The development of critical thinking is at the center of the mission assigned to the French education system. Present in many teaching programs, the work of training students to decipher reality and to progressively build an enlightened, autonomous, and critical mind is a major ambition of the school.
It is necessary to distinguish the fundamental attitudes which characterize “critical thinking” and the way in which the critical mind is implemented. The link between these two aspects is crucial in education, since it is the practices that nourish attitudes, and therefore those attitudes, when nourished and strengthened, are more easily translated into practice.
Critical thinking is dynamic. It is never a definitive achievement, and it can always happen that we are in lack of it, or that we are carried away by our opinions or by our prejudices. We cannot therefore take advantage purely and simply of critical thinking. We strive to have it and this translates into practice. It is with this incessant effort that the teacher gradually initiates their students.
Awakening curiosity is both essential and very difficult. The habit of seeking information, in the broadest sense of the term, to acquire knowledge, is the first step towards intellectual autonomy. Curiosity induces all other attitudes, because it alone can make people aware of the multiplicity of information (and therefore of the need to sort them) and of the vast fields of knowledge. The awakening of curiosity also refers to the overall relationship between the pupil and the school, a place of transmission and enhancement of knowledge.
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