I believe the ultimate goals of education are to transform children into fully functioning members of society and to allow them to thrive in an uncertain future. Education should therefore serve four basic purposes. Education should provide students with the ability to analyse information and think critically, with the tools to be a self-learner, with the intrinsic motivation for knowledge acquisition, and with the disposition for cooperation and empathy.
First, to me, critical thinking requires literacy, numeracy and philosophy. The ability to understand written and spoken language; to understand numbers and interpret statistics; and the ability to see both sides of an argument and to entertain ideas without necessarily accepting them are absolutely foundational to an enlightened citizenry.
Second, true autonomy necessarily includes the ability to independently verify and gather facts and knowledge. In addition, one cannot be a critical thinker if one is unmotivated or unable to explore concepts, ideas and existing knowledge for themselves. One’s ability to think and analyse is only as productive as their knowledge is complete and well-rounded.
Finally, as important as it is to think critically and have autonomy over and desire for one’s own learning, we must work together and connect with others. Inevitably, in complex societies in complex countries as part of a complex world, there are things we cannot do by ourselves and for that, we need other people. However, to cooperate and co-exist with others, we need not only the capacity for knowledge and rational thinking, but also the capacity for emotional thinking.
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