What is Critical Thinking?
Critical thinking is the ability to imagine, apply, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.
In essence, it is the ability to observe, experience and analyze information to establish it’s integrity. In our rapidly changing technological world, more information is available at the touch of our fingers, so critical thinking skills are a must today.
The issue is that of all of the information we deal with each day, some of it is accurate, it can be very easy to get pulled into believing something that is propaganda or an outright fabrication.
Social media is a great place to see how few people employ critical thinking skills.
How many times have you seen memes state that you could win money for sharing or that make statements as fact that is opinion or poorly researched information?
It happens all the time.
Teaching our children to question facts and research questionable statements presented as facts, is imperative today.
In many schools, kids are not always encouraged to take a critical mindset and question facts.
With the emphasis in today’s modern world, to have teachers teach to a standardized test and the overuse of memorization for such, it’s easy to deter the questioning of facts. This is coupled with the reality that there are a lot of kids in the classroom and only one teacher with a daily laundry list of must do assignments.
Teachers do not have the time to allow kids to question and challenge each fact. Even at home I sometimes struggle with my kids continually challenging and asking questions. However, critical thinking is an increasingly necessary skill.
This is where we as parents need to step in. As much as it may be inconvenient when our children are continually challenging our authority and asking questions, we need to work through their questions and allow them to exercise their critical thinking skills.
As parents, we need to encourage our kids to ask questions, to analyze information and develop the necessary skills to recognize facts.
By asking the right questions to parse down to the facts, then they can filter through all the propaganda and get to the truth.
Social media is a pretty mundane example of the lack of critical thinking skills, however, what about those who fall victim to scams?
The critical thinking skills required to know when not to believe emails or phone scams claiming to be something urgent or essential or your long lost uncle from Nigeria is critical to protecting yourself and requires critical thinking skills.
So how does someone decide if a statement or demand is real or not?
How do we encourage our kids to be critical thinkers so they can protect themselves?
As parents, we need to teach our kids how to examine facts. Listen and look for pieces that just don’t make sense. If someone sounds too convincing, teach your child to follow their gut, to look for weaknesses in their statements.
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