EA strives to promote critical thinking in all activities and lessons. But people differ in what they mean by critical thinking, so here’s what we mean. We mean not accepting an idea until you understand it completely; until you can logically build it upon premises you have already thoroughly vetted. And you have to do this in your own head. You cannot sub out critical thinking. You have to put forth the mental effort to examine each step of the logic and muster the integrity to be honest with yourself in this examination.
One great hurdle to critical thinking is reliance on “authorities”. Often the “authority” is nothing more than famous, with no competence in the subject at hand. It’s fine to consider what others think, particularly if there’s some reason to believe that they have special knowledge. But any authority has to make their case in such a way that you can follow it from beginning to end. If they don’t, never assume that you’re not smart enough to understand such a great intellect. People who really know what they’re talking about can explain it in ways anyone can understand. If they can’t, that’s big red flag.
That’s why we encourage students NOT to believe us. We want them to believe only what adds up for them in their own heads. The “curve balls” which we encourage teachers to throw are meant to keep kids on their toes, always questioning, always vetting each word that comes their way. We want them to be critical thinkers.