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Три мифа о критическом мышлении и их критика

Три мифа о критическом мышлении и их критика

by Евгений Волков -
Number of replies: 0

Очень дельное интервью! Книга, видимо, тоже полезная.

«Я обнаружил, что существуют эти препятствия, мешающие обучать людей критическому мышлению или заставлять их понимать, что это значит. Я решил, что нужен ещё один ресурс, который бы рассмотрел три мифа о критическом мышлении. Первый заключается в том, что нет согласованного определения, второй — что мы не знаем, как этому учить. В-третьих, мы не знаем, как это измерять. Так что в новой книге я рассматриваю эти три темы и утверждаю, что существует широкое согласие относительно того, что это такое, есть исследования, посвященные этому, и как этому следует учить».


What is critical thinking, and how can we get better at it? This Lexington author has the answers


We’ve likely all heard the term “critical thinking,” but what does it actually mean? Are most people true critical thinkers, or are we not examining the world around us as logically as we could be? In Lexington author Jonathan Haber’s new book, he examines how the concept came to be, how it is taught, and why most people aren’t practicing critical thinking today. We caught up with Haber to learn more about the topic ahead of his virtual talk through Cary Library, which took place on Sept. 14.

The following interview has been edited and condensed for publication.

Tell us about the new book and what led to you writing it?

I’ve been doing critical thinking work for quite some time, this is actually my second book on the topic. The first one was more of a how-to guide. As I was working in education research, I discovered that there are these barriers getting in the way of teaching people critical thinking or having them grasp what it means. I determined that there needed to be another resource that would look at three myths around critical thinking. One is that there’s no agreed upon definition, two is that we don’t know how to teach it. Third is that we don’t know how to measure it. So in this new book I look at those three topics and I make the case that there is broad agreement as to what it is, there’s research available on it, and how it should be taught.

People have heard the term “critical thinking” forever, everyone talks about it, a lot of people think they’re already doing it well. But it’s clear that we’re not, because we’re not making the kind of progress we could or should be making.

How can critical thinking be applied to our current national climate?

I launched a site called last year that does that. It applies critical thinking skills to the news of the day. To give a simple example: you might hear something along the lines of “we’ve been under lockdown for months but COVID deaths are still going up, so that means social distancing doesn’t work.” If you fact check those two premises, you’ll find that they’re true. We have been on lockdown and deaths have been going up. But fact checking doesn’t show you why that argument is wrong. You need to go through a logical analysis by checking the argument for validity. In this case, it’s easy to accept the premises and reject the conclusion. You need to understand that social distancing was not meant to end deaths immediately, it was just meant to flatten the curve over time. In that case, the logic of the argument is wrong, as opposed to the facts the argument is based on being wrong. Fact checking and evidence are important, but they’re not enough.

In your book you argue that people aren’t doing enough critical thinking today. Why is that?

There’s a bunch of reasons, but two main ones. The first is historic. It used to be that everyone studied logic, from the ancient Greeks to 100 years ago. But as curricula expanded to take into account all the new knowledge that’s been created in the past 100 years, logic, rhetoric, and critical thinking got pushed to the side. We aren’t given the toolkit to do this anymore.

Another factor is the changing media landscape, the ability to customize your news feed so you only have to be exposed to information you already agree with. We used to have some commonality in news. It wasn’t perfect, but we read the same papers, we watched the same networks. At least we had a common understanding of what the most important stories of the day were. Now you can turn into Fox or MSNBC and you’ll get completely different newscasts covering completely different subjects. Or you’ll get the same event but covered from completely different perspectives.

Do you have hope that we can re-learn how to do this as a society?

I’m generally a glass half full kind of guy. One of the good signs is that critical thinking is claimed to be a priority in our education system. I do a lot of work in state academic standards. As those have evolved over the past few decades, they’ve embraced critical thinking again. And most teachers will say that making their students critical thinkers is a top priority. The enthusiasm is there, no one is saying it’s unimportant. But I don’t think it’s being taught in the right way. Right now, it’s taught through osmosis. Teachers hope students pick it up whenever they learn complex material. That’s not how it works.

How does it work?

We need to use a method called infusion. For example, if a math teacher is teaching geometric proofs, they would stop and say “that proof I just gave you is an example of deductive reasoning, and let me explain what that is.” You explicitly teach the critical thinking skill while you’re also teaching the class content. That’s turned out to be the most effective way of doing it, I’ve found.

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