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September 17, 2021

Children and critical thinking

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Australian Tutoring Association chief, Mohan Dhall , according to The Daily Telegraph (6/10/16), says ‘in every single high school’  including top achievers [children] were simply “regurgitating” answers based on templates and past exams’.

Mohan is an advocate of open book exams where he says use of notes and even the internet promotes ‘critical thinking and problem solving’.

Fine as far as it goes. However, civilised humans are by-passing the perception that the critical thinking faculty becomes available automatically at adulthood.

There is no evidence that for most children it can be introduced earlier, without stressing the child, by schooling. Children are able to rote learn better than critically think. Thus their tendency to ‘regurgitation’. Nothing ‘wrong’ with that.

It is likely that children are stressed by the insistence of the adult world that children have greater worth if they are able to think critically. It can be seen as the attempt to prematurely make children adult.

Stress in humans will cause the individual to blinker itself and narrow focus. This is so it can, in civilised humans, concentrate on dotting its I’s and crossing its T’s in an environment of competitiveness and accompanying judgementallness.

That’s not going to encourage critical thinking which is consideration of all the possibilities. It will instead tend to shut it down.

Ironically, the chances of being able to comprehend this message are dependent on the ability to critically think.

Geoff Dawe, Uki

 


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