As you might guess, some participants responded with a groan, perhaps triggered by confirmation bias.
I explained that the image had been sent to me by a colleague who bemoaned the culture of today’s youth with their noses constantly in their phones.
The museum even installed benches making it easier for them to respond, after being introduced to the Rembrandt classic by a docent.
My friend (and many others – read this Daily Telegraph story) had “jumped to a conclusion” based solely on the image and personal impressions about “today’s youth.” He had not thought critically about what he was seeing.
► In what ways are you teaching “critical thinking skills” in your classroom?
► In what ways are you assessing the critical thinking skills your students are learning?One of my own favorite techniques is to demonstrate critical thinking and media literacy instruction by showing a series of slides from the news or popular culture and simply ask: “What’s going on in this picture?” At a recent arts integration education conference in my home state of South Carolina, I displayed the following photograph and asked the mostly teacher audience my standard question.They also seem to be in agreement that the teaching of “critical thinking skills” is lacking in most instruction. ) The rise in fake news – fed by those who fall for it and repost such misinformation in social media – has called attention to the lack of critical thinking by many of today’s readers, including our students.The Foundation for Critical Thinking offers this definition: “Critical thinking is the art of analyzing and evaluating thinking with a view to improving it.” According to FCT, a skillful critical thinker “raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely.” (Source) As a media educator, I engage in critical thinking and questioning every day.After spending a few moments studying the image through a media literacy lens, I posited to my friend: As it turned out, some quick online research confirmed I was right.The Amsterdam art museum where this snapshot was taken has created a special app with questions for students.You might agree that understanding bumper stickers is also media literacy. It’s not clear who produced the bumper sticker or the slogan. When I talk to people, mostly those in education, they agree that their students simply don’t think critically nor do they ask good questions. They may have heard about the “nation’s deficit” in the news.These questions can be applied to every kind of media you might use in instruction.That includes photographs, magazine articles, commercials, video/film clips, social media messages, TV programs and much more (yes, even bumper stickers and slogans on t-shirts).