Why You Should Encourage Critical Thinking

The current landscape of the world involves inexhaustible accessibility to information. The giant that rules and ends all arguments that is Google, is the tyrant of all things pondered. Curious minds alike have the ability and opportunity to scroll the internet for information and opinions on a myriad of topics. This endless search and access to information opens the discussion and discourse on what is relevant and true. And for students, it’s important to encourage thoughts of credibility and accuracy to question the information they absorb.

Whilst we do have access to things like Google and social media, with that comes its own weaknesses. We’ve all heard how Wikipedia is not reputable. You can literally edit any page on any topic yourself. I encourage you to have a look now. Any Wikipedia page can be adjusted to your liking with the click of a few buttons. So just like Wikipedia, any user with any credentials can provide their own opinions on any matter. While this is great for free speech, it’s not so great for our gullible students. Students need to be able to comment and form their own opinions based on fact and reason.

So, if it needs to be based on fact and reason, let’s make sure it’s coming from a reliable source. Students need to be able to understand both for academic purposes and for their own personal perusal that not all sites are trustworthy. The easiest way to communicate this to students is by providing a checklist of those that are credible, verified and trustworthy. Students should look out for websites that end in the following:

  • .gov
  • .edu
  • .org

While the above we know are accurate, there are the journal articles and newspaper excerpts that also have validity. Knowing what’s reputable and what’s not allows for students to gather all the information needed to form their own opinions and ensure they have an understanding of the current news and affairs that are happening around them. Not only does it provide benefits for their education, but it informs students for their future and the state of their society.

Encourage students to seek information and grow their own opinions. This type of critical thinking allows students to become more curious-minded and interested in how society functions. Students may find hobbies and passions in seeking this newfound interest in news and current affairs and you can have the comfort of knowing it’s reliable and educational.