For those that may have read my blog, particularly a post on stagnation in our schools, you might gather that I highly support the teaching of critical thinking skills. It came as a shock, though, to find out that at least in Texas, critical thinking is looked down upon. You can actually read their stand on it on the party platform here. To quote the party platform :

“Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”


If this is the stance of the members of the GOP, then somehow I’m not surprised that our education isn’t working.

I do the best that I can to show my kids both sides of the argument. I try to give them my reasons for making the decisions I do. There are times, though, that I don’t. I simply state “because I said so” and they know the argument is over. When I do, though, they are able to ask questions. I encourage questions, it’s the best way for kids to learn.

The key to critical thinking is knowing what the question truly is. By asking the initial question, you can break the problem down into manageable pieces. Knowing the pieces, you can find the answers to the questions that follow. In the end, putting together a reasonably objective answer or solution to a problem.

I want my children to be able to follow the process on their own. Their approach is not going to be the same as mine. If my “justifying” myself to my children in their attempt to understand, then I am generally willing to help. In the end, my kids are better students because they’re not afraid to actually ask that first question. They’re confident enough to know that they can, for the most part, find the answers on their own. Now what do you do to encourage critical thinking in your kids?

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