Critical Thinking

Teaching Critical Thinking: Strong vs. Weak

Recently I’ve been familiarizing myself with Richard Paul’s work on critical thinking and reviewing some of the scientific literature on it. After reading the recent Stanford Study I realized I needed to step up my game when it came to teaching critical thinking. A definition seemed like a good place to …

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Required Readings

New ED Secretary, critical digital literacies, shoulders shock professor, censored student journalism, and more: Required Readings, 12.19.16

So, it turns out the last Required Reading news about potential nominees for Secretary of Education missed the mark. Meet Betsy DeVos. But what’s the worse that could happen? Truthy Lies and Surreal Truths: A Plea for Critical Digital Literacies An Idaho university student received a zero on a humanities …

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Local college professor in altercation with alt-right serviceman (Indiana Jones vs. Nazi)
Required Readings

Required Readings, 11.21.16

I’ve started and deleted this column for 2 weeks now, trying to determine what from the flood of news to feature. The various attacks in schools and universities across the country? The fear coming from immigrant students, including my own, about what the election will mean for them and their families? …

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Required Readings

Bloom’s taxonomy, presidential politics and education, evolving science ed, and more: Required Readings, 10.13.16

After a lengthy hiatus thanks to a cross-country move, a new job, and the resulting temporary dearth of spare brain cells, Required Readings has returned! Let’s start out nice and gentle with some pretty (yet educational) pictures: Visually striking depictions of Bloom’s taxonomy of classifying levels of expertise for instruction purposes. …

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Pedagogy

Don’t Teach “Evaluating Sources”

Okay, so that title was a bit of an attention getter. I’m not going to say that you shouldn’t teach students how to evaluate sources at all, just not necessarily when you think you should. Teachers are faced with the task of figuring out exactly what aspects of their subjects …

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The cover of issue 127 of the journal Social Text
Critical ThinkingHigher EducationPublishingScience

Evaluating the Sokal Hoax Twenty Years Later

Twenty years ago, in May 1996 (okay, twenty years and four months—sue me), Alan Sokal, a physicist at with appointments at the University College London and New York University, published a ground-breaking paper in the respected critical theory journal Social Text. The paper has been highly influential. I learned about …

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GovernmentPolitics

Students Do Not Need Campus Political Parties to Be Politically Active

This fall, as thousands of new students pile into colleges and universities, they will explore the many clubs and student societies on offer. Many of them will join the youth or student wings of mainstream political parties, which will be especially prominent given the upcoming election in the United States. …

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Critical ThinkingCultureInformal EducationPoliticsReligionScience

What Pramaoedya Ananta Toer Tried to Teach His Kids About Medicine and Critical Thinking

Pramaoedya Ananta Toer (1925-2006) was an award-winning Indonesian writer who was famous for the novels that he wrote during two long stints as a political prisoner. He was first jailed by the Dutch in 1947 for his anti-colonial activities, and then again by President Suharto for being a leftist from …

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Lesson Plans

A Lesson in Critical Lunching (Overview)

At first, I was horrified when I read the articles. Another teacher had assigned my students some readings that were full of logical fallacies, misleading information, and inappropriately cited scientific studies. The horrifying prospect was that I now had to use those articles in my own classes, and I would …

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Required Readings

Climate change ed, discriminating vouchers, Wikipedagogy, consent in the classroom, and more: Required Readings, 06.29.16

Two bills in Congress (one each in the Senate and the House) would authorize the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to establish a climate change education program. Meanwhile, one senator has inserted language into an appropriations bill that would prohibit the Justice Department from enforcing key provisions of the Americans with Disabilities …

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