Acredite Em Lobisomens Critical Thinking

A Draft Statement of Principles


Goals


The goals of the National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking Instruction are as follows:

  1. To articulate, preserve, and foster high standards of research, scholarship, and instruction in critical thinking.

  2. To articulate the standards upon which "quality" thinking is based and the criteria by means of which thinking, and instruction for thinking, can be appropriately cultivated and assessed.

  3. To assess programs which claim to foster higher-order critical thinking.

  4. To disseminate information that aids educators and others in identifying quality critical thinking programs and approaches which ground the reform and restructuring of education on a systematic cultivation of disciplined universal and domain specific intellectual standards.

 

Founding Principles

  1. There is an intimate interrelation between knowledge and thinking.

  2. Knowing that something is so is not simply a matter of believing that it is so, it also entails being justified in that belief (Definition: Knowledge is justified true belief).

  3. There are general, as well as domain-specific, standards for the assessment of thinking.

  4. To achieve knowledge in any domain, it is essential to think critically.

  5. Critical thinking is based on articulable intellectual standards and hence is intrinsically subject to assessment by those standards.

  6. Criteria for the assessment of thinking in all domains are based on such general standards as: clarity, precision, accuracy, relevance, significance, fairness, logic, depth, and breadth, evidentiary support, probability, predictive or explanatory power. These standards, and others, are embedded not only in the history of the intellectual and scientific communities, but also in the self-assessing behavior of reasonable persons in everyday life. It is possible to teach all subjects in such a way as to encourage the use of these intellectual standards in both professional and personal life.

  7. Instruction in critical thinking should increasingly enable students to assess both their own thought and action and that of others by reference, ultimately, to standards such as those above. It should lead progressively, in other words, to a disciplining of the mind and to a self-chosen commitment to a life of intellectual and moral integrity.

  8. Instruction in all subject domains should result in the progressive disciplining of the mind with respect to the capacity and disposition to think critically within that domain. Hence, instruction in science should lead to disciplined scientific thinking; instruction in mathematics should lead to disciplined mathematical thinking; instruction in history should lead to disciplined historical thinking; and in a parallel manner in every discipline and domain of learning.

  9. Disciplined thinking with respect to any subject involves the capacity on the part of the thinker to recognize, analyze, and assess the basic elements of thought: the purpose or goal of the thinking; the problem or question at issue; the frame of reference or points of view involved; assumptions made; central concepts and ideas at work; principles or theories used; evidence, data, or reasons advanced, claims made and conclusions drawn; inferences, reasoning, and lines of formulated thought; and implications and consequences involved.

  10. Critical reading, writing, speaking, and listening are academically essential modes of learning. To be developed generally they must be systematically cultivated in a variety of subject domains as well as with respect to interdisciplinary issues. Each are modes of thinking which are successful to the extent that they are disciplined and guided by critical thought and reflection.

  11. The earlier that children develop sensitivity to the standards of sound thought and reasoning, the more likely they will develop desirable intellectual habits and become open-minded persons responsive to reasonable persuasion.

  12. Education - in contrast to training, socialization, and indoctrination - implies a process conducive to critical thought and judgment. It is intrinsically committed to the cultivation of reasonability and rationality.

 

History and Philosophy

Critical thinking is integral to education and rationality and, as an idea, is traceable, ultimately, to the teaching practices — and the educational ideal implicit in them — of Socrates of ancient Greece. It has played a seminal role in the emergence of academic disciplines, as well as in the work of discovery of those who created them. Knowledge, in other words, has been discovered and verified by the distinguished critical thinkers of intellectual, scientific, and technological history. For the majority of the idea's history, however, critical thinking has been "buried," a conception in practice without an explicit name. Most recently, however, it has undergone something of an awakening, a coming-out, a first major social expression, signaling perhaps a turning-point in its history.

This awakening is correlated with a growing awareness that if education is to produce critical thinkers en mass, if it is to globally cultivate nations of skilled thinkers and innovators rather than a scattering of thinkers amid an army of intellectually unskilled, undisciplined, and uncreative followers, then a renaissance and re-emergence of the idea of critical thinking as integral to knowledge and understanding is necessary. Such a reawakening and recognition began first in the USA in the later 30's and then surfaced in various forms in the 50's, 60's, and 70's, reaching its most public expression in the 80's and 90's. Nevertheless, despite the scholarship surrounding the idea, despite the scattered efforts to embody it in educational practice, the educational and social acceptance of the idea is still in its infancy, still largely misunderstood, still existing more in stereotype than in substance, more in image than in reality.

