Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Preface to critical thinking skills



Preface
After spending the past year working with young people, primarily 18-30 years of age, I have learned one major thing; these young people have no clue how to navigate society for the most part.  They certainly are not receiving the guidance required to make it in the world once they achieve adulthood.  I have no doubt that we are letting down our young people here in Canada right now and it is time that things change!
I am often presented with questions which many of us would consider to be ‘basic common sense’.  I often ask myself how these young people cannot figure out these things by themselves, and I know it is not because they are not intelligent.  We will often equate these issues and lack of common sense to be in-line with a lack of intelligence, and I am here to tell you that this just is not so.  These young people have simply not been given the guidance, or have not been taught the skills required to make rational decisions for themselves.
This is what I am writing about today.  I want to explain what is missing and how we can begin to fix the problem we are being presented with in today’s society.  The problem is not a lack of common sense or intelligence, it is a lack of critical thinking skills.  Without critical thinking skills, we cannot ask the questions that we should be asking when presented with a problem or challenge.  It is easy enough to say that 4x3=12, but if we don’t ask why then we only have an image or memory to guide us to the answer. 
Critical thinking skills look at problems from all angles and help us to work out the complexities of any issue we are presented with.  Otherwise, when we are presented with a problem, we will simply rely on memory for an answer.  If that memory has the wrong answer to begin with then we will continue to provide bad information.  If we look at the memory and ask why, we will begin to critically process the information to show ourselves whether we have the right answer or not, and we will not simply rely on information we have only been taught.
Here is the kicker, if you don’t know how to critically think about problems or to rationalize a thought, then this article will only deepen your confusion, and I apologize for that.  Critically thinking about critical thinking can be a very challenging concept for anyone to handle.  I hope to provide an understanding about critical thinking which anyone can understand and follow.  This is the premise for the following thought process which will be to look at all information stored in our heads and begin to ask questions, especially why.
We are about to follow simple ways to kick our critical thinking processors into gear.  The creation of the internet has quelled the need for critical thinking by providing answers at the touch of a screen.  When we have the ability to look anything up at a moment’s notice, we deny the challenge which has been presented to our critical thinking skills, and weaken these skills as opposed to exercising them.  I will show you how to begin exercising these skills once again, and once your critical thinking processors spring back to life, your common sense will soar and life will simply become easier once again.
“I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction.  The world will have a generation of idiots.”-Albert Einstein

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