The new "Raising Critical Thinkers" Tea with Julie starts.
Tea with Julie

Welcome to "Tea with Julie," a weekly missive by me, Julie Bogart. My wish is to give you food for thought over a cup of tea to enhance your life as an educator, parent, and awesome adult. Glad you're here. Pinkies up!
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Cincinnati, April 15, 2023

Hi Friend,

The next Tea with Julie series is a topic I deeply care about (so much so, I wrote a whole book about it!): Raising Critical Thinkers!

Today we'll look at the requirements for critical thinkers. Then in the coming weeks, we'll discuss:

  • Developing Critical Thinking Skills
  • Bias: What Do I Hope Will Be True?
  • Identify the Storytellers
  • Question the Experts
  • Don't Derail Thoughtfulness
  • and more!

Requirements for Critical Thinkers

When I hear “critical thinking,” I think of criticism—getting judged, graded, or challenged.

It took some time, but one day I heard the term “critical” differently:

  • Critical, as in “crucial”
  • Critical, as in “essential”
  • Critical, as in the “fulcrum” of the issue

Critical thinking is about exploring all the essential elements of a topic—identifying what’s at stake, what’s crucial to take into account. Critical thinking means that the issue merits discussion and exploration.

What research demonstrates is that we lose our powers to think critically when we are under duress.

We can't think critically if:

  • we feel pressure,
  • our community threatens us with rejection,
  • we’re being graded,
  • or someone is yelling.

We pick a side that ushers us into safety.

Have you ever been in a fight with someone you love only to capitulate to stop the verbal assault? That’s not critical thinking. That’s self-protection.

It’s also not critical thinking if we spend energy agreeing with ourselves—excluding information that doesn’t align with our well-settled ideas and beliefs. The concept is not up for review or investigation. Rather, information, facts, and data are rounded up to reinforce the belief.

I’m not here to criticize the role of apologetics (you conduct an apologetic every time you explain to a child why they need to eat vegetables and take baths against their will).

Rather, to be a critical thinker requires a couple of things:

  1. A supportive, emotionally safe environment
  2. A partner who is an ally, not an antagonist

That’s it!





P.S. Catch up on all the “Tea with Julie” emails here!

Julie Bogart
© 2023 Brave Writer LLC™

Brave Writer




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