1 – Awakening a Critical Perspective
What is a critical perspective?
Throughout life we’re tasked with taking a critical perspective on a myriad of issues. But what exactly is a critical perspective? Simply put it’s being able to compare and discuss different viewpoints and take positions based on interpretations of the subject matter.
Take the following question as an example:
“Should we stop eating meat?”
Ask this question to a group of children. What happens?
Some children may express their opinion, while others may shy away from speaking. Among those children who do voice an opinion, many will parrot arguments heard from authority figures, such as their parents or the media.
But a smaller number may venture a personal opinion—one that stems from their own reflection on both the question and the information they have been given.
What makes some children take up this critical perspective while others don’t? How do we awaken and cultivate these skills in our children? Answering these questions is the goal of this guide. We aim to spark an interest in—and the development of—robust critical thinking.
Why a critical perspective is important
Modern society and culture place enormous demands on young people, who lack the necessary tools to analyze the multiple sources of information—the internet, television, social networks, and advertising—before them. These sources will continue to multiply and fragment in the future, challenging young people’s critical faculties more and more. Fostering the development of those faculties must therefore be a priority.
To develop this guide, the Foundation relied on the work of experts, most notably Sébastian Dieguez at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, Stephane Sansone at the Grenoble Institute of Technology in France, and Mickaël Bardonnet, members of the Institute for Professional Training (INFIPP).