Thinking and Communicating With Clarity and Precision
What is it? – Being very precise with our communications, avoiding exaggeration or understatements, being clearly understood. Including important details without too much detail.
Sounds like – “What you will need to know to successfully complete this task is the following.” “Today we accomplished this….because…….” “I understand what you are saying!” “Your being clear helps me to……”
Looks like – Facing one another. Eye contact. Nodding.
Feels like – This person provided me with enough information so that I clearly understand. This person cares enough to really explain this to me. Understanding, Comforting, Trusting, Precise, Clear.
We want students to learn to be precise and clear with their language. This enhances their cognitive ability and provides for taking appropriate actions. Enriching the complexity of and specificity of language simultaneously produces effective thinking. Language and thinking are closely entwined; like the side of a coin, they are inseparable. Intelligent people strive to communicate accurately in written and oral form, taking care to use precise language; defining terms; and correct names, labels, and analogies. They strive to avoid over generalizations, deletions, and distortions. We sometimes hear students and other adults using vague and imprecise language. They use nondescriptive words, vague nouns and pronouns, and/or nonspecific verbs that hinder understanding and undermine their ability to communicate effectively. Being precise shows clear thinking.
“I do not so easily think in words……after being hard at work having arrived at results that are perfectly clear…… I have to translate my thoughts in a language that does not run evenly with them.” Francis Galtron, Geneticist
“Nothing is so simple that it cannot be misunderstood.” Jr. Teague
Information on Habits of Mind are taken from the book Habits of Mind by Costa and Kallick.