Reading the mind of thinkers

29th September 2000 at 01:00
WHILE Claire Fox's article on knowledge (TES, September 15) sets out a provocative case, she needs to go further.

No knowledge-base has enduring value. What endures is the "thinking" that grows and develops by application to any subject.

My major criticism of all education is that it has generally failed to recognise that the thinking skills learned in one discipline belong in all the others.

Tradition raises some thinking skills above others. Ms Fox refers to the critical faculties as powerful and wonderful.

It has been my mission over the past 25 years to codify and teach the generic skills of thinking that are embedded in all human endeavour, including those that appear as merely physical, like competitive sport and craftsmanship. Critical skills are but a part of this whole.

I have worked with some of the most intelligent, classically-educated men and women in major businesses in Europe, USA and the United Kindom.

It comes as a surprise to these peple to discover and name the thinking skills they employ - and to find the gaps, sometimes serious, in the ways they use their minds to solve the complex and challenging problems they are tackling.

So why are our schools and universities still not doing so?

I have just founded an educational trust, Effective Intelligence, to bring into education what we have learned from our research and teaching on thinking skills.

We are currently involved in establishing the first school to use our approach as its core methodology.

And one of the Oxford colleges is to run its first programme with our know-how this new academic year. If Claire Fox is interested in taking the issues she raises further, I would be pleased to meet with her.

Jerry Rhodes

Centre for Effective Intelligence

Cotswold House

16 Bradley Street



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