A group of Year 6s were invited to attend a Critical Thinking afternoon at Eastbourne College, on Thursday 6th March. None of us quite knew what to expect!  When we arrived, we were given a warm welcome and were put into groups with children from other prep schools.

My group set off with a lovely teacher to learn the art of debating.  She taught us how to use a technique called PEEL (point, explanation, evidence and link).  We were told that we could say our point, explain why we thought this, use evidence to back it up, then link it up to our point.  She gave us different scenarios and asked us to pick our sides. I found it very interesting to see everyone’s different perspective about the topics, as there was no right or wrong answer.

In another workshop, we were looking at how to be effective critical thinkers, keeping an open mind when arguing or judging a statement or scenario.  For example, one dilemma posed to us was called the trolley problem: a runaway tram is hurtling towards five people who are tied to the tramlines; however, you are standing by a lever which, if you pull it, will divert the tram along another track killing only one person – would you pull the lever or not? Does it make a difference who the people are?

Critical thinking means making reasoned judgements that are logical and well thought-out. It is a way of thinking in which you don’t simply accept all arguments and conclusions you are exposed to, but rather have an attitude involving questioning and understanding that there is more than one perspective.

This has really opened my mind to questioning facts, as the truth isn’t always obvious. The afternoon was great fun and taught me lots of different skills.

By Faris A