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I think there is an enormous amount of untapped value in a broader model.
This is hardly a radical thought, and I’m far from the first to think it.(How can you think at a high level without the awareness that there are wayward tendencies in your thinking machine that sometimes require troubleshooting and maintenance?) They should study some of the tools of rhetoric so they can identify the art of persuasion at work, particularly when they’re being targeted by it.Where standalone critical thinking courses exist, however, they are mostly found within the humanities and social sciences.Those courses often center on argumentation and literary criticism, or instead on the philosophy of logic, but there are opportunities to expand this— particularly by giving science a larger presence.Scientific literacy and critical thinking skills are seen as natural side-effects of studying a science. I don’t think it reliably works that way, especially for students who expect to struggle with and be bored by science classes from the outset.It’s easy to sit through a class, memorizing some facts and working through assignments with minimal effort, without ever actually engaging with the scientific process that created this knowledge.Like most educators, one of my central aims is to impart critical thinking skills— to help students make sound decisions in a confusing world of conflicting information, sales pitches, and smooth-talking politicians.Though critical thinking is universally regarded as a pillar of higher education (including by employers seeking college graduates), results show that students are not developing their critical thinking skills to the extent we expect.For their 2009 book, Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, Richard Arum and Josipsa Rocksa followed a little over 2,300 college students through their first two years of school.They found “a barely noticeable impact on students’ skills in critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing” and “no statistically significant gains [in these skills] for at least 45 percent of the students.”These students may be learning things, but they’re not becoming better thinkers or writers.