Critical Thinkers

Critical Thinkers

All students have access to our ‘Critical Thinkers’ programme. This consists of teaching students how to structure arguments, how to criticise arguments and how we can use these skills in the future. Many employers have said that they are surprised by the lack of literacy skills that young people have. This session ensures students get these skills by asking students to give their answers, critiquing or supporting the idea in the session, and reasoning behind them. Students also learn how to evaluate whether points are strong or weak by questioning why something might be the case.

In the first half term (Aut 1) pupils explore the philosophy behind crime and punishment. How ought we punish criminals? Is prison always the answer? Should we bring back the death penalty? Is corporal punishment ever ok? Through the lens of key thinkers such as activist Angela Davis and Archbishop Desmond Tutu we will explore and debate different perspectives on dealing with the “deviant” in society.

In the second half term (Aut 2) we will sharpen our aptitudes for debate by exploring a range of ethical perspectives. From Divine command theory through Saladin to Freud’s model of conscience pupils will finish with an understanding of ethical views and where they might come from. In the last week pupils will have chosen a debate topic and will go head to head to see who can make the best arguments.

In the third half term (Spr 1) pupils will deepen their debate skills be exploring and analysing a range of logical fallacies. Why does Bertrand Russell take issue with composition? Are natural things always good? Why are emotional arguments so effective? By the end we will be calling out bad faith arguments and applying our new evaluative skills in the evaluative elements of all subjects as well as debating like champions.

In the fourth half term (Spr 2) pupils will explore issues surrounding relationships and marriage. They will compare survey results with previous y12 groups to see if we can spot changes in how bluecoat pupils seen these issues through the years. Through the lens of Sikhism, Hinduism, Islam, Humanism and Christianity we will discuss and study a range of sexual ethics issues. Should sex before marriage be a taboo? Is arranged marriage the way of the future? We will look at all of this and more!

In the fifth half term (Sum 1) we will look at the effect of racism and prejudice on the UK and internet. Why do people become part of an extremist group? What is the difference between racism and ignorance? How can we categorise racism? Can the arts be racist? By the end of this module you will be able to finally tell if Disney is racist…

In the final half term (Sum 1) we will be exploring the laws and legality of the UK. What are the laws around protest? What is the law around murder? Should human rights really be universal? Pupils will be able to understand a bit more about the laws of the country they live in as well as argue their thought on laws that have been controversial in the past.


Em, current year 13 student, says of the programme:

‘The topics for the debates are always very interesting topics that everyone can get involved with.  I have been a part of all of the ones that have been offered and I have really enjoyed getting my points across while people listen and critique them. Being a part of them has also helped me realise how to captivate an audience by making your points interesting. All of this has allowed me to boost my CV as it shows that I am willing to take part in challenges and that I am also willing to communicate.’

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