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Benjamin Franklin's The Art of Virtue

Franklin's Philosophy of Life
in His Own Words

312 Pages
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Faulty Thinking and The Seven C Skills

The first two sections in each volume of The Seven C's of Thinking Clearly are focused on the development of mental and emotional faculties essential to academic success and moral development.  

How These Memorable Characters
Can Help Young People Avoid Faulty Thinking

The greatest handicaps any of us face are internal, not external. They occur in the mind and heart. Anyone who doesn't learn how to recognize and overcome them is highly vulnerable to making poor choices and having bad experiences.

Think of it this way. If you were teaching a course on wilderness survival, you would not only teach your students what they can eat, you would also tell them what they must not, under any circumstances, ever eat. The same is true in helping young people develop their thinking skills. There are mental and emotional traps people continually fall into that ruin their lives. If we can help young people to recognize and avoid these traps it will be one of the greatest services we can provide them.

Grades 2-6

Stink'n Thinkn Gang PosterFor grades 2-6, faulty thinking practices are characterized as “The Stink’n Think’n Gang”—a band of thieves out to rob us of common sense and good judgment. IWANNIT NOW'S job is to get us to want things that are not good for us, and conversely, not to want things that would be good for us. BIGGS BIGGER makes things seem more important than they relly are while EENCY WEENCY TINY TOO tries to make us think things are less important than they really are. NAME IT BLAME IT tries to pin lables on things t make us believe we really understand them while JUDGE B. FORE attempts to get us to form opinions without adequate infor-mation and LI FIB wants us to tell and believe things that simply aren't true.

Grades 5-9

For grades 5-9, faulty thinking practices are characterized as secret agents of EPT, a clandestineError-Prone Thinking Poster organization out to destroy civilization by flooding the world with error-prone thinking. EPT is led by the sinister twin sisters, ERRONEOUS and EMOTIOUS. ERRONEOUS likes to play games with our minds. Agents reporting to her are PREVARICATOR, a master of deceit and PERVERTER is a specialist in illusion who befogs our thinking by distorting our perceptions of reality. EMOTIOUS capable of blocking out all rational thought by stirring up feelings within us that are so powerful they control our actions. Her agents are POSSESSIT who creates longings and desires that are difficult to deny, PASSIONATA who can turn anger into hate, love into obsession, fear into terror and discouragement into despair, and POLARIZER. If POLARIZER can get people to dislike each other enough, he can get them to destroy each other.

If you doubt the existence, or question the effectiveness, of either the Stink’n Think’n Gang or the agents of EPT, just pick up your daily paper or watch the evening news. You'll see evidence of their handiwork in nearly every story.

These characters are not actually a part of any of the stories or activities in The Seven C’s of Thinking Clearly. But they are used as vehicles for discussion when exploring the lessons to be learned from a story or activity. In addition, they provide valuable learning hooks that help students understand and retain the ideas being taught. Using these characters provides several important benefits.

    1.  It allows teachers and students to explore the thought processes and motivations that
         lead to self-defeating behaviors in fun, objective, and non-threatening ways.

    2.  It helps students understand the connection between thoughts, feelings, choices, and actions.

    3.  It helps students recognize the relevance of ideas being taught.

    4.  It creates an indelible learning experience that can lead to long term retention.

    5.  And it provides a transferable teaching strategy that can be particularly helpful to children in understanding the influences that lead people to injure themselves and others.

How These Memorable Characters Can Help
Young People Develop Seven Invaluable Thinking Skills

The Seven C Skills are seven mental and emotional faculties, disciplines, or skills we all use to process information. These faculties give us the capacity to reason, to make conscious choices, and to act upon those choices. However we do not all possess nor utilize these skills to the same degree.

Unfortunately, we tend to think of them, if we think of them at all, as attributes that we are endowed with by nature rather than as skills that must be developed. As a result most of us do very little to consciously improve our ability to reason or think clearly.

In this condition we become susceptible to faulty thinking. If the most powerful things in the world are ideas, the most empowering thing in the world is to be able to distinguish a good idea from a bad idea. This is the great advantage young people can derive from making a serious effort to develop the following C skills.

The ability to examine, analyze, compare, evaluate, make judgments, and form opinions

The ability to imagine, originate, invent, design, and develop new things

The ability to wonder, question, investigate, explore and seek out new information.

The ability to pay close attention and stay on task.

The ability to effectively exchange information with others, especially through reading, writing, speaking and listening.

The ability to correct errors in one’s own attitudes, beliefs, and actions

The ability to effectively govern one’s own conduct.

By helping young people consciously and deliberately focus on developing these skills, several important benefits can accrue. You will find your students doing things like:

  • Taking greater ownership of their thoughts and actions
  • Being more teachable and interested in learning
  • Possessing keener insight and understanding
  • Exercising more effective self-management skills
  • Becoming better problem solvers
  • Developing greater skill in overcoming the influences of faulty thinking
  • Being more respectful to each other, and
  • Making better choices

The wonderful thing about teaching the C skills is that virtually everything you do in the classroom offers an opportunity to learn about and practice them. While students already possess these skills to one degree or another, they are typically underdeveloped, unevenly developed, and greatly underutilized. Your primary challenge is to make the learning of them a conscious and determined effort. If you do so, you will find the results most encouraging.

Seven C's of Thinking Clearly grades 2-6Seven C's of Thinking Clearliy grades 5-9
Click Here For More Information on The Seven C's of Thinking Clearly



In this video course you will learn how to help young people:

  • Recognize when a choice may be life altering
  • 4 Simple Questions to Ask When Faced With Life Altering Choices
  • The Most Empowering Thing in the World
  • The Most Important Lesson any Child Can Learn

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The Seven C's of Thinkig Clearly
Print and eBook Combination



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                                                Eden Prairie, MN

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                                                Terre Haute, IN

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                                                Lindon, UT

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