How To Teach All Students To Think Critically

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How To Teach All Students To Think Critically

#1  Postby kennyc » Dec 24, 2014 12:20 pm

How To Teach All Students To Think Critically

All first year students at the University of Technology Sydney could soon be required to take a compulsory maths course in an attempt to give them some numerical thinking skills.

The new course would be an elective next year and mandatory in 2016 with the university’s deputy vice-chancellor for education and students Shirley Alexander saying the aim is to give students some maths “critical thinking” skills.

This is a worthwhile goal, but what about critical thinking in general?

Most tertiary institutions have listed among their graduate attributes the ability to think critically. This seems a desirable outcome, but what exactly does it mean to think critically and how do you get students to do it?

The problem is that critical thinking is the Cheshire Cat of educational curricula – it is hinted at in all disciplines but appears fully formed in none. As soon as you push to see it in focus, it slips away.

If you ask curriculum designers exactly how critical thinking skills are developed, the answers are often vague and unhelpful for those wanting to teach it.

This is partly because of a lack of clarity about the term itself and because there are some who believe that critical thinking cannot be taught in isolation, that it can only be developed in a discipline context – after all, you have think critically about something.

So what should any mandatory first year course in critical thinking look like? There is no single answer to that, but let me suggest a structure with four key areas:

argumentation
logic
psychology
the nature of science.
I will then explain that these four areas are bound together by a common language of thinking and a set of critical thinking values.
....


http://www.iflscience.com/how-teach-all ... critically
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Re: How To Teach All Students To Think Critically

#2  Postby Willie71 » Dec 25, 2014 7:45 am

I agree with you. Logic tops my list, and secondly, perceptual psychology, outlining the numerous shortcuts and connections our brains make which would have been needed on the savannah, but mislead us now.
We should probably go for a can of vegetables because not only would it be a huge improvement, you'd also be able to eat it at the end.
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Re: How To Teach All Students To Think Critically

#3  Postby surreptitious57 » Dec 25, 2014 7:34 pm

I think that critical thinking should be mandatory in all schools however it is going to be taught. I think that everyone should apply critical thinking as a general principle in everyday life. I think that one should never be fooled into thinking that ones own critical thinking skills are so honed to perfection that they cannot be improved on. I think that the only way is to take absolutely everything you are ever taught to pieces and then start from scratch

I fool myself into thinking I am a critical thinker but this is not entirely true since it takes more to be one that just being an atheist and member of rational fora. It requires taking the time to understand a subject and learn it with as open a mind as possible. And on ones own also away from all fora where there is no external distraction. Now it goes with out saying that I love being here but I actually learn more when I am away from the forum on my own just reading because I am not trying to score points or follow the in group as it is just me and the author of the book I am reading and no one else

I also like the fact that I am surrounded here by members that are vastly more educated than I and who I respect even if I do not always show it by paying attention to what it is that they are saying. That niggle notwithstanding however for me they are an excellent sounding board for filtering out anything which is not acceptable. Unfortunately being only human I do not always do as I should but if enough of the heavy hitters gang up on me then I know they must be right and I must be wrong

So while I know that my critical thinking has improved since I became an atheist and member of rational fora four years ago [ seems much longer than that ] I also know that here is plenty of room for improvement. And so I hope I never fall prey to Dunning Kruger. Which by virtue of actually knowing about it tends to invalidate against it. Many of the members here are university educated with degrees in physics and philosophy and maths. I have nothing in comparison to that which stops me from getting egotistical about my capabilities because they are nothing special in themselves

This is bit off topic but everything is obviously quiet today on all rational fora since no one is really here and I get bored if I do not post for a long time and so I hope kenny will forgive me for clogging up the thread but if anyone has read this try to understand what I am saying even if you do not agree with me. Now I like it when others do agree with me but if it happens too often it can make me feel rather good about myself but mercifully that is not something that is ever going to happen to someone as uneducated as me so for that I should be eternally grateful. Right I am off now as I have said too much already
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Re: How To Teach All Students To Think Critically

#4  Postby kennyc » Dec 25, 2014 8:22 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:.....and I get bored if I do not post for a long time and so I hope kenny will forgive me for clogging up the thread .....



How dare you!!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:


J/K I welcome the discussion and agree pretty much with what you said. :)

Merry Christmas! :grin:
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Re: How To Teach All Students To Think Critically

#5  Postby epepke » Dec 25, 2014 10:19 pm

It's a great idea. The problem is that people who control these things don't want that.

