Youth Engagement with Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is analyzing, integrating and evaluating what you experience, read, hear and understand. Youth can change the world when they use critical thinking to decide whether someone’s opinions, ideas or wisdom is just, fair and right.

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically… Intelligence plus character, that is the goal of true education. — Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ways Youth Engagement in Critical Thinking Happens

Youth Media Making — In order to challenge adult apathy, disregard and adultism, young people around the world are making media that reflects their perspectives and realities. By creating newspapers, websites, videos and other media, youth are countering negative perceptions and standing up for themselves.

Youth as Evaluators — Young people are learning how to think critically by evaluating the programs, activities, businesses, communities and other settings where they spend their time, money and energy. They are developing assessments, conducting research and developing sophisticated analyses of the challenges and realities in their communities every day.

Youth-Led Activism — Rallying their peers, younger people and adults, youth activists are conducting active, engaging campaigns to transform society right now. Through organized, directed and deliberate activism campaigns, youth are critically thinking and engaging in the world around them right now.

"Only through actions do words take power." - Freechild Project motto

Needs for Youth Engagement in Critical Thinking

Opportunities — Children and youth need practical, tangible and daily opportunities to learn and practice critical thinking. With adults as allies, young people can turn home, school and the community into laboratories of practice for critical thinking. At home, families can practice critical thinking through discussions and connectivity; in classes, teachers can challenge students to critique sources, knowledge and ideas; throughout the community, young people can question everything, everywhere by reflecting on what is presented, whether or not it matters and what can be done with it, for it or towards it.

Education — Developing individual and group critical thinking skills and abilities happens through education and opportunities. Whether led by young people among themselves or through youth/adult partnerships, critical thinking education can be nestled into any issue or action, topic or subject. Conscious reflection and examination can lead learners and teachers towards understanding, engagement and meaning.

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Other tools are out there, too – share your thoughts in the comments below! For more information about how The Freechild Project can support youth engagement in critical thinking in your community or organization, contact us.

How to Start Engaging Children and Youth by Adam Fletcher

One response to “Youth Engagement with Critical Thinking”

  1. […] and social effects of issues being protested are key, too. Youth activists can research, study and critique things central to their community organizing […]

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