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Translate this page from English Print Page Change Text Size: T T T Critical Thinking: Critical thinking is essential to effective learning and productive living.
Would you share your definition of critical thinking? First, since critical thinking can be defined in a number of different ways consistent with each other, we should not put a lot of weight on any one definition.
Definitions are at best scaffolding for the mind.
With this qualification in mind, here is a bit of scaffolding: Two things are crucial: To put it briefly, it is self-improvement in thinking through standards that assess thinking. Could you give me an example?
Certainly, one of the most important distinctions that teachers need to routinely make, and which takes disciplined thinking to make, is that between reasoning and subjective reaction.
Often, teachers are unclear about this basic difference.
Many teachers are apt to take student writing or speech which is fluent and witty or glib and amusing as good thinking. They are often unclear about the constituents of good reasoning. Hence, even though a student may just be asserting things, not reasoning things out at all, if she is doing so with vivacity and flamboyance, teachers are apt to take this to be equivalent to good reasoning.
This was made clear in a recent California state-wide writing assessment in which teachers and testers applauded a student essay, which they said illustrated "exceptional achievement" in reasoned evaluation, an essay that contained no reasoning at all, that was nothing more than one subjective reaction after another.
Could this possibly be a rare mistake, not representative of teacher knowledge? Let me suggest a way in which you could begin to test my contention. Namely, "What intellectual standards does the program articulate and teach?
And then when you explain what you mean, I think you will find that the person is not able to articulate any such standards. Thinking skills programs without intellectual standards are tailor-made for mis-instruction. For example, one of the major programs asks teachers to encourage students to make inferences and use analogies, but is silent about how to teach students to assess the inferences they make and the strengths and weaknesses of the analogies they use.
This misses the point. The idea is not to help students to make more inferences but to make sound ones, not to help students to come up with more analogies but with more useful and insightful ones. What is the solution to this problem?
How, as a practical matter, can we solve it?Grendel's home is described as a dark swamp that even hunted animals would rather die than jump into.
(Some words used to describe Grendel's lair: dark, dirty, slimy, evil, haunting, wild, marshes, like hell, etc.
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Question: Critical thinking is essential to effective learning and productive living. Would you share your definition of critical thinking? Would you share your definition of critical thinking? Paul: First, since critical thinking can be defined in a number of different ways consistent with each other, we should not put a lot of weight on any one definition.
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