Critical thinking, or ‘General Studies’, is the study of all aspects of the world around us, including politics, ethics, culture, technology. Boys are taught to question, debate, speculate – to think for themselves.
Critical thinking begins for our Junior boys with a focus on verbal and non-verbal reasoning. In Year 6, we move on to study different human qualities, using, for example, Beowulf and Anne Frank to spark discussions about character traits, motivation, and individual and collective responsibility.
Achievement in the humanities is high. Pupils are notably articulate and they apply their speaking and listening skills confidently in lessons and discussions. They listen with care to the thoughts and opinions of their peers, happily sharing ideas.
Some of the boys will sit a general paper in their final exam. For these boys in Year 8, critical thinking enables them to construct a discursive argument in response to a question about, for example, the merits of democracy, or the artistic value of modern art. Through critical thinking, boys are taught to value the power and protocol of written and spoken argument, and to draw their own conclusions. They may end up seeing the world differently. They certainly become thinkers.