As a kid, I hated “critical thinking” questions.
I didn’t know what the term even meant, but what I did know was that about a third of the questions at the end of each chapter in my school textbooks were “critical thinking” questions. I’d read the assigned text — well, usually — but skimming the chapter for key words would magically reveal the answers… at least for all the normal questions.
In what year did Napolean whatever? I knew the hack for that: scan the text for numbers.
My goal was to get my work done as quickly as possible, because the draw of TV time at home, and “free time” in class was strong. Critical thinking was an annoying roadblock to very important leisure. I just wanted to get done.
As an adult, I take my time when I work — I just try not to completely Douglas Adams my deadlines, if you catch my drift. Quality is important (although it’s only job two), and if I finish something early, odds are it could use some more thought, another look tomorrow with fresh eyes, or something like that.
There really is no prize for finishing first.
I realize now that the critical thinking questions were the only ones that ever really mattered. Teachers probably told us that, but it didn’t mean anything at the time. And when I look around today, I get the sense that to a lot of my peers, it still doesn’t.