Personhood Curriculum
8th Grade

 Egocentricity Lesson #1
"Thinking Styles"
Lesson Plan

Special Comments to Teachers

Unless you are already familiar with the egocentric mind, it is recommended you read ahead in the lessons having to do with it. See the lesson plans for the 8th grade, starting with aphg8-5.

Egocentric thinking is NOT egotistical thinking.

Usually children outgrow their egocentric tendencies in their 9th through 11th years of age. Therefore if a student is still egocentric by the 8th grade (age 13) then some sort of intervention may be called for.

One of the keys to learning it being able to recognize when one has a problem within himself or a meaningful weakness in his knowledge. Such recognition often leads to motivation to learn. Egocentricity can be a problem because it interferes with such recognition.

Most people usually do not notice egocentricity for what it is. A teacher should train himself or herself to recognize it. These lessons are designed to help students recognize egocentric thinking in themselves and in others, and to start the process of overcoming it.

Teachers should become thoroughly familiar with egocentricity, how to recognize it, and how to overcome it before starting this series of lessons. They should be prepared to help their students overcome egocentricity.

Series Goals
This is the first of a series of lessons dealing with egocentricity.
The series is designed to:
  1. Introduce the concept of thinking styles or modes
  2. Introduce and thoroughly define egocentric thinking
  3. Describe the distinctive characteristics of egocentric thinking
  4. Help students who are still egocentric to recognize they are, and the need to overcome it.
  5. Help students pass beyond the egocentric stage into more Critical Thinking styles.

Teaching Goals
For Lesson Plan aphg8-5
  1. Introduce the concept of thinking styles or modes.
  2. Begin to introduce egocentric thinking, and its folly.
  3. Expose some of the bizarre thinking errors that can be caused by taking "street" drugs.
  4. Introduce the idea of brain damage due to taking "street" drugs.
  5. Introduce the conflict between feelings and reason.

Teacher Prep
Print the document "Thinking Styles" - - - thinksty.htm - - - thinksty.rtf
Make copies for each student plus spares.
Use a Participation Record. Use it to cycle through students during discussion. Use Directed Discussions. Do not accept the first correct answer - continue questioning students until a concensus develops, then varify it.
Write the words "egocentric" and "egocentricity" on the board.

Class Time

Thinking clearly is a Life-Skill. Some of us seem to learn it by ourselves, as just a natural part of simply growing up. For some people it does not develop "automatically."

I have come across MANY people who have very poor ability to think. The really sad part is they don't realize how foggy their thinking is. Sometimes these are adults in positions of power and influence. Their poor thinking then makes them dangerous to society and other people.

It is a shame that when they were growing up, no one taught them how to think clearly. (In other cases they have damaged their own brains by taking street drugs, making it impossible for them to think logically or clearly.)

Learning to think clearly and logically can be taught. Given the amount of time we have together, and the other material to be covered, I am only able to present a small part of what I wish I could cover. So, I picked out the most important parts. If you learn these few things and apply them in your thinking, you will avoid the most dangerous aspect of poor thinking. You will be given papers and addresses of Internet sites that can teach a lot more.

Some of you are already on your way towards developing a powerful mind, possibly without any help from adults. That is good. But I feel strongly that you also can learn from these lessons.

High quality thinking is a skill that can be taught and developed. As our brains grow we usually pass through a series of developmental steps in HOW we think. If we get stuck at the step called egocentricity we can have a lot of problems for as long as we live. I know of adults like this. It is not immediately obvious to other people just what their problem is. You will become able to recognize this thinking style in other people. You will be learning things that most adults DON'T know! (You might even be able to dazzle your parents with your insight!)

Developing your own powerful mind is a task that cannot be done quickly, but it can be done. I hope I can launch you on your way! We actually started on the journey towards powerful thinking last year. ALL of those lessons involved different aspects of high quality thinking! We will continue this year.

Today's lesson is the first of a series dealing with egocentric thinking. It will probably take 7 class periods. In these lessons we will first look at several styles of thinking, and at one particularly style called egocentricity, which should be avoided.



If you learn to understand the egocentric style and learn to recognize it in other people, you will be better able to deal with them. You won't be left wondering "What's going on here?" when things are not going well between you and someone else.

If you use the egocentric style of thinking:

If you develop past the egocentric thinking style, and learn better methods:


Hand out the first essay, "Thinking Styles."

Follow along on this handout as I read it to you. Listen carefully to this. Keep the essay in your folder. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT STUFF! You may want to refer back to it sometime in the future.

It has been my experience that very often it is not WHAT YOU KNOW, but HOW YOU THINK that is really important. After all, if you don't know something, you can often look it up and learn it. But if you are not good at thinking, the information may not be too helpful in solving problems.

Please take notes as I read. Afterwards we will have a directed discussion. I will ask you to define the thinking styles in the essay, and to discuss them.

As I read, if you find you don't understand something, disagree with something, or simply want to hear a bit more about something, mark that spot on the essay with a question mark or make a note. After I am done reading it, you can then ask questions.

Read the essay.
Any questions? Does anyone want to discuss any part, or hear a bit more about something?

Questions are TBD at this time.

If at anytime you feel that you use egocentric thinking and want to overcome it, you can talk to me privately and I will help you. (Repeat this at every class period on this subject.)

Teacher Follow-up

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As of: 30 May 2004