The members of the Council (some 8000 plus educators) are committed to high standards of excellence in critical thinking instruction across the curriculum at all levels of education. They are, therefore, concerned with the proliferation of poorly conceived "thinking skills" programs with their simplistic — often slick — approaches to both thinking and instruction. If the current emphasis on critical thinking is genuinely to take root, if it is to avoid the traditional fate of passing educational fad and "buzz word," it is essential that the deep obstacles to its embodiment in quality education be recognized for what they are, reasonable strategies to combat them formulated by leading scholars in the field, and successful communication of both obstacles and strategies to the educational and broader community achieved.

To this end, sound standards of the field of critical thinking research must be made accessible by clear articulation and the means set up for the large-scale dissemination of that articulation. The nature and challenge of critical thinking as an educational ideal must not be allowed to sink into the murky background of educational reform and restructuring efforts, while superficial ideas take its place. Critical thinking must assume its proper place at the hub of educational reform and restructuring. Critical thinking — and intellectual and social development generally — are not well-served when educational discussion is inundated with superficial conceptions of critical thinking and slick merchandizing of "thinking skills" programs while substantial — and necessarily more challenging conceptions and programs — are thrust aside, obscured, or ignored.

 

{"id":"80","title":"A Draft Statement of Principles","author":"Dr. Richard Paul, Chair, NCECT","content":"<p><span style=\"color: #000000;\"><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"> </span></span></p>\r\n<p><strong><span style=\"color: #000099;\"><br /> Goals </span></strong><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"><br /> <br /> </span><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\">The goals of the National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking Instruction are as follows:<br /> </span></p>\r\n<ol>\r\n<li>To articulate, preserve, and foster high standards of research, scholarship, and instruction in critical thinking.<br /> <br /> </li>\r\n<li>To articulate the standards upon which \"quality\" thinking is based and the criteria by means of which thinking, and instruction for thinking, can be appropriately cultivated and assessed.<br /> <br /> </li>\r\n<li>To assess programs which claim to foster higher-order critical thinking.<br /> <br /> </li>\r\n<li>To disseminate information that aids educators and others in identifying quality critical thinking programs and approaches which ground the reform and restructuring of education on a systematic cultivation of disciplined universal and domain specific intellectual standards. </li>\r\n</ol>\r\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\r\n<p><span style=\"color: #000000; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;\"><strong><span style=\"color: #000099;\">Founding Principles</span></strong> </span></p>\r\n<ol>\r\n<li>There is an intimate interrelation between knowledge and thinking.<br /> <br /> </li>\r\n<li>Knowing that something is so is not simply a matter of believing that it is so, it also entails being justified in that belief (Definition: Knowledge is justified true belief).<br /> <br /> </li>\r\n<li>There are general, as well as domain-specific, standards for the assessment of thinking.<br /> <br /> </li>\r\n<li>To achieve knowledge in any domain, it is essential to think critically.<br /> <br /> </li>\r\n<li>Critical thinking is based on articulable intellectual standards and hence is intrinsically subject to assessment by those standards.<br /> <br /> </li>\r\n<li>Criteria for the assessment of thinking in all domains are based on such general standards as: clarity, precision, accuracy, relevance, significance, fairness, logic, depth, and breadth, evidentiary support, probability, predictive or explanatory power. These standards, and others, are embedded not only in the history of the intellectual and scientific communities, but also in the self-assessing behavior of reasonable persons in everyday life. It is possible to teach all subjects in such a way as to encourage the use of these intellectual standards in both professional and personal life.<br /> <br /> </li>\r\n<li>Instruction in critical thinking should increasingly enable students to assess both their own thought and action and that of others by reference, ultimately, to standards such as those above. It should lead progressively, in other words, to a disciplining of the mind and to a self-chosen commitment to a life of intellectual and moral integrity.<br /> <br /> </li>\r\n<li>Instruction in all subject domains should result in the progressive disciplining of the mind with respect to the capacity and disposition to think critically within that domain. Hence, instruction in science should lead to disciplined scientific thinking; instruction in mathematics should lead to disciplined mathematical thinking; instruction in history should lead to disciplined historical thinking; and in a parallel manner in every discipline and domain of learning.<br /> <br /> </li>\r\n<li>Disciplined thinking with respect to any subject involves the capacity on the part of the thinker to recognize, analyze, and assess the basic elements of thought: the purpose or goal of the thinking; the problem or question at issue; the frame of reference or points of view involved; assumptions made; central concepts and ideas at work; principles or theories used; evidence, data, or reasons advanced, claims made and conclusions drawn; inferences, reasoning, and lines of formulated thought; and implications and consequences involved.<br /> <br /> </li>\r\n<li>Critical reading, writing, speaking, and listening are academically essential modes of learning. To be developed generally they must be systematically cultivated in a variety of subject domains as well as with respect to interdisciplinary issues. Each are modes of thinking which are successful to the extent that they are disciplined and guided by critical thought and reflection.