My Uncle Bub passed away earlier this month. As we’ve been remembering him, we’ve talked about all sorts of things he taught us all. He was a natural teacher. If he took my son fishing, he’d patiently show a 10-year-old how to clean the fish, even if it would’ve taken Bub 1/10th the time to do it himself.
One time, I had a flat tire. As Bub made his living as a mechanic, patching the tire was a very simple task — for him. Not so for me. But did he just do it for me? Nope. He made me patch it myself, so I knew how to fix it myself next time.
Uncle Bub and I were from different worlds. Me: urban, “professional”, over-educated, tech/gadget geek. Bub: rural, mechanical, high-school, never sent an email or browsed the web.
Although Bub wasn’t big on 21st century technology, one of the best stories I heard about him during the funeral was a great illustration of why we need to be teaching critical thinking skills. The story was told by one of the many locals who hung out at Moe’s Garage:
One time, this guy brought his Cadillac in for Bub to fix. Something wasn’t working right. Bub checked the car’s computer, and told the guy the computer said it needed to be checked at the dealer. So he did. The dealer told him the problem was one of a couple things, all expensive. The guy told him he needed to check with Bub.
Bub checked the car, listened to it run, and said he didn’t think these other things were the problem. He suggested checking a couple of wires. Of course, he didn’t do it – he showed the guy how to do it. So, the guy replaced a couple of wires, and voila, the car worked fine.
Moral of the story – just because the computer said something is so, doesn’t mean it is. Exactly why students need to be taught critical thinking skills when using technology!