Friday, March 13, 2009

Can critical thinking be taught?

From the Christian Science Monitor

Are you a critical thinker?
Quality thought is vital. So why don’t schools foster it?

Some believe that critical thinking was once cultivated in schooling. But it is fair to ask if it has ever really been fostered in a meaningful way in mainstream schooling (and the standardized testing movement is only making it worse). Teachers, like students, live in a nonintellectual culture, one that, for the most part, neither values fair-minded critical thinking nor encourages it.

If we want to effectively deal with the tremendous problems we now face, we must begin teaching students to discipline their own thinking. Teachers must move beyond rote and merely active engagement, and work toward transforming how students reason through complex issues, to look beyond easy answers.
As part of their reaccreditations, the University of Louisville and Eastern Kentucky University are both making concerted efforts to bring critical thinking across the curriculum.

Mention of 2 Kentucky Universities there but I wonder if that is not a little late in the game to try to teach critical thinking. First semester nursing school can certainly make short work of those that cannot critically think. I remember a lecture and lab on critical thinking skills and voicing my opinion that critical thinking could not be taught to that group. They either could do it or not. It probably could be taught but not in a day certainly and would be much easier if grade school taught the skills. Schools are not interested in students thinking just memorizing and obeying. Schools are run by politicians not teachers and politicians certainly do not want the public growing up to think it would endanger their reelections.

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