How to learn to think critically: workshop for teenagers

Understand the information, look at the situation from different sides, weigh the pros and cons of. All this is necessary in order to make the best decisions and not go with the flow, trusting someone else’s opinion. The book of business trainer Nikita Nepryakhin and philosopher Taras Pashchenko “Critical Thinking” will learn how to test the facts and justify your statements to adolescents. We publish two fragments.

1.How to check the words?

Imagine: your classmate says that the class teacher is going to dismiss. What to do in this situation? You and your classmates treat her very well, and without it you will clearly be worse. Moreover, there are definitely no reasons for dismissal. Write a petition? Arrange a rally? Turn to the Board of Trustees of the School? First of all include critical thinking!

Let’s talk. Can your classmate be mistaken? Yes, everyone is mistaken. To check this hypothesis, we ask why he decided so? It turns out that he accidentally heard a conversation between the class teacher and the director, in which he sounded “I am very sorry to say goodbye to you”, “who will we leave children?”. Can these phrases mean something else besides dismissal? Certainly. Business trip, vacation, conference, sick leave, advanced training, but you never know what?

When doubt becomes obvious, you can take several steps to which journalists resort to verify the reliability of information:

Throw away emotions. Your fear of hopeless future or sadness about the upcoming separation can greatly affect the ability to critically think. Remember this, rely on facts, and not on emotions.

Ask yourself how much this message coincides with your expectations. People tend to easily agree to what matches their expectations. If you had a suspicion that the class teacher is going to dismiss, doubt it stronger. The thought “I knew!” – the first sign of readiness to believe in anything. Do not be afraid to question someone’s words and argue with the author of the news. “Thomas unbeliever” is by no means a curse for a critically thinking person.

Look for the source of information or confirmation of several sources independent of each other. For example, you can ask the head teacher, director and other teachers, is it really about dismissal. Collect additional information. Who exactly is fired for, for what, when, whether the decision was finally made to dismiss?

2.How to justify your point of view?

It is clear that first you need to determine the very point of view that you want to justify. This point of view is usually called the thesis. In order for your argument to be convincing, it is important to ensure that you and your interlocutor equally understand the thesis.

– You must enter Moscow State University immediately after grade 11!

– No, I want to take a break from my studies. I will act next year.

– Do not you understand? If you do not enter the university, you will be taken into the army!

This dialogue shows that the first participant begins a conversation about admission to a particular university – his thesis is clear. But already in the next replica, he talks about any university. It turns out that the subject of discussion has changed in the process of dialogue. The thesis was as replaced or lost. The second rule of convincing argument tells us: “The thesis must remain unchanged!”

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