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Think, question, evaluate

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Two kids I teach were arguing whether scrub jays were real. One child was adamant they weren't, another insisted they were. Their friends took sides based on loyalty. I challenged them to research it with their parents. The next day I asked what they found. Most said their view was upheld, until I told them that I had also researched it and a photo popped up immediately. Nearly all of them admitted they hadn't really looked—they just believed their friend was right. Talk about a teaching moment!

We talked about how loyalty is good, but that it's important to be curious for ourselves. How people can be good and be incorrect at the same time. How we can want something thing to be true, but how crucial it is to still ask why we believe it. How vital it is to receive new information and explore its sources. How to discuss differing views with respect and openness.

Critical thinking is a learned skill. There's a difference between information and fact, between loyalty and blindness. Opinions are valid, but not paramount. Teach your child to think, to question and evaluate, to be independent. We adults could probably use a refresher too.

Micha'elah Malmen

Performance Athletics Gymnastics

San Luis Obispo

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