Wa Sykes over 4 years ago

Teach critical thinking skills from elementary school up.  This is a radical, game changing skill, essential to all members of a properly functioning civil society.  This skill is difficult to quantitatively assess, thus it is not a “no child left behind” core feature.  In the USA, teaching methods for the skill sets needed to communicate, analyze data, and accept authority in the public school systems have been well developed and heavily promoted.  Teaching mechanical and technological skills are important, never the less, I believe that critical thinking is one concept that should never be neglected after we have assured our students first: a safe learning environment, proper nutrition, and an abundance of love. Regardless of our varied chosen life paths; plumber, physician, parent …, we need every member of society to be able to listen to discussions, ask enlightening questions, and formulate rational personal responses. 

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Nathan x over 4 years ago

Nice idea, but the problem is that grade school kids simply aren't capable of abstract thought. It's a psychological function that simply isn't developed enough in children, and development of this skill isn't something that can be trained or taught. It'd be like trying to teach a baby how to walk before it can crawl or even sit up on it's own. It just wouldn't work.

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Wa Sykes over 4 years ago

I would encourage Nathan to do some further inquiries into the “Philosophy for Children (P4C)” concepts in pedagogy.  As our new superintendent has expressed, lack of high financial status is not a learning disability and we must challenge our students, parents, teachers, and community to excel in developing knowledge skills.  While adherents of the Piaget approach to education tend to resist the teaching of critical thinking skills before a certain chronological age, there is no ironclad proof that after acquisition of basic language comprehension, there is a certain arbitrary age below which children are unable to begin to explore skills such as respectful listening and sharing personal theories on the nature of the world and human nature. (remember Art Linkletter's "Kids Say the Darndest Things"?) Indeed, teaching of critical thinking skills for elementary age children is already well developed, if not widely practiced.  The most accessible English speaking programs are extant in New Zealand, Australia, England, and parts of the USA.  In the USA, there is considerable educational research and practice on this front, from Montclair State in NJ, Mount Holyoke in MA, Memphis State in TN, even the UW in Seattle which supports the Seattle public Schools programs in elementary schools.  I am the first to acknowledge that P4C represents radical and considerable challenges to educators as well as to societal aspects that need drone workers.  Further, I see it as a waste of human potential not to actively encourage critical thinking skills to the highest level an individual can personally achieve.

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