In our pursuit to produce children capable of filling in the right bubble 100% of the time, there has become some concern that we may be robbing them of their ability to think critically. Guess which one they’re going to need once they’ve passed that last standardized test in school?
Critical thinkers use a number of the transdisciplinary skills in tandem to really explore ideas, leading to a deeper understanding and even innovation. When we think critically, we asks questions and then analyze the responses for patterns, connections, and potentially more questions. We challenge long-held beliefs and assumptions to better get at the roots of a situation. Then we take the information we’ve unearthed and studied and apply it to solve problems and to make informed decisions.
By creating critical thinkers, we encourage these young people to be more open to their world. To be a critical thinker, they have to be willing to take risks, to support their ideas and opinions with logic and observations. They have to able to consider others’ perspectives with an open mind, and be willing to challenge their own worldview or let others challenge their own worldview.
When we train young people to think critically, we enable them to look at the world with an eye toward understanding, curiosity, and agency. We enable them to consider the rationale behind traditions, and to improve existing systems thoughtfully. We open the door to real, positive change.