Teaching "Critical Thinking" in Education
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08-02-2013, 07:53 AM (This post was last modified: 08-02-2013 07:59 AM by Luminon.)
RE: Teaching "Critical Thinking" in Education
(07-02-2013 05:44 PM)nach_in Wrote:  I want to submit another issue I find in education Tongue

The staggering amount of useful information, not only facebook posts and tweets, but actual knowledge.
There was a time that all the knowledge of humanity could fit in a couple of books, those times were easy, then we got to a golden window (methinks it was between the 1800's and 1950's give or take) in which the basic knowledge could be learned in a few decades and from that on anyone could expand.
But now the "basic" knowledge needed in order to expand is just too much, that's why we need so much interdisciplinarity, nobody can know what it takes to make progress, and our minds just aren't getting bigger.

Of course, any kid would just say "fuck this shit" and go play games and worry about superfluous things before facing such a challenge, and thus our growing knowledge backfires and produces a generation of people who just don't want to think, because thinking is too hard for average people.

Maybe we need to start teaching less variety of subjects but more content, but I'm not sure how that would work Confused
We need a new division of labor in science. Specialists should continue as usual, but should also try to make a logical simplified but true framework of their field, that can be easily learned and used in practice. Generalists would then learn these frameworks and
- apply them in practice to solve problems
- apply them in a new inter-disciplinary research

This application might be, for example
- between a soft science and soft science (psychology in sociology)
- between a hard science and soft science (mathematics in politics - game theory application)
- between a hard science and hard science (physics of electricity in biology...)
- in daily problems of real life

Basically, science is not a goal, it doesn't set any meaning or purpose, it's an instrument. Instrument for what? The generalists should know. Often science becomes attractive (for students and children and society in general) only when applied on the problems of real life. To know what these problems are, one has to be in touch with the society and,
one absolutely has to have a broad overview, a knowledge of multiple fields and methods. A broadest experience possible. The history, such a list of failures and bloodshed as it is, was full of intelligent people with correct ideas, who did not recognize how limited their ideas are and so they applied them universally in mistake that a limited idea will bring a universal solution. They are called ideologues. Which means, we can not have only specialists, the more science we have, the more generalists we need. As I said, a new division of labor.

It would require a new approach to ignorance. There can be no learning without ignorance. Ignorance has to be recognized with both parties and transformed into curiosity and willingness to teach. With the advent of lifelong learning and 3rd age universities, we can be proven ignorant and wrong at any time. If a specialist sees that a generalist applies his field incorrectly, instead of CHAStizing him, he should awaken his curiosity, satisfy it and alleviate his ignorance, so that he may continue in his generalist practice. He should not try to either shame him or imprison him to his own field of expertise as the only guarantee of being correct. If he can not sum up his field a practical generalist instrument... well, I hope it can be done at all! What do you think?
In any case, psychologists should equip anyone having anything to do with transfer of knowledge with the skill of curiosity-raising. This is not just the art of presentation, I mean understanding of internal psychology of curiosity. To teach without curiosity at the receiving end causes boredom, or as the future space-people will call it, intellectual violence. But psychology of learning is greater than that. We will obviously need to operate on an entirely different rate of information processing and we can only do that through examining our methods of learning and teaching. Specially the way how we take in the information, how we store it and how we build a structure of a given field in one's memory. Learning a field of science is a bit like building a ship model in a bottle. Not very practical.

All people who learn have a different capacity to learn. Different rate of saturation with knowledge. After reaching this capacity, a student becomes bored. After exceeding this capacity, a student becomes hostile. Specialists should recognize that students (and most people will be students in the future) have this limited capacity to learn, which means a specialist has a limited capacity to correct them without causing hostility. This capacity must not be wasted on forcing people to become specialists just because they were wrong in one aspect of the field. Generalists live for the society and combination and application of knowledge, not expertise and science itself. Everyone will be wrong about something at some point. The more creative we are, the more often wrong - but also more often right, by the sheer creative quantity. The trick is to make student distinguish between the two without antagonizing him. Therefore, a right relationship between specialists, generalists, students, society and problems of daily life must mean a new approach to
- learning and teaching
- being wrong or ignorant
- correction
- success and failure
Yes, success should be measured differently. I'm not sure how, except cooperative success of a group is greater than a success of one competitor of all the others. All success should be measured by its impact on the group, group of specialists, group knowledge of a given field or the "layman" society itself. I think in the future there will be less respectful, white coat-worshipping laymen in awe of science journals and many more dabblers, amateurs, enthusiasts and similar vermin. And it will be a good thing, if we take it at the right end.


