Cogito, ergo sum: Where next for critical thinking?

Both pupils and teaching colleagues must be allowed and encouraged to identify, analyse, and solve problems systematically, rather than be spoon-fed facts without questioning them, says Deborah Lawson

Cogito, ergo sum: I think therefore I am

So said French philosopher Descartes, thus providing a solid foundation for knowledge and learning over the past 400 years or so.

But are we in danger of no longer valuing critical thinking skills?

Facts are important – they set a constant which helps us to frame our lives. We know, for example, that there are 60 seconds in a minute and 100 pennies in a pound. That knowledge is important should not be open to debate.

As Daisy Christodoulou (2014) said: “Factual knowledge is closely integrated with creativity, problem-solving and analysis. It allows these skills to happen.”

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