<br /> <br /> </li>\r\n<li>The earlier that children develop sensitivity to the standards of sound thought and reasoning, the more likely they will develop desirable intellectual habits and become open-minded persons responsive to reasonable persuasion.<br /> <br /> </li>\r\n<li>Education - in contrast to training, socialization, and indoctrination - implies a process conducive to critical thought and judgment. It is intrinsically committed to the cultivation of reasonability and rationality. </li>\r\n</ol>\r\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\r\n<p><strong><span style=\"color: #000099;\"><span style=\"color: #000099;\">History and Philosophy<br /> </span><br /> </span></strong><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\">Critical thinking is integral to education and rationality and, as an idea, is traceable, ultimately, to the teaching practices&nbsp;&mdash; and the educational ideal implicit in them&nbsp;&mdash; of Socrates of ancient Greece. It has played a seminal role in the emergence of academic disciplines, as well as in the work of discovery of those who created them. Knowledge, in other words, has been discovered and verified by the distinguished critical thinkers of intellectual, scientific, and technological history. For the majority of the idea's history, however, critical thinking has been \"buried,\" a conception in practice without an explicit name. Most recently, however, it has undergone something of an awakening, a coming-out, a first major social expression, signaling perhaps a turning-point in its history. <br /> <br /> This awakening is correlated with a growing awareness that if education is to produce critical thinkers en mass, if it is to globally cultivate nations of skilled thinkers and innovators rather than a scattering of thinkers amid an army of intellectually unskilled, undisciplined, and uncreative followers, then a renaissance and re-emergence of the idea of critical thinking as integral to knowledge and understanding is necessary. Such a reawakening and recognition began first in the USA in the later 30's and then surfaced in various forms in the 50's, 60's, and 70's, reaching its most public expression in the 80's and 90's. Nevertheless, despite the scholarship surrounding the idea, despite the scattered efforts to embody it in educational practice, the educational and social acceptance of the idea is still in its infancy, still largely misunderstood, still existing more in stereotype than in substance, more in image than in reality.<br /> <br /> The members of the Council (some 8000 plus educators) are committed to high standards of excellence in critical thinking instruction across the curriculum at all levels of education. They are, therefore, concerned with the proliferation of poorly conceived \"thinking skills\" programs with their simplistic&nbsp;&mdash; often slick&nbsp;&mdash; approaches to both thinking and instruction. If the current emphasis on critical thinking is genuinely to take root, if it is to avoid the traditional fate of passing educational fad and \"buzz word,\" it is essential that the deep obstacles to its embodiment in quality education be recognized for what they are, reasonable strategies to combat them formulated by leading scholars in the field, and successful communication of both obstacles and strategies to the educational and broader community achieved. <br /> <br /> To this end, sound standards of the field of critical thinking research must be made accessible by clear articulation and the means set up for the large-scale dissemination of that articulation. The nature and challenge of critical thinking as an educational ideal must not be allowed to sink into the murky background of educational reform and restructuring efforts, while superficial ideas take its place. Critical thinking must assume its proper place at the hub of educational reform and restructuring. Critical thinking&nbsp;&mdash; and intellectual and social development generally&nbsp;&mdash; are not well-served when educational discussion is inundated with superficial conceptions of critical thinking and slick merchandizing of \"thinking skills\" programs while substantial&nbsp;&mdash; and necessarily more challenging conceptions and programs&nbsp;&mdash; are thrust aside, obscured, or ignored. <br /> </span></span></p>\r\n<p><br style=\"clear: both;\" /></p>\r\n<p>&nbsp;</p>","public_access":"1","public_downloads":"1","sku":"","files":[],"images":[]}


Elements of Thought

 
If teachers want their students to think well, they must help students understand at least the rudiments of thought, the most basic structures out of which all thinking is made. In other words, students must learn how to take thinking apart. All thinking is defined by the eight elements that make it up. Eight basic structures are present in all thinking.  Whenever we think, we think for a purpose within a point of view based on assumptions leading to implications and consequences.  We use concepts, ideas, and theories to interpret data, facts, and experiences in order to answer questions, solve problems, and resolve issues.  Thinking, then, generates purposes, raises questions, uses information, utilizes concepts, makes inferences, makes assumptions, generates implications, and embodies a point of view. Students should understand that each of these structures has implications for the others. If they change their purpose or agenda, they change their questions and problems. If they change their questions and problems, they are forced to seek new information and data, and so on. Students should regularly use the following checklist for reasoning to improve their thinking in any discipline or subject area:

  1. All reasoning has a purpose.
    1. State your purpose clearly.
    2. Distinguish your purpose from related purposes.
    3. Check periodically to be sure you are still on target.
    4. Choose significant and realistic purposes.

