How to teach children to think for themselves?

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binocular
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How to teach children to think for themselves?

Post by binocular » Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:12 am

Greetings.

From another thread:
retrofuturist wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 10:23 pm
Frankly, I can think of a lot of things that should be taught in schools before religion even comes into the curriculum. It's better to teach kids how to think for themselves, and give them the analytical tools to let them choose their own views and beliefs, rather than be indoctrinated in someone else's.
How to teach children to think for themselves?

"To teach someone" and "to think for themselves" seem mutually exclusive. As long as the teacher decides whether a prticular student is thinking for themselves or not, and the teacher's decision in this matter is to be regarded as authoritative, this long the student isn't thinking for themselves, nor allowed space to do so.


Please discuss. Thank you.

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Re: How to teach children to think for themselves?

Post by Pseudobabble » Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:18 am

I would say teaching someone to think for themselves means teaching a position of critical evaluation - even with regards to the position of critical evaluation!
"Does Master Gotama have any position at all?"

"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is perception...such are fabrications...such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.'" - Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta


'Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.' - Genesis 3:19

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Re: How to teach children to think for themselves?

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:28 am

Greetings binocular,

Here's an example of the kind of thing I was referring to.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: How to teach children to think for themselves?

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:34 am

binocular wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:12 am
As long as the teacher decides whether a prticular student is thinking for themselves or not, and the teacher's decision in this matter is to be regarded as authoritative, this long the student isn't thinking for themselves, nor allowed space to do so.
That's absolutely right. But the trick is for the teacher not to do these things for too long. Once the student is thinking for themselves, the teacher stops deciding whether the student is doing it, and merely acknowledges it. The teacher gives up the authoritative stance, and adopts one of humility.

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Re: How to teach children to think for themselves?

Post by chownah » Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:02 pm

How to teach children to think for themselves fills up volumes. Teaching them this starts at birth. When a newborn smiles at its caregiver and the caregiver smiles back the newborn soon learns that he/she is connected to a world and that the world responds to his/her initiatives. The baby learns that it is a potent self. As the baby grows if the parents give support to the baby's exploration of the world with its various body parts (feet, fingers, hands, tongue, every part that is used) by helping it to touch things and discover them and by smiling and making happy friendly sounds of encouragement...smiling..."that's good" in a high pitched gentle voice....doing those encouraging things which come naturally to many caregivers it further teaches the baby that it is a potent and loved force in the world and that its venture into the realms of the senses is not only accepted but encouraged. As the baby gets older and learns what "good" means if the parents use that word when the child is discovering the world and smile and hug and kiss when the baby is discovering the world then the baby will learn that its methods to think about and discover the world are effective in getting the things the baby likes.....etc. etc.....it goes on all through life and at each stage of development there are new ways that people can learn to think for themselves.
What I presented is just a sketchy outline of a few things and is not supposed to teach anyone about how to raise children.....I am trying to give an impression or a flavor of how teaching indepenent thinking can happen at any age.....even old people can learn it.....
chownah

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Re: How to teach children to think for themselves?

Post by DooDoot » Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:17 pm

binocular wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:12 am
Please discuss. Thank you.
MN 61 & SN 55.7 (The People of the Bamboo Gate)

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Re: How to teach children to think for themselves?

Post by JeffR » Sat Dec 16, 2017 6:01 am

Ask them questions. Give them some information and let them process it on their own; then guide them towards the right solution (if there is a "right" solution). The important thing is to ask questions that make them think, rather than just stuff them with information.
Therein what are 'six (types of) disrespect'? One dwells without respect, without deference for the Teacher; one dwells without respect, without deference for the Teaching; one dwells without respect, without deference for the Order; one dwells without respect, without deference for the precepts; one dwells without respect, without deference for heedfulness; one dwells without respect, without deference for hospitality. These are six (types of) disrespect.
:Vibh 945

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Re: How to teach children to think for themselves?

Post by robertk » Sat Dec 16, 2017 7:32 am

Expose them to the classics and thinkers like Socrates, Montaigne, Confucious etc. and of course the Buddha.


Or if parents/teachers have a progressive orientation offer them appropriate thinkers like Fidel Castro, Mao, Hugo Chavez and Lenin.

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Re: How to teach children to think for themselves?

