Kids learning how to make better decisions
School children in B.C. are learning how to make important decisions using a novel teaching technique that’s catching the attention of many teachers. An important part of peace education is encouraging students to think critically, and to make better choices based on careful consideration of the evidence and options.
Richard Hortness, a high school science teacher in the Delta school district, told The Tyee, “Teachers are looking at these young adults and saying, ‘In two or three years, you’re going to be a voting adult, you’re going to be out of this school, and you’re going to need to know how to make a good decision and ask good questions.’”
Hortness using a techniques called the Decision Maker Moves. He takes his students through a mock situation where a neghbouring town wants to build a nuclear power plant.
The Decision Maker Moves is a six-step process known as “decision analysis.” The steps are:
- “Frame the choice”: identify the problem you’re trying to solve. What must be decided now? What can wait until later?
- “Clarify what matters”: what is the aim in making this decision? Who else is impacted by this decision and what are their concerns?
- “Generate options”: identify the choices available and their potential impacts.
- “Explore the consequences”: what evidence is there for your choices? What biases could be impacting your decision? What don’t you know?
- “Weigh trade-offs”: considering all your options, which one sounds best? Are there options you didn’t consider? After this step you make your decision.
- “Stay curious”: what did you learn? What questions still need answers?
Hortness has found the model to be a useful inquiry framework for controversial topics. “We walk through the decision-making pathway and we come up with the options,” Hortness said. The model helps students not only make a decision, but explore their own ethics and values, he told The Tyee.