Learning to Love Learning

Great Hearts Academies June 6, 2017

The information landscape has changed tremendously in the last decade. Thanks to social media, 24-hour cable news networks, and a little thing called the internet, news and information is available a la carte. With this influx of specifically targeted information, the abstract question arises, has society forgotten how to think when we can pick and choose what we want to learn?

An article titled “Many Colleges Fail in Teaching How to Think” appeared in the June 6th, 2017 edition of the Wall Street Journal. Douglas Belkin, the author of the article, examined the College Learning Assessment Plus (CLA+) test which is given to 200+ colleges across the country to measure the growth of learning between a student’s freshman and senior year of college.

Belkin wrote, “At more than half of schools, at least a third of seniors were unable to make a cohesive argument, assess the quality of evidence in a document, or interpret data in a table.”

At Great Hearts, we focus on the Four C’s: Character, Creativity, Critical Thinking, and Communication. For the sake of this article, let’s just focus on the last two, critical thinking and communication.

Critical Thinking:

In the midst of a 21st-century world saturated in both information and misinformation, Great Hearts teaches young people to think clearly and carefully. Our students learn to read and observe attentively, to ask penetrating questions, and to think logically and reasonably about a wide variety of topics. They learn how to judge correctly and when to suspend judgment.  They learn the difference between truth and opinion.


Great Hearts equips students with highly developed skills of communication. They will lead their generation in their ability to speak, read, write, and listen. They will thrive in the boardroom, the courtroom, the laboratory, or any public arena to which they are called.

Our scholars are encouraged to look past click-bait headline, to dive deeper into a statistic, and to question the results of any information. A Great Hearts education teaches the skills and habits necessary to live successful and meaningful lives. Our students are taught to deploy their gifts and skills for a purpose beyond themselves. We believe that truth exists, and we must seek it relentlessly by disciplined study and good-willed conversation.

The article in the WSJ goes on to say, “At some of the most prestigious flagship universities, test results indicate the average graduate shows little or no improvement in critical thinking over four years.” The article then goes on to say, “Some of the biggest gains occur at smaller colleges where students are less accomplished at arrival, but soak up a rigorous, interdisciplinary curriculum.”

Meantime, at Great Hearts, we understand that students will learn at different paces. We believe that true education is a matter of development over time and within a stable community. We give our students individualized attention, but always within a common, one-track curriculum. Our classroom sizes remain small, we have two teachers inside our Archway school classrooms, and a low student-teacher ratio in our upper schools.

At the end of the day, Great Hearts scholars are lifelong learners who are ready to lead and serve.

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