Critical Thinking: How School Develops This Important Skill
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The decisions a child makes as an adult will have an enormous influence on their future success.
Children, even at a young age, need to learn critical thinking because it is a skill that will become useful throughout their life. It will enable them to look at a situation, analyze and evaluate the environment and factors around them, in order to form a correct judgment.
It is a skill that many employers are looking for in an applicant because critical thinkers make valuable contributions to a company. They are the innovators and the ones who have the solution to any problems. All jobs require critical thinking, but it is most needed in the professions that pay more. If you want to become a lawyer or a doctor, for example, you will need to sharpen your critical thinking skills.
Critical thinking is a skill that develops through time. Children learn it through real-world experience, but it is honed while they are in school.
Immerse Yourself in STEM
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Recently, there has been a greater emphasis on the need to integrate it into the education system. Children need to learn and master STEM because it leads to a smarter population and it ensures employment, especially in the future to prepare for a scenario where jobs disappear because robots have become sophisticated enough to replace humans in the labor force.
In the Philippines, STEM is in senior high school. What it is is a two-year program (Grades 11 and 12) that aims to prepare students for university or employment immediately after graduation.
STEM practices critical thinking because it focuses on teaching logical thought processes based on evidence and problem solving. It does not only help students who want to have a career in the field of STEM; it develops the cognitive abilities of young people by challenging them to observe, analyze, calculate, and come up with solutions.
Let Your Artistic Side Be Free
Art, too, is important in the development of one’s critical thinking skills. Art is complex; it has so many layers and elements that require reflection and contemplation to uncover its meaning and to appreciate its craftsmanship.
Consider the greatest works of art around the world. Most of them communicate messages that, at first glance, are not very obvious. You have to look at them closely and consider all relevant factors before you can derive a conclusion.
Teaching art also has been proven by numerous studies to improve the academic performance of students. While scientists are still not sure how there is solid evidence that links art education and higher test scores. One possible reason is, when students develop critical thinking from art, they also apply the skills in other subjects.
Reading Opens the Mind
Many students find reading for school a bane, but here is a reason why it should be pushed: it develops critical thinking skills.
Reading benefits students in many ways. It improves their vocabulary and grammar, comprehension of text, makes them more empathetic, and forces them to think by asking complex questions.
Books introduce students and engage students with new ideas which change the way one thinks. People who read gain more knowledge about the world around them, but the aspect of the activity that involves the use of imagination also practices critical thinking. By reading, you get to put yourself in situations that you otherwise would not experience. You develop critical thinking skills by navigating the unfamiliar and complex world presented to you.
It does not matter what or where you read. Whether it is sci-fi or an autobiography, books can enhance your critical thinking skills.
Critical Thinking in School
School is the perfect environment for critical thinking to be fostered. While basically everything you do in life – from late night shopping to analyzing a movie you just watched – requires critical thinking, it is in school that critical thinking is developed the most.
All activities you are required as a student to do develop critical thinking. Your assignments, examinations, quizzes, recitations, performances, discussions, projects, and all the activities you are made to do in school are all designed to boost critical thinking so students can grow up and be equipped with the tools they need to become a success in the future.
Developing critical thinking is necessary to ensure that people become employable and remain competent as adults. However, critical thinking is more than just a job requirement. It is a crucial life skill that makes a person be independent, trust their judgment, and be better citizens.