  2. All reasoning is an attempt to figure something out, to settle some question, solve some problem.
    1. State the question at issue clearly and precisely.
    2. Express the question in several ways to clarify its meaning and scope.
    3. Break the question into sub-questions.
    4. Distinguish questions that have definitive answers from those that are a matter of opinion and from those that require consideration of multiple viewpoints.

  3. All reasoning is based on assumptions (beliefs you take for granted).
    1. Clearly identify your assumptions and determine whether they are justifiable.
    2. Consider how your assumptions are shaping your point of view.

  4. All reasoning is done from some point of view.
    1. Identify your point of view.
    2. Seek other points of view and identify their strengths and weaknesses.
    3. Strive to be fair-minded in evaluating all points of view.

  5. All reasoning is based on data, information, and evidence.
    1. Restrict your claims to those supported by the data you have.
    2. Search for information that opposes your position, as well as information that supports it.
    3. Make sure that all information used is clear, accurate, and relevant to the question at issue.
    4. Make sure you have gathered sufficient information.

  6. All reasoning is expressed through, and shaped by, concepts and ideas.
    1. Identify key concepts and explain them clearly.
    2. Consider alternative concepts or alternative definitions of concepts.
    3. Make sure you are using concepts with care and precision.

  7. All reasoning contains inferences or interpretations by which we draw conclusions and give meaning to data.
    1. Infer only what the evidence implies.
    2. Check inferences for their consistency with each other.
    3. Identify assumptions that lead you to your inferences.

  8. All reasoning leads somewhere or has implications and consequences.
    1. Trace the implications and consequences that follow from your reasoning.
    2. Search for negative as well as positive implications.
    3. Consider all possible consequences.

{"id":81,"title":"Elements of Thought","author":"Linda Elder and Richard Paul","content":"&lt;p&gt;&lt;span id=\"__mce\" style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"&gt;&amp;nbsp;&lt;br /&gt; &lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"&gt;If teachers want their students to think well, they must help students understand at least the rudiments of thought, the most basic structures out of which all thinking is made. In other words, students must learn how to take thinking apart. All thinking is defined by the eight elements that make it up. Eight basic structures are present in all thinking.&amp;nbsp; Whenever we think, we think for a purpose within a point of view based on assumptions leading to implications and consequences.&amp;nbsp; We use concepts, ideas, and theories to interpret data, facts, and experiences in order to answer questions, solve problems, and resolve issues.&amp;nbsp; &lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"&gt;Thinking, then, generates purposes, raises questions, uses information, utilizes concepts, makes inferences, makes assumptions, generates implications, and embodies a point of view. Students should understand that each of these structures has implications for the others. If they change their purpose or agenda, they change their questions and problems. If they change their questions and problems, they are forced to seek new information and data, and so on. &lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"&gt;Students should regularly use the following checklist for reasoning to improve their thinking in any discipline or subject area: &lt;/span&gt;&lt;/p&gt;\r\n&lt;ol&gt;&lt;span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;All reasoning has a &lt;strong&gt;purpose&lt;/strong&gt;. &lt;ol type=\"a\"&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;State your purpose clearly. &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;Distinguish your purpose from related purposes. &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;Check periodically to be sure you are still on target. &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;Choose significant and realistic purposes.&lt;br /&gt; &lt;br /&gt; &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;/ol&gt; &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;All reasoning is an attempt to figure something out, to settle some &lt;strong&gt;question&lt;/strong&gt;, solve some &lt;strong&gt;problem&lt;/strong&gt;. &lt;ol type=\"a\"&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;State the question at issue clearly and precisely. &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;Express the question in several ways to clarify its meaning and scope. &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;Break the question into sub-questions. &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;Distinguish questions that have definitive answers from those that are a matter of opinion and from those that require consideration of multiple viewpoints.&lt;br /&gt; &lt;br /&gt; &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;/ol&gt; &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;All reasoning is based on &lt;strong&gt;assumptions&lt;/strong&gt; (beliefs you take for granted). &lt;ol type=\"a\"&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;Clearly identify your assumptions and determine whether they are justifiable. &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;Consider how your assumptions are shaping your point of view.&lt;br /&gt; &lt;br /&gt; &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;/ol&gt; &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;All reasoning is done from some &lt;strong&gt;point of view&lt;/strong&gt;. &lt;ol type=\"a\"&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;Identify your point of view. &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;Seek other points of view and identify their strengths and weaknesses. &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;Strive to be fair-minded in evaluating all points of view.&lt;br /&gt; &lt;br /&gt; &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;/ol&gt; &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;All reasoning is based on &lt;strong&gt;data, information&lt;/strong&gt;, and &lt;strong&gt;evidence&lt;/strong&gt;. &lt;ol type=\"a\"&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;Restrict your claims to those supported by the data you have. &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;Search for information that opposes your position, as well as information that supports it. &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;Make sure that all information used is clear, accurate, and relevant to the question at issue. &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;Make sure you have gathered sufficient information.&lt;br /&gt; &lt;br /&gt; &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;/ol&gt; &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;All reasoning is expressed through, and shaped by, &lt;strong&gt;concepts&lt;/strong&gt; and &lt;strong&gt;ideas&lt;/strong&gt;. &lt;ol type=\"a\"&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;Identify key concepts and explain them clearly. &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;Consider alternative concepts or alternative definitions of concepts. &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;Make sure you are using concepts with care and precision.&lt;br /&gt; &lt;br /&gt; &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;/ol&gt; &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;All reasoning contains &lt;strong&gt;inferences&lt;/strong&gt; or &lt;strong&gt;interpretations&lt;/strong&gt; by which we draw &lt;strong&gt;conclusions&lt;/strong&gt; and give meaning to data. &lt;ol type=\"a\"&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;Infer only what the evidence implies. &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;Check inferences for their consistency with each other. &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;Identify assumptions that lead you to your inferences.&lt;br /&gt; &lt;br /&gt; &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;/ol&gt; &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;All reasoning leads somewhere or has &lt;strong&gt;implications&lt;/strong&gt; and &lt;strong&gt;consequences&lt;/strong&gt;. &lt;ol type=\"a\"&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;Trace the implications and consequences that follow from your reasoning. &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;Search for negative as well as positive implications. &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;li&gt;Consider all possible consequences. &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;/ol&gt; &lt;/li&gt;\r\n&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/ol&gt;\r\n&lt;p&gt;&lt;br style=\"clear: both;\" /&gt;&lt;/p&gt;","public_access":"1","public_downloads":"1","sku":"","files":{},"images":{}}


