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Concerned About Unconventional Mental Health Interventions?

Concerned About Unconventional Mental Health Interventions?
Alternative Psychotherapies: Evaluating Unconventional Mental Health Treatments

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Critical thinking and child development, Part 3

Here is the third section of an unpublished paper on critical thinking issues and teaching child development.

Why do We Want Child Development Students to Develop Critical Thinking?
With respect to learning during a course in child development, it is desirable for students to use critical thinking skills, as such skills will help them to understand how to apply what they learn. Critical thinking skills also help students avoid confusion between related or similar concepts; clarifying material through critical thinking helps students to understand and remember correctly what they have studied. And, of course, application of critical thinking skills helps solve the old problem of “not knowing what’s important.”
In addition, we want students to have critical thinking abilities that are of special importance to child development information, so that they will continue to use a critical approach to developmental issues long after they have forgotten exactly what a Fels multiplier is. Most students will be parents and have the responsibility for choosing schools, medical and psychological treatments, and parenting practices that will influence their children. As one interview study of young parents has shown, parental understanding of early development is spotty at best (Daniel Yankelovitch Group, 2000). Many students will be teachers, participate in choices of academic and social curricula, and interpret tests and behavior. Some students will be attorneys and judges making decisions about child custody and juvenile justice, tasks which will demand some ability to think critically about developmental issues. Some students will be legislators deciding on laws and on funding of family and school services; if these can bring critical thinking skills to their consideration of developmental outcomes, the community will benefit. Some students will be physicians, psychologists, and social workers whose critical thinking skills will directly affect children; they may also be the authors of systematic research syntheses on which other practitioners will depend for their choice of treatment approaches. Finally, of course, a few students will be members of the Society for Research on Child Development, and the developmental scientists of the future.

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