How do we get students to think critically in a one-year program? This was the new project for my return to India. The AAMF in coordination with the Art of Learning prescribe opportunity through aligned curriculum driven instruction for students in New Delhi to acquire the English language. This is a one-year program, free to those who are willing to participate 6 days per week for one hour and forty-five minutes. As stated earlier, the successful implementation of an LMS, music in the curriculum, and a restructured organization to support a growing population, currently 11,000 students.
I arrived late Sunday night, early Monday morning. By the time I went through customs, found my ride, and entered my hotel room, it was 2:30 am. The plan was to start Monday morning on this new project. I slept for 4 hours, got ready and started to work. I arrived to the office just down the road to meet up with my colleagues and friends. It was hard to believe that it had been almost a years since my last visit.
Following the exchange of pleasantries, we reviewed the progress made during the past year. Deepak, Sandeep, and Payal had hired a new professional developer named Martin. Together, the group had impressive results. The organization was thriving and they were looking forward to the new initiative.
As we discussed possibilities, one of the books on the table was Habits of the Mind by Arthur L. Costa. Recently, we discussed the book called The Smartest Kids in the World, by Amanda Ripley. In addition, I had been reading David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. Together, our conversation began to spiral well into the afternoon. We discussed possibilities, barriers, constraints, assets, and feasibility of the initiative through lunch. Finally, in the late afternoon at a local coffee shop we had reach a consensus on how to approach critical thinking skills in the program
We entered the conference room on the third floor ready to outline the program. While sitting around a conference table and mapping out the program on the whiteboard, the new program began to take shape. A simple backwards design, establishing the end goal was primary. What did we want our graduates to accomplish at the conclusion of one year? That goal was threefold, work to solve a real problem in the community, defend the position through written, verbal, and presentation form, and command the English language.