Universal Intellectual Standards

 

Universal intellectual standards are standards which must be applied to thinking whenever one is interested in checking the quality of reasoning about a problem, issue, or situation. To think critically entails having command of these standards. To help students learn them, teachers should pose questions which probe student thinking, questions which hold students accountable for their thinking, questions which, through consistent use by the teacher in the classroom, become internalized by students as questions they need to ask themselves.

The ultimate goal, then, is for these questions to become infused in the thinking of students, forming part of their inner voice, which then guides them to better and better reasoning. While there are a number of universal standards, the following are the most significant:

 

  1. Clarity - Could you elaborate further on that point? Could you express that point in another way? Could you give me an illustration? Could you give me an example?

    Clarity is the gateway standard. If a statement is unclear, we cannot determine whether it is accurate or relevant. In fact, we cannot tell anything about it because we don’t yet know what it is saying. For example, the question "What can be done about the education system in America?" is unclear. In order to address the question adequately, we would need to have a clearer understanding of what the person asking the question is considering the "problem" to be. A clearer question might be "What can educators do to ensure that students learn the skills and abilities which help them function successfully on the job and in their daily decision-making?"

     

  2. Accuracy - Is that really true? How could we check that? How could we find out if that is true?

    A statement can be clear but not accurate, as in "Most dogs are over 300 pounds in weight."

     

  3. Precision - Could you give more details? Could you be more specific?

    A statement can be both clear and accurate, but not precise, as in "Jack is overweight." (We don’t know how overweight Jack is, one pound or 500 pounds.)

     

  4. Relevance - How is that connected to the question? How does that bear on the issue?

    A statement can be clear, accurate, and precise, but not relevant to the question at issue. For example, students often think that the amount of effort they put into a course should be used in raising their grade in a course. Often, however, the "effort" does not measure the quality of student learning, and when this is so, effort is irrelevant to their appropriate grade.

     

  5. Depth - How does your answer address the complexities in the question? How are you taking into account the problems in the question? Is that dealing with the most significant factors?

    A statement can be clear, accurate, precise, and relevant, but superficial (that is, lacks depth). For example, the statement "Just say No," which is often used to discourage children and teens from using drugs, is clear, accurate, precise, and relevant. Nevertheless, it lacks depth because it treats an extremely complex issue, the pervasive problem of drug use among young people, superficially. It fails to deal with the complexities of the issue.

     

  6. Breadth - Do we need to consider another point of view? Is there another way to look at this question? What would this look like from a conservative standpoint? What would this look like from the point of view of...?

