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‘Critical thinking will resolve challenges and generate greater opportunities for Kingdom’

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Dr Ung Vannthoeun: Education and skills are vital to enter the workforce. Photo supplied

‘Critical thinking will resolve challenges and generate greater opportunities for Kingdom’

How do we become distributors of ideas and what ideas are worth sharing?

Dr Ung Vannthoeun, vice-rector of Norton University, says critical thinking provides the answers to these questions.

Vannthoeun, a doctor of psychology, reasoned that critical thinking is “the weighing of facts and experience and balancing them with their own evaluations”.

While education and skills training are crucial in entering the workforce, it is growing increasingly important for people to develop critical thinking skills, says Vannthoeun.

This, Vannthoeun says, would generate additional income for Cambodia, as well as result dividends in that extend beyond the financial realm.

“We know that money is the tangible currency in our daily lives, but it is said that ideas are the new currency in the 21st century,” he says.

Worryingly, according to the vice-rector, some university professors had expressed concerns that students were unable to think critically and clearly express their ideas.

He adds that misinformation had become more widespread through the consumption of fake news.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, platforms like Ted Talks allow speakers from all backgrounds and disciplines to interpret discoveries and share their experiences.

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The Norton University campus in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

Therefore, according to Vannthoeun, educators must find thought-provoking ways to engage students, while teachers must encourage their to pupils to ponder on how the lessons apply to students’ own experiences.

“For instance, if the crowd resorts to a mob mentality and takes justice into its own hands to kill the driver in the event of a fatal hit-and-run, it may consider justice to have been served.

“However, the crowd did not consider that the driver could have been charged with ‘unintentional manslaughter’, while the mob may have committed ‘intentional manslaughter’,” Vannthoeun says, citing a real world example.

“As an institution, and educators as a whole, must guide students to think, apply their ideas and strive to innovate in addition to providing lessons.

“The ability to think critically can help avoid problems and cultivate ideas that can be of purpose,” he says.

Quoting US founding father Benjamin Franklin, he adds: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

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