Should critical thinking be taught in elementary schools

Socrates, the father of critical thinking. They even pride themselves on it; after all, who wants children to just take in knowledge passively?

Should critical thinking be taught in elementary schools

Translate this page from English Print Page Change Text Size: They argue that the cognitive and affective are obviously separate since many intelligent, well-educated people lack moral insight or sensitivity and many less intelligent, poorly educated, or uneducated people are morally good.

Critical thinking, understood as skills alone separate from values, is often used to rationalize prejudice and vested interest. The human mind, whatever its conscious good will, is subject to powerful, self-deceptive, unconscious egocentricity of mind.

The three are developed together only in an atmosphere, which encourages the intellectual virtues: The intellectual virtues themselves are interdependent. Educators and theorists tend to approach the affective and moral dimensions of education as they approach all other dimensions of learning, as compartmentalized domains, and as a collection of learning more or less separate from other learning.

As a result, they view moral development as more or less independent of cognitive development. If moral development were so intimately connected to cognitive development, how could this be so?

Specifically, I distinguish a weak and a strong sense of each and hold that the strong sense ought to guide, not only our understanding of the nature of the educated person, but also our redesigning the curriculum. There is little to recommend schooling that does not foster what I call intellectual virtues.

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These virtues include intellectual empathy, intellectual perseverance, intellectual confidence in reason, and an intellectual sense of justice fair-mindedness.

Without these characteristics, intellectual development is circumscribed and distorted, a caricature of what it could and should be. These same characteristics are essential to moral judgment.

Many, if not most, moral problems and situations in the modern world are open to multiple interpretations and, hence, do presuppose these intellectual virtues. We are now coming to see how far we are from curricula and teaching strategies that genuinely foster basic intellectual and moral development.

Indeed, the present structure of curricula and teaching not only strongly discourages their development but also strongly encourages their opposites.

Because "designing" covers a wide range of activities, we'll look at three kinds of designing.

Superficially absorbed content, the inevitable by-product of extensive but shallow coverage, inevitably leads to intellectual arrogance. Such learning discourages intellectual perseverance and confidence in reason.

It prevents the recognition of intellectual bad faith. It provides no foundation for intellectual empathy, nor for an intellectual sense of fair play. By hearing and reading only one perspective, they come to think that perspective has a monopoly on truth — any other view must be completely wrong.

The pedagogical implications of my position include these: A similar viewpoint was expressed by Whitehead: The result of teaching small parts of a large number of subjects is the passive reception of disconnected ideas, not illuminated with any spark of vitality.

The child should make them his own, and should understand their application here and now in the circumstances of his actual life. From the very beginning of his education, the child should experience the joy of discovery. The discovery which he has to make is that general ideas give an understanding of that stream of events which pours through his life.

The Aims of Education, p. We need to begin this re-orientation as early as possible. Integrating teaching for critical thinking, moral integrity, and citizenship is an essential part of this re-orientation.

Teaching critical thinking in a strong sense is a powerful, and I believe necessary means to moral integrity and responsible citizenship. Intellectual skills in and of themselves can be used either for good or ill, to enlighten or to propagandize, to gain narrow, self-serving ends, or to further the general and public good.

The micro-skills themselves, for example, do not define fair-mindedness and could be used as easily by those who are highly prejudiced as those who are not.

Those students not exposed to the challenge of strong sense critical thinking assignments for example, assignments in which they must empathically reconstruct viewpoints that differ strikingly from their own will not, as a matter of abstract morality or general good-heartedness, be fair to points of view they oppose, nor will they automatically develop a rationally defensible notion of what the public good is on the many issues they must decide as citizens.

Critical thinking, in its most defensible sense, is not simply a matter of cognitive skills. Moral integrity and responsible citizenship are, in turn, not simply a matter of good-heartedness or good intentions. Many good-hearted people cannot see through and critique propaganda and mass manipulation, and most good-hearted people fall prey at times to the powerful tendency to engage in self-deception, especially when their own egocentric interests and desires are at stake.

One can be good-hearted and intellectually egocentric at the same time.

Should critical thinking be taught in elementary schools

The problems of education for fair-minded independence of thought, for genuine moral integrity, and for responsible citizenship are not three separate issues but one complex task. If we succeed with one dimension of the problem, we succeed with all.Why Design Thinking Should Be Taught in Primary, Elementary & Middle Schools “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn,” • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving • Communication • Collaboration.

The ability to think critically benefits individuals and societies. Why, then, is it so rare for critical thinking to be taught in schools? Program Purpose: Graduates will demonstrate basic knowledge in general education.

Program Description: Three AGEC certificates are available, AGEC-A (Arts), AGEC-B (Business), and AGEC-S (Science) for those students who wish to complete a “general education package” before transferring to an Arizona university.

Jeff Zwiers teaches in the Stanford Teaching Education Program and works for Stanford's Center to Support Excellence in Teaching.

He received his Ed.D. from the University of San Francisco and has taught English, Spanish, science, and history in high school, middle school, and elementary school.

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Tragically, elementary and secondary education is mostly memorization. The biggest problem Teaching Critical Thinking Skills. May 2, , by The Critical Thinking Co.™ Staff Join Our Global Community Of Critical Thinkers. 70 K Schools. Countries. 36 M Students. Sign Up for Free. Yes, more critical thinking and logic should be taught in schools.

Yes, I believe that more critical thinking and logic should be taught in schools and that students nowadays are not challenged enough.

Should more critical thinking and logic be taught in schools? |