    A line of reasoning may be clear accurate, precise, relevant, and deep, but lack breadth (as in an argument from either the conservative or liberal standpoint which gets deeply into an issue, but only recognizes the insights of one side of the question.)

     

  7. Logic - Does this really make sense? Does that follow from what you said? How does that follow? But before you implied this and now you are saying that; how can both be true?

    When we think, we bring a variety of thoughts together into some order. When the combination of thoughts are mutually supporting and make sense in combination, the thinking is "logical." When the combination is not mutually supporting, is contradictory in some sense, or does not "make sense," the combination is not logical.

{"id":"82","title":"Universal Intellectual Standards","author":"Linda Elder and Richard Paul","content":"<p><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\">&nbsp;</span><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"> </span></p>\r\n<p><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"> </span></span></p>\r\n<p><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"> </span> </span> <span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"> </span><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"> <span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"> Universal intellectual standards are standards which must be applied to thinking whenever one is interested in checking the quality of reasoning about a problem, issue, or situation. To think critically entails having command of these standards. To help students learn them, teachers should pose questions which probe student thinking, questions which hold students accountable for their thinking, questions which, through consistent use by the teacher in the classroom, become internalized by students as questions they need to ask themselves.</span></span><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"> <span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"> </span></span></span></span></p>\r\n<p>The ultimate goal, then, is for these questions to become infused in the thinking of students, forming part of their inner voice, which then guides them to better and better reasoning. While there are a number of universal standards, the following are the most significant:</p>\r\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\r\n<ol><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\">\r\n<li><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"><strong>Clarity -</strong> Could you elaborate further on that point? Could you express that point in another way? Could you give me an illustration? Could you give me an example?</span>\r\n<p><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"> Clarity is the gateway standard. If a statement is unclear, we cannot determine whether it is accurate or relevant. In fact, we cannot tell anything about it because we don&rsquo;t yet know what it is saying. For example, the question \"What can be done about the education system in America?\" is unclear. In order to address the question adequately, we would need to have a clearer understanding of what the person asking the question is considering the \"problem\" to be. A clearer question might be \"What can educators do to ensure that students learn the skills and abilities which help them function successfully on the job and in their daily decision-making?\" </span></p>\r\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\r\n</li>\r\n<li><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"><strong>Accuracy -</strong> Is that really true? How could we check that? How could we find out if that is true?</span>\r\n<p><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"> A statement can be clear but not accurate, as in \"Most dogs are over 300 pounds in weight.\" </span></p>\r\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\r\n</li>\r\n<li><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"><strong>Precision -</strong> Could you give more details? Could you be more specific?</span>\r\n<p><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"> A statement can be both clear and accurate, but not precise, as in \"Jack is overweight.\" (We don&rsquo;t know how overweight Jack is, one pound or 500 pounds.) </span></p>\r\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\r\n</li>\r\n<li><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"><strong>Relevance -</strong> How is that connected to the question? How does that bear on the issue?</span>\r\n<p><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"> A statement can be clear, accurate, and precise, but not relevant to the question at issue. For example, students often think that the amount of effort they put into a course should be used in raising their grade in a course. Often, however, the \"effort\" does not measure the quality of student learning, and <em>when this is so</em>, effort is irrelevant to their appropriate grade. </span></p>\r\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\r\n</li>\r\n<li><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"><strong>Depth -</strong> How does your answer address the complexities in the question? How are you taking into account the problems in the question? Is that dealing with the most significant factors?</span>\r\n<p><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"> A statement can be clear, accurate, precise, and relevant, but superficial (that is, lacks depth). For example, the statement \"Just say No,\" which is often used to discourage children and teens from using drugs, is clear, accurate, precise, and relevant. Nevertheless, it lacks depth because it treats an extremely complex issue, the pervasive problem of drug use among young people, superficially. It fails to deal with the complexities of the issue. </span></p>\r\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\r\n</li>\r\n<li><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"><strong>Breadth -</strong> Do we need to consider another point of view? Is there another way to look at this question? What would this look like from a conservative standpoint? What would this look like from the point of view of...?</span>\r\n<p><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"> A line of reasoning may be clear accurate, precise, relevant, and deep, but lack breadth (as in an argument from either the conservative or liberal standpoint which gets deeply into an issue, but only recognizes the insights of one side of the question.) </span></p>\r\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\r\n</li>\r\n<li><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"><strong>Logic -</strong> Does this really make sense? Does that follow from what you said? How does that follow? But before you implied this and now you are saying that; how can both be true?</span>\r\n<p><span style=\"font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;\"> When we think, we bring a variety of thoughts together into some order. When the combination of thoughts are mutually supporting and make sense in combination, the thinking is \"logical.\" When the combination is not mutually supporting, is contradictory in some sense, or does not \"make sense,\" the combination is not logical.</span></p>\r\n</li>\r\n</span></span></ol>\r\n<p><br style=\"clear: both;\" /></p>","public_access":"1","public_downloads":"1","sku":"","files":[],"images":[]}


