Essays On Barriers To Critical Thinking

Mary Kennedy reports the findings on the opposite page in the Phi Delta Kappan, May, 1991, in an article entitled, “Policy Issues in Teaching Education.”How can we improve our thinking without effective evaluation practices?Can we learn how to evaluate our thinking and reasoning objectively?

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These standards guide the divers in each practice session, in each effort off the board.

Without these criteria and standards, how would the diver and the judges know what was excellent and what was marginal?

First Finding: National assessments in virtually every subject indicate that, although our students can perform basic skills pretty well, they are not doing well on thinking and reasoning. They can write complete and correct sentences, but they cannot prepare arguments . Fourth Finding: Teachers tend to avoid thought-provoking work and activities and stick to predictable routines.

American students can compute, but they cannot reason . Conclusion: “If we were to describe our current K–12 education system on the basis of these four findings, we would have to say that it provides very little intellectually stimulating work for students, and that it tends to produce students who are not capable of intellectual work.

As with any system, critical thinking is not just a random series of characteristics or components.

All of its components — its elements, principles, standards and values — form an integrated, working network that can be applied effectively not only to academic learning, but to learning in every dimension of living.The goal of this chapter is to set out clearly what critical thinking is in general and how it plays itself out in a variety of domains: in reading, in writing, in studying academic subjects, and on the job.Richard Paul and Jane Willsen provide down-to-earth examples that enable the reader to appreciate both the most general characteristics of critical thinking and their specific manifestations on the concrete level.Fifth Finding: Our fifth finding from research compounds all the others and makes it harder to change practice: teachers are highly likely to teach in the way they themselves were taught. By the time we complete our undergraduate education, we have observed teachers for up to 3,060 days.If your elementary teacher presented mathematics to you as a set of procedural rules with no substantive rationale, then you are likely to think that this is what mathematics is and that this is how mathematics should be studied. If you studied writing as a set of grammatical rules rather than as a way to organize your thoughts and to communicate ideas to others, then this is what you will think writing is, and you will probably teach it so . Implication: “We are caught in a vicious circle of mediocre practice modeled after mediocre practice, of trivialized knowledge begetting more trivialized knowledge.Unless we find a way out of this circle, we will continue re-creating generations of teachers who re-create generations of students who are not prepared for the technological society we are becoming.”Critical Thinking is a systematic way to form and shape one’s thinking. It is thought that is disciplined, comprehensive, based on intellectual standards, and, as a result, well-reasoned.Critical Thinking is distinguishable from other thinking because the thinker is thinking with the awareness of the systematic nature of high quality thought, and is continuously checking up on himself or herself, striving to improve the quality of thinking.For each element, the thinker must be able to reflect on the standards that will shed light on the effectiveness of her thinking.[Note: Most “thinking skill” programs ignore most or all of the basic elements of thought and the need to apply standards to their evaluation.]The following section highlights examples of legitimate, substantial, comprehensive critical thinking in a variety of contexts. ] For both children the interpretations of Episode 2 built on those of Episode 1.We evaluate which washing machine to buy after reading Consumer Reports, we evaluate which movie to go see after studying the reviews, we evaluate new job opportunities after talking with friends and colleagues, but rarely do we explicitly evaluate the quality of our thinking (or the thinking of our students).But, you may ask, how can we know if our thinking is sound?


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