Working together for critical thinking in schools

Working together for critical thinking in schools

Peter Ellerton, The University of Queensland

One of the most desirable characteristics of school graduates is that they can think critically. This helps them individually and also helps the societies in which they will play a role. It’s a game in which no one loses. So why is it so difficult to achieve?

Teaching critical thinking is not something that teachers are explicitly trained to do – in fact very few people are. Nor does the curriculum generally demand it. Too often an instructing syllabus focuses on the recall of content, and this in turn forms the basis for assessment.

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How to teach all students to think critically

How to teach all students to think critically

Peter Ellerton, The University of Queensland

All first year students at the University of Technology Sydney could soon be required to take a compulsory maths course in an attempt to give them some numerical thinking skills.

The new course would be an elective next year and mandatory in 2016 with the university’s deputy vice-chancellor for education and students Shirley Alexander saying the aim is to give students some maths “critical thinking” skills.

This is a worthwhile goal, but what about critical thinking in general?

Most tertiary institutions have listed among their graduate attributes the ability to think critically. This seems a desirable outcome, but what exactly does it mean to think critically and how do you get students to do it?

The problem is that critical thinking is the Cheshire Cat of educational curricula – it is hinted at in all disciplines but appears fully formed in none. As soon as you push to see it in focus, it slips away.

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Do we live in a simulation?

 

From SMBC

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Digital Piracy

Is this a good analogy?

  

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Privacy vs Security

Discuss.

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A causal nightmare

More from Dilbert

Dilbert ATA

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If it’s not right to rape a rapist, how can it be OK to kill a killer?

Discuss (1) this analogy and the (2) image below.

(1) Here is the source article for the analogy.

“That’s the thing. The reason why we would be hesitant to endorse it is that – what normal person would be paid to do something so compromising as raping a human being? But yet we have this idea that we can kill someone in a way that doesn’t implicate us. If it’s not right to torture someone for torture, abuse someone for abuse, rape someone for rape, then how can we think we can kill someone for killing?”

(2)

PB-Crenny-deathpenalty-4459fe5d81f943175d13ff2851bd571e

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The Principle of Sufficient Reason

Form the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy

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“The Principle of Sufficient Reason is a powerful and controversial philosophical principle stipulating that everything must have a reason or cause. This simple demand for thoroughgoing intelligibility yields some of the boldest and most challenging theses in the history of metaphysics and epistemology.”

Read on for some of the implications of this principle, one of the most important in philosophy.

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The Anchoring Effect

Dilbert Anchoring

More on this here.

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Misunderstanding Statistics

Another Dilbert moment…

Statistics

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How to teach all students to think critically

applying-collaborative-innovation-to-design-thinking

By Peter Ellerton, The University of Queensland

All first year students at the University of Technology Sydney could soon be required to take a compulsory maths course in an attempt to give them some numerical thinking skills.

The new course would be an elective next year and mandatory in 2016 with the university’s deputy vice-chancellor for education and students Shirley Alexander saying the aim is to give students some maths “critical thinking” skills.

This is a worthwhile goal, but what about critical thinking in general?

Most tertiary institutions have listed among their graduate attributes the ability to think critically. This seems a desirable outcome, but what exactly does it mean to think critically and how do you get students to do it?

Continue reading

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Who is ‘you’?

An exploration of what we might mean by ‘me’.

First – Identity short film (very good for class discussion)

Second   Who am I? – very useful website as well.

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The 2015 Queensland Philosophy and Reason syllabus

Did you know Queensland has Taught Philosophy and Logic as a senior subject for around 100 years?  Here is the new syllabus.  Notice the focus on the skill of argumentation.

Queensland Senior Philosophy and Reason syllabus

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Are we individual or social creatures?

How does the concept of individuality affect politics?individuality

Commentary from The Stone New York Times.

Here’s a pdf

Evolution and the American Myth of the Individual – NYTimes.com

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The Ethics of Robot Cars

How about robot cars with ethics settings adjusted to suite the driver?

transformer_robot_car_2

Here’s a Terrible Idea: Robot Cars With Adjustable Ethics Settings

Here’s a PDF

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Free Will and the Genome Project

From Philosophy and Public Affairs – click here for PDF

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Watch what you think….

What you think is right may actually be wrong – here’s why

By Peter Ellerton

We like to think that we reach conclusions by reviewing facts, weighing evidence and analysing arguments. But this is not how humans usually operate, particularly when decisions are important or need to be made quickly.

What we usually do is arrive at a conclusion independently of conscious reasoning and then, and only if required, search for reasons as to why we might be right.

The first process, drawing a conclusion from evidence or facts, is called inferring; the second process, searching for reasons as to why we might believe something to be true, is called rationalising.

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Hume’s criticism of the design argument

Hume-Dialogues – Jeff Speaks

images

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Another resource for Fallacies of Reasoning

Screen Shot 2013-09-24 at 11.45.48 AM

Great resource and very accessible to students.

 

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Biased sample? Circular reasoning?

Discuss.

20130728-081837.jpg

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