Last night I was blessed to see Kareem Abdul-Jabbar speak at Miller Auditorium as part of the Kalamazoo Reading Together book of 2017. He made me cry and laugh, and we gave him multiple standing ovations. I chose to come home before I turned into a cranky pumpkin last night and an unfun person at work today, so I do not have his signature in my book.
One of the many concepts he shared that stuck for me was about critical thinking. He said something to the effect that we need to teach our children critical thinking instead of merely to memorize facts and recall them on tests because they need to be able to identify lies. Someone who only knows the answers to fill in a test might not be able to hear the subtle nuances that identify truth from fiction.
I believe I was taught both, but sometimes my lie detector is broken. Other times, I cannot keep the memories or critical thinking skills in my head long enough to use them on a test. Or is it just that when the word “test” is spoken or at the top of a page, I suddenly feel like I’m in a frozen tundra and ice demons are tormenting me?
In all seriousness, it is vital that we be able to identify fact from fiction. It can save us time, energy, and heartache.
Moral of the Story: Critical thinking is a skill that will pay off for a lifetime. Memorization skills fade as we age (at least for me).