Learnlets
Clark Quinn's Learnings about Learning
(The Official Quinnovation blog)

13 September 2007

Critical Thinking

Clark @ 7:24 am

Harold Jarche writes about the need for critical thinking, and has a map of the skills mapped to particular tools. I agree, and added:

I’ve been a fan of critical thinking for years, since I was a grad student and TA’d for Jean Mandler’s class on it. We used Diane Halpern’s book as a text, and that approach is still relevant.

I think we need to do more, however. Just having the tools isn’t enough. To develop new skills, we need support: motivation, examples, guided practice. The received wisdom is that it has to be layered on to authentic tasks. Of course, I say build it into a game! (there’s a bit in Quest).

I sympathize with [] cynicism, but I believe it can be taught, and there’s evidence to support my position. But we do it by making it a priority (before college), and making it part of what we test (meaning a whole new type of testing, but that’s what we need anyway).

We need to build critical thinking on top of our systems, into our content (Pellegrino’s brilliant article for the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce has a section on this, it’s available from this page), and make it a priority. Not to put too big a point on it, our future’s at stake!

1 Comment »

  1. I agree–critical thinking can be taught. For the past 28 years, our company has been teaching people how to use critical thinking tools and processes to achieve some dramatic break-throughs in organizations. We design our classes so over fifty percent of classroom time is spent in practicing the concepts–not just talking about them. That strategy is essential to the success of the programs. Thanks for directing us to Pellegrino’s article.

    Comment by Joe Jordan — 14 September 2007 @ 4:27 am

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