Christine Lloyd

Lecturer, College

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What does Critical Thinking mean to young people?

Will integrating critical thinking into teaching/learning curriculms from kindergarden onwards, give young people the skills that they need to make more informed descisions during their lives?

Learing to think for them selves is bound to make them more reponsible citizens. Critical thinking will make young people feel they are more inclusive in the community and that they can make a difference.

It could impede on their levels of creative output.They are better off learning to live with the consequences of their actions

Young people are just incapable of thinking for themselves and will always need adult guidence. They are better off just accepting how society expects them to behave as citizens, and behave accordingly.

Crtical thinking is just another governing objective which will add more confusion to an already over burdened education system.

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    Mar 7 2012: Thank you every one for your contributions. There is general agreement which runs throughout the thread of our conversations on what critical thinking could mean to young people. When they do think they feel alive and engaged. Since education is a large part of our lives, the more we think about, the more we will debate. The more we debate the more society becomes involved. When society becomes involved we stand a better chance of living in a world that we all feel part off. Let the debate roll on.

    We think so therefore we are

    Catch my next conversation on 'Discovery Learning and Industry Practice' posted 07/03/2012. Your contributions are very welcome
  • Mar 7 2012: It is great to hear the increased importance of thinking skills for the whole curriculum. Robert Fisher makes the point that critical thinking however, is only part of a continuum of thinking skills. He states that to think critically, we have first to be a creative thinker: We have to be creative to to empathise, to think of other possible solutions/points of view/ to consider ideas other than our own. And furthermore, underpinning this, a child needs an inner confidence to think creatively: To propose ideas which may contradict or challenge our first attempts, ideas or solutions/ to take a risk/ to allow others to challenge us. Therefore perhaps the thinking skills curriculum should be: Developing the self > Developing creative thinking > Developing critical thinking > True problem solving. In my experience, the youngest kids may not be ready for critical thinking.
  • Mar 7 2012: Life is fairly complex because of how it's structured and so I think critical thinking is an essential life skill lest the people lose themselves in the complexity of their surroundings. Having this ability at a young age would open avenues towards effective teamwork and independent thought. The interaction between critical thinkers is what pushes us forward and creates minds who ask the right questions and move towards better changes.

    Although, I do have to agree that there is an aspect to this that might be bad instead of good. It really all depends on the individual and how his/her thought process flows.
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    Feb 29 2012: But a student needs to be confident in themselves in order to be confident in a group. Expecting a student to be able to justify a minority opinion in a vociferous group tends to disadvantage the less confident student unless some attention is given to developing individual confidence.
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    Feb 29 2012: That's an interesting aspect, interaction. Especially with people at an impressionable age there's a need to develop their confidence in their own individual thinking so that they can assess its validity when they come up with a view that is at odds with the majority, or at odds with more forceful characters.
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      Feb 29 2012: In my experience students perform better in groups where they can interact with each other. There are times when they will be uncomfortable with this arrangement, is that what these experiences are for? To enlighten them about situations that they will face as they move through life. Does education give them the opportunity to deal with these odds?
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    Feb 29 2012: We cannot live without thinking. If we do not think for ourselves someone will do it for us and lead us to act according to their desires. Advertising, PR. spin, propaganda, hype, indoctrination, inculcation,inoculation, proselytism, etc. are part of life in the TV/Internet world. Should we teach our children to use specific criteria to evaluate reasoning, form positions, and make decisions? Absolutely! Thanks for making me think Ms. Lloyd.
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      Feb 29 2012: This could add credence to the idea of independent thought and how young people can contribute to their own own destiny by collaborating with others to challenge the different views of the world they are presented with rather than being manipulated. Thank you Mr long
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    Feb 29 2012: To put it another way round, not teaching critical thinking will deprive young people of an essential life skill.

    Everyone is subjected to an increasing deluge of information, and needs to be able to evaluate it in order to use it effectively and filter out what is unreliable.

    Most young people have dreams and aspirations which they want to turn into reality. If they are to get support for doing that, they need to be able to challenge their own thinking to ensure that what they try to take forward is both desirable and achievable.

    Spin and PR is everywhere. Without critical thinking, how would anyone separate the wheat from the chaff?

    Is it a subject in its own right? I'm not sure it is. There is a certain amount of learning which is specific to the thinking approach but I suspect the real value comes when critical thinking is embedded in the teaching of all subjects.

    An interesting side effect of the question relates to teaching skills. A critical thinking student is lively, enquiring, challenging. potentially disruptive. Teaching a class full of these students will ask more from the teacher. There may well be a lot of work to be done with teachers in order to embed critical thinking in the school curriculum.
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      Feb 29 2012: I agree most students have naturally enquiring minds. Possibly one of the best ways for them to learn about thinking is interactively with others, when they can experience the different modes of thinking patterns needed to examine and challenge the different views of the world they are presented with. Yes it's bound to create a head ache for educators, but alas, is n’t that what collaborative minds are for, to get together and work out solutions?