Critical thinking skills — Nature or Nurture?

It’s seems like the critical thinking should be teachable.

The keys to good critical thinking are simple. Have some skepticism and humility. Consider evidence from multiple sources. Evaluate the reasoning to see if it follows logically. Observe what actually happens. Be open to changing your mind. Don’t get too wrapped up in your own BS. If you’re wrong, you’re wrong. Move on.

But, in observing what actually happens, I see some people who tend to be good critical thinkers others that tend to not be so good.

I often criticize the education system for graduating so many people without the ability to think critically. But, perhaps I’m wrong.

5 thoughts on “Critical thinking skills — Nature or Nurture?

  1. Public schools have CLAIMED that they emphasize critical thinking as opposed to rote memorization of facts. However, there are two problems with their methods and with their claims.

    First, in regards to their methods, it’s impossible to teach kids how to “connect the dots” if they can’t even find the dots. In other words, when kids haven’t first grasped some basic facts, they cannot make conjectures based upon those facts. If your kid hasn’t memorized and mastered his multiplication tables, he’ll have a hard time learning long division.

    Second, in regards to their claims about critical thinking, what they are really teaching is not how to objectively analyze issues and form their own opinions. They are indoctrinating kids with their own leftist ideology telling them what their opinion should be about particular issues.

    • I don’t have any kids and when I was in public school I wasn’t very interested in politics… what leftist ideology is there? Are you saying this is institutionalized?

      • I barely recognized it when I was there, but when I look back I can think of a few things that now stand out to me. I was very young in the ’76 election. My teachers actually campaigned for Carter. Told us to tell our parents to vote for him. They never discussed his opponent.

        I remember learning that the Constitution was a living, breathing document, which is true, but that it got its breath from however the Supreme Court decided how to interpret it, not based on Article V: Amendment.

        We had a Republican governor that was cutting back on education funds. My teachers demonized him. Told us to tell our parents how bad of a guy he was and that he was against public education and they shouldn’t vote for him. Years later I learned that education spending had grown like crazy and that governor wanted to reduce the increases (not actually cut) and thought education should be able to get by with better allocating the vast sums of money they already received.

        Geraldine Ferraro spoke at my school. Democrat congressman and candidates seemed to have free access to come in and give students awards and letters of recognition. I don’t recall any Republican candidates visiting or even being discussed. In my early high school years, we held a mock election in the school to go along with the Presidential election. The campaigning for the Democrats in the school for that election was thick.

  2. Just take a look at the presidential candidates that the NEA has endorsed:
    Carter (D)
    Carter (D)
    Mondale (D)
    Dukakis (D)
    Clinton (D)
    Clinton (D)
    Gore (D)
    Kerry (D)
    Obama (D)
    Obama (D)

    Notice a pattern?

    The NEA handed Obama their endorsement for the 2012 race way back in July 2011 before Republican candidates had even announced their candidacies much less their positions.

  3. Pingback: How did you learn critical thinking? |


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