thinkLaw Newsletter: The Problem with “Full Potential”








   Message from Colin Seale, thinkLaw’s Founder and CEO

Words matter. When we say students or our own children succeeded because they reached their “full potential,” we should recognize the danger of deciding what “full potential” means. As part of thinkLaw’s critical thinking revolution across 23 states, I have seen too many examples of bias and low expectations creating inequitably less-ambitious finish lines for students based on their race, socioeconomic status, and classification as special education, ELL, and/or gifted students. We should not narrowly proscribe success based on our limited notions of what it means for a child to “make it.” So, let’s stop talking about “full potential.” Instead, let’s start setting the stage for excellence by helping all students discover their passion and gifts and connect them with the knowledge and skills they need to unleash them. Because with no limits, they may just surprise you, and perhaps surprise themselves, too.




















This idea of “fulfilling their potential” gets repeated again and again, with lots of nodding heads suggesting that wasted talent very well may be the saddest thing in the world to lots of families. This is especially true for parents of children identified in gifted and talented programs. Thinking about this idea of potential for my own children, I start to feel uneasy. I feel uneasy because if I’m being completely real, I have to ask myself an eye-opening question: how am I in any way qualified to determine what my child’s potential is?…CONTINUE READING


















Almost 60 years later, this speech still provides practical guidance about what it will take for the United States to “to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.” The “I Have a Dream” speech proscribes a powerful hope for righting injustices facing children today: creating a world where people are not color blind, but color kind…CONTINUE READING 

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Super Bowl: “I Only Watch the Commercials”highlights seven Super Bowl commercials that brought the wrong kind of national attention to companies. These 7 commercials were all followed by lawsuits being filed or threatened.

Black History Month: This year, combine Black History Month with critical thinking! Use our Early Elementary materials to celebrate Black Inventors and have your students evaluate their contributions to society. And because Black History is still being made today, help your older students find everyday heroes making a difference today with ourFREE interview lesson.

Valentine’s: We all know Valentines Day and romance bring drama. And who loves drama more than teenagers? No Love Lost offers FIVE Persuasive writing activities that are perfect for keeping students engaged and excited! And help your young learners love critical thinking with our Cupid and the Bees lesson for earlier grades.

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Spring or Summer Book Study?

Get a bulk order (or buy your own copy right now) of Colin’s new book, Thinking Like a Lawyer: A Framework for Teaching Critical Thinking to All Students,  and be part of the exclusive, webinar based book study, where Colin will combine the practical tips from the book with concrete implementation ideas for your classrooms. 

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