As some of you know, I am a bibliophile. I just finished the book Factfulness (2018) by Hans Rosling. Towards the end of the book, Rosling wrote about the importance of teaching our children critical thinking. I found that interesting because critical thinking shows up in our work with student engagement. In fact, the high school used critical thinking as the area of focus for our recent instructional rounds. Moreover, critical thinking is rising to the top of the characteristics that the Design Team is gravitating towards for the Vision of a Minuteman (Portrait of a Graduate).
I think this week in our nation is a perfect example of the importance of critical thinking skills. Here are a few of the suggestions from Rosing (2018) that we should be teaching our students that I thought were timely:
- We should be teaching them what life was really like in the past so that they do not mistakenly think that no progress has been made.
- We should be teaching them how to hold the two ideas at the same time: that bad things are going on in the world, but that many things are getting better.
- We should be teaching them how to consume the news and spot the drama without becoming stressed or hopeless.
- We should be teaching them the common ways that people will try to trick them with numbers.
- We should be teaching them that the world will keep changing and they will have to update their knowledge and worldview throughout their lives.
As educators, we have a rare gift and opportunity to shape the future. As Rosling (2018) explains, teaching the above, “would protect the next generation from a lot of ignorance” ( p. 248). I want to congratulate you on your work and to challenge you to continue to focus on critical thinking skills for our students and for our nation.
Rosling, H., Rosling, O., & Rönnlund, A. R. (2018). Factfulness: Ten reasons we’re wrong about the world – and why things are better than you think. First edition. New York: Flatiron Books.