Skip to comments.It's time to think critically about critical thinking
Posted on 01/05/2019 12:34:03 PM PST by BruceDeitrickPrice
The goal of education has always been to achieve critical thinking.
Needless to say, this involves a two-step process: first, students learn a great deal about a topic, whether in history, science, art, or anything else; then students learn to arrange the information in new ways, to set one fact against another, to find new insights among this knowledge.
Not anymore. Today's educators are in a hurry; they don't bother with the first step. They jump directly to step two. In this scenario, students who know nothing are expected to talk intelligently about it. What absurdity.
Having just heard about X, can you discuss X? For example, the Ottoman Empire, its rise and fall? If you are like me, you know nothing about this complex subject. We will seem completely goofy if we discuss it. Talk about plunging self-esteem. Try chatting about the Ottoman Empire when you know nothing about it.
Far from empowering our students, this upside-down approach just makes them feel foolish and inadequate.
Today's educators have many dogmas, perhaps the chief of which is that students need not memorize (that is, know) anything. Everyone must have an empty head. But that's not bad enough. Then the educators want to add charade on top of ignorance. Students are supposed to engage in deep and meaningful thinking about all the things they don't know.
My impression is that our educators disdain basics and academics equally. All facts are a nuisance. Any knowledge is undesirable. But this approach, even in ed circles, might seem somewhat difficult to defend. So they airbrush on a whole layer of lies and distractions. They commence the cover-up....Look, parents, at all the critical thinking! The creative thinking!! Your children are so much more advanced now, so much more liberated. Without all that silly knowledge stuff, today's student can soar! They can see new things, things that no one saw before, because their vision is not obscured by facts.
Sure, I'm being a little satiric. You probably want to ask What's the point? Because you and I know that our educrats are immune to satire. Saturday Night Live could devote an evening to comedy about the egregiousness of our progressive educators, but the educators would never get the joke. These are people who tell ignorant students that a class will now engage in Critical Thinking, and then they stand there and pretend that it is happening. (Quite the opposite is the reality.)
It's probably futile but I want to sketch (if only for parents and children) what should be standard operating procedure. Starting in the first grade, students learn the basics in each subject. This foundation is added to in the second grade, third grade, and the fourth grade, and the fifth grade. As children enter middle school, more reflection is appropriate. Teachers can ask questions that encourage students to analyze, to compare, and contrast. Meanwhile, more and more facts are learned. At this point we can honestly say these children are engaged in some degree of critical thinking. The goal, as they move closer to college, is to engage in more and more critical thinking. Students will know what they're doing. If they are genuinely engaged in critical thinking, they will be proud of themselves, they will want to do more. But if the so-called critical thinking is a game whereby schools place camouflage over the ignorance of the student body, the students will know this and they will be ashamed.
Knowledge makes critical thinking possible. Genuine critical thinking, in turn, makes the student want more knowledge. Let's say a teacher picks any three cars, or any three movies, or any three pieces of art, or any three ideas, and tells the students: "First, pick your favorite, your second favorite, and your least favorite. Then make a case for your choices. Persuade the world that you are right." Isn't that exactly what highly-paid critics and pundits do all day? This is genuine critical thinking. As students try to defend their choices, they will need to find more information to support their arguments. That's pretty much how education is supposed to work.
PS: Sham critical thinking is especially rampant in Reform Math. The gimmick is that children who can't do simple arithmetic are learning "to think critically about math." Ponder this: the kids cannot multiply and divide but they are "thinking critically" about math. What can that possibly mean? For more on this topic, please see "36: The Assault on Math."
When a liberal uses the term “critical thinking” he/she really means “groupthink.” Good thoughts (liberal) are rewarded, bad thoughts (Conservative) are punished.
The last thing liberals want is critical thinkers. Look how they treat Ben Shapiro, Dinesh DiSouza and so many others who DO think critically.
The definition of critical thinking seems to be as protean as ‘neoconservative.’ Isn’t critical thinking just the Enlightenment distilled?
Academia has been long since taken over by the forces driving the socialist takeover of the U.S.
Make no mistake, the professors are not the prime movers of this takeover. They were also subject of the socialist brainwashing starting in the 1960's if not before.
Whatever is going on in the universities, it has nothing to do with education or thinking.
The socialist generals/command first indoctrinated the universities who then indoctrinated the media. Now they both indoctrinated young and old into their way of thinking.
America is in the midst of a cold civil war (cold, so far). Everything else going on in this country is secondary to that.
In all due respect, to discuss "critical thinking" in our universities at this time is akin to Churchill and his war cabinet taking a day off to attend a cooking class just before the Battle of Britain.
leftards require mind/thought control to control the masses.They don't need no stinkin knowledge.
A prime example of that kind of education is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“Students are supposed to engage in deep and meaningful thinking about all the things they don’t know.”
I suppose some who read that statement will think the writer is only using hyperbole to make a point, or that he is exaggerating.
He is not. It is very true.
He could have added, that the facts that are supplied to think with are cherry picked to force the student into thinking along certain lines, which are always Leftist, ideologically.
“America is in the midst of a cold civil war (cold, so far).
I give it ‘til 2020.
Yep, she is a product.
“The goal of education has always been to achieve critical thinking. “
Not so, this was an invention of the Frankfurt School in the mid-20th century.
The actual goal of education is the transmission of a distillation of knowledge of 10,000 years of human history, knowledge, arts and science to the next generation.
Pls see my blog post: https://backyardfence.wordpress.com/2015/12/17/a-critique-of-critical-thinking/
Middle School is the optimum age for teaching critical thinking. In elementary school children learn the discipline of memorization and acquiring concrete knowledge. By the time they hit 12 and 13, they are ready for the challenge of abstract thoughts. It is a wonderful thing to watch kids who are learning critical thinking skills, and it is in those moments they discover an entirely new world of learning. It’s almost as if you can see a light switch on in their head with that discovery. Definitely some of my Fondest Memories in the classroom!
I do not know if they still teach real critical thinking (except maybe Hillsdale College). I will never forget the first time I heard about “critical thinking in black studies” “critical thinking in women studies.” No longer was pure logic the goal, just indoctrination and hatred. Imagine an entire semester of pseudo ‘critical thinking.’ By then end of the semester the young skulls full of mush are either totally flummoxed, or completely indoctrinated into hate.
If I were to begin to teach “critical thinking in white studies” I would immediately be sent to the re-education gulag.
“The goal of education has always been to achieve critical thinking.”
Excuse me while I die laughing.
Bloom’s taxonomy has been inverted:
Today’s “educators” expect kids to engage higher order thought without having first mastered lower-order knowledge:
Critical Thinking has been replaced by Higher Criticism and Critical Theory.
In other words, objective, unbiased reasoning has been replaced by militant communist propaganda.
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