The Thinking Pause...

August 12, 2019

Over on my Instagram I use the hashtags #slowdown and #lookclosely often... usually including photos of bugs and flowers, raindrops or something else...

 

It is not just about taking close-ups of nature... but a means to be divergent.. not to follow the speed of society, not to just stay within the status quo, to see things as we always see them... but to pause, to look around, to take notice and discover new possibilities and new perspectives.

 

This is the same for the "thinking pause".

 

For those of you that have been following my posts about philosophy with children you will not that the thinking pause is one of the steps in the philosophical dialogue.

First the stimulus, then the thinking pause, then the dialogue followed by the meta-dialogue... (for a basic quick run-down of the procedure)

 

What I noticed was that this thinking pause was tricky for so many adults (and children in the beginning because they were not used to that kind of silence).

I would give my preschoolers a minute (that feels like an eternity when you are not used to the quiet of the pause) - the pause allows the children to think about the question or the statement or whatever the stimulus was, and reflect on their answer, and why they have that answer... by having a pause it gave all the children a chance to reflect and participate, and not just those who are fast at processing the question and finding an answer. it also stopped the competition of answering first, because they all knew that they could remain calm and not throw up their hand before they were ready in their desire to be heard...

The thinking pause slowed down the process so that there was time for considered answers..

 

Another benefit of the "thinking pause" was that the phrase "I don't know" simply vanished and was replaced by "I need a thinking pause" - the children were made aware of their potential rather than feeling at a loss... and to be honest most of the time when people say "I don't know" it really means "I don't know right at this minute because I am still processing what you and the others have said and need a minute or two to formulate my own ideas".

 

We are doing ourselves a great disservice to demand instant answers... it is excluding thoughtful thinkers who require more time before they give their considered answer, it robs us all of the opportunity to reflect on a deeper level and to be aware of our own thinking processes and why we have them...

The thinking pause is not just something for children it is something all humans need when we enter dialogues and discussions. We need to slow things down. We need time to digest words and ideas...

its like eating lunch at preschool... I know I will sit at a table where some of the children are fast eaters and others are slow eaters... if I am not facilitating the lunch situation (as food is placed in the middle of the table for the children to serve themselves, or is buffet style in most places in Sweden) then the children who are fast eaters will manage to eat 2-3 portions before the slow eaters have finished their first... maybe there is no food left for them to take a second portion and that they then go hungry, or not fully satisfied...

Just like the fast eaters, as educators we need to facilitate so that the fast thinkers do not take all the space in the dialogue... its not just about control and saying no, it is about helping them to slow down enough to be aware of the others and then to self regulate so that both meal time and the dialogue is fair and inclusive.

 

Without a shadow of the doubt the thinking pause has been a fantastic tool... for the children, and for me as an educator. The #slowdown #lookclosely photos are a part of my process to be aware of more than my own speed. To slow down enough to be able to observe what is really going on, rather than what I think is going on...

 

S.T.O.P. - Slow To Open Possibilities

Stop and pause... find those open possibilities that you would have missed if you were hurrying along. Allow the child, the idea to unfurl - stop trying to pry the bud open, it will not make the flower bloom sooner. We all bloom in our own time.

 

To read more on this take a look at my following posts

Metacognition and preschoolers..

Skills for philosophy with children....

The Story of being visibly Invisible.... the thinking pause is important to let the children know that the adult is not going to always fill it with their ideas... that the children's ideas are also of value...

The Story of Listening.....

The Story of Time....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload

Interaction Imagination

  • Blogger - Black Circle
  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon

© 2017 Suzanne Axelsson. Interaction Imagination. Stockholm, Sweden.
suzanne@interactionimagination.com