Headmaster's Blog

Critical Thinking

The older I become, the more I realise how much I don’t know. Maybe I knew it once but have since forgotten. Mrs Croger frequently reminds me of things I have forgotten to do, or conversations she says we’ve had.

In an information dense society, it is becoming increasingly difficult to learn all the facts as more information is being added to the body of knowledge available to us. When I was a school student we used to recite in our Geography class the names of the rivers, in order, along the NSW North Coast. I wonder what the value of that is today, except for a possible answer in a trivia quiz.

While certain facts are important to provide a basis for our learning, it is becoming equally important to teach students how to research information and to be discerning in the sources of information they use. Not everything on the internet is accurate, and in some cases, it is deliberately misleading or false. Much of the information we receive is biased or filtered in a way that distorts the accuracy. We need to realise that just because we are provided information on the news or via social media it doesn’t always mean that it is entirely true. Sometimes it is ‘fake news’, although often the politicians who claim this are the perpetrators of ‘fake news’.

As such, we need to develop the critical thinking and problem solving skills of our students so that they are more adept at questioning and analysing the information to which they are exposed. At the same time, we need to encourage them to hold on to certain truths and values to ensure that they remain grounded and have a foundation on which they can use to judge and analyse the information they are receiving.

Our role in educating students at Wollondilly is teaching them the knowledge and skills they need to live in the wider world as well as provide the foundations they need to remain grounded, as well as maintain their integrity, and the values that will enable them to be a positive influence in the community.

At WAC our students are exposed to what the staff believe is the truth and a foundation – that God, as the creator of the universe loves them and has a purpose for their lives and that he wants to be in relationship with them. He loves them so much that he sent his son Jesus to sacrifice himself to restore the relationship for all of us who accept him. Students aren’t forced to believe these truths. We provide the information and guide them with the reasons why we believe it and encourage them to consider these beliefs. However, we know students will question this information and find it puzzling or difficult to believe. We hope they do ask questions in search of this knowledge so they are provided with the direction and a foundation they need for their lives

Try the Brainteaser Below and Test Your Thinking Skills