joi, 29 mai 2008

Teaching Thinking Skills

Perhaps most importantly in today's information age, thinking skills are viewed as crucial for educated persons to cope with a rapidly changing world. Many educators believe that specific knowledge will not be as important to tomorrow's workers and citizens as the ability to learn and make sense of new information. — D. Gough, 1991

luni, 26 mai 2008

Defining Critical Thinking

A statement by Michael Scriven & Richard Paul for the
National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking Instruction


Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness.

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.

A 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 strive never to think simplistically about complicated issues and always 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.

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
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.

miercuri, 21 mai 2008



Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - Albert Einstein

And if that ever happens, we'll all be rich; because each and every one of us will shit a solid gold brick! - Kevin P. McKinney

I think it would be safer to butt-fuck a wolverine. - Stephen L. Dekat

I couldn't live in Switzerland, They poke holes in my cheese. - Kevin McKinney

Evil twins are people too.

No wonder Jason's a psycho killer! If I woke up surrounded by "Seventh Heaven" rejects and "Saved By The Bell" wannabees, I think the first thing I would do is go on a massive murder spree! - Jake Smith

I try to take each day one at a time, but lately, they all attacked me at once

Welcome to my nightmare, I think you're going to like it.

A wolf in sheeps clothing needs professional help.

Beware The Penguins

Nobody is flawed quite like me. - One

Just say "no" to gravity! - Firefury

I'll believe I'm immortal to the day I die! - One

I can't miss me, I never get a break from me - Ryco

Last night I played a blank tape at full blast. The mime next door went nuts.

I'm terrified of no one else but me. - Rob Thomas

I don't have to be smarter than you are. And neither does my gun. - Stephen Lee Dekat

I don't care. It's my inner life and I'll be as warped as I like in the privacy of my own skull. - Benjy Feen

Reality is the only obstacle to happiness.

If you're going to drive me insane, at least try to keep your hands on the wheel.

If you can stay calm, while all around you is chaos... then you probably haven't completely understood the seriousness of the situation.

We'd do anything for each other. We'd even cut each other's throats for each other. - Samuel Goldwyn

Either you are living on the edge, or you are taking up too much space!

Don't let your mind wander, for it may never come back.

A mind is a funny thing, you either use it or lose it.

There are many stops along the road of insanity, I will greet you when you reach the end. - Stephen Lee Dekat

It's good to know that if I behave strangely enough, society will take full responsibility for me. - Ashleigh Brilliant

Ordinarily he was insane, but he had lucid moments when he was merely stupid. - Heinrich Heine

I wouldn't recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me. - Hunter S. Thompson

I have nothing to say and I'm going to say it just once! - Frank Smith

The issue isn't whether you're paranoid, it's whether you're paranoid enough.

The people who think Tiny Tim is strange are the same ones who think it odd that I drive without pants.

I try to forget something new every day - J. Mike Reed Jr.

I'll sleep when I'm dead. - Warren Zevon

Oh for heavens sakes, Smithers, this is brain surgery, not rocket science . . . Now hand me that ice cream scoop. - Montgomery Burns

You can find humor in anything if you're sick enough.

No great genius has ever existed without some touch of madness. - Aristotle

Those who danced where thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music. - Angela Monet

Sanity is a small price to pay for happiness. - Marabeth Madsen

nothing right in my left brain...nothing left in my right brain

Truly great madness can not be achieved without significant intelligence. - Henrik Tikkanen

All things considered, insanity may be the only reasonable alternative.

I had been ... crossing and recrossing the line between sanity and madness so many times that I had all but rubbed it out. - Zelazny

It is not my fantansy, it is my alternate reality. -- J. Mike Reed Jr.

In a mad world, only the mad are sane. - Akiro Kurosawa

Insanity is the exception in individuals. In groups, parties, people, and times, it is the rule. - Friedrich Nietzsche

Sanity is a cozy lie. - Susan Sontag

I do more in one day than a sane person does all week!

Only a crazy man is in love with death.

Insanity is the best sanity. - Edgar Allen Poe

When no one else listens, talk to walls.
Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you. - Carl Gustav Jung

I seriously question the sanity of somebody who uses multiple exclamation marks.

When the mind is thinking it is talking to itself.

Don't annoy the crazy person.

You're just jealous that the voices talk to me.

I act this way to make you nuts!

Obscenity is whatever gives a judge an erection.

I'm not crazy, I'm just colorful.

The dumber people think you are, the more surprised they're going to be when you kill them. - William Clayton

Take your dying with some seriousness, however. Laughing on the way to your execution is not generally understood by less advanced life forms, and they'll call you crazy.
- Messiah's Handbook: Reminders for the Advanced Soul

Obviously the only rational solution to your problem is suicide.

Ignore Alien Orders.

The quickest way to a man's heart is not through the stomach but through is chest, with an axe.

100,000 lemmings can't be wrong.

Blow your mind - smoke gun powder.

Never hit a man with glasses, hit him with a baseball bat.

The word "good" has many meanings. For example, If a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of five hundred yards, I should call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man - Chesterton

The light at the end of the tunnel is the headlamp of the oncoming train.

be creative - invent a perversion.

My parents put us to sleep by tossing us up into the air. Of course, you have to have low cellings for this method to work.

Schizophrenia beats being alone.

Excuse me, I have to go recharge my flamethrower now.

We all enter this world in the same way; naked; screaming; and soaked in blood. But if you live your life right, that kind of thing doesn't have to stop there. - Dana Gould

You don't have to be mad to work here, but it helps.

We are the people our parents warned us about.


