Critical thinking consists of mentally evaluating information, analysing that information and forming a judgment which leads to a rational action.
This is probably what makes it complex. A simple and good example of using critical thinking is when a child refuses to go out with a stranger who uses all tricks to lure her or him.
Critical thinking is all about helping children think better, an element that lacks in our schools and society at large. A number of controversies have however, emerged regarding whether it’s right or wrong to teach children critical thinking.
However, from a young age, children are capable of learning some of the foundational critical thinking concepts and skills.
Though they are largely egocentric, children can for instance begin to think about how their behaviour affects other people.
They can begin to take think purposeful. They can begin to apply logic in their decisions.
Children need to be equipped with skills that allow them to think critically. It is imperative that they develop the ability to judge, make a decision, or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, especially in matters affecting them and their peers.
Can critical thinking keep children from abuses like rape? Yes it can. One of the reasons as to why children are abused is that, they do not have the capacity to take firm and reasonable judgement.
They are thus taken for a ride and exploited in various ways by adults. Critical thinking can help children to regulate their social, emotional, and physical responses to outside stimuli and stay in control.
If a child is put into a situation in which he must choose between good and bad, he can make an assessment of the situation, and using the skills he has been taught by his parents or teachers, to make a good choice.
Children can be taught to think about consequences of their actions, and make appropriate choices based on the values and morals taught by their parents. Parents and teachers should therefore take provocative roles in teaching critical thinking.
This can be done by discussing situations that children will most likely encounter as they grow. For example, children must know how to behave before a rapist or someone advancing sexual relationships to them, so that they respond with all the wisdom necessary.
They (children) have been preys in such situations.
That is why CNLS through Rwandan media has been allowing children to openly discuss issues pertaining sex and their life.
Unfortunately, the idea is meeting a lot of criticism from the public who feel that their children are more exposed to the danger than they are distanced from it.
But critics should know that, if they refuse to expose their children to the reality of the ‘ill environment’, the environment itself, will do it, and do it wrongly to their detriment.
Nonetheless, critical thinking is so demanding. It demands the parents and the teachers themselves, to think critically and later alone pass the wisdom to the children.
It has been always wrong for parents to assume that their children understand how to think critically and judge situations. This is an unforgivable mistake and misconception.
Children in their teens, children need to be helped to think rationally and understand the impact certain actions may cause.
It is therefore, only through teaching our children critical thinking, that we can save them from all forms of abuse and resultant diseases including the HIV/AIDS pandemic.