ERIC Number: ED284275
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987
Reference Count: 0
Critical Thinking in College English Studies. ERIC Digest.
Noting that college-level critical thinking instruction is now an interdisciplinary movement coordinating such fields as English, rhetoric, philosophy, and developmental psychology, this digest surveys the history of critical thinking studies in these converging disciplines and argues that literature study preeminently encompasses the mental traits that comprise critical thinking. Following an introduction to the critical thinking movement, the digest assesses the impact of critical-thinking inflected developmental psychology on composition studies. The digest notes the increasing attention paid in composition textbooks and rhetorical theories to mental attitudes and emotional dispositions that foster or impede critical thinking and to the application of stage-developmental criteria of critical thinking (such as the progression from egocentricity to reciprocity and from conventional to autonomous thought, and the acquisition of the ability to reason back and forth between concrete and abstract, personal and impersonal, literal and hypothetical). The digest builds the case that literature study--because it relies on the capacities of criticism, dialogue, perception of multiple viewpoints, synthesis and reasoning--has always developed and facilitated the mental dispositions currently emphasized in critical thinking circles. Finally, to attest to the educational importance of humanistic letters, the digest cites research concluding that cognitive development requires a substantial body of specific knowledge and suggests that in this light critical thinking can rejuvenate the English profession. (Twenty references are included.) (JG)
Descriptors: Cognitive Development, Cognitive Psychology, College English, Critical Thinking, Developmental Stages, Educational History, Educational Research, Educational Theories, Expository Writing, Freshman Composition, Higher Education, Interdisciplinary Approach, Learning Strategies, Logical Thinking, Persuasive Discourse, Piagetian Theory, Teaching Methods, Theory Practice Relationship
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Reading and Communication Skills, Urbana, IL.
Identifiers: Cultural Literacy; ERIC Digests