Valuable Intellectual Traits


Intellectual traits, or virtues, are interrelated intellectual habits that enable students to discipline and improve mental functioning. Teachers need to keep in mind that critical thinking can be used to serve two incompatible ends: self-centeredness or fair-mindedness. As students learn the basic intellectual skills that critical thinking entails, they can begin to use those skills in either a selfish or in a fair-minded way. For example, when students are taught how to recognize mistakes in reasoning (commonly called fallacies), most students readily see those mistakes in the reasoning of others but do not see them so readily in their own reasoning. Often they enjoy pointing out others' errors and develop some proficiency in making their opponents' thinking look bad, but they don't generally use their understanding of fallacies to analyze and assess their own reasoning. It is thus possible for students to develop as thinkers and yet not to develop as fair-minded thinkers. The best thinkers strive to be fair-minded, even when it means they have to give something up. They recognize that the mind is not naturally fair-minded, but selfish. And they understand that to be fair-minded, they must also develop particular traits of mind, traits such as intellectual humility, intellectual courage, intellectual empathy, intellectual integrity, intellectual perseverance, faith in reason, and fair-mindedness. Teachers should model and discuss the following intellectual traits as they help their students become fair-minded, ethical thinkers.  

  1. Intellectual Humility: Having a consciousness of the limits of one's knowledge, including a sensitivity to circumstances in which one's native egocentrism is likely to function self-deceptively; sensitivity to bias, prejudice and limitations of one's viewpoint. Intellectual humility depends on recognizing that one should not claim more than one actually knows. It does not imply spinelessness or submissiveness. It implies the lack of intellectual pretentiousness, boastfulness, or conceit, combined with insight into the logical foundations, or lack of such foundations, of one's beliefs.

  2. Intellectual Courage: Having a consciousness of the need to face and fairly address ideas, beliefs or viewpoints toward which we have strong negative emotions and to which we have not given a serious hearing. This courage is connected with the recognition that ideas considered dangerous or absurd are sometimes rationally justified (in whole or in part) and that conclusions and beliefs inculcated in us are sometimes false or misleading. To determine for ourselves which is which, we must not passively and uncritically "accept" what we have "learned." Intellectual courage comes into play here, because inevitably we will come to see some truth in some ideas considered dangerous and absurd, and distortion or falsity in some ideas strongly held in our social group. We need courage to be true to our own thinking in such circumstances. The penalties for non-conformity can be severe.

  3. Intellectual Empathy: Having a consciousness of the need to imaginatively put oneself in the place of others in order to genuinely understand them, which requires the consciousness of our egocentric tendency to identify truth with our immediate perceptions of long-standing thought or belief. This trait correlates with the ability to reconstruct accurately the viewpoints and reasoning of others and to reason from premises, assumptions, and ideas other than our own. This trait also correlates with the willingness to remember occasions when we were wrong in the past despite an intense conviction that we were right, and with the ability to imagine our being similarly deceived in a case-at-hand.

  4. Intellectual Integrity: Recognition of the need to be true to one's own thinking; to be consistent in the intellectual standards one applies; to hold one's self to the same rigorous standards of evidence and proof to which one holds one's antagonists; to practice what one advocates for others; and to honestly admit discrepancies and inconsistencies in one’s own thought and action.

  5. Intellectual Perseverance: Having a consciousness of the need to use intellectual insights and truths in spite of difficulties, obstacles, and frustrations; firm adherence to rational principles despite the irrational opposition of others; a sense of the need to struggle with confusion and unsettled questions over an extended period of time to achieve deeper understanding or insight.

     
  6. Faith In Reason: Confidence that, in the long run, one's own higher interests and those of humankind at large will be best served by giving the freest play to reason, by encouraging people to come to their own conclusions by developing their own rational faculties; faith that, with proper encouragement and cultivation, people can learn to think for themselves, to form rational viewpoints, draw reasonable conclusions, think coherently and logically, persuade each other by reason and become reasonable persons, despite the deep-seated obstacles in the native character of the human mind and in society as we know it.

  7. Fair-mindedness

It entails the examination of those structures or elements of thought implicit in all reasoning: purpose, problem, or question-at-issue; assumptions; concepts; empirical grounding; reasoning leading to conclusions; implications and consequences; objections from alternative viewpoints; and frame of reference. Critical thinking — in being responsive to variable subject matter, issues, and purposes — is incorporated in a family of interwoven modes of thinking, among them: scientific thinking, mathematical thinking, historical thinking, anthropological thinking, economic thinking, moral thinking, and philosophical thinking.

