Jordan Peterson - The Best Way To Learn Critical Thinking

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The best way to teach people critical thinking, is to teach them to write.

And I made this little thing, that I put online, it's...

I don't know if, maybe it- Is it in the SEC 4:34 website? Did I post that rubric for essay writing?

[Student] I don't think it actually went through, but it's still on 430, that's how I got it.

Is it not on 434, is that not working?

[Student] It probably must have not gone through, when you were doing it.


[Student] Yeah. But I still found it, it's still on 430.

Oh, okay. Well, there's an essay... Oh, that's too bad. It's not on the SEC 434 website even?

[Student] I didn't check.

Cause I updated it. Anyways, I have this guide to writing, that's, that-

If it isn't on the 434 website, it is definitely on the 430 website.

And, uh... it steps people through the process of writing.

Because what's happened now, It's very hard to teach people to write, cause it's unbelievably time intensive.

And like, writing- marking a good essay, that's really easy. "Check: A".

You did everything right. Marking a bad essay? Oh my God!

- the words are wrong, - the phrases are wrong,

- the sentences are wrong, - they're not ordered right in the paragraphs,

- the paragraphs aren't coherent, - and the whole thing makes no sense.

So, trying to tell the person what they did wrong... It's like: well, you did everything wrong.

Everything about this essay is wrong.

Well, that's not helpful either, you have to... find a few little things they did half right.

And you have to teach them, what they did wrong. It's really expensive.

And so, what I did with this rubric, was try to... address that from the production side, instead of the grading side.

But the best thing you can do, is teach people to write.

Because there's no difference between that and thinking.

And one of the things, that just blows me away about universities,

is that... noone ever tells students, why they should write something!

It's like "Well, you have to do this assignment".

Well, why are you writing? Well - you need the grade.

It's like, no! You need to learn to THINK.

Because thinking makes you act effectively in the world.

Thinking makes you win the battles you undertake, and those could be battles for good things.

If you can think, and speak, and write - you are absolutely deadly!

Nothing can get in your way. So that's why you learn to write, it's like...

And I can't believe, that people aren't just told that! [stutter]

It's the most powerful weapon, you can possibly provide someone with.

And I mean, I know lots of people, who have been staggeringly successful, and watched them throughout my life.

I mean, those people... you don't wanna have an argument with them.

They'll just slash you into pieces, and not in a malevolent way.

It's like: if you're gonna make your point, and they're gonna make their point,

you better have your points organized, because otherwise you're gonna look like (and be) an absolute idiot!

You are not gonna get anywhere.

And if you can formulate your arguments coherently, and make a presentation,

if you can speak to people, if you can lay out a proposal...

God! People give you money, they give you opportunities, you have influence.

That's what you're at university for. And so, that's what you do! That's...

[addressing a student] You're in, you're in English, right?


Yeah, in languages, anyways. It's like, yeah!

Teach people to be articulate!

Because that's the most dangerous thing, you can possibly be.

So... and that's motivating, if people know that!

It's like "Well, why are you learning to write?" Cause your...

Here's your sword, here's your M-16, right? Here's your bulletproof vest.

Like, you learn how to use them.

But... *sigh*

It's just... it's an endless mystery to me, why that isn't made self-evident.

So... that's the sort of thing, that can drive you mad, trying to sort out.

It's like, people are- there's a-

There's a conspiracy to bring people into the education system, to make them weaker.

So... I guess that keeps the competition down.

Maybe that's one way of thinking about it.

If your students are stupid, they're not gonna challenge you.