Role of critical thinking in controversial issues

An often repeated claim is that it is only by exposure to collaborative or conversational dialogue that students learn to think critically and independently about important issues and contested values. Adler described the pedagogical importance of collaborative discussion in the humanities as nothing less than the enlargement of ideas and values, claiming that a "disciplined discussion" will facilitate critical and reflective thinking.

McPeck argues that a more discursive or argumentative rather than a didactic mode of teaching can encourage student participation in learning and in using critical thinking skills. However, we note that many studies that use this instructional strategy focus mostly on engaging students in discussion with peers or teachers about controversial issues or solving complex tasks. Few of them explicitly teach students the principles, skills, and dispositions of critical thinking and then encourage students to apply them to their collaborative reasoning discussion for resolving conflicting ideas or solving complex problems.

Perhaps, this is the reason why studies report mixed results with regard to effectiveness. As Paul warns, without explicitly teaching students how to think critically, cooperative learning, and collaborative reasoning will have the danger of ending up in cooperative mis-learning and collaborative mis-reasoning. As the works of Piaget and Vygotsky have shown thought and language are intimately related.

The feasibility of translating this model was examined via a university-school collaborative action research project conducted in a New Zealand primary school with three classroom teachers in In brief, in the collaborative action research, researchers and teachers worked collaboratively to redesign learning tasks and school curriculum unit plans, and to develop rubrics for assessing student performance in critical thinking and content learning.

Integral to this work was the "think ahead" planning of activities on the basis of critical reflection and discussion around shared insights and problems in teaching and in the evaluation of student learning. Central to the instructional programme was that students were i explicitly taught the language of critical thinking, as well as the principles and skills of critical thinking; and ii encouraged to apply these in their learning. Consistent with current practices in curriculum compacting or working across curricula, the programme integrated language learning with other content learning.

Children were and engaged in a range of thinking tasks which involved teacher-led or peer-led collaborative reasoning discussions before individual writing. A feature of the programme was the encouragement of self-assessment and peer-assessment for performance improvement.

CRITICAL THINKING - Fundamentals: Introduction to Critical Thinking [HD]

Late in the programme, the children were given a writing task. The same task was given to two classes of Year 6 students in a non-participating school, but of the same socio-economic-status ranking in Auckland. Writing samples collected from both schools were analysed and assessed in terms of their language skill and reasoning ability. Criteria and standards for assessing the writing of the final part resolution of this story A. Continuity achieved : This writing shows a logical link to the storyline established in the given part of the story because: a.

The writing of what JB decided to do or actually did is relevant to his attempt to solve his problem. The writing of whether J. Closure accomplished : This story ending makes the story complete by: a. Writing clearly whether JB was able to move on from or would triumph over his primary emotional conflict; b. Showing there is a theme or the moral of the story; c.

Critical Thinking: How to Teach It?

Creating an effect or mood that helps make the story theme clear to the reader. Effective language use shown a.

Language devices e. Grammar is correct. Punctuation is correct. Spelling is correct.

For scoring these abilities, a set of criteria and standards was created by the researcher see Table 1. JB noticed he had some problems to solve. JB was able to identify the plausible causes of these problems from different points of view. JB was able to figure out the thinking, feelings, and wanting of himself, of Rose, and of the Midnight Cat.

JB was clear about what he wanted to achieve by making this decision or taking the actions. The criterion that JB was able to self-correct his selfish thinking which was the major cause of the problem. The criterion that what JB did is ethically desirable or acceptable to all the people concerned in that situation.

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The set of four questions were to examine how students think as a story writer. A set of five criteria was created for scoring student performance see Table 2. Again a 4-point scale was used. The maximum total score on this measure was Performance on this measure was assessed against a set of five criteria see Table 3 using a 4-point scale.

An analysis of variance was used to compare student performance in the CR-CT program and standard program. Overall, these students were more able to think deeper and better as they wrote the story. The purpose of this paper is to search for a model and a method that can help teachers facilitate critical thinking in school children.

Before presenting the conceptual model, we clarified three cores issues in educating for critical thinking by a critical review of the literature, namely, Why do we need critical thinking? It is derived from our critical review of the literatures on critical thinking, critical thinking education, as well as on theoretical and empirical studies on effective teaching and learning. It espouses a macro educational goal to develop students into better thinkers, learners, and persons.

It adopts a pedagogical approach that enhances Paul et al. The feasibility of translating the conceptual model into daily classroom practices has been examined by a collaborative action research. Different sources of empirical evidence suggest that it is practically possible to implement the CR-CT program, although supports in terms of time, efforts, and commitment from the students, teachers, principals, and researchers are needed. Thanks to all these supports, implementation of the program in the present study was not only possible, but also largely successful.

Not only students learned how to think more deeply and better, as shown in their written work, but also the teachers and the researcher involved in the action research project learned, in theory and in practice, how to enrich and enhance teaching and learning thinking critically in language arts. We have realized teaching students to think critically should go beyond thinking critically about the quality of the form of the text, to the quality of the meaning and reasoning of the author behind the text.

The authors note that because of the exploratory nature of this collaborative action research, the findings cannot be directly generalised to other school contexts. However, we want to emphasize that the CR-CT conceptual model and method is theoretically sound because first, it is grounded in a substantive conception of critical thinking and critical thinking education.

Third, it can be used to coherently guide student, curriculum, and professional development. Nevertheless, the authors also note that developing critical thinking abilities and dispositions takes time, which implies that a longitudinal study is needed if stronger claims about the feasibility and the impact of translating the conceptual model into everyday classroom practice.

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Critical Thinking: How to Teach It?

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A four-step classroom strategy for clear thinking on controversial issues

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