I think that one of the most important skills that somebody can have is critical thinking. Sadly, I also think that this is something which is not valued highly enough. I think that critical thinking should be a mandatory part of everybody’s education as it is so important.
If you think about many of the problems within society, they stem from ignorance. Ignorance stems from false repeated ideas within the media. If everybody were taught how to use critical thinking, they would be able to pick apart any and all ideas that they encounter. Doing this helps people to identify the origins of ideas and concepts and whether they have any legitimacy.
It’s quite a complex thing really and, obviously, I can’t summarise it all in a single blog post, but I think it should definitely be given more importance in schools. Such classes would include taking a look at the media and how things can be misrepresented, how misconceptions can be spread as fact, how to be more emphatic (by covering other lots of other perspectives) and education about how life can be different for different groups of people.
There’d be a lot to cover, really, but I think it would be hugely beneficial for many people, were this covered in schools. It might help people to feel more secure about having unique perspectives and it will help them throughout their lives. It would also help people to make informed decisions in elections and to be less susceptible to propaganda.
I studied critical thinking directly when I did a philosophy A Level and I know that others were introduced to similar concepts in courses like sociology and media studies. This was not mandatory education, so I feel very lucky that I got to have those classes. Really these sorts of classes should be available to everybody and from a young age, too. I hope one day I’ll see steps taken to implement this.