My high school newspaper advisor, Mrs. Tolbert, valued our developing self-direction and gave us the freedom to report on whatever we felt passionate about. She wanted our individual personalities to shine through in our writing, but she also made it clear that if our writing didn’t follow the traditional article structures she taught us, it probably wouldn’t make the paper.
I became an educator instead of a journalist, but I still value Mrs. Tolbert’s simple lesson of finding opportunities to be creative within constraints. Above all, the way we worked on the newspaper improved how I make judgments and decisions for myself and with others. It was my favorite part of my school experience, and it sparked my interest in creating practical learning experiences for students. After working for several years as an English teacher, I was inspired to get involved with Decision Education, a movement that can help educators provide students with ways to think more clearly and effectively about real life, far beyond the classroom.
For five years we have been at the forefront of Decision Education by creating award-winning programs that have helped thousands of students and teachers identify their goals, regulate their emotions in times of stress, think probabilistically about what they know and what might happen, and recognize and resist cognitive biases so they assess situations clearly.
We believe better decisions lead to better lives and a better society. Unfortunately, essential decision-making skills are not part of our increasingly outdated education system. For that reason, as we work to build a national movement to bring Decision Education to every middle and high school student’s education experience, our blog will provide tips and resources to help teachers apply Decision Education to common problems like fostering a positive classroom culture and increasing student engagement. We will also amplify and celebrate Decision Education efforts from around the world. We want to learn from and support educators who are excited about the opportunities for learning and personal development that Decision Education provides.
So if you’re like Mrs. Tolbert, an educator who cares about preparing students for life, please read on and join us in the movement to make Decision Education a regular part of the curriculum. Let our growing community know how you’ve used and adapted our tips and resources, and contribute your own lesson ideas. Share how you’re working with students, colleagues, principals, and parents to advocate for Decision Education at your school.