Article: Teaching critical thinking skills important to democracy
[Public Education Network]
IT?S CRUCIAL TO TEACH CHILDREN TO THINK
The current heated debate over the use of statewide standardized testing to measure children’s educational progress brings to mind the wonderfully contrarian wisdom of Abraham Heschel, a powerful and prophetic voice of an earlier generation. In a 1960 essay, Heschel, a pre-eminent Jewish theologian and beloved seminary professor, tossed out this gem: "The valid test of a student is his ability to ask the right questions. I would suggest that we evolve a new type of examination paper, one in which the answers are given — the questions to be supplied by the student." In other words, let’s teach young people not just a whole lot of facts; let’s help them learn how to think. In this passionate editorial, Chi-Dooh Li describes why, in a democratic society, the ability of citizens to engage in critical thinking must rank high on our list of educational objectives.
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