Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Critical Thinking Skills

Something I can agree with from an op-ed in The Boston Globe of all places!

For the past century, our schools of education have obsessed over critical-thinking skills, projects, cooperative learning, experiential learning, and so on. But they have paid precious little attention to the disciplinary knowledge that young people need to make sense of the world.

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For over a century we have numbed the brains of teachers with endless blather about process and abstract thinking skills. We have taught them about graphic organizers and Venn diagrams and accountable talk, data-based decision-making, rubrics, and leveled libraries.

But we have ignored what matters most. We have neglected to teach them that one cannot think critically without quite a lot of knowledge to think about. Thinking critically involves comparing and contrasting and synthesizing what one has learned. And a great deal of knowledge is necessary before one can begin to reflect on its meaning and look for alternative explanations.

You can learn more about Ms. Ravitch and Common Core, here.

While you're there, check out the First Amendment game called Supreme Decision. Though I had to report that I was in twelfth grade in order to play the game, I was promoted to head clerk. It was interesting because I had to say that I agreed with one of the justices when in two sessions, I agreed with neither condensed argument.

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