|Image courtesy of v8media via Creative Commons.|
The film profiles high school classroom teacher Roger Halstead, who for many years taught an entire course focused on thinking deeply and critically about war, peace, and conflict resolution. Students in the film comment that what they learned in the class will stay with them forever.
At IHE we believe that critical thinking is an essential skill for bringing about a just, compassionate, healthy world for all; it's one of our core elements of humane education: fostering the 3C's of curiosity, creativity & critical thinking.
With the proliferation of standardized testing and focus on narrow academic standards, critical thinking has become an exception, rather than a daily part of schooling. But critical thinking can -- and should -- be integrated into every classroom. Edutopia recent posted an essay called "Ten Takeaway Tips for Teaching Critical Thinking." The tips include:
- Ask lots of questions.
- Start with a prompt and then help them unpack it.
(Although we'd recommend avoiding either/or prompts, like those given in the essay, which often preclude third-side thinking.)
- Provide tools for entering the conversation.
- Model your expectations.
- Encourage constructive controversy.
- Choose content students will invest in.
- Set up Socratic discussions.
- Assess their reasoning through different methods.
- Let students evaluate each other.
- Step back as a teacher & let students do the teaching.
As humane educators, parents, and citizens, we have a responsibility to help our youth gain important skills like thinking critically and creatively, so that they have the tools to help solve pressing global and local issues.
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