We all wonder what our future holds. Some people are satisfied just to wait and see what happens. Others understand that they can play a major role in shaping their own future — they don’t need to just wait and let it happen to them. Building your own future means making lots of decisions — many small ones and some big ones. Some decisions are just about our own life. Others involve the community we live in, our country, and even the whole world. In history classes, we learn about the decisions individuals and countries have made in the past and the consequences of those decisions. In other social studies classes we also learn about the decisions that have become laws and affect how people live today in our local area and in our country. But we often lack time in these classes to think about decisions regarding the future. How might the choices and decisions that we live with today be different? How could we make them better? With this book students have an opportunity to think about such decisions, for themselves and together with your classmates. They can use the book starting with the topics they choose, one involving a decision about only their own future or one that involves the future of their community, their country, or their world. For each decision, they will be called on to think carefully and deeply about it, for themselves and with their classmates, sharing their ideas with one another and finding answers to questions that
will help them to make the best decisions — decisions that will help to build the best possible future.
Deanna Kuhn is a professor of psychology and education at Columbia Teachers College. She is a cognitive and educational psychologist, and a member of the National Academy of Education.
Her primary concern is with how best to educate students to prepare them for their adult roles in the workplace, and in their personal lives as life-long learners and as citizens. She is a leading expert in the promotion of dialog to develop students’ critical thinking and writing skills.
Deanna’s work has been published widely in publications ranging fromPsychological ReviewtoHarvard Educational Review. Her books include:Education for Thinking, The Skills of Argument, The Development of Scientific Thinking Skills, Argue with Me: Argument as a Path to Developing Students’ Thinking and Writing.
Her most recent book,Building our Best Future: Thinking Critically About Ourselves and Our World, is written directly to middle and secondary students. The text uses peer dialog to develop verbal and written skills of argument and critical thinking.