This approach to teaching critical thinking (CT) makes use of the ‘descriptive-not-prescriptive’ principle I introduced in this article for Innovate My School. In other words: teach by showing them (the students) what they already do rather than telling them what they should be doing but aren’t. Though I will talk about philosophy sessions, as that is my background, the principles and procedure that you will find outlined here apply to any teaching context where the teaching of CT skills will be of value, whether maths, English or P.E.
I’ve been teaching technology to year 1 through to year 6 for almost fifteen years. Parents and colleagues are constantly amazed that I can get the littlest learners to pay attention, remember, and have fun with the skills that are required to grow into competent, enthusiastic examples of the Web 2.0 generation.
I have a confession to make: it’s not as hard as it looks. Sure, those first few reception months, when they don’t know what the words enter and backspace mean, nor the difference between the keyboard and headphones, and don’t understand why they can’t grab their neighbour’s headphones or bang on their keyboard, I do re-think my chosen field. But that passes. By January, every parent tour that passes through my classroom thinks I’m a magician.