Harvard Says The Best Thinkers Have These 7 ‘Thinking Dispositions’

Harvard education scholar Shari Tishman wants to ask you two questions:

• Can you play the piano?

• Do you play the piano?

The queries are less similar than they seem — and they tell you something about how you learn.

“These are different questions,” she writes, “and your answer may well be ‘yes’ to the first and ‘no’ to the second.”

How so?

“The first question asks about ability,” she continues in a 1992 paper. “If you sat down in front of a piano, could you play a tune? The second tacitly asks much more ─ it goes beyond ability and asks about inclination: Are you disposed to play the piano? Do you like to play? Do you play regularly?”

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