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Educational resources for developing Critical Thinking skills.

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I just came across an interesting educational website that I shall get my daughter Lily to check over. They already got the kids started on this at her Primary school ("Habits of Mind" they called it), and in her new Secondary school they are continuing it further.
Teacher to Teacher: Critical Thinking in the College Classroom

Hope this is of help/use to other parents.

In the video on that page they very sensibly start by defining their terms. I was a bit suprised at the definition though:

Educational resources for developing Critical Thinking skills.

"The use of cognitive SKILLS and STRATEGIES to increase the likelihood of a desirable outcome"

It gives the impression of it being more about manipulation than about objectivity.

Did a search (duckduckgo) -
here was the first result (

Critical thinking is the identification and evaluation of evidence to guide decision making. A critical thinker uses broad in-depth analysis of evidence to make decisions and communicate his/her beliefs [..]-
in this definition the objectivity comes first and the decision (desirable outcome?) comes after.

Not saying anything against the site or anything - just suprised.

@tomos: Yes, I'm not sure about their definition either. There are some working definitions in this: Critical Thinking - An Introduction (by Alec Fisher) 14 page extract.pdf

I recall that Alec Fisher was the one who led the team to establish the O and A level syllabi for Critical Thinking in the UK, and he wrote some standard textbooks on the subject, used by students, of which Critical Thinking: An Introduction was one (search Amazon for Critical Thinking by Alec Fisher to see more).
I read two of his books - Critical Thinking: An Introduction, and The Logic of Real Arguments.
The UK experience was that Critical Thinking helped the students improve in all their other subjects too - i.e., it gave them a transferable skill.

There's a: Review (by GC Goddu) of book Critical Thinking.pdf

There's also some useful stuff here:

* Critical Thinking - GCSE AS + A Level Specification.PDF

* Critical Thinking - The Delphi Report (Management Summary).pdf

Think for yourself.
Amazingly helpful and concise post on a Princeton University website for students (and concerned parents, I presume), made by a group of ivy-league professors in the US:
(Hat-tip to JoNova in Australia: Ivy league profs warns of the vice of conformism: “Think for yourself”)

The post on the Princeton University website is copied below:
Some Thoughts and Advice for Our Students and All Students
August 29, 2017

We are scholars and teachers at Princeton, Harvard, and Yale who have some thoughts to share and advice to offer students who are headed off to colleges around the country. Our advice can be distilled to three words:

Think for yourself.

Now, that might sound easy. But you will find—as you may have discovered already in high school—that thinking for yourself can be a challenge. It always demands self-discipline and these days can require courage.

In today’s climate, it’s all-too-easy to allow your views and outlook to be shaped by dominant opinion on your campus or in the broader academic culture. The danger any student—or faculty member—faces today is falling into the vice of conformism, yielding to groupthink.

At many colleges and universities what John Stuart Mill called “the tyranny of public opinion” does more than merely discourage students from dissenting from prevailing views on moral, political, and other types of questions. It leads them to suppose that dominant views are so obviously correct that only a bigot or a crank could question them.

Since no one wants to be, or be thought of as, a bigot or a crank, the easy, lazy way to proceed is simply by falling into line with campus orthodoxies.

Don’t do that. Think for yourself.

Thinking for yourself means questioning dominant ideas even when others insist on their being treated as unquestionable. It means deciding what one believes not by conforming to fashionable opinions, but by taking the trouble to learn and honestly consider the strongest arguments to be advanced on both or all sides of questions—including arguments for positions that others revile and want to stigmatize and against positions others seek to immunize from critical scrutiny.

The love of truth and the desire to attain it should motivate you to think for yourself. The central point of a college education is to seek truth and to learn the skills and acquire the virtues necessary to be a lifelong truth-seeker. Open-mindedness, critical thinking, and debate are essential to discovering the truth. Moreover, they are our best antidotes to bigotry.

Merriam-Webster’s first definition of the word “bigot” is a person “who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices.” The only people who need fear open-minded inquiry and robust debate are the actual bigots, including those on campuses or in the broader society who seek to protect the hegemony of their opinions by claiming that to question those opinions is itself bigotry.

So don’t be tyrannized by public opinion. Don’t get trapped in an echo chamber. Whether you in the end reject or embrace a view, make sure you decide where you stand by critically assessing the arguments for the competing positions.

Think for yourself.

Good luck to you in college!

Paul Bloom
Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology
Yale University

Nicholas Christakis
Sol Goldman Family Professor of Social and Natural Science
Yale University

Carlos Eire
T. Lawrason Riggs Professor of History and Religious Studies
Yale University

Maria E. Garlock
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Co-Director of the Program in Architecture and Engineering
Princeton University

Robert P. George
McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions
Princeton University

Mary Ann Glendon
Learned Hand Professor of Law
Harvard University

Joshua Katz
Cotsen Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Classics
Princeton University

Thomas P. Kelly
Professor of Philosophy
Princeton University

Jon Levenson
Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies
Harvard University

John B. Londregan
Professor of Politics and International Affairs
Princeton University

Michael A. Reynolds
Associate Professor of Near Eastern Studies
Princeton University

Jacqueline C. Rivers
Lecturer in Sociology and African and African-American Studies
Harvard University

Noël Valis
Professor of Spanish
Yale University

Tyler VanderWeele
Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and Director of the Program on Integrative Knowledge and Human Flourishing
Harvard University

Adrian Vermeule
Ralph S. Tyler, Jr. Professor of Constitutional Law
Harvard University

--- End quote ---

Long, boring text, trying to teach you to think yourself.  :-\


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