Why are critical thinking and problem solving essential in today’s education?
Critical thinking means being able to present evidence for our ideas, analysing the way we think instead of simply learning facts without ever questioning them. When it comes to some school subjects, many people are convinced that critical thinking is not necessary, as the students should simply rely on what they are told. There are many reasons, though, why believing that problem solving and critical thinking are useful in every school field.
1 – Students are being prepared for jobs that don’t exist yet
The workplace is changing fast, and school needs to adapt to it. This means accepting we don’t know how the jobs of the future will look like. How do you train an entire generation to be prepared to an unknown job market?
Critical thinking and problem solving are considered key skills for this uncertain future, especially considering how remote work seems to become more and more popular as the years go by. In the future, workers will be likely selected based on their ability to be independent from micro-managing and able to work with less supervision and even away from the office.
2 – Critical thinking improves students’ flexibility and learning skills
Today’s students are likely not to work using the same tools they are using to study. We don’t know how technology will change by the time they will graduate, and learning critical thinking will prepare them to learn and adapt faster and keep up to date with relevant changes in their fields of study, whatever they may be.
3 – Critical thinking is the essence of democracy
Landon E. Beyer said “to live successfully in a democracy, people must be able to think critically in order to make sound decisions about personal and civic affairs. If students learn to think critically, then they can use good thinking as the guide by which they live their lives.”
Politics affects our lives no matter how involved in it we are, and critical thinking will allow students to ensure their decisions are based on facts and logic.
4 – Critical thinking makes Education less passive and more interactive
Teaching students how to approach critically any subject makes it more relevant for them. Sometimes, especially in young students, poor performance can be explained with a feeling of detachment from the subject and its importance in their lives. Making them feel as they are active participants could help solving this problem.
5 – Critical thinking helps students better express their ideas
Critical thinking skills are not limited to a subject, and they can be applied to anything, from politics to physics. The ability of thinking logically and systematically has a huge impact not only on how we understand ideas, but on how we express them. Whether we choose to be a history professor or a scientist, being able to explain what we want and what are goals in the most effective way is an invaluable skill, in the workplace as well as in life.
6 – Critical thinking and problem solving help making the next generation more adaptable to changes
The key word to describe our future is “uncertain”, and our ability to adapt will be in some cases the only skill we can use. Keeping an open mind, being able to self-direct, self-discipline and self-monitor, is what will allow this generation to succeed no matter what happens next.