Negative Tendencies?

Having been immersed in realm of college and now graduate education, I often find myself torn in regards to the tendency, or perhaps I should say necessity, to be critical. The majority of assignments are geared towards being critical about a certain topic, book, or person. The University of British Columbia’s mission centers on training students to have “strong analytical, problem-solving and critical thinking abilities.” While I recognize that critique does not discount positive response, the above statement assumes that education and life in society begins from the place of negative critique. It makes sense, therefore, why much of the educational process centers around the problems, because without them, how can we “be agents for positive change” as the UBC mission desires? Without the overwhelming environment of negativity, how would we be inspired to make a difference towards positivity?

My question is: is this the correct starting point for our outlook on society and life in general? I am not going to ignore the obvious evidence that the world indeed has many problems that the educational process can aid in developing people to deal with. Critical thinking is an important aspect towards understanding where society can improve. However, it is when the negative emphasis becomes the starting point that I get frustrated. I would be happy with even a balance in the educational process, perhaps finding at least as many things we can affirm complimenting what we critique. Perhaps I am missing the point of our modern educational system, but sometimes it gets a little overwhelming and even downright depressing when we ignore what is good in our search to be critically minded.

Here are some questions arising from my reflection:

-What is a Christian view in this area? How do we balance our understanding of sin with an appropriate emphasis on the goodness of humanity?

-Is this just my optimistic personality reacting against reality that much of what we see around us is problematic?

-How can critical thinking remain critical while maintaining an acknowledgment of goodness as a compliment to focusing on problems?

Perhaps I will post more as I continue to reflect...

NOTE: Yes, I realize the tone of this post somewhat contradicts the issue at hand, so don't leap to any conclusions that I hate my education or something :)