Term Paper EDUS 301: Critical Thinking
By Ashita Bhatt
According to Webster's New World Dictionary, literacy is defined as the ability to read and write. Every man should be a literate citizen of the world. The importance of literacy is obvious. One sees words everywhere – on signs, in training manuals, on buses, in books. Adults who cannot read risk becoming isolated from the society. Illiteracy affects their ability to find jobs, and ultimately, their very survival. That is why it is so important to get children reading when they’re young, long before they become adults. There is, however, one more challenging question: what to do so we can discover the pleasure of learning, its usefulness and its pertinence for our own life and even for the world? Do we want to be able to read and write to merely meet the definition of literacy? Do we not want to be asking ourselves why something makes sense and what logic works behind our answers? We want to read and write, but we also want to be able to use a computer, to have all the information to live life enjoyably. We also want to be able to have an understanding about visuals, people, society, surroundings and the universe. It means to be able to understand all of these and to be able to express our understandings to others. We essentially want to challenge the human brain and push its boundaries to incorporate critical thinking so that we may learn logically, strategically, and effectively. I read this article in the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy about critical thinking and comprehension that in a nutshell shows why and how to incorporate critical thinking skills into the curriculum.
I liked this paper especially because it advocates the importance of critical thinking in our day-to-day life. Thinking critically has become an important tool of education. Knowing to carry an umbrella on a rainy day or not touching a hot fire are not examples of critical thinking. Critical thinking allows an individual to be a responsible member of society. Critical thinking allows an individual to make decisions that will affect society or another person. Having the ability to vote responsibly and for the right reasons or hiring the right person for a job are examples of applied critical thinking. Critical learning happens on grounds of reasonable, reflective, responsible, and skillful thinking. Learning through questioning, inquiry, experimentation and transformation allows a person to meet the true standards of critical literacy. Critical thinking is the art of analyzing and evaluating thinking with a view to improving it. It is very important that educationalists teach these skills to students. Some of us are born to think critically, but it can take years to develop. Individuals can also learn to be able to think critically and it has become known as the scientific method for solving problems. To teach critically, one has to start by building a conceptual understanding that is based on a scientific approach to solve everyday life issues, a math problem or a chemistry equation. Having procedural knowledge or accepting pre-defined algorithms and rules without even knowing why to use them does not solve the purpose of learning. Schools need educators who respond to students’ challenges, uncertainties, and frustrations, and learn and unlearn concepts, developing comprehensive understanding and substantial representations along the way. The author strongly puts up arguments to show that thinking critically now contributes in direct and fundamental ways to all fields of study. Only a well developed sense of critical thinking permits students to enjoy their disciplines of study as well as grow in their understanding of the subjects. Without the disposition to seek ways of making sense of ideas and skills, people may end up with great subject knowledge and technical skills but without ways of deciding when and how to use those skills. For example, most people can identify numbers...
References: Critical literacy as comprehension: Expanding reader response, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy Date: September 1, 2004.
Burns, M. (2004) Writing in math Educational Leadership, 62(2), 30.
John A. Van De Walle (2006), Elementary and Middle School Mathematics - Teaching Developmentally, Seventh edition, White Plains, NY: Longman Pub. Co.
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Jacquelin Darvin, Teaching Critical Literacy Principles to Math and Science Educators, Teaching Education, Vol. 18, No. 3, September 2007, pp. 245–256.
http://www.freeinquiry.com/critical-thinking.html Schafersman, S. (1991). An introduction to Critical Thinking.
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