Charlotte Christian School has adopted as one of its key academic initiatives, “The Development of 21st Century Thinkers.” This initiative focuses specifically on the skills of: critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration.
Critical thinking as a skill in education has a long history evidenced by the following statement made in 1906 by then Yale professor William Graham Sumner. “Critical thinking is the examination and test of propositions of any kind which are offered for acceptance, in order to find out whether they correspond to reality or not. The critical faculty is a product of education and training. It is a mental habit and power. It is a prime condition of human welfare that men and women should be trained in it. It is our only guarantee against delusion, deception, superstition, and misapprehension of ourselves and our earthly circumstances.”
At the heart of Charlotte Christian School’s mission is the task of “equipping and developing students to effectively integrate biblical truth and learning into their daily lives.” All education involves communicated content that carries with it underlying fundamental assumptions and values or a worldview. Skills in critical thinking, or examining such assumptions and values in light of the Truth of God’s Word, is imperative to the fulfillment of such a mission. Our focus isn’t on mindlessly indoctrinating students in God’s Truth; but rather, “…to impact the culture for Christ.”
At Charlotte Christian we believe it is vital to teach the skill to “see” as a critical thinker, and the enhancement of this skill takes place through a variety of means. On a daily basis it is done through,
- teaching critical reading, listening, or observation with emphasis always placed on learners as active (rather than passive) participants.
- identifying what is being said (either explicitly or implicitly), and the asking of probing questions to understand underlying assumptions, meanings of terms, sources of information, justification for truthfulness, as well as resulting inferences and implications.
The four questions we always want our students to ask are:
- What do you mean by that?
- Where did you get your information?
- How do you know you are right?
- What if you are wrong?
We treat our students with intellectual respect and give them the freedom to ask the hard questions, whether it be about the Christian faith or problem solving in their classes. We work to create an atmosphere where students are not afraid to ask the tough questions and allow them to wrestle with the big issues.
We constantly want our students to delve deeper into a topic or subject. In addition to daily classroom work, critical thinking is enhanced through work on special projects or papers where extended time is provided for personal reflection and response. Students experience this leveled thinking for example in science lab where the hands on style of learning creates a high level of student engagement, questioning and problem solving. Or in language arts class when students learn how to identify the author’s point of view and if their statements are justified. In the Christian Philosophy and Apologetics Class, seniors are encouraged to make their Christian faith their own through investigating the philosophical underpinnings of Christianity and taking a critical look at the worldviews that permeate the cultures of this world. Our students are given the freedom to think about, wrestle with, and apply the Truth of the Christian faith to all of life using essential critical thinking skills.
by Kelley Burch
on Tuesday January 15 at 02:34PM