37 years ago, School of Thinking initiated the nationwide Learn-To-Think Project in the USA: to put thinking on the school curriculum as a school subject.
What have been the results?
Now that kids have their daily thinking lessons are they any better off? Are they better thinkers? Do they make better decisions? Not just in school but in life?
The answer is: YES. The trend is positive. The kids are alright.
We know this because every two years, the federal government asks thousands of teenagers dozens of questions about whether they are all right. Since 1991, it has sent something called the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey to more than 10,000 high school students every other year, to inquire about all sorts of bad behaviors that range from drug use to unprotected sex to fighting at school.
The overarching question this survey asks is basically: How much trouble are you getting into?
The answer, lately, has been, “Not that much at all” – especially when you compare today’s teens with their parents, who came of age in the early 1990s.
Most of the survey questions show that today’s teenagers are among the best-behaved on record. They smoke less, drink less, and have sex less than the previous generation. It seems they are, comparatively, a milder-mannered bunch.
|Teen behavior in…||1991||2013|
|Regularly wear a seat belt||74.1||92.4|
|Ever tried alcohol||81.6||66.2|
|Ever tried a cigarette||70.1||44.1|
|Used a condom during last sexual intercourse||46.2||59.1|
|Ever had sex||54.1||46.8|
|Had sex within the last 3 months||37.5||34|
|Ever been in a physical fight||42.5||24.7|
|Drank 5 or more drinks in a row in past month||31.3||20.8|
|Seriously considered a suicide attempt in past year||29||17|