By educating and training young people in critical thinking already at elementary school, we help them to better assess the sources of information.
This is already common in schools today. However, this is mainly focused on assessing facts gathered through different media. When other sources of information is provided, such as from an authority figure the consequences of critical thinking is more complex and thus less encouraged.
Critically assessing information given from a source to whom you have no personal relationship with is much easier than when the source is something or someone that you either highly respect, or are expected to respect.
A help to a solution to this could be to also educate young people in resilience.
Resilience is both the ability to bounce back. but also the ability of a system to adjust so that it can sustain normal functioning in the face of changes and disturbances. That means that sometimes it is resilient to be conservative in a system asking for change, and sometimes it is resilient to resist in a system that is asking for conformity. Studies have shown that individuals resilience is one of the most important variables when creating foolproof safety system in industries such as aviation and health care.
Realizing the Idea
We must educate people in how to be resilient, already from a young age. Not solely in a matter of training people in being resilient, how to mentally maintain resilience, and teach about situations when resilience is contraindicative, but also to change the way young (and old) people react to resilience. A way to increase this is to encourage curiosity and tolerance.
As long as we have a 'like'-click focused society, with a strong shame-culture, we will have a system that grows individuals that fear resilience. And as long as we have a system that disable, and sometime punish resilience we will have a society that rewards "likes" and strengthen the shame culture. To quote Rene Brown, "Shame is the fear of disconnection", and the fear of disconnection is what is driving people to listen to the sources of information that their flock/herd is expecting them to.
Studies in affect theory have shown that the feeling (affect) opposite to shame is curiosity, and is commonly used to decrease the feeling of shame, and increase tolerance. Besides helping the overall mental health of an individual, It is also found to increase, as well as deepen, learning.
I propose that we add education in resilience to the schools curriculum from a young age, as a natural part of the already implemented school subject Life education (Livskunskap).
By adding resources in educating resilience at schools, through affect theory and curiosity, we will not only increase and deepen learning, but also help increase people’s ability to think critically, as well as strengthen the overall mental health of the individuals in our society.
Resilience, as well as basic Affect theory, is commonly not a part of the general curriculum in Sweden today. Although training in critical thinking is part of the curriculum, this is an idea focusing on increasing the variables known to create the parameters needed to achieve this in practise and at a long term.