Learning is one of the best things that can happen to you, all throughout life. For children, schools provide some of the education they need. But why are modern schools killing critical thinking?
We learn to read, we learn to write, but do we formally learn about how to discern solutions to a complicated problem? No, we do not.
At least schools don’t generally teach us about the in-depth properties of these things. It is usually something we learn by trial and error. And if you’re a little ‘in the dark’ about critical thinking, there are 5 examples of this type of learning.
- Observation – Being able to notice and predict, problems, opportunities, and solutions in life
- Analysis – Gathering, interpreting, and understanding information
- Inference – Making conclusions based on personal experience, knowledge, and other data
- Communication – Sharing information and ideas through verbal, nonverbal, or written forms
- Problem-solving – Troubleshooting and identifying solutions by gathering, communicating, and analyzing information
So, how do modern schools kill this way of learning?
This topic is probably a bit sensitive, especially to those in the education system. And there are various ways schools fail to approach the deep but basic subjects of life itself. So, let’s look at a few ways critical thinking continues to be avoided:
1. Teachers weren’t taught critical thinking either
For some professionals in education, this type of curriculum is just too difficult to teach students. While not all teachers are ignorant of basic life thinking skills, many are. This is simply because they didn’t learn this in school either. Only the traditional course topics like English, Maths, Science, and History were mandatory.
Critical thinking can help us look at historical events and learn much more from them. Although we cannot go back in time, we can understand how to solve problems much better with proper thinking skills. Unfortunately, many educators aren’t educated in critical thinking so they cannot teach others. This is one way that modern schools kill critical thinking.
2. There isn’t enough time
First, critical thinking skills must be integrated into the existing curriculum. Children already attend between 6 and 8 hours of school each day, and this leaves little room for injecting new courses in thinking skills. While some teachers spend some time on critical thinking, most of them do not. And some rather kill the idea altogether.
Depending on where you live, there are mandates on what courses must be taught and the time used to teach them. Therefore, children may notice teachers watching the clock and trying to cram specific information into the day’s curriculum before students can leave. Schools kill critical thinking by working on a timer.
3. Critical thinking questions the majority truth
Another way schools kill critical thinking is by denying its concepts. There is a fear that such depth of analysis and communication would cause students to question everything they’ve been taught. As a mother, I’ve had to teach my children about seeing different sides of situations, learning how to reason through difficulties, and the basics of discernment. These are things they do not learn in school.
And to be honest, it can be exhausting when you have three children in full-time school. They come home with subject matter that will have no bearing on their future relationships with others.
I learned long ago that the education system does not want students thinking for themselves! And it goes further than that. Schools are forced to block this important knowledge to keep all of us living by the truth of one larger entity – the ‘system’.
4. By lying to us
Schools lie to us. They kill critical thinking because they fear we will get emotional or even angry if we learn how to think for ourselves.
Listen, I saw this light in the eyes of my children when I started to teach them more than English and Science. When I showed them how unfair the world was, their expressions changed. Sometimes they grew even more curious, and other times, they grew angry.
They noticed things that they didn’t notice before. And most importantly, they fought back against injustices. Schools are afraid that if students find out the freedom they have in their thinking, they will protest wrongs and they will properly discern situations instead of following blindly. So, lies are built to prevent these disruptions and potential problems.
5. They don’t answer real questions
Not every professional in the school system is willing to answer deep questions. To keep things neat and clean in the classroom, the board of education mandates certain courses and frowns on deviations. Then the government steps in and raises prices at universities to deter attendance, as colleges tend to teach some of the critical skills after high school.
But even some college professors rather steer away from such high levels of communication as they don’t understand them. Maybe they learned critical thinking skills at some point in their life but have yet to learn how to teach others in this manner.
Unfortunately, many critical thinking skills have come from difficulties in life. This is how I was able to teach my children certain things they did not learn in school.
So, what else can we do?
I cannot tell you that all modern schools are going to change and embrace critical thinking in their curriculum. But what I can tell you is that there is always hope. With enough advocates, petitions, and complaints, we can push for changes in this area.
But for now, as I did with my children, I urge parents to teach everything they know about critical thinking to their offspring. It’s important, it’s useful, and it is most certainly critical for having a truly successful life.
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