Todd Colin Vaughan/Lacombe Express Editor

Todd Colin Vaughan/Lacombe Express Editor

VAUGHAN: Critical thinking in the curriculum crucial to a functioning electorate

Students need to understand multiple perspectives in order to make informed choices

It seems our Education Minister’s choice to call out what she viewed as an un-Albertan curriculum question has turned into a disturbing pattern within the Albertan electorate.

Earlier this year Education Minister and Red Deer-North MLA Adriana LaGrange tweeted out a question from a Grade 10 social studies test. The question could be viewed as heretical to ardent Alberta’s energy sector enthusiaists. What the question was asking students to do was to use a literary source and then decide what the author probably thinks about the oil and gas sector — a lesson in critical thinking where students are asked to understand different perspectives that was put into the curriculum under a previous PC government.

The question intent was not to indoctrinate students against the oil and gas sector which — in most cases — responsibly provides thousands of jobs in the province of Alberta. The question, instead, asks students to understand and explain someone else’s opinion.

This methodology of thinking has seemed to fall further down the drain, with online parental outrage over a recent a Grade 4 social studies assignment leading to Wolf Creek Public Schools having to cancel a family Christmas dance at Iron Ridge Intermediate Campus in Blackfalds.

The assignment showed two different perspectives on land use to students, with one of the possible uses being oil and gas exploration. The students were asked to write an opinion assignment — once again a lesson in exploring perspectives and learning about critical thinking.

A parent from the school took issue with the assignment, leading to an online outrage which resulted in a different individual being charged under the Education Act for disrupting the proceedings of a school.

The pattern between these two issues is alarming and concerning.

Every day, we are forced as a society to empathize and understand each other in order to have a fair and egalitarian society.

Some people have an utter devotion to the Albertan oil and gas sector, while others have grave concerns about the environment as it pertains to the future of this planet — neither of these positions are the point of these lessons. The point is to give students all the information they need in order to make informed decisions on their own.

Accepting oil and gas dogma as absolute scripture should not be part of informed individual’s education; nor should we discount the livelihoods that the energy sector currently provides for Albertans.

Students — who will one day be part of the electorate that makes decisions for our society — should be equipped with all the information required to be good citizen. This means that understanding and — shockingly – empathizing with other people’s opinions must be part of our curriculum.

In essence, we don’t have to agree or like other people’s opinions, but our democracy is contingent on us respecting their right to have one.

It is on us as a society to ensure our schools are providing all the tools for students to critically think at early ages in order for them to be informed thinkers when they join the electorate — not simply an allegiance to one worldview or another.



todd.vaughan@lacombeexpress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives at the 2021 budget in Edmonton on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta launches COVID vaccine lottery with million-dollar prizes to encourage uptake

The premier says the lottery will offer three prizes worth $1 million a piece, as well as other prizes

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Member Terry Parsons’ custom built track vehicle.
Forestburg’s Area 53 Racetrack gears up for action-packed season

Site will also host a portion of the ‘Miles of Mayhem’ event in July

Sabrina Wilde in front of a recently purchased monster truck. Submitted.
Thorsby business women a finalist for 2021 Alberta Women’s Entrepreneurship Award

Sabrina Wilde with Lone Wolf Mechanical is a finalist for the entrepreneurial award.

Grade 12 students at Wetaskiwin Composite High School took place in the annual water fight off school property on June 11, 2021. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Graduating students in Wetaskiwin throw water fight after being told it could result in suspension

Students were told their participation could result in them being barred from graduation ceremonies.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

Most Read