Critical thinking can be seen as having two components: 1) a set of information and belief generating and processing skills, and 2) the habit, based on intellectual commitment, of using those skills to guide behavior. It is thus to be contrasted with: 1) the mere acquisition and retention of information alone, because it involves a particular way in which information is sought and treated; 2) the mere possession of a set of skills, because it involves the continual use of them; and 3) the mere use of those skills ("as an exercise") without acceptance of their results.

Critical thinking varies according to the motivation underlying it. When grounded in selfish motives, it is often manifested in the skillful manipulation of ideas in service of one’s own, or one's groups’, vested interest. As such it is typically intellectually flawed, however pragmatically successful it might be. When grounded in fairmindedness and intellectual integrity, it is typically of a higher order intellectually, though subject to the charge of "idealism" by those habituated to its selfish use.

Critical thinking of any kind is never universal in any individual; everyone is subject to episodes of undisciplined or irrational thought. Its quality is therefore typically a matter of degree and dependent on, among other things, the quality and depth of experience in a given domain of thinking or with respect to a particular class of questions. No one is a critical thinker through-and-through, but only to such-and-such a degree, with such-and-such insights and blind spots, subject to such-and-such tendencies towards self-delusion. For this reason, the development of critical thinking skills and dispositions is a life-long endeavor.


Another Brief Conceptualization of Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is self-guided, self-disciplined thinking which attempts to reason at the highest level of quality in a fair-minded way.   People who think critically consistently attempt to live rationally, reasonably, empathically.    They are keenly aware of the inherently flawed nature of human thinking when left unchecked.   They strive to diminish the power of their egocentric and sociocentric tendencies.   They use the intellectual tools that critical thinking offers – concepts and principles that enable them to analyze, assess, and improve thinking.   They work diligently to develop the intellectual virtues of intellectual integrity, intellectual humility, intellectual civility, intellectual empathy, intellectual sense of justice and confidence in reason.   They realize that no matter how skilled they are as thinkers, they can always improve their reasoning abilities and they will at times fall prey to mistakes in reasoning, human irrationality, prejudices, biases, distortions, uncritically accepted social rules and taboos, self-interest, and vested interest.   They strive to improve the world in whatever ways they can and contribute to a more rational, civilized society.    At the same time, they recognize the complexities often inherent in doing so.   They avoid thinking simplistically about complicated issues and strive to appropriately consider the rights and needs of relevant others.   They recognize the complexities in developing as thinkers, and commit themselves to life-long practice toward self-improvement.   They embody the Socratic principle:   The unexamined life is not worth living , because they realize that many unexamined lives together result in an uncritical, unjust, dangerous world.               ~ Linda Elder, September, 2007

Why Critical Thinking?

The Problem
Everyone thinks; it is our nature to do so. But much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed or down-right prejudiced. Yet the quality of our life and that of what we produce, make, or build depends precisely on the quality of our thought. Shoddy thinking is costly, both in money and in quality of life. Excellence in thought, however, must be systematically cultivated.

A Definition
Critical thinking is that mode of thinking - about any subject, content, or problem - in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and
imposing intellectual standards upon them.

The Result
A well cultivated critical thinker:

  • raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely;
  • gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;
  • thinks openmindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences; and
  • communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems.

Critical thinking is, in short, self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem solving abilities and a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism.  

(Taken from Richard Paul and Linda Elder, The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools, Foundation for Critical Thinking Press, 2008)

Critical Thinking Defined by Edward Glaser

In a seminal study on critical thinking and education in 1941, Edward Glaser defines critical thinking as follows “The ability to think critically, as conceived in this volume, involves three things: ( 1 ) an attitude of being disposed to consider in a thoughtful way the problems and subjects that come within the range of one's experiences, (2) knowledge of the methods of logical inquiry and reasoning, and (3) some skill in applying those methods. Critical thinking calls for a persistent effort to examine any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the evidence that supports it and the further conclusions to which it tends. It also generally requires ability to recognize problems, to find workable means for meeting those problems, to gather and marshal pertinent information, to recognize unstated assumptions and values, to comprehend and use language with accuracy, clarity, and discrimination, to interpret data, to appraise evidence and evaluate arguments, to recognize the existence (or non-existence) of logical relationships between propositions, to draw warranted conclusions and generalizations, to put to test the conclusions and generalizations at which one arrives, to reconstruct one's patterns of beliefs on the basis of wider experience, and to render accurate judgments about specific things and qualities in everyday life. 

(Edward M. Glaser, An Experiment in the Development of Critical Thinking, Teacher’s College, Columbia University, 1941)

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