50 Reasons to Love Toronto: No. 37, The TDSB is teaching students to i-Think

50 Reasons to Love Toronto: No. 37, The TDSB is teaching students to i-Think

No. 37, It’s never too early to think like an MBA
(Image: Remie Geoffroi) 

The TDSB knows something about complex problems—it’s facing more than a few, including a budget deficit, declining enrolments and crumbling infrastructure. The board’s latest challenge is to convince public school students to think less like automatons (learning by rote
and memorizing textbooks) and more like CEOs (picture Steve Jobs, not Bernie Ebbers). One solution is a new method of learning, dubbed i-Think. “Integrated Thinking,” the cornerstone of the much-lauded MBA program at U of T’s Rotman School of Management, came out of current dean Roger Martin’s analysis of top-performing corporate leaders, like Isadore Sharp and Moses Znaimer. The program pushes teamwork and cross-pollination of ideas. A Grade 12 environmental studies class might be asked to look at the ethical, economic and ecological dilemma of developing the oil sands—and instead of demanding single-answer, silver-bullet solutions, teachers encourage students to look at the issue from different angles, to argue for dissenting opinions, and to come up with a response that is as indefinite, challenging and fraught with compromises as anything in the real world.