(all right, those who can read between the lines, can see how much of a shameless plug and self-promotion this post is. Basically, why, smartasses like me will be plentiful in the future and why you should welcome that)

If you claim there are nuances to principles, there are no nuances to getting arrested or shot for disobeying the power.
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08-02-2013, 09:05 AM
RE: Teaching "Critical Thinking" in Education
(08-02-2013 07:53 AM)Luminon Wrote:  
(07-02-2013 05:44 PM)nach_in Wrote:  I want to submit another issue I find in education Tongue

The staggering amount of useful information, not only facebook posts and tweets, but actual knowledge.
There was a time that all the knowledge of humanity could fit in a couple of books, those times were easy, then we got to a golden window (methinks it was between the 1800's and 1950's give or take) in which the basic knowledge could be learned in a few decades and from that on anyone could expand.
But now the "basic" knowledge needed in order to expand is just too much, that's why we need so much interdisciplinarity, nobody can know what it takes to make progress, and our minds just aren't getting bigger.

Of course, any kid would just say "fuck this shit" and go play games and worry about superfluous things before facing such a challenge, and thus our growing knowledge backfires and produces a generation of people who just don't want to think, because thinking is too hard for average people.

Maybe we need to start teaching less variety of subjects but more content, but I'm not sure how that would work Confused
We need a new division of labor in science. Specialists should continue as usual, but should also try to make a logical simplified but true framework of their field, that can be easily learned and used in practice. Generalists would then learn these frameworks and
- apply them in practice to solve problems
- apply them in a new inter-disciplinary research

This application might be, for example
- between a soft science and soft science (psychology in sociology)
- between a hard science and soft science (mathematics in politics - game theory application)
- between a hard science and hard science (physics of electricity in biology...)
- in daily problems of real life

Basically, science is not a goal, it doesn't set any meaning or purpose, it's an instrument. Instrument for what? The generalists should know. Often science becomes attractive (for students and children and society in general) only when applied on the problems of real life. To know what these problems are, one has to be in touch with the society and,
one absolutely has to have a broad overview, a knowledge of multiple fields and methods. A broadest experience possible. The history, such a list of failures and bloodshed as it is, was full of intelligent people with correct ideas, who did not recognize how limited their ideas are and so they applied them universally in mistake that a limited idea will bring a universal solution. They are called ideologues. Which means, we can not have only specialists, the more science we have, the more generalists we need. As I said, a new division of labor.

It would require a new approach to ignorance. There can be no learning without ignorance. Ignorance has to be recognized with both parties and transformed into curiosity and willingness to teach. With the advent of lifelong learning and 3rd age universities, we can be proven ignorant and wrong at any time. If a specialist sees that a generalist applies his field incorrectly, instead of CHAStizing him, he should awaken his curiosity, satisfy it and alleviate his ignorance, so that he may continue in his generalist practice. He should not try to either shame him or imprison him to his own field of expertise as the only guarantee of being correct. If he can not sum up his field a practical generalist instrument... well, I hope it can be done at all! What do you think?
In any case, psychologists should equip anyone having anything to do with transfer of knowledge with the skill of curiosity-raising. This is not just the art of presentation, I mean understanding of internal psychology of curiosity. To teach without curiosity at the receiving end causes boredom, or as the future space-people will call it, intellectual violence. But psychology of learning is greater than that. We will obviously need to operate on an entirely different rate of information processing and we can only do that through examining our methods of learning and teaching. Specially the way how we take in the information, how we store it and how we build a structure of a given field in one's memory. Learning a field of science is a bit like building a ship model in a bottle. Not very practical.

All people who learn have a different capacity to learn. Different rate of saturation with knowledge. After reaching this capacity, a student becomes bored. After exceeding this capacity, a student becomes hostile. Specialists should recognize that students (and most people will be students in the future) have this limited capacity to learn, which means a specialist has a limited capacity to correct them without causing hostility. This capacity must not be wasted on forcing people to become specialists just because they were wrong in one aspect of the field. Generalists live for the society and combination and application of knowledge, not expertise and science itself. Everyone will be wrong about something at some point. The more creative we are, the more often wrong - but also more often right, by the sheer creative quantity. The trick is to make student distinguish between the two without antagonizing him. Therefore, a right relationship between specialists, generalists, students, society and problems of daily life must mean a new approach to
- learning and teaching
- being wrong or ignorant
- correction
- success and failure
Yes, success should be measured differently. I'm not sure how, except cooperative success of a group is greater than a success of one competitor of all the others. All success should be measured by its impact on the group, group of specialists, group knowledge of a given field or the "layman" society itself. I think in the future there will be less respectful, white coat-worshipping laymen in awe of science journals and many more dabblers, amateurs, enthusiasts and similar vermin. And it will be a good thing, if we take it at the right end.


