ERIC Number: ED350599
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Where Is the "Critical" in Critical Thinking?
Latchaw, Joan S.
Because it has been overworked, underanalyzed, and undefined, critical thinking has come to mean anything or nothing. The best work on critical thinking imagines it as an act of composing and revising. Definitions of critical thinking have undergone a historical evolution--from general problem-solving "skills" to a complex of higher-order reasoning strategies. When critical thinking in composition is well grounded in theory, exciting pedagogies emerge. Basic errors in textbooks hinder critical thinking; more reliable textbooks often give only a nod to critical thinking. All too often, texts merely undergo a facelift to make them more marketable. John Patrick recommends that students learn to develop critical attitudes by applying issues of constitutional democracy to the real world. However, the critical inquiry he advocates is often construed as dangerous: (1) issue-centered classrooms emphasize controversy; (2) teachers are unprepared and uncomfortable with inquiry methods; and (3) schools have traditions and administrations that are not easily changed. Despite these problems, some educators are inventing new pedagogies and designing research consistent with critical thinking theory. Critical thinking's future depends on the strength of further inquiry to reveal whether this movement is trickling down into the nooks and crannies where it is truly useful. (A 15-item annotated bibliography is attached.) (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Writing Contexts
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (43rd, Cincinnati, OH, March 19-21, 1992).