Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Poetry: Is Critical Thinking Obsolete?

Once upon a time, there was no Google. "Playtime" was when children played with empty boxes, pots and pans, or just about anything that could be found, and they had to use their imaginations the entire time and they drew on both sides of their brains to solve problems. 
There was a time when flying a kite meant learning to build one and what materials could be used and even that there needed to be a tail. 
There was a time when "speech" and "debate" were special classes and in those classes, students learned to research, to not find facts only but to think of arguments and how to evaluate the information they found, and to find a few good reasons that supported their argument. Then they learned to consider counter arguments and to find disconfirming evidence or the merits for the opposing view, and then, find further evidence to counter those. Plus, they learned to document their findings and provide accurate attribution; and, just as important, not to plagiarize.

We need to help our children today:

  • learn to pretend
  • to solve problems on their own and without Googling; 
  • to question and analyze what they hear and read and not take everything as truth just because they found it on the internet or because someone said it; 
  • to learn how to solve all sorts of problems and then test their results for evidence their answers are correct; 
  • to be able to present dual perspective arguments
  • to be able to find and discuss the costs and benefits of each position; 
  • to eventually be able to figure out what new data would help resolve a controversy.

We need to help our children learn how to not just survive but to lead or feel confident on selecting a leader using critical thinking.

© Is Critical Thinking Obsolete?
Mimi Wolske
All Rights Reserved

houses built on the edge of ambivalence
where origami occupants’ dreams are
filed in loose-leaf gliders while plumped
breadcrumbs nick their interests when rivers rise, swell

bowler gods and kitchen goddesses
rally around a dark apostrophe
or a fire-starting catastrophe
like flies and bees ‘round freshly picked wedding bouquets

whether words squared and re-used in a scrabble game
by the photo-op holocaust without substance
or the punctuation with questionable content and leaky leaks
both entice the gods and goddesses with broadcasted-war decisions

will time lick it wings or slap them flat
against its ancient pendulum of a body
or will snakes in the grass and pigs’ ear purses
manage to reach insouciant, perilous, uncritical-thinker constituents


  1. Well done. Appreciate you sharing.

  2. This is very interesting, This is the way we need to turn around and teach our children how to play again turn back the hands of time before all the distractions. they need to learn to think for themselves. They need to be able to survive in the most dangerous world that I ever remember. We have to learn to trust them to get on the bus again or to walk to school. This is a good step towards independence and learning about the world.

    1. thank you for you comments Dorothy. You're right. And, I appreciate your time and thoughtful comments.