Just because your are not paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

Don't Panic. Earth is just being demolished for a hyperspace bypass.

I just want you to know: life is a black, sucking, vortex of anguish and dispair, filled with brief moments of false hope and empty joy, all the while dragging you inevitably closer to final, absolute, and eternal death.

Don't close your eyes for the crash, you'll miss the best part. - Bruce MacInnes

If you can't lower heaven, raise hell.

Order is for idiots, genius can handle chaos.

The question is not if you are paranoid. It's if you are paranoid enough.

There will always be survivors.

Evil spelled backwords is live.

solution to two of the worlds major problems: feed the homeless to the hungry...

My young brother asked me what happens after we die. I told him we get buried under a bunch of dirt and worms eat our bodies. I guess I should have told him the truth - That most of us go to Hell and burn eternally - but I didn't want to upset him.

Imagination is the one weapon in the war against reality. - Jules de Gaultier

Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.

Having nothing, Nothing can he lose.

An optimist is a guy without much experience.

live fast, die young, and leave a good looking corpse.

It's kind of fun to do the impossible. - Walt Disney

Maybe this world is another planet's Hell. - Aldous Huxley

Don't drown the man who taught you to swim.

I don't belive in stereotypes, I prefer to hate people on a more personal basis.

Only the good die young... The twisted ones might live forever! - Iron Maiden

It is better to be judged by twelve, than carried by six.

After the day I had, it was hard for anyone to make me smile, but the hamsters did. - Heather Thompson

Life is anything that dies when you stomp on it --Dave Barry

Nothing spoils lunch any quicker than a rogue meatball rampaging through your speghetti - Jim Davis

I'm not tense, just terribly, terribly alert.

How do I set a laser printer to stun?

I plead contemporary insanity.

Is it time for your medication or mine?

Everyone thinks I'm psychotic, except for my friends deep inside the earth.

Chaos, panic, & disorder - my work here is done.

I can't remember if I'm the good twin or the evil one.

After I cook the vegetables, what do I do with the wheelchairs?

A cubicle is just a padded cell without a door.

Adult child of alien invaders.

Better living through denial.

Sarcasm is just one more service we offer.

Allow me to introduce my selves.

A PBS mind in an MTV world.

I'm not crazy, I've just been in a very bad mood for 30 years.

And just how may I fuck you over today?

I like cats, too. Let's exchange recipes.

Therapy is expensive, poppin' bubble wrap is cheap! You choose.

Don't bother me. I'm living happily ever after.

I'm not really happy, it's a chemical inbalance

Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.

If you can't laugh at death, you have no business killing people.
- Demise-O the clown

Accept me for what I am - completely unacceptable.

Insanity is merely a minority of one. - J. Mike Reed Jr.

Boycott shampoo! Demand REAL poo!

Out of my mind. Back in five minutes.

I'm a chemical SUPER-freak, actually, but I still need a gun.
- Nick Cage, The Rock

But what if I am a figment of my imagination?

Feel free to hurt my feelings... All you risk is my insane rage!

Montana - At least our cows are sane!

I took an IQ test and the results were negative

It's not paranoia if they're really out to get you!

I intend to live forever - so far so good.

If you call me insane again, I'll eat your other eye!

Honesty is the best policy, but insanity is a better defense

I feel a random act of violence comming on...

Make sure reality is not twisted after insertion

Mental backup in progress - Do Not Disturb!

You! What planet is this?

I'm not in denial, I'm just selective about the reality I accept.

Garlic is to Salad as Insanity is to Art

I like you, so I'll kill you last.

Mind like a steel trap - rusty and illegal in 37 states

The voices in my head really like you.

I prefer to remain anomalous

I'm just here for moral support. Ignore the gun.

Okay, I am basically evil, granted...

Most people make sense, I'm not one of them.

The world is coming to an end. Insert 25 cents to continue.

Enough of this shit, I'm going back through the mirror!

Mind is a flower. Water it to bloom. - Florin DeRoxas

I had a reason for not killing you... now, what was it?

Should I laugh, or worry?

I live on the edge. All of my friends are there.

I am weird, but around here it's not noticable.

Reality is a ficticious concept I find aesthetically pleasing.

Never be afraid to face reality, or to indulge in fantasy.

If reality wants to reach me, it knows where I am.

Only those who attempt the absurd, achieve the impossible.

If you think there's a solution, you're part of the problem.

Never agree with me, it shakes my self-confidence.

If we all work together, we can beat this reality thing!

Pardon me, I have to go kill sombody I don't know.

You may not remember me, I'm dressed now.

If you're looking for trouble, I brought enough for everybody.

Should another universe emerge, this product cannot be guaranteed.

I back the metric system every inch of the way!

It is pleasing to drag others down with me when I go.

I distinctly remember forgetting that

I find your faith in reality amusing.

I have one nerve left - and now you're getting on it...

I try to be as perverted as the situation calls for.

I'd give you a piece of my mind, but I'm on my last one.

Let's just pretend I didn't ruin your life, and move on.

Memory - the thing I forget with.

My file on you is thicker than your file on me!

Sometimes I wonder why it took Mom so long to snap.

You can observe a lot just by watching.

When you remember that we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained. - Samuel Clemmens (Mark Twain)

You can learn a lot about paranoids just by following them around.

I was polishing my fist and it went off, Honest!

"Give me a moment to contemplate my thoughts" - Mary K. Miller

Never remove a fly from your friend's forehead with a hatchet.

Please accept my resignation. I don't want to belong to any club that will have me as a member.
- Groucho Marx