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The Value of Critical Thinking Skills Taught in School

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Schools do not place a high value on intellect, we would rather have our children be sociable than scholarly. Schools are places where we send our children to get a practical education, not a place to pursue knowledge. Strange, but true these learning institutions place more value on how popular a child is rather than how much we can teach them to use their brain.

Without teaching our children the ability to think critically, we are leaving them vulnerable to exploitation and control of others. They have to learn to defend their ideas and understand the ideas of others. “Intellect is resented as a form of power or privilege,” wrote historian and Professor Richard Hofstadter in Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, a Pulitzer-Prize winning book (www.asbj.com) Ralph Waldo Emerson thought schooling and rigorous book learning put unnatural restraints on children. Emerson wrote; “We are shut up in schools and college recitation rooms for ten or fifteen years and come out at last with a bellyful of words and do not know a thing.”(www.asbj.com)

Intellect, according to Hofstadter, is different from native intelligence, a quality we admire. Intellect is the critical, creative, and contemplative side of the mind. Intelligence seeks to grasp, manipulate, re-order, and adjust, while intellect examines, ponders, wonders, theorizes, criticizes, and imagines. (www.asbj.com)

Some educators that teach our children feel that learning should be fun and entertaining. In the classroom, they watch movies, surf the internet and dissect song lyrics. The idea is to motivate students to think, but this does not produce any challenging thought or motivate the student to look any further. Teachers need to start expanding and challenging students; they need to start making demands on their minds.

The purpose of public schools has never been to create thinking, analyzing, intellectual citizens,

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