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ERIC Number: ED382236
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989
Pages: 7
Abstractor: N/A
The Natural Process of Learning and Critical Thinking.
Smilkstein, Rita
Gamut, p26-29,38 Fall 1898
Community college students (unless cognitively or emotionally impaired) have an innate learning system or process which makes it possible to do abstract and critical thinking in all their classes. Over an 8-year period, informal research has been conducted with approximately 1,000 low- and high-achieving students, and faculty in classrooms, faculty development workshops, and conferences. Student groups were asked to think of something they knew how to do very well, and describe in writing what they went through acquiring their skill level. Then, in groups of three or four, students read their processes to each other to see whether there are any similarities in how they learned. Finally, the group as a whole developed a list of the stages of the learning process that was applicable to all of the different skills. For every group of faculty and for every group of students, whether developmental or advanced, all arrived at an approximation of the following list of stages: (1) motivation; (2) beginning practice; (3) advanced practice to build a foundation upon which control, creativity, and critical and abstract thinking can be applied; (4) skillfulness; (5) refinement; and (6) mastery. One of the most important insights gained from this research is that people learn by making and correcting their own mistakes. Learners cannot start to apply creatively or think critically about a new skill until there has been a sufficient quantity of personal practice and trial and error learning. Only after students have acquired that proper foundation, can they begin to benefit from teachers' lectures. If this natural learning process is followed, people can learn to high levels of critical and creative thinking. (KP)
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A
Note: "Gamut" published by Seattle Community College District (Washington).