Teaching with Purpose

Francis Bacon - Teaching with Purpose
Francis Bacon – Teaching with Purpose
Teaching with purpose

I’m one of the NRA’s “bad guys” – Salon.com

Why do I do this? I teach creative nonfiction. More importantly, I teach critical thinking skills, which, if Wayne LaPierre is any example, are in short supply in this country. I insist that students read books about difficult topics precisely because I want students to understand how to pick apart a difficult argument and how to see through the eyes of someone else, or because I simply want to see if my students’ vision of life squares up with those that they read. Sometimes, they are able to see themselves depicted in those pages, and sometimes they are able to examine their own prejudices (be they class, gender, race or education level) by being forced to look at the world through the eyes of the other.

I’m one of the NRA’s “bad guys” – Salon.com

I, too, teach critical thinking skills. It’s an uphill battle. My students having endured years of NCLB testing are superb factual test takers but have little experience with expressing an informed opinion. Quite often, a request for an opinion results not in an informed opinion based on any kind of fact or thinking but a reiteration of the worst elements of talk radio and 24 hours “news.” Simple tests where opinions and facts are listed and the student asked to identify which is which are routinely failed even by good students.

Business ethics and business law both demand higher level thinking skills. Deciding what should be done when there are ethical questions can well depend on religious beliefs, philosophical perceptions, life experience and practical considerations all at once. Critical thinking is key to making intelligent business decisions both routine and ethical.

James Pilant

From across the web –

From, http://izygekev.wordpress.com/

Critical thinking refers to a process of judgment taken after an analytical evaluation of a problem. It can be developed through the practice of intentional analyzing of every situation in life. Critical thinking skills can be developed by inculcating a habit of analytical and strategic thinking. If you can get yourself into the habit of analyzing every situation critically, you will gradually acquire critical thinking skills.

Your educational background plays a major role in the development of your thinking skills. Education that requires you to think analytically, the education that instills in you the principles of analytical thinking and reasoning leads you to become a critical thinker. The development of problem solving and reasoning skills since an early age is an excellent way of developing critical thinking skills. Fields that require you to acquire and evaluate information before reaching a conclusion indeed help in the development of critical thinking skills. Exposing yourself to questions that stimulate thinking can develop critical thinking skills.

From the web site, vive la internet

No one always acts purely objectively and rationally. We connive for selfish interests. We gossip, boast, exaggerate, and equivocate. It is “only human” to wish to validate our prior knowledge, to vindicate our prior decisions, or to sustain our earlier beliefs. In the process of satisfying our ego, however, we can often deny ourselves intellectual growth and opportunity. We may not always want to apply critical thinking skills, but we should have those skills available to be employed when needed.
Critical thinking includes a complex combination of skills. Among the main characteristics are the following:

Rationality
We are thinking critically when we
• rely on reason rather than emotion,
• require evidence, ignore no known evidence, and follow evidence where it leads, and
• are concerned more with finding the best explanation than being right analyzing apparent confusion and asking questions.

From the web site, Rliberni’s Blog, Radical Language

How do we focus on the teaching of Critical Thinking skills in a standardized test focused curriculum?
What a fun topic for me this week (per usual for edchat).  I actually almost missed it as I was running late from a meeting.  Don’t tell my superintendent, but I may have pushed the speed limit a bit in a school vehicle to get to my computer.  
As an administrator for the past 9 years, I have wrestled with this question often.  I feel horrible about focusing so much on the test when I know that focusing on the test probably isn’t what is what our kids need for being better thinkers.   

Many strong opinions were shared during this amazing fast paced hour of learning.  It is hard to argue that critical thinking skills are vital to be taught and what we SHOULD be teaching.  However, it is scary for teachers and administrators to deviate from not teaching to the tests when the system is currently set up with sanctions and penalties for those schools that do not do well on the tests.  It was agreed by many, including me, that great teaching that includes teaching students how to think, rather than what to think, while ultimately produce strong results. 

 

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