Inside Insights

Areté students, teachers, alumni, and families are an active, engaged, thriving, curious, inventive bunch of mavericks with plenty to say. Catch up with them today to find out what’s happening in their world. Don’t forget to join in the conversation in the comments section!

philosophy critical thinking

Why Study Philosophy in Middle and High School? Critical Thinking on Steroids

Philosophy is the foundation of critical thinking – the study of how to think. It teaches reasoning, problem solving, and logical analysis. So why isn’t philosophy, in an age-appropriate form, at the center of every child’s school experience?

Perhaps we are so accustomed to a learning-as-memorizing, intelligence-as-facts paradigm that we can’t imagine young people doing something as challenging and deep as philosophy. Not only does this set a low bar, it also fails to recognize a basic developmental fact – namely, that teens and preteens crave and embrace any and all opportunities to think deeply and critically.

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Factory model education

Resurrecting the Walking Dead: Creating Zombie-Free Spaces to Bring Post-Covid Learners Back to Life

As students and schools dust off their Covid cobwebs and prepare to return to in-person instruction, now is a good time to think about what we’re returning to. 

The system we’re used to was designed to teach future factory workers to be compliant (and passably literate) during the Industrial Revolution. The factory-style classroom, with its obsessive concern for efficiency and standardization, continues to churn out dispassionate worksheet doers and bubble fillers while failing to nurture genuine intellectual or creative energy. Our adherence to this broken system is stultifying our workforce (and electorate!) at a moment when we desperately need innovators, disruptors, and game changers. 

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Student Agency

Rethinking Classroom Leadership: Student-led Learning Unlocks Passion, Depth, and Creativity

Imagine a classroom where students — in respectful collaboration with their teachers — weigh in on the direction and content of the curriculum. A class where learners speak up about which novel will be read, which historical issues will be explored, or when they’re truly ready to move on to a new math topic. A class where students are empowered to infuse assignments with authenticity and relevance, where “why are we learning this?” is understood as a sign of active learning rather than as a challenge to authority.

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