Learning Tactics and Strategies p. Like all strategies, it specifies what will be done to achieve the goal, where it will be done, and when it will be done. A learning tactic is a specific technique like a memory aid or a form of notetaking that a learner uses to accomplish an immediate objective such as to understand the concepts in a textbook chapter and how they relate to one another.
Translate this page from English Print Page Change Text Size: T T T Critical Thinking: Identifying the Targets Abstract The goal of this chapter is to set out clearly what critical thinking is in general and how it plays itself out in a variety of domains: Richard Paul and Jane Willsen provide down-to-earth examples that enable the reader to appreciate both the most general characteristics of critical thinking and their specific manifestations on the concrete level.
It is essential, of course, that the reader becomes clear about the concept, including its translation into cases, for otherwise she is apt to mis-translate the concept or fail to see its relevance in a wide variety of circumstances.
Is this a good idea or a bad idea?
Is this belief defensible or indefensible? Is my position on this issue reasonable and rational or not? Am I willing to deal with complexity or do I retreat into simple stereotypes to avoid it?
Do I think deeply or only on the surface of things? Do I ever enter sympathetically into points of view that are very different from my own, or do I just assume that I am right? Do I know how to question my own ideas and to test them? Do I know what I am aiming for?
Effectively evaluating our own thinking and the thinking of others is a habit few of us practice. We evaluate which washing machine to buy after reading Consumer Reports, we evaluate which movie to go see after studying the reviews, we evaluate new job opportunities after talking with friends and colleagues, but rarely do we explicitly evaluate the quality of our thinking or the thinking of our students.
But, you may ask, how can we know if our thinking is sound? Do the consequences always accurately tell the tale? In our education and upbringing, have we developed the ability to evaluate, objectively and fairly, the quality of our beliefs?
What did we learn about thinking during our schooling? How did we come to believe what we do believe, and why one belief and not another? How many of our beliefs have we come to through rigorous, independent thinking, and how many have been down-loaded from the media, parents, our culture, our spouses or friends?
As we focus on it, do we value the continuing improvement of our thinking abilities? Important research findings indicate that we need to look closely at this issue.
Can we learn how to evaluate our thinking and reasoning objectively? These standards guide the divers in each practice session, in each effort off the board. Without these criteria and standards, how would the diver and the judges know what was excellent and what was marginal?
Do we have parallel criteria and standards as we strive to improve our abilities, our performances in thinking? There is nothing more common than evaluation in the everyday world but for sound evaluation to take place, one must establish relevant standards, gather appropriate evidence, and judge the evidence in keeping with the standards.
There are appropriate standards for the assessment of thinking and there are specific ways to cultivate the learning of them. The research into critical thinking establishes tools that can help us evaluate our own thinking and the thinking of others, if we see their potential benefit and are willing to discipline our minds in ways that may seem awkward at first.
This chapter briefly lays out those tools in general terms and acts as a map, so to speak, of their dimensions. We present examples of student thinking that demonstrate critical and uncritical thinking as we define those terms.
In other chapters, we identify approaches to teaching critical thinking that are flawed, and explain why they undermine the success of those who attempt to use them.
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