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Assessing Critical Thinking

Posted on 2012.07.31 at 21:40
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How do you assess thinking?  Apparently most of the world thinks writing is the only way to demonstrate thinking.  Meanwhile I am left wondering why the fuck those people are unable to critically think!  In order for me to do what I do as a musician, I have to think very critically...in fact I learned how to assess, self-monitor, reflect, etc. in orchestra class.  We didn't write a damn thing.  Why?  Because you are unable to perform the objective and pass the orchestra assessment if you are not thinking critically about what you are doing.  WHY IS THIS SO HARD TO UNDERSTAND?  

For me to play, I am constantly assessing my intonation and adjusting my fingers and reassessing; I am constantly evaluating the tone quality the same way; I am deciding the best way to shape every phrase to suit the mood of the composer, era, and style based upon the thoughts and emotions of the composer--which are greatly shaped by the period in history and the styles that were popular at the time; I'm also taking in the audience and selecting music I think will best reach them and watching for responses so I can adjust my performance along the way; just to read the notation--a completely different language of symbols and sounds, and make sure I'm accurately apply just enough pressure, the right speed of vibrato, the proper embellishments, etc.  

Explain to me how I can do that and NOT think critically?  I'm CREATING music--this is the highest level of Bloom's Taxonomy.  The evaluating and analyzing is also at the top.  Just because YOU can't think outside the box doesn't mean I have to come down to your level.  Just pathetic.

The question should not be CAN I adapt this, or the thinking map or math problem or whatever else, for my classroom because the answer is usually yes.  The question should be is this the BEST way to teach the objectives in the orchestra's curriculum?  If the answer is no, you are asking me to teach other things at the expense of my content rather than letting me teach my content and incorporate the concepts as they apply in MUSIC.  You are slowing the learning of my students down because you can't think outside your box and for people teaching educators...that's just inexcusable.  

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