Post by Pseudobabble » Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:43 am

robertk wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 7:32 am
Or if parents/teachers have a progressive orientation offer them appropriate thinkers like Fidel Castro, Mao, Hugo Chavez and Lenin.
I'm not sure if you are joking Robert, but these seem.. not appropriate for teaching critical thinking.
"Does Master Gotama have any position at all?"

"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is perception...such are fabrications...such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.'" - Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta


'Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.' - Genesis 3:19

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Re: How to teach children to think for themselves?

Post by robertk » Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:07 am

Pseudobabble wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:43 am
robertk wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 7:32 am
Or if parents/teachers have a progressive orientation offer them appropriate thinkers like Fidel Castro, Mao, Hugo Chavez and Lenin.
I'm not sure if you are joking Robert, but these seem.. not appropriate for teaching critical thinking.
Hey it seemed to work wth Bernie Sanders : he writes These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina, where incomes are actually more equal today than they are in the land of Horatio Alger. Who's the banana republic now

:tongue:

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Re: How to teach children to think for themselves?

Post by Pseudobabble » Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:24 am

robertk wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:07 am
Pseudobabble wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:43 am
robertk wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 7:32 am
Or if parents/teachers have a progressive orientation offer them appropriate thinkers like Fidel Castro, Mao, Hugo Chavez and Lenin.
I'm not sure if you are joking Robert, but these seem.. not appropriate for teaching critical thinking.
Hey it seemed to work wth Bernie Sanders : he writes These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina, where incomes are actually more equal today than they are in the land of Horatio Alger. Who's the banana republic now

:tongue:
Lol - well I guess we know that they are feeling the Bern in Venezuela at least..
"Does Master Gotama have any position at all?"

"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is perception...such are fabrications...such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.'" - Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta


'Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.' - Genesis 3:19

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Re: How to teach children to think for themselves?

Post by binocular » Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:29 am

How is "to teach someone to think for themselves" not a contradiction in terms?

"To teach someone how to drive a car" or "to teach someone how to swim" are different than "to teach someone to think for themselves."

"Thinking for oneself" requires that one doesn't rely on others (freely, or by force). But when teaching, the teacher expects the student to rely on the teacher.

Critical thinking is still thinking in accordance with someone else's rules and principles of thinking, not for oneself.

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Re: How to teach children to think for themselves?

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:49 am

binocular wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:29 am
How is "to teach someone to think for themselves" not a contradiction in terms?
Because the verbs "to think" and "to teach" are conceptually separate.
"To teach someone how to drive a car" or "to teach someone how to swim" are different than "to teach someone to think for themselves."
Correct. They are also conceptually separate, and none of the verbs mentioned so far necessarily implies either the affirmation or negation of any of the others.
"Thinking for oneself" requires that one doesn't rely on others (freely, or by force). But when teaching, the teacher expects the student to rely on the teacher.
True, but once the teaching is done, there need be no such reliance. In that particular respect, it happens to be like teaching swimming or driving. Once the teacher has produced a competent swimmer or driver, there need be no reliance upon the teacher any more.
Critical thinking is still thinking in accordance with someone else's rules and principles of thinking, not for oneself.
Rules and principles of thinking do not belong to anyone, any more than the laws of physics which allow one to swim or drive belong to anyone. We can of course attribute their discovery or popularisation to particular individuals, but that's not ownership. A person who has been taught how to think may be indebted to their teacher, but is no longer controlled by them.

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Re: How to teach children to think for themselves?

Post by chownah » Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:05 pm

I think it is a bit odd to say that you are going to teach someone how to think. It is sort of like teaching a vegetable seed to sprout.
chownah

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Re: How to teach children to think for themselves?

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:13 pm

chownah wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:05 pm
I think it is a bit odd to say that you are going to teach someone how to think. It is sort of like teaching a vegetable seed to sprout.
chownah
I think (!) it depends on what is meant by "thinking". In the absence of any such tuition, either overt or covert, there will certainly be mentation, but it will not be that person thinking for themselves. It will be mere mental activity driven by contact with thoughts and sense-impressions, and most of it will be unintelligible to others. To be taught to think for oneself is to learn how to escape from that process, while remaining intelligible to oneself and others.

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Re: How to teach children to think for themselves?

