Where to Begin Thinking Critically?
I realize almost no one will read this, but for the few who do, I have question. (I’ll keep this post short.)
Recently, I’ve been thinking about the most basic aspects of critical thinking: where to start a primer for students who have never really encountered it before. While “critical thinking” is a common buzzword, most people, including many teachers, don’t seem to actually understand what it is or use the term correctly (as I’ve written about before).
When it comes to teaching students, there’s big question of where exactly to begin. Critical thinking has so many important aspects, and while skeptics (myself included) like to focus on a few specific ones, like logical fallacies or quoting Carl Sagan, there really is a whole lot there to delve into.
What interests me the most in teaching is finding ways to ignite a spark of interest in my students, but most of the skills in thinking critically are very difficult and require a lot of mental energy even at the best of times. A good starting point can help students who might not otherwise be interested, but the best I can come up with is “Some information is unreliable, here is proof of that, here is what can happen if you believe it, and here are some ways to check it.”
Do you have a better starting point for teaching critical thinking skills?