- Christopher Koch
- Albuquerque, NM
- United States
Improve Critical Thinking in the US' education system - mathematically as well as linguistically
For 14 years of my life I have lived in Germany, and I have gone through nine years (+one skipped year) of the education system there. And then I went to Texas to experience high school in the US - and I saw huge deficits.
The high and middle schools of the US do not encourage enough critical thinking among their students. Everything is being done with guidance of a teacher going through steps of a procedure - and this is where the problem is. For example, in Math: Teachers provide step-by-step instructions how to solve an equation, how to divide, how to... This does not teach students how to think about math individually. It teaches them to follow the procedure, and maybe get the answer right - but it does not teach how it works, and it does not teach how to think beyond that point. This education system cannot produce great mathematicians, because all the people with potential are taught to follow procedures and instructions! Sure, there are some smart students that want to figure it out on their own, and they do. But teachers need to encourage it, because there are a lot of students with great potential in this country. Critical Thinking also teaches responsibility, and the other way round. And do we want irresponsible individuals in charge in the future?
But Math is only an example. The same thing accounts for English, Science, - anything. Literacy is another problems. Students that cannot read a text, a short story or novel on their own - with their own crticial individual thinking - cannot understand any Science or Math textbook either.
As an anecdote: In high school year in Texas, I was taught critical thinking in the English lessons as a step-by-step procedure - and that is not the way to get students thinking individually.
I can't fit more in 2000 characters, even though I'd like to. The bottomline is: Teachers need to encourage critical, individual thinking among their students. Only then this country can produce great thinkers and leaders of the world.