Critical Thinking – Essential for Success?

This morning, Dan Ballantyne shared this article from Scientific American on Twitter.

How often do we hear someone say that a friend was “smart in school”.  Do we equate the ability to get high marks with being “smart”? What does smart really mean, anyway?

“Intelligent people are more likely to get better grades and go farther in school.”  This statement made me think of the opposite – that intelligent people might also choose not to play the game of school.  How many intelligent people refuse to be compliant and don’t succeed in school?

“Critical thinking is a collection of cognitive skills that allow us to think rationally in a goal-orientated fashion, and a disposition to use those skills when appropriate. Critical thinkers are amiable skeptics. They are flexible thinkers who require evidence to support their beliefs and recognize fallacious attempts to persuade them. Critical thinking means overcoming all sorts of cognitive biases (e.g., hindsight bias, confirmation bias).” After reading this, I wondered how much critical thinking is embedded into the work we do in schools with students.


After asking this question on Twitter, Dan referred me to this resource:

Further reading: A Route to Well-being – Intelligence vs. Wise Reasoning.

Featured image by Tim Graf


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