Critical thinking

This is the front page of a handout I was given at a lecture at the Institute of Education, a world class university for education:

Image

Because of course my “critical thinking” ability in relation to a photograph is easily transferable to the context of being critical of education research and my personal practice.

Or not. (I’m sure I’m preaching to the converted but if you need convincing, see Daisy here or Willingham here or here).

I am later informed that:

You’ll be happy to know that you are already a critical thinker! You engage your critical thinking skills every day. Whenever you make a decision, solve a problem, or prioritize tasks, you are using critical thinking… When you shop for groceries, when you decide which bills you should pay first on a limited budget, when you work out problems and arguments between you and your friends or you and your coworkers, you are being a critical thinker.

The toxic implication of this is that there is no need to teach us any content; we already know how to be critical of any education literature you could care to put in front of us.

How can this stuff still be being doled out unthinkingly by top academics and institutions? Are more chalkface teachers cognisant of cognitive science than academics nowadays?

Someone once told me that at Pimlico Academy, every head of department was given a copy of Why don’t students like school?. Maybe that’s a policy the Director of the IOE should adopt.

 

2 thoughts on “Critical thinking

  1. bt0558

    “The toxic implication of this is that there is no need to teach us any content; we already know how to be critical of any education literature you could care to put in front of us.”

    I would be interested to know how you come to this conclusion. I don’t see why the fact that thinik critically every day leads to the conclusion that there is no need to teach content. Thinking critically and content go hand in hand.

    I have no idea what the context was here but I would be interested to know what the purpose of the activity was.

    I can’t see that looking at the photograph, thinking about the questions and then reading the paragraph is particularly toxic, but then I couldn’t find the implications you found.

    I would sincerely like to know more. Any chance you could give more details of the resource?

    Interesting.

    Reply

Go forth and opine