Can Critical Thinking Be Taught

Can Critical Thinking Be Taught-45
Obviously, this applies to more than just prompts–you could create an entire lesson on word choice and thought in the construction of essays.

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Here is an excerpt from a paper that I have published on the topic (if I don't remember to put the link in, please leave a comment to remind me).

Excerpt from It can be said that the most important quality in an engineer is the ability to think critically—to analyze a given proposition from a variety of angles and determine its strengths and weaknesses.

As recently as 2008, Abrami and his colleagues performed an exhaustive analysis of literature concerning the teaching of critical thinking skills.

They mainly found that methods which attempt to teach critical thinking skills are generally successful at doing so.

Critical thinking is generally accepted as a primary goal of higher education (Mason 2007, Abrami et al. As educators, it is our responsibility to build these skills in our engineering students, or we will produce engineers who can pass courses but who cannot function in the workplace.

Therefore, both the teaching and evaluation of critical thinking skills are very important in an engineering curriculum (Douglas, 2012).In particular, they found that students learn critical thinking most reliably when CT skills acquisition is a stated objective of the course; indirect approaches, where students are expected to learn CT as a by-product, are generally not as effective.There are, however, some important limitations to the current literature on critical thinking. On the other hand, the current scientific definition of critical thinking (as defined by the American Philosophical Association – Facione, 1990) comprises the better part of a paragraph, which is nice, but intractable (Anderson et al., 2001).Therefore, it can be argued that there needs to be an engineering-specific definition of what comprises critical thinking, and that this specific skill can be taught in the classroom.This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it’s at least a start at trying to define critical thinking in concrete terms.On the other hand, contemporary psychologists of education are suggesting that critical thinking cannot be effectively taught (Willingham, 2008). Are there studies (with proper controls) that show that a course on critical thinking teaching the skill beyond standard domain specific problem-solving/fact-knowing courses?It seems like somebody's done a lot of literature pooling already: Is Rationality Teachable?The grey area is just as important a part of critical thinking as anything else.In-class discussions are essential, but they appeal to a certain type of learner.Recently, the 2012 Texas Republican platform voiced the party's opposition to the teaching of critical thinking skills in public schools.This stance raises many controversial questions on the GOPs motivation, but also a fundamental question: are public schools in the US successfully teaching critical thinking?

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