At one time, it was reading and writing and rhetoric, but then, only the elite got educated. That's OK, because replacement elite are necessary, as they eventually die. Now that so many people are educated, it's hard to see how critical thinking could be desirable to rulers.
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Re: How To Teach All Students To Think Critically

#6  Postby Willie71 » Dec 25, 2014 10:20 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:I think that critical thinking should be mandatory in all schools however it is going to be taught. I think that everyone should apply critical thinking as a general principle in everyday life. I think that one should never be fooled into thinking that ones own critical thinking skills are so honed to perfection that they cannot be improved on. I think that the only way is to take absolutely everything you are ever taught to pieces and then start from scratch

I fool myself into thinking I am a critical thinker but this is not entirely true since it takes more to be one that just being an atheist and member of rational fora. It requires taking the time to understand a subject and learn it with as open a mind as possible. And on ones own also away from all fora where there is no external distraction. Now it goes with out saying that I love being here but I actually learn more when I am away from the forum on my own just reading because I am not trying to score points or follow the in group as it is just me and the author of the book I am reading and no one else

I also like the fact that I am surrounded here by members that are vastly more educated than I and who I respect even if I do not always show it by paying attention to what it is that they are saying. That niggle notwithstanding however for me they are an excellent sounding board for filtering out anything which is not acceptable. Unfortunately being only human I do not always do as I should but if enough of the heavy hitters gang up on me then I know they must be right and I must be wrong

So while I know that my critical thinking has improved since I became an atheist and member of rational fora four years ago [ seems much longer than that ] I also know that here is plenty of room for improvement. And so I hope I never fall prey to Dunning Kruger. Which by virtue of actually knowing about it tends to invalidate against it. Many of the members here are university educated with degrees in physics and philosophy and maths. I have nothing in comparison to that which stops me from getting egotistical about my capabilities because they are nothing special in themselves

This is bit off topic but everything is obviously quiet today on all rational fora since no one is really here and I get bored if I do not post for a long time and so I hope kenny will forgive me for clogging up the thread but if anyone has read this try to understand what I am saying even if you do not agree with me. Now I like it when others do agree with me but if it happens too often it can make me feel rather good about myself but mercifully that is not something that is ever going to happen to someone as uneducated as me so for that I should be eternally grateful. Right I am off now as I have said too much already


The fact that you are aware of dunning Kruger, and try to not fall prey to it is a huge deal! Simply being aware that others do not think like you, or value the same things is something most people aren't aware of. I remember the Aha! Moment when one of my profs stressed that in the first week of a psychology class. It seemed bizarre to go through school, and never be exposed to this simple principle. It seemed we were all expected to think alike.

It seems that Texas Conservatives want to do away with critical thinking. Have a read:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/johntharvey ... -platform/
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Re: How To Teach All Students To Think Critically

#7  Postby surreptitious57 » Dec 25, 2014 10:33 pm

Willie71 wrote:
It seems that Texas Conservatives want to do away with critical thinking

And the irony is that they are the ones who would benefit from it the most
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Re: How To Teach All Students To Think Critically

#8  Postby don't get me started » Dec 28, 2014 3:28 am

Even though my main area is language teaching, specifically the spoken form of the language, I have taught academic English classes that focus on the development if critical thinking skills.
The tack that I've taken is that critical thinking is a way of thinking that develops in tandem with the ability to engage in critical discourse with others.
What I mean by this is that in a venue where participants discuss ideas, theories, findings and whatever, there is an ongoing process. Each speaker makes a reasoned point and tries to get the co-participants to see what he/she really means. Now, the other participants maintain a basically affiliative stance towards each other, but at the same time they seek to offer alternative ideas, to find faults in the reasoning of each other, to point out vagueness, unclarity and so on.

Now this is what takes place in an actual, external, environment (classroom, seminar, blog exchange or whetever.) But at the same time each individual is forming within their own head a similar discourse model. As far back as Plato, it has been posited that the nature of thought, insamuch as it is open to introspection, is verbal and dialogic in nature. That is, we engage in an internal discussion with ourselves, in which the 'inner voice' is the self, but that voice is directed towards and addressee, who is also, paradoxically,the self.
So, in the development of critical thinking skills, one trains the mind to engage in a dialogue with itself that mirrors the external dialogue in its desire and readiness to point out faults of logic, to see shortcomings in the reasoning that has lead to a view being held and all of the other critical roles that are fulfilled by others who are affilitiative interlocutors in external, rational discourse.

This leads us to an interesting point of speculation. Is the thought of the religious mind more monologic in nature? Or perhaps it is dialogic in the way that the catechism is dialogic...fixed utterances from both interlocutors, unvarying and utterly predictable.
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Re: How To Teach All Students To Think Critically

#9  Postby Nicko » Dec 28, 2014 10:06 am

From here.

I wrote:I would say the starting point for any course in critical thinking would be explaining what an argument is (a series of premises advanced to support a conclusion). Move from there to the difference between valid/invalid, sound/unsound, true/untrue. This will lead you into explaining deductive logic, it's two valid forms (modus ponens and modus tollens) and the two classic invalid forms (known to one of my lecturers as "modus morons"). From thence into the common logical fallacies, then to inductive logic and the inherent problems with it.

A really good exercise is to have students take a piece of persuasive writing (ie. a newspaper op-ed), break it into its component premises, identify the conclusion (often not as straightforward as it might seem), eliminate rhetorical flourishes and re-organise the piece into a logical structure.
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