Friday, March 18, 2011

Educational Systems Have Ruined Our Critical Thinking

 A widely famous debate known as “Nature vs. Nurture” can pretty much give an explanation to how and why societies have become what they are now.  The debate argues that a person’s innate traits can be overridden or nourished by environmental factors. It may sound bad but it can be good as well.  Bad traits can be fixed, but what if the seeds of the good traits are drowned by environmental influence?

Our educational systems may have drowned some attitudes in that sense. In our society, children are raised as there is only one right answer to the question and more importantly if you study harder there is one ideal complete answer with bonus points. If we are talking about an Algebra question, then yes it makes a perfect sense to have the answer to the question at the back of the book with just the right answer.

Unfortunately, the ideal one right perfect answer I am talking about is not regarding Algebra questions, but with History, Geography, Philosophy, Economics, Languages and even Physics. If you go grab a book from the store of any of the educational courses, you will find that every single question has an ideal answer. How on Earth is that possible? A history book could be written about Hitler in more than one point of view so why are we limiting our children to evaluate just one point of view as the right answer? They go to school thinking: "If I write anything outside this context, I am going to lose some points". Hey, the kids just want to get some good grades and go to a decent college so they end up adapting to the system.

Kids aren’t trained for proper critical thinking and for questioning the forms of thinking. They never tried to “think about thinking”. No one ever told them: “Hey, this is a critical thinking question and there is no wrong answer. Anything you will write will get you the full grade. Just write what you think.” They never experienced the art of assumptions, the power of imagination and the consideration of multiple perspectives to come up with and create their own ideal answer with self regulated judgments using simple facts.

Growing up in this mind set, many adults perceive things as black or white as right or wrong with nothing in between. Not believing that maybe the blue color will do just fine or that even black and white can be both correct.

 Image Credits to Photographer: koratmember

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