01 September, 2020

Dear Decaturish – From A CSD teacher regarding the impact of COVID-19 on critical thinking


I spent my career building projects that brought my students together. Teaching this way, still and in isolation, is soul-sucking. As much as I try to get my students to interact virtually, I’m still there; the ever-present adult. So, they miss the camaraderie they would typically build with side conversations. Strangely, that’s what I keep coming back to in my mind. It’s what I miss the most, and it’s what I think they need the most.

It’s through those strange and wonderful side conversations that kids explore their world and build their flawed but functional understanding of how life works. It’s those side conversations that develop the world view that they then spend the rest of their formative years refining. They need the chance to ask each other questions they are afraid to ask adults, and they need the opportunity to work their way through questions they are unequipped to answer. Because, it’s in that playful struggle, through those leaps of the imagination, that children learn to think critically.

And adults just can’t play their game, not anymore, our minds are too chained by what we’ve decided is reality. But, that’s our reality, not theirs. They live in a better world, where anything is possible. The much-derided “child’s play” is more important than most people know, and it’s a game best played without supervision.