Do you every think, “If only people had more skill in critical thinking?” People with well-trained minds would be (mostly) immune to fake news, bad arguments, and demagoguery. We would feel more secure about our beliefs and feel less need to shout-down or punch-out those who disagree. We would have more true beliefs and fewer false ones.
These skills, however, were pitched out of public education more than a century ago in favor of Industrial Era skills. The “trivium” of grammar, logic and rhetoric was replaced with the three Rs. Perhaps the most progressive thing we can do now is to bring back a classic and teach people how to believe well.
Obviously, this is a passion of mine. It’s what this website and blog are all about. Sometimes I’ve felt like an ancient Hebrew prophet, a “voice crying in the wilderness.” But I’m thrilled to see others, especially people like Dr. Sugata Mitra, take up the call. In this video, Dr. Mitra, famous for his “hole in the wall” computer stations in impoverished India, talks about the curriculum of the future. It requires just three things.
According to Mitra, children need to learn three things: Reading comprehension, information search and retrieval skills, and “how to believe.” This third skill could be called “critical thinking” or simply, epistemology. I whole-heartedly agree with him on this, and on the first skill. What about the second skill? Do you think he’s leaving anything crucial out, or overemphasizing internet search skills?