Post by chownah » Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:56 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:13 pm
chownah wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:05 pm
I think it is a bit odd to say that you are going to teach someone how to think. It is sort of like teaching a vegetable seed to sprout.
chownah
I think (!) it depends on what is meant by "thinking". In the absence of any such tuition, either overt or covert, there will certainly be mentation, but it will not be that person thinking for themselves. It will be mere mental activity driven by contact with thoughts and sense-impressions, and most of it will be unintelligible to others. To be taught to think for oneself is to learn how to escape from that process, while remaining intelligible to oneself and others.
I think I disagree with you on this. All thinking is "mere mental activity driven by contact with thoughts and sense-impressions,"(don't know why "mere" is used here)....what else could it be? I think that encouraging children (for example) to think a certain way may elicit the natural use of certain types of thought processes....but I think that just like a seed will sprout when put in fertile ground and watered, thinking will sprout when provided fertile experiences and encouragement.
chownah

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Sam Vara
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Re: How to teach children to think for themselves?

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Dec 16, 2017 1:10 pm

chownah wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:56 pm

All thinking is "mere mental activity driven by contact with thoughts and sense-impressions,"(don't know why "mere" is used here)....what else could it be?
Purposive activity which benefits the thinker. You'll certainly think a lot if your clothes catch fire in an accident. Most of it will be mere mentation, which adds nothing to your welfare. If you've been lucky enough to have been trained as a fire-fighter and understand the principles of combustion, however, then your thought will be of a different nature.
I think that encouraging children (for example) to think a certain way may elicit the natural use of certain types of thought processes....but I think that just like a seed will sprout when put in fertile ground and watered, thinking will sprout when provided fertile experiences and encouragement.
Sure. It's a reasonable enough analogy, but the distinction between farming and pedagogy is there for a reason.

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Re: How to teach children to think for themselves?

Post by Bundokji » Sat Dec 16, 2017 1:16 pm

I think children should be taught that knowledge is a process, not facts that are frozen in space and time. Once this is understood, the process of justification takes place. You enable them to become more skillful in justifying their beliefs. When a certain belief can no longer be justified, it should be discarded and replaced by a more justified one.

I would also say that justification should not be clearly defined, but should be properly used. A skillful swimmer does not need to have a clear definition of what swimming is.
ولَرُبَّ نَازِلَةٍ يَضِيقُ بهَا الفَضَـــــا *** ذَرْعًا؛ وعِندَ الله مِنهَا المَخْرَجُ
عَظُمَت فَلَما استُحكِمت حَلقاتها *** فُرِجت وكَانَ يَظُنُّهَا لا تُفْرَجُ
لا تَيْأَسَنَ فَكُلُ عُسْــــــرٍ بَعْــدَهُ *** يُسر يُسرّ ُبِهِ الفُؤَادُ المُحَرَّجُ
واصبر فَإِنَّ الصَــــــبر في الدُّنْيَا *** نَيْلُ المُنَى والقَصْدُ نِعْمَ المْنهجُ

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Re: How to teach children to think for themselves?

Post by binocular » Sat Dec 16, 2017 4:54 pm

I think the concept "to think for oneself" is a loaded one, ideologically biased and used to fulfill some kind of socio-psychological need (I'm not yet sure which one).

Image

People say they "think for themselves" when they want to appear special, as opposed to "being like everyone else."
And people tell others to "think for themselves" when they want to eschew whatever responsibility they feel they have toward them.

One can think for oneself in the same way one can breathe for oneself: under the condition that a solid, separate, self-sufficient self is assumed.
To truly breathe for oneself would mean to make one's own oxygen (from nothing, ex nihilo) and have full, conscious control over one's lungs and the whole breathing apparatus ...

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Re: How to teach children to think for themselves?

Post by binocular » Sat Dec 16, 2017 4:57 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:13 pm
I think (!) it depends on what is meant by "thinking". In the absence of any such tuition, either overt or covert, there will certainly be mentation, but it will not be that person thinking for themselves. It will be mere mental activity driven by contact with thoughts and sense-impressions, and most of it will be unintelligible to others. To be taught to think for oneself is to learn how to escape from that process, while remaining intelligible to oneself and others.
Why this emphasis on others??

And which others?

Most of Buddhist thinking is unintelligible to most people (who don't have an education in Buddhism). Does that make Buddhist thinking mere mentation?

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