Critical thinking: why teach philosophy to children?
Why? It is the quintessential question of philosophy, but also the statement by which many of the children's questions begin during their first years of life. The children question everything, in each of them there is a little philosopher willing to rethink the world in a different way through the critical thinking and reflect on some issues still unanswered by humanity.
But, should we teach philosophy to children Or could we simply provoke frustration with the complexity of some concepts? "Philosophy is an effective tool to encourage reflection, logic and reinforce values among children," says Sergio Díez, promoter of the School of Philosophers in the educational group Brains International Schools.
"Our goal should not be to cover large concepts or theories, but to teach children that there are issues in which there is no right or wrong answer." The important thing is the skills they learn during this process such as the ability to argue, tolerance towards the rest of opinions, the adoption of a critical position, and most importantly, the ability to form a critical opinion without being influenced by others ", comments Sergio Díez.
5 ways to start in the world of philosophy from home
The fundamental idea is to teach children to think through philosophy and critical thinking. Questioning the why of things is very beneficial for the future of children because it fosters their autonomy, their ability to make decisions and reinforces their self-confidence.
1. Reading, your best ally: Establishing the habit of reading is very important, even in those children who have not yet learned to read, since we can do it together with them. Children's stories tend to present simple conflicts between the characters that we can analyze with children and take the opportunity to ask them what they think about them.
2. Keep curiosity alive: not only should we be the ones who receive the questions, but we should also be the ones who formulate them to the children to keep awake their interest in knowledge. For this, it is best to opt for open questions, instead of closed questions that can be answered with a monosyllable.
3. Encourage him to give his opinion: and, above all, let him know that his opinions are important. Also, exposing your opinions will help you organize your thoughts and allow you to build a story in an orderly manner. It is also important to teach them to respect the opinions of others, which is the basis of values such as tolerance and respect.
4. Encourages dialogue and debate: we should not confuse the debate with the discussion. Our goal should be that the child gets used not to give their opinions in a reasoned way, in order to expose them correctly (in tone and structure). Depending on the age we can raise issues of greater or lesser difficulty. In this way, we will help generate processes of active listening and group construction of knowledge, through participation and dialogue around the selected theme.
5. Extracurricular activities for future philosophers: Generally, this type of activities are proposed in groups so that children can dialogue and share experiences and opinions. One example is the theater classes, since they invite the child to put themselves in the shoes of another person and reflect on their conflicts.
Concha Hernández. Professor of Philosophy and Values in the educational group Brains International Schools