Opinion

Critical thinking needs to be taught more in schools

In a world where we live much of our lives on the internet, a realm with misinformation and outright lies, it is more important than ever that individuals have the required critical thinking skills to sort through fact and fiction.

Critical thinking can be described in many different definitions, but what it basically boils down to is this concept of using logic and reasoning to make an objectively formed decision based on information analysis.

Using critical thinking is especially important when making decisions about what information is true and what is not.

Information can be construed in many different ways, which makes it important that we know how to identify biases (including our own) and analyze information in order to take a more objective stance.

Misinformation is spread quickly, and this is only made worse in the age of the internet.

Social media websites make it incredibly easy for lies to be spread. All it takes is one person posting a link to a “news” article with false information or a deep fake video, and soon enough it becomes shared by hundreds of other people who see it and are convinced by its lies due to simple ignorance.

People should not have to be ignorant to the truth. They should be given the skills that they need to sort truth from lies.

It is no secret that our education system is deeply flawed. One of the most obvious of these flaws is its heavy reliance upon standardized testing.

Testing forms the basis of classroom curriculum in many schools across the United States. Students are given specific bits of information, told to commit it to memory, only to regurgitate it on a test at the end of the chapter and, more often than not, forget all that they studied as soon as they have completed the test.

Larger standardized tests are even more crucial for a student’s future. Tests such as the SAT and ACT determine, in large, which colleges they can get in to and thus, indirectly, their job prospects for the future.

The problem with this hyper-obsession with standardized testing is that only
a select number of students actually showcase their skills and knowledge best on standardized tests.

Testing anxiety is not uncommon, automatically putting those students out of favor with the system if they are unable to perform as well on exams due to conditions out of their control.

Many students’ brains are simply wired a different way from students who excel on standardized tests. These students maybe display their knowledge better with projects or one-on-one debates.

Students are not sponges for information and should not be treated as such.

Much more valuable would be to teach students how to critically evaluate information.

In the 21st century via the internet, we are being bombarded with information nearly 24/7 it seems. Not all of this information is real.

We need to teach our children how to distinguish fact from fiction, so that they are not brainwashed by the same conspiracy theories and outright lies in the next generation that so many people in this country today have been.

Our education system puts too
much emphasis on memorizing. And it obviously isn’t teaching our kids enough.

Just look at what senator-elect from Alabama, Tommy Tuberville, said in mid-November about the three branches of the federal government consisting of the Senate, the House and the executive branch.

If a senator-elect doesn’t even know that the three branches of government are the legislative, executive and judiciary branches, what does that tell us about how much the average American remembers from their basic high school civics class?

The American education system should focus on exposing our children
to a variety of information, not just the America-centric curriculum that we have all been subjectively taught is superior.

Let’s provide the next generation a diverse spectrum of information and the tools to analyze it themselves.

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