Can you critically think a bologna sandwich? Yeah. Me too. But follow me on this one.
My friend Nana Kay has three daughters, two of whom are in middle school. I don’t know if it’s at the direction of the county or just some bizarre, demented idea by the principal of the middle school, but this school has done away with lunch period. Instead of lunch period where the children would chat with friends, text message themselves on to restriction, and eat a bag of chips, drink a coke and run to their locker to exchange books, these children are forced into some class called critical thinking.
Critical thinking is really a lunch period in disguise. The disguise comes like this: no talking allowed; no visiting with your friends; no cell phones; no texting; no socializing at all; sit, eat if you choose and think critically. Oh, and get this, they even have assignments, homework and get a grade in this class. Yup. You heard me. I can only imagine the homework. “Students tonight you will be making a p-nut butter and jelly sandwich for tomorrow. Be sure to have your sandwich ready to be thought about critically. No bologna or ham substitutions allowed. And for you weirdoes who put other things on your p-nut butter and jelly sandwiches, I’d think twice about that for this assignment.”
What dumb nut face dreamed this up? When are these children supposed to learn to socialize? When, other than in other more important classes, are they supposed to gossip? When are they supposed to make puppy dog eyes at their love interest? When are they supposed to make plans for the weekend? When on earth are they supposed to chew gum, have food fights, and be teenagers?
Critical Thinking Class must be the dream class of some Communist Overbearing Twerp who thinks “critical thinking” skills can be gained in solitary confinement while eating a bologna sandwich with mayo. Critical thinking normally involves, ummm, thinking critically about some issue or problem and finding a resolution or solution. Often times it involves the sharing of ideas. That in turn involves some form of communication, which is not allowed in these ‘Critical Thinking’ classes. It would appear to me that whoever came up with the idea of a Critical Thinking Class, was not thinking critically at the time.
I’m quite sure the person who dreamed up this Critical Thinking Class doesn’t allow talking around his/her dinner table either. We all know that talk around the dinner table increases scores in school, reduces drug addiction in teenagers, and leads to parent’s knowing what is happening in their children’s lives. Oh the horror of it all! I don’t know about you, but I prefer the teenagers of today be allowed to do stupid teenage stuff while they are still teenagers and not wait until they are Congressmen, Judges, and leaders of our country. We have enough idiocy there, thank you very much. I would much rather they learn that gossip is not a good thing by experiencing its effects when they are 12 or 13. Only by being the gossiper or gossipee can you truly experience the negative effects of such action. This is much preferable in my mind than them waiting until they are in their thirties and trying it with Iran and Israel. I would rather them share inappropriate jokes and be sent to detention than shoot someone for being ‘dissed’ and being sent to prison. I would like them to learn that disagreements can be resolved without physical violence, and not have to resort to WoMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) to prove that point as an adult. How do you learn any of these things when you are confined to thinking critically about a bologna sandwich? You may learn whether you like mayo better than mustard on bologna, but not much else that will help you in life.
If you want to teach children critical thinking, I say let them be teenagers. I learned more during those horrible years, about politics, solving problems, love, losing friends, makeup application, the importance of high heels and a matching purse, and acne control – skills that can translate to adulthood. Thinking critically about bologna sandwiches does not translate as far as I’m concerned.
I believe that any and everyone involved in developing this Critical Thinking Class should be doomed to plan the rest of their career in this socially stigmatizing, thought inhibiting environment, and see what happens to them in a year or two. Or better yet, let the students, with their new critical thinking skills, develop the career guides for teachers, then let the teachers sit and contemplate tuna on whole wheat with light mayo for 45 minutes each day. Oh yeah, and not talking to the other teachers while you are thinking critically.