ERIC Number: ED348128
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
Critical Thinking in Community Colleges. ERIC Digest.
Practitioners at all levels of education have begun to recognize that addressing the complex social and environmental problems of the future will require individuals capable of reflective and critical thought. Critical thinking has been defined as utilizing a number of cognitive processes and attitudes that undergird intelligent action in diverse situations and fields. Critical thinkers are able to discern the thought patterns and beliefs in the works of others, and to reflect upon their own beliefs, decisions, and actions. Much of community college instruction is delivered through traditional lectures, which promote lower-order learning involving rote memorization. In order to facilitate critical thinking, instructors will need to change their means of presenting information, by emphasizing open-ended questions and other techniques that encourage analysis, problem-solving, conceptualization, self-reflection, and the application of knowledge to the real world. Some educators contend that writing is crucial to critical thinking, because the act of producing written work stimulates new thinking and new discoveries. Others suggest focusing on students'"why" questions, having students analyze the information presented in the textbook to identify the forms of inquiry used to generate it, examine critical analyses of texts, and develop their own criticisms drawing on personal experience. Many community colleges have begun to implement critical thinking programs of their own, most of which begin with seminars for the instructors, focusing on curriculum redesign, coaching, evaluation, and follow-up. Promoting critical thinking will require changes not only in teaching practices, but also in the curricula and mission of community colleges. (MAB)
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 for Junior Colleges, Los Angeles, CA.