Ever since you can talk you are questioning what goes on in the world. It is a skill that is honed and developed over many years. Some questions are simple and require little explanation but others provoke deep, thoughtful and long term changes in people's lives. So can you teach critical thinking? Where and when is it appropriate to ask questions and ponder what might be? There have been great people in our history who have dared challenge the status quo and bring humanity to its knees before real positive change can affect the many. William Wilberforce sort to abolish the slave trade, Alexander Fleming examined and questioned the use of penicillin to save people's lives and Eddy Mabo challenged land rights for Australian Aboriginals. These people were driven by conviction and passion to provide alternative answers and to the right the wrongs for many.
Not all our students will become famous for their leadership of a generation but influence begins with asking the right questions. Critical thinking asks the student to 'take it up a notch' and go beyond what they can basically see. Inference and judgments can be used when they are exploring texts and images. Students must be allowed to ask the hard questions. Many students struggle to ask questions because of a fear of failure but this fear can be funneled to good purpose to allow the student to grow. True growth may be stifled and their answers become generic and familiar without the chance to take a risk. Creating platforms for students to engage in discussion has been taking place in schools since they began however it is not until life is lived that one realises how important these skills are in the adult world. Learning to walk and talk it fundamental to our growth but our ability to question and articulate our arguments are equally important. To have a voice that can be expressed clearly is one skill we hold onto for the rest of our lives. Confidence in asking good questions begins with trust in the classroom, with parents, friends and colleagues. A class that begins to debate and engage in critical thinking will benefit well beyond the school years.
Such are my ramblings and thoughts for this week.
This week all the assessments were handed in and so I have spent much extra time marking and not as much time tweeting and blogging. I have begun to talk to some teachers about hosting a Teach Meet and there seems to be a good reaction so far. I am hoping this week find a venue for it and then a date. Must talk to Mesterman on Twitter who assisted organising Teach Meet Sydney.
Here are my favorite links for the week,
Keep asking questions and seeking answer.
Until next week,