Teaching Critical Thinking Skills To Children

Teaching Critical Thinking Skills To Children-32
I explained that the image had been sent to me by a colleague who bemoaned the culture of today’s youth with their noses constantly in their phones.After spending a few moments studying the image through a media literacy lens, I posited to my friend: As it turned out, some quick online research confirmed I was right.

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The theme of this latest “media literacy” column is taken from a bumper sticker I saw recently on the back of a car in front of me (below). But have they wondered what the implications might be for them?

You might agree that understanding bumper stickers is also media literacy. It’s not clear who produced the bumper sticker or the slogan. When I talk to people, mostly those in education, they agree that their students simply don’t think critically nor do they ask good questions.

► What happens if we don’t teach critical thinking?

► In what ways are you teaching “critical thinking skills” in your classroom?

Paul Chernyak is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Chicago.

He graduated from the American School of Professional Psychology in 2011.The Foundation for Critical Thinking offers this definition: “Critical thinking is the art of analyzing and evaluating thinking with a view to improving it.” According to FCT, a skillful critical thinker “raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely.” (Source) As a media educator, I engage in critical thinking and questioning every day.For me it first started when I heard Elizabeth Thoman, the founder of the Center for Media Literacy, say: “Media literacy is not just about asking questions, it’s about asking the RIGHT questions.” If you haven’t been that involved in teaching or thinking about media literacy, you may be reading Thoman’s key questions for the first time.My friend (and many others – read this Daily Telegraph story) had “jumped to a conclusion” based solely on the image and personal impressions about “today’s youth.” He had not thought critically about what he was seeing.And isn’t that exactly what many users of social media do today, students included?Home is where children are first beginning to use language.Educational experiences continue throughout their growth. Although knowledge and experience may be limited, many times each day children apply their critical thinking skills to analyze information. They may have heard about the “nation’s deficit” in the news.They also seem to be in agreement that the teaching of “critical thinking skills” is lacking in most instruction. ) The rise in fake news – fed by those who fall for it and repost such misinformation in social media – has called attention to the lack of critical thinking by many of today’s readers, including our students.I think you’ll probably agree that these are the fundamentals your students consider when they encounter media messages.These questions can be applied to every kind of media you might use in instruction.


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