chapter  1
20 Pages

Thinking Skills and Early Childhood Education

My aim in this chapter is to offer a rationale for the teaching of thinking skills in early childhood education. I begin by discussing issues concerning: (1) the promotion of effective thinking in young children; (2) the contemporary context in which arguments for the teaching of thinking in schools are being proposed. As one major obstacle which is likely to impede pupils’ intellectual development is the indoctrinatory nature of much of contemporary schooling, I examine several popular conceptions of ‘indoctrination’ and then argue for a new one. Having distinguished between justifiable and unjustifiable indoctrination, I offer a qualified justification for the use of the former in schools. I believe that it is necessary to adopt the perspective which I advance below in order to circumvent a difficulty encountered by many contributors to the ‘indoctrination debate’. This arises as a result of regarding the concept simply as a term of abuse to describe the practices of others. By viewing ‘indoctrination’ in this way, one is rendered unable to differentiate between various kinds of teaching activities.