The social media revolution has come along with a swarm of changes in the present times, some for the better, others for worse, but generally communication has been made easy. Few weeks ago, a certain friend in the twilight of her youth posted a comment on her Facebook wall about the crumbling education quality, sparking off a serious debate that left her bitterly exasperated over the comments on her post.
Amidst that storm, I was impressed by a young Mukwaya Edwin, currently doing his bachelor’s degree in telecom engineering in the United Kingdom, who asked the lady to understand the dynamics of today and the aspect of critical thinking. “We had to logically discuss the authenticity of what you posted to either agree with you or not,” he stated.
In as much as some may not want to be challenged in any discourse, a lot can be advanced for such attitudes, looking at the type of education that is just passive. But the introduction of critical thinking in schools will counter such manners, lest we acquire the qualifications but remain intellectually blind.
People with critical thinking abilities possess the steadiness of living rationally and realistically. They are able to comprehend logical connections between ideas. Reasons will be relying on facts instead of emotion. Thinking critically means viewing things from many dimensions with an open mind. Critical thinker have the capacity to comprehend issues at hand and use the available information to solve complex problems, they can identify, construct and evaluate problems faced. Critical thinkers are always be used in order to enhance the process of work and social institutions.
Well, some say critical thinking can affect one’s creativity as it depends on rules of logic and rationality, since creativity might require breaking rules. However, this may not be right since critical thinking deals with autonomous reasoning, and for that matter it’s the age of creativity that is arguably needed when it comes to evaluating and assessing the skills of creativity.
Besides, critical thinking teaches us how to differentiate emotion and reason. No matter how logical we are, when problems set in, we do have sentiments and argues on accepting ideas and solutions. Critical thinking helps us to separate the two, and as a result, we are not easily interfered
Why does it matter?
While interacting with Dr Joseph Ryarasa Nkurunziza, a passionate educationist, about the state of our education system early last year, he stressed that, “we have really improved of recent with graduates taking various innovations in many disciplines, but the aspect of critical thinking needs to be improved in order to beat the problems that could bar us from succeeding in all the innovations at hand”.
Leading economies have already introduced critical thinking as an autonomous subject that is taught in schools and examined at the national level; one would imagine that these countries have projected global dynamics and what is actually needed for one to gain a competitive advantage on the international dome. Perceptions will change for the better, people will begin taking up responsibilities as they can, those with negative attitude towards learning will change and out of this intellectual darkness a brighter day will come.
To this day, many people do not embrace ideological independence that is brought about by critical thinking. We need to understand that learning is not just about a measure of teaching; it is instead a measure of capacity. One can learn something once the mind has the faculty to do so. In the same way, students have the chance to think for themselves, question theories or hypothesis as well as testing the alternative hypothesis against the known facts. In that case, students will be able to understand what they have been taught and build knowledge without teacher’s guidance.
The write is a PhD student of Comparative Education and leadership at Beijing Normal University