ERIC Number: EJ1128933
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Abstractor: As Provided
Critical Thinking Activities and the Enhancement of Ethical Awareness: An Application of a "Rhetoric of Disruption" to the Undergraduate General Education Classroom
Murray, Jeffrey W.
Open Review of Educational Research, v2 n1 p240-258 2015
This article explores how critical thinking activities and assignments can function to enhance students' ethical awareness and sense of civic responsibility. Employing Levinas's Other-centered theory of ethics, Burke's notion of "the paradox of substance", and Murray's concept of "a rhetoric of disruption", this article explores the nature of critical thinking activities designed to have students question their (often taken-for-granted) moral assumptions and interrogate their (often unexamined) moral identities. This article argues that such critical thinking activities can trigger a metacognitive destabilization of subjectivity, understood as a dialectical prerequisite (along with exposure to otherness) for increased ethical awareness. This theoretical model is illustrated through a discussion of three sample classroom activities designed to destabilize moral assumptions and identity, thereby clearing the way for a heightened acknowledgment of otherness. In so doing, this article provides an alternative (and dialectically inverted) strategy for addressing one of the central goals of many General Education curricula: the development of ethical awareness and civic responsibility. Rather than introducing students to alternative perspectives and divergent cultures with the expectation that heightened moral awareness will follow, this article suggests classroom activities and course assignments aimed at disrupting moral subjectivity and creating an opening in which otherness can be more fully acknowledged and the diversity of our world more fully appreciated.
Descriptors: Undergraduate Students, Critical Thinking, Ethical Instruction, Ethics, Civics, Citizenship Responsibility, Rhetoric, General Education, Moral Issues, Reflection, Metacognition, Bias, Class Activities, Social Cognition, Assignments, Empathy, Beliefs, Outcomes of Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Virginia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A