ERIC Number: ED325189
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989-Oct-12
Reference Count: N/A
Teaching for Thinking in History and the Social Sciences.
Knight, Carol Lynn H.
"Critical thinking" has been defined as reasonable, reflective thinking that is focused on deciding what to believe or do. Since the social sciences require practitioners to ask relevant questions, develop appropriate evaluation criteria, generalize from observed facts, conceptualize hypotheses, and make judgements, critical thinking skills should be incorporated into the teaching of the social science disciplines. Beyond merely providing students with facts and theories, the teaching of thinking would, optimally, produce a critical and creative disposition that enables a person to transcend biases, evaluate situations and ideas objectively, and create habits of mind that will transfer to actual life situations. Organization of a class to incorporate critical thinking skills should include instruction in decision making, problem solving, conceptualizing, and classifying; and should emphasize creativity in the thinking process. Of particular importance is the skill of argumentation. In analyzing extended arguments, students should be able to: (1) recognize an argument; (2) discern the conclusion; (3) identify the premises or reasons used to support the conclusion; (4) supply missing premises by examining the implied assumptions behind a given conclusion; (5) analyze the premises; (6) review alternative information or points of view; and (7) accept or reject a conclusion. Though there are very real limits to what can be accomplished in a single course, and instructors may face various practical and philosophical criticisms of critical thinking instruction, the benefits that can be derived from this approach are also real. Students are empowered through the development of their thinking skills, making them equal partners in the business of learning. (GFW)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Preconference Workshop, "What Current Curricular Trends Tell Us About General Education," held prior to the Annual Convention of the Virginia Community College Association (7th, Roanoke, VA, October 12-14, 1989).