(all right, those who can read between the lines, can see how much of a shameless plug and self-promotion this post is. Basically, why, smartasses like me will be plentiful in the future and why you should welcome that)


Have you never taken science in school?
What you're proposing is what introductory science classes are supposed to do.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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08-02-2013, 09:44 AM
RE: Teaching "Critical Thinking" in Education
Or just breed specialist workers - from high level managers with superb analytical capability to grunt labour with only rudimentary brains? Maybe classify them by the Greek alphabet?

It's not the mean god I have trouble with - it's the people who worship a mean god.
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08-02-2013, 10:04 AM
RE: Teaching "Critical Thinking" in Education
(08-02-2013 09:44 AM)Peterkin Wrote:  Or just breed specialist workers - from high level managers with superb analytical capability to grunt labour with only rudimentary brains? Maybe classify them by the Greek alphabet?
Aldous Huxley would have liked that! Wink
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08-02-2013, 12:55 PM
RE: Teaching "Critical Thinking" in Education
(08-02-2013 09:05 AM)Chas Wrote:  Have you never taken science in school?
What you're proposing is what introductory science classes are supposed to do.
Depends on what you mean by science. Scientific method is defined and justified by philosophy. Various scientific fields have their own methods, techniques. For example, in Biology class we were taught to make lab protocols and observe with microscope. But 90 % of what we learned was just data, no use to us.

There was absolutely no introductory class on science or its general method. We were taught what to think, not how. Looking at it back, I can only glimpse how stupefying that is. Education is the key to democracy. But teaching a heap of facts is not education, where before was no thinking process, there is no thinking process afterwards - there is only no will to try this using brain thing again.

Then I come to the national internet and I see how people praise a political candidate at a rally. He's a crook, covering for other crooks for years. Knows a lot of crooks, many of whom are responsible for tunneling state institutions and crooked business deals with state property. Then there's another exact the same crook and he also has a crowd of enthusiastic followers. One of them became my president, the one better at populism and antics. I voted for him, because he's not a friend of EU, which is a black hole for money right now. But I'm not glad for this choice. I didn't watch the debates or visit his rally. If any of the people there could think, they wouldn't cheer for him, for any political crook.

I pointed out at Facebook that any time any politician wants us to do what he says, he threatens us with Communists. It's more than than 20 years since Communism, the party is legal but powerless, others boycott them. And people are still terribly afraid of Communists. Anyone who criticizes the politicians, is a Communist, secret bolshevik provocateur agent or a someone brainwashed by Communist parents. And that's what ordinary citizens said! I say, no wonder political crooks may steal anything they want in this country, they make sure rightists hate and fear leftists and vice versa. Few people go to elections and if yes, the two big parties of thieves who cover for each other always win. The ordinary citizens don't have a slightest idea of the divide and conquer tactics, of the prisoner's dilemma and most of all they don't know what a Communist means. I have debated for days and I haven't received a coherent definition of a Communist out of them.

The people don't know how to think, how to use that sponge between their ears! They don't have the concepts, the mental instruments. They don't know that in order to know and define what they're talking about, they must have a triangle. They must have correspondence between a word, a concept and a real thing. If they don't have that, anyone can make up a political buzzword that has no real meaning or existence, but pushes their emotional buttons.
You know what? I had to pay an unholy amount of money, move to the capital city and enter a private university, to learn anything about philosophy in this country. Apparently, the education doesn't have to be religious or deny evolution, to be completely fucked up.

This is what I mean by teaching philosophy,
- how to think correctly
- what is and isn't knowledge and whether anyone knows anything (the Socratic method)
- how to gain knowledge
- how to recognize a totalitarian regime

- how to achieve a non-totalitarian regime.

If you claim there are nuances to principles, there are no nuances to getting arrested or shot for disobeying the power.
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08-02-2013, 05:53 PM (This post was last modified: 08-02-2013 05:57 PM by ClydeLee.)
RE: Teaching "Critical Thinking" in Education
I agreed as soon as I saw them the first time with all of the ideas except the last one. Too Narrow... why leave it to question specific authorities and not examine the idea that any authority AND including those apposed to authority have lied deliberately in the past for selfish gain.

As for implementation, in ways they are all implemented in the educational systems seen in the "west"; just not enough and they are not the focus points to most.

But pretty much all the ideas of critical thinking and analyzing in those ways can be taught through Science and Humanities. I'm not up to going at this in each particular detail but overall, the first half of the list is more fitting though scientific methods lessons and the humanities being taught in a way of analyzing and understanding in various forms of questioning in the later details.

The point of any science experiment done well is to teach critical thinking, and the point of a literary essay is to teach critical thinking.

And I always did have intro science courses like Chas was talking about.. They were labeled under Physical Science and were just general knowledge of the scientific method with learning the various laws of the world; All being attempted to be taught via demonstrations and then analyzing the information.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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