The Lost Art of Deep Thinking - Glasshouse Christian College

The Lost Art of Deep Thinking

  • November 9, 2023

The Lost Art of Deep Thinking

Washing dishes by hand

Depending on your age, you may or may not remember doing the dishes by hand, taking a walk without earbuds or going on a car trip with a broken radio and no cassette player. It might seem like a horror story to a teenager in 2023 but these were the kinds of activities that allowed for deep thinking and robust conversations. The simplistic nature of these tasks freed our minds to wander and solve the world’s problems. 

Don’t get me wrong. I think dishwashers are one of the best inventions of modern times and I love listening to music while exercising or driving but I realise my brain is not as free to wander as it used to be during these activities. 

If we fill every waking moment with good music, watching reels or bingeing shows, it doesn’t allow time for deep thinking. There might be the occasional thing you see that sparks off an idea but it often is smothered by the next thing you watch or listen to. 

We enjoy a standard of living that provides every comfort and can fill every free moment with on-tap entertainment. It’s wonderful but one casualty can be the lost art of deep thinking.

Deep thinking in education

At GCC, we use everything in our power to teach our students creatively so they enjoy their educational journey and learn using the best teaching methods available. We have excellent teachers and staff, Apple TVs in almost every classroom, touch screen whiteboards in Primary, MacBooks, iPads and desktop computers. We subscribe to some amazing educational resources and our students lack for no good thing.

However, we recognise that having all this can result in one great lack – the lost art of deep thinking. Students have the answers to millions of questions at their fingertips. We challenge our students with thought-provoking assignments and open-ended questions but it is often not enough to guarantee deep thinking. 

GCC cures for the lost art of deep thinking

Understanding the downside of technology is not something new to us and it is one of the many reasons why we have such extensive programs that take students away from technology and challenge them physically, emotionally, mentally and socially.

Camping Programs

GCC has one of the most extensive camping programs of any school that I’m aware of. Camps start in Year 3 and this is often the first time any of the students have spent a night away from their parents. Many are scared but this first camp helps them build resilience and independence in a safe environment.

The challenges are gradually stepped up as the student progresses through school. Years 4 and 5 enjoy kayaking and rafting team-building exercises while Year 6 students love the excitement of flying foxes and high ropes courses. Middle School students tackle adventure camping and extensive hikes where they have to bring everything they need to cook and care for themselves. 

For days at a time, students enjoy themselves, each other and the great outdoors without technology. It is the perfect environment to build resilience, develop team-building skills, form strong friendships and reclaim the lost art of deep thinking. Just this term, we’ve had the Year 7 Camp, the Silver Duke of Edinburgh Exploration-Cooloola Great Walk and the Year 9 Adventurous Journeys.

In these immersive camping experiences, GCC students not only embrace outdoor adventures but also cultivate resilience, teamwork, and the art of deep thinking, shaping them into confident, independent individuals prepared for life’s challenges.

Mentoring Days and Team Building Exercises

These are low-key affairs but play an important role in helping students communicate with each other and tackle problem-solving challenges by using deep thinking. They are a lot of fun and most of the students may not even recognise them as learning opportunities because they are enjoying themselves so much!

We have ‘Launch Pad” at the beginning of the year and then half-day and full-day incursions and excursions that take the students out of themselves and challenge their thinking skills.

DeLorean Project

Most of you will be familiar with this special program in Year 10. The students form groups to solve a current world problem in a way that uses technology and has a positive impact on the environment. Some students take off in this program and turn their projects into successful businesses. Some students struggle to find the project that suits them. Either way, the DeLorean Project is designed to provoke deep thinking and problem-solving capabilities. It pushes our students to the limit and is where entrepreneurs are born. 

Many of our students have won awards, appeared in national publications and regularly pop up on the internet as Google alerts. You can see some of their past and current projects here on The DeLorean Project’s website.

Deep thinking over the Christmas holidays

There are only three weeks left of school and then you have the longest holiday of the year to embrace. My challenge to you is to take time away from technology and do some deep thinking by yourself and as a family.

Slow down and quieten the space around you. Think of challenges that encourage deep thinking. What about a day without Netfix/TV/Binge (insert streaming service here) or a whole day without technology? You might surprise yourself with how much you enjoy it and it might become a new tradition. 

When (inevitably) your children come to you over the holidays and say they are bored or have another problem, use the opportunity to do some deep thinking. Brainstorm together before defaulting to asking Google. Who knows what will happen? You could be laying the groundwork for the next entrepreneur who invents a zipper that never gets caught or a snake deterrent for backyards that actually works! 

The world is your oyster but it begins with deep thinking. 

Mike Curtis, Principal

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