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Critical Thinking in Middle School Curriculum

Updated on March 12, 2017
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Learn to Analyze Situations

A class specifically designed to teach pre teens, as well as, teenagers skills to make well informed, thought out, empathetic decisions regarding typical issues that many encounter increases success. The purpose of educating our children has mainly been to increase the chances that they will be able to achieve success and become productive members of our society. However, when children lack critical thinking skills to help them assess an issue, gather and analyze credible information, and learn how to incorporate that information into real life situations and use it to make positive changes, they are more prone to failure. The children who are most prone to failure are the ones who encounter issues in their personal lives and they have no clue as to what, if any, power they have to alter the issue, their involvement in it, or their perception of it. Some of the issues many middle school students face include bullying, divorcing parents or parents who bad mouth each other, death of a loved one, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, weight shaming, hormonal imbalances, peer pressure, underage sex, and pregnancies. These problems are huge and nobody should be left to handle them on their own, especially, people who have been on this planet for less than fourteen years.

Seeing Things More Clearly

When children learn critical thinking skills, some of the things they learn include how to investigate, how to focus, how to empathize, how to organize their thoughts, how to take apart, compartmentalize, repair, and restore intake, and, how to take action for positive change. Children, naturally, concentrate on their school work more when they are under less stress. As a result, their grades, as well as, the retention of what they're taught in all their classes will go up. When they learn to master critical thinking skills, the majority of them will experience a dramatic drop in stress levels. People who have not been taught extensive critical thinking skills that concentrate on the areas of concern most students face lack the tools needed to protect themselves, improve themselves, or to work toward change. In addition, being able to solve problems will help make them feel good about themselves increasing their self-esteem levels.

Why Schools Need to Provide this Class

Most parents learned their limited critical thinking skills through trial and error methods or from the wisdom that comes from reflecting on past experiences and mistakes. In this fast paced world, many people rush decisions because they have little time to stop and think. As a result, they neglect to hone the skills it takes to keep from making or repeating mistakes. While parents should share in the responsibility to train their children to make good choices, many parents know little about the process and the in depth aspects of critical thinking. In fact, it might do a world of good to make this a course that parents are invited to sit in on and participate in. It would not only help parents to learn skills to make better choices but it would also help get the parents more involved in their child's education. Children need school administrators to make a critical thinking class a priority for all students from middle school through high school. For many students, learning these skills will not only greatly improve their chances of success; but, it will also improve their overall well-being.

Ways to Implement Critical Thinking Lessons

Teachers could implement fun computer game applications to aid in teaching these skills. One technique they might try is to have the students put on plays where they tackle an issue and demonstrate different aspects of critical thinking to understand better the issue at hand and all its components, such as who does it affect and how does it affect them, as well as, whether it can be solved and what process to take to solve it. For example, a play on bullying could include every student having a part. A couple students could be bullied by a group of bullies, a couple other students could try to discourage the bullying, another student could watch and do nothing, and a couple of students could play the parents of the bullied victim. Another technique they could use is study groups consisting of four students in each group who are each assigned a learning style to use when addressing an issue. When children see how their actions, good and bad, affect others, most will display more compassion and thoughtfulness. A daily critical thinking class has the power to prepare them and equip them for hard work and success. In addition, incorporating different learning styles into the process will help all students be able see, hear, and remember a common process instilled in their brains to know what to do when any of the issues addressed above arise.

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