Critical Thinking Skills

Critical Thinking Skills

BULGARIA THINKING ASSESSMENT

 

Training course „Critical Thinking Skills” took place in Pamporovo, Bulgaria. 32 youth workers from Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Spain, Saint Martin, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, North Macedonia and Croatia participated in it. The project activity took place in the summer of year '19 (from 4th - 12th of May). Latvia were represented by a youth worker from Pārgauja municipality: Iluta, and 2 young activists: Lingita and Juris.

The main topic of the project is related to the development of critical thinking in young people. The project responds directly to one of the main challenges Europe faces regarding the youth – nearly one fifth of the young generation doesn’t possess the needed basic and fundamental skills, taking into account their importance with regards to their future employment and social inclusion. In the European key competences framework for lifelong learning skills are identified that are a prerequisite for personal development, active citizenship, social inclusion and employability. Besides “traditional” competences it includes communication in mother tongue, communication in foreign languages, digital competences and IT, and also skills of a transversal nature like learning to learn, social and civic competences, sense of initiative and entrepreneurship, cultural awareness and expression. Considering the importance of these fundamental skills with regards to future employment, social inclusion and lifelong learning, The Council of Europe takes as criteria the share of young people whose basic skills are assessed as “poor” to be below 15% by 20-20. In that aspect the European Commission states as significant the development and assessment of “horizontal competences” related to critical thinking, creativity, sense of initiative, problem solving, decision making and communication. It is precisely the development of these competences the current project undertakes.

The main goal of the project is to build critical thought in the participants aimed at developing cognitive skills for improving various personal and professional qualities. Also create an entirely new view for organizing and planning activities, problem solving, decision making based on proper arguments, applying common sense, mental discipline, sense of initiative, interpretation, communication, analyzing and assessing the thoughts, drawing conclusions, self-regulation, self-assessment all of which are related to successful social and professional development.

All activities and methods contributed to the process of non-formal learning and creating long-lasting understanding of the concepts, as well as sustainable motivation for applying of what is learnt and shared. The program methods follow the “learning through experience” model – debates, simulations, energizers, ice-breakers, communication games, learning and sharing activities, gamification, LEGO serious play, group discussions, coaching sessions, open space, etc. By means of debriefing in-depth learning and understanding of the subject matter will be ensured.

The basic needs this project addresses are aimed at decreasing the share of poor achievements among youngsters which is of significant importance for the young people in Bulgaria, partner countries and Europe. Considering the highlighted goals of the “Europe 20-20” strategy for intelligent and inclusive growth EU member states adopt vast-reaching literacy strategies based on coordinated inter-institutional policies. During the years in EU there has been a trend of decreasing the share of poor achievements. The goal is below 15% by 20-20. The project aims to integrate the results and recommendations of “youth goals” identified during the Bulgarian Euro-Presidency and build-up the designated skills from the latest two “structure dialog” youth conferences where the need for rational decision making, debates and critical thinking is even more obvious. Because of that we consider that the impact and result of this project will be long-lasting and may be seen in two different directions:

 

1. Individual level effect – among participants and effect in youngsters, youth workers and citizens engaged in youth work (teachers, trainers etc.). As a result their basic and fundamental skills, knowledge and attitudes will be boosted which they will use and apply in their personal development, active citizenship, social inclusion and professional employment.

2. Global level effect – increasing the productivity of the population of working age which in turns will lead to economic growth and improvement of social-economic factors as nearly 75 million people in EU (1/3 of labor force) currently have poor basic and professional skills and many of them lack sufficient level of literacy to cope with daily requirements of personal, social and economic life.

 

Training course was prepared and was run on the basis of a methodology that emphasizes active participation and commitment of all who’s involved. Therefore, the program was subject to regular changes and adaptations before and during the course. The activities usually foreseen are ice-breakers, role-plays, teambuilding and outdoor activities, debates, open space and several workshops to develop life skills and competences useful for any youth worker. The working methods are the: “Experiential learning”, “Educator to Peer” and “Peer to Peer”. We will like to remind you again that this training course will be quite challenging since we will be reflecting and facing challenges on individual and on group level overcoming demanding situations, we will be questioning a lot h ow we and others are living and will pass intensive reflection moments.

 

More about the project can be seen in the official website, created during the ''Critical Thinking Skills'' project.

 

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.