What is your way?
Wake up, get up, brush teeth, prepare coffee…check your webnews. Social media, newspapers, weather, school updates. The list goes on. The world has changed, there’s no question about it. Technology is here to stay and even develop beyond the limits of our imagination. In such a world, it is very easy to be confused or deceived by the tons of information we get every day. Specially…yes, online.
Last article started with a very simple question “Are you aware of the psychological impact on social media?” Coming to think about it, this week we pretend to dig deeper and start developing some points regarding to this question.
The concept of critical thinking is crucial to understand how do we process and tend to pay selective attention to some stimuli, disregarding others, believing in their truth content for some, considering them as not serious in other cases.
Why? Why do we do it? Is this mechanism based only on “personal choices”? How many of our “preferences” are truly ours? How much are we influenced by our surroundings and our fellow men, sitting in front of another computer, sometimes thousands of miles away?
When? When do we start developing what we call “our own” way of thinking and being in this planet, physically or virtually? Where is the limit between those two earlier-separated-spheres? How does our brain process virtual information?
And, more specifically…What internal disposition makes us take something as “true” or “false”, “convenient” or “inconvenient”, or even “real”?
We are interested in moving the focus from what do media wants us to think, to considering the reasons and internal disposals that makes us believe or not certain info.
This is the principle that sustains us as a team in E.Mindset: “If people had scientific-type knowledge and awareness it would not be so easy to manipulate by spreading propaganda and disinformation” (Christer Edman, Aug, 2014)
Critical Thinking and the illusion of “this is my way”:
Our ability to develop critical thinking takes place mainly between the age of 5-12 years. See our last article where Psychologist Dr. Craig Childress explains how important it is to also get basic human needs covered, as feeling secure and being loved.
That is a beautiful expression that we find only in ideal conditions. It is good to study ideal Physics too, but reality imposes itself, whether we are dealing with patients in clinical practice, with toddlers at home, or with ourselves in our insight journey.
In this idealistic world of theories, Benjamin Bloom (1956) developed a classification of levels of intellectual behavior in learning. This taxonomy contained three overlapping domains: the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective. Within the cognitive domain, he identified six levels: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. These domains and levels are still useful today as you develop the critical thinking skills of your students.
Critical and Creative Thinking:
Critical thinking involves logical thinking and reasoning including skills such as comparison, classification, sequencing, cause/effect, patterning, webbing, analogies, deductive and inductive reasoning, forecasting, planning, hypothesizing, and critiquing.
Creative thinking involves producing something new or original. It involves the skills of flexibility, originality, fluency, elaboration, brainstorming, modification, imagery, associative thinking, attribute listing, metaphorical thinking, forced relationships.
The aim of creative thinking is to stimulate curiosity and promote divergence and therefore, diversity.
While critical thinking can be thought of as more left-brain and creative thinking more right brain, they both involve “thinking.” When we talk about HOTS “higher-order thinking skills” we’re concentrating on the top three levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy: analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
Beautiful world, isn’t it? Everybody is free to think and enjoy the delights of the amazing minds we have got. There is no hunger or poverty affecting our well-developed nervous systems, and loving parents and security inspiring adults complete this idealistic circle in which we wish all children lived.
But they don’t. We don’t. We live in a world crossed by hunger and poverty conditions, in which the ability of decision taking, both in children and adults, is of course altered. Brains are being affected (http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2014/08/growing-up-poor.aspx) even in their anatomical structure, and the conditions and concepts above, so used to show up in education programs all over the world, simply do not apply.
It is well known the devastating effects of stress impact both in adults and children of all social levels and across different cultures and historical times. War is war, and the results are degrading for everybody’s health, all over the world.
Christer’s mother has experienced herself this sad reality, when she had to move from Finland to Sweden to be adopted at the age of seven. The kind of life people lead in so-called “developed” countries, does not protect our nervous systems from the consequences of a mad world. And media shows all the time, then and now, exposing us to the same stimuli over and over again until it becomes so “natural” that we de-sensibilize, our responses decay, and we passively incorporate to our neurons the cruelty that was never intended to be forgotten.
PTSD, the post-traumatic stress disorder, is another derivate of these realities we need to face in order to enhance the lives of those who are part of the system that currently cuts off the children in their development. It is a major disorder that is highly incapacitating on the short and long run, and even when these pictures illustrate a side of the problem, it goes even deeper when we consider the fact that children are being raised by higly stressed parents and sometimes even suffer abuses at their own home
Media sells, media shows, media influences, media conditions and shapes the environment that we live in. Dark interests are involved. No question about it.
But…what about our ability to choose? What about the filters the information passes, once posted and read, through ourselves?
As a team, we have gone back, over and over, to the concept of critical thinking as a sustainable way to overcome – at least in part- the overflow of information that models our brains every day without interruptions. Maybe we should re-think the idea and make it valid for this not-so-ideal world.
Scientific-like knowledge is limited, we all agree. It is not enough for explaining the complex realities the spirit lives in. Intuition has gone way faster and farther than our best explanations in the world of human knowledge. But scientific knowledge has a very important advantage: in our experience, the more you know the rules, the more humble you get.
And…You learn to make the right questions. Let’s see:
in a brief article by Richard Pauls, this author analyses and critiques Bloom’s Taxonomy from the perspective of critical thinking movement: although he recognizes great achievement in Bloom’s Cognitive and Affective domains, he then argues that this approach suffers from the following two flaws: (1) The attempt to be “value neutral” is impossible and incompatible with the values presupposed in critical thinking education, and (2) Bloom confuses recall with knowledge.
And it is there, at that point, where we agree in E.Mindset as a team: In these changing times, when all social relations and even the concept of reality vs. virtuality is being reshaped, not confusing these elements is primal condition to survive.
“Copycatting” is the first of many symptoms of a society that lacks both critical and creative thinking. And paradoxically, those who we classically consider as less advantaged, have a lot to teach us about it. Think of this:
Only to have a small hint…As well as bad conditions decrease our abilities in some cognitive aspects, they are also a great opportunity so creative, resilient minds “rise and shine”, coming through with innovative, remarkable ideas. Some children living in cities don’t even have those opportunities.
Re-mapping critical thinking:
Black or white? Maybe grey? Good or bad? Right or wrong? Some things in the middle, perhaps? Will be better answered questions when we make sure we are developing the necessary strategies to cope with a world of information, when we decide to put some ingredients to mix and work together, as raw material for a new meal:
We believe we are blessed in these wonderful times, and all your collaboration is valuable and necessary to walk the talk and get involved in being a part of the change. We look forward to hear from you and your feedback is, no hesitation, a treasure for our team.
(Note: All photos are credited to our wonderful Google Search)
Christer Edman & Veronica Rebora