Letter: Are schools no longer teaching critical thinking?

Pratt thanks her teacher, Mr. Vincent Dodge, for teaching her class the scientific method.

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In 1949, my eighth-grade science teacher, Mr. Vincent Dodge, took time in the science curriculum to teach us how to be critical thinkers, how to recognize propaganda. I will never forget this lifesaving lesson. Time and again I recognize how media in all forms may be intended to sell me something — not only things, but ideas.

My classmates and I were expecting to start off right away with fun experiments, but first we had to learn about objectivicity. So, after the enlightening intro about proaganda, Mr. Dodge moved into the five steps of the scientific method.

In America, he told us, we are free to come up with our own creative ideas or inventions that we think could improve our lives. But, not all our ideas are good ones, he said, and they need to be tested objectively - a big new word for some of us. No matter how much anyone might love a brilliant idea, no pre-judging is allowed in science. Facts are facts.

Mr. Dodge said that changes need to be made very carefully, planned and test-studied based on the scientific method. This method is widely known by many people and can now easily be found online. Mother Nature wishes everyone would use it.

Perhaps our country needs a review of this lesson. If we can't even agree on the basic process of fact-finding, how can we come to a consensus on big issues such as civil rights, law and order, immigration, voting rights and many other issues that seem to cause contention these days?


Common sense must be included across the curriculum. In my opinion, problem solution should be included in every classroom if the American Dream is to survive.

Thank you, Mr. Dodge!

Janet Pratt lives in Detroit Lakes, Minn.

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