What practices need to be deepened and refined? There are about 15 of us working under the guidance of the remarkable team from the IThink Initiative at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. I am grateful for the opportunity and appreciative of the exceptional people participating in this effort.
Our work to date has focused on developing deeper understanding of causal modeling. We are trying to determine best practices. Once a month we meet, share, learn, reflect, correct misconceptions, develop insights and then return to our classrooms to test ideas. Causal modeling looks easy. It is the kind of tool that many (myself included) might think they understand. Tonight I realized I had some misconceptions. If one is not careful, one can end up with a mind map rather than a causal model and it is important to understand the difference. Clustering, arrow placement, and word choice must be considered when creating a causal model. A different kind of thinking is required.
Tonight I experienced a shift in understanding and am now looking forward to testing my ideas with my students.