ERIC Number: ED357006
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992
Critical Thinking as "Critical Spirit." Resource Publication Series 4 No. 7
Critical thinking involves both intellectual skills and the critical spirit and the critical spirit in turn encompasses certain dispositions of mind--that is, certain attitudes or tendencies--that motivate, or "animate" a person to think. Becoming a critical thinker involves acquiring both the critical thinking skills and the readiness, willingness and inclination to apply those skills. This approach to critical thinking emphasizes creating an atmosphere or educational environment in which the disposition for critical thinking can be nurtured. Elements of the critical spirit include: (1) independence of mind; (2) openmindedness; (3) wholeheartedness; (4) intellectual responsibility; and (5) respect for others. Because this approach to critical thinking relies heavily on the social environment of the classroom, it raises for teachers a number of social, personal, and ethical issues. Critical thinking tasks provide students with opportunities to develop critical thinking skills, learn subject matter, and develop the critical spirit simultaneously. Teaching for critical thinking, both skills and dispositions, can build upon and reinforce intrinsic motives for learning. Critical thinking dispositions are closely related to a student's conception of the educational process, i.e., his or her educational schema. This schema includes conceptions of the nature of academic tasks, the role of the self as learner, and the nature of knowledge. Teachers can nurture development of educational schemata that support critical thinking by rewarding students when they demonstrate relevant traits and behavior. Successful teaching of the critical spirit involves modeling the critical spirit by the teacher. (IAH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Montclair State Coll., Upper Montclair, NJ. Inst. for Critical Thinking.