Friday, December 01, 2006

Critical Thinking in Schools

The problem with the critical thinking approach in practice is that too many of the teachers who employ it don't set aside their biases. We're all the product of our respective experiences, perspectives, perceptions, values, beliefs, ideologies and personal interests. Schoolteachers aren't some kind of detached philosopher-kings. The ones who dominate K-12 (and higher) education are inordinately Democrats, collectivists, liberals, union members, government employees, nannyists, politically correct social engineers, etc. With too few exceptions, I don't trust them to impartially referee exercises in critical thinking for idealistic, impressionable young minds. I believe in the power of ideas. So do activist liberal teachers. I'd just like equal treatment. I wonder if students are ever challenged with questions from the right, not just the left, such as:

Name fives ways teachers' unions might be obstacles to improving the quality of public education.

Critique Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States and theorize about what motivates American leftists who obsess about their country's shortcomings while downplaying its greatness.

Explain why the ideology of socialism is in direct conflict with human nature and, consequently, perpetually doomed to failure.

Read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and give five examples of violations of individual rights in the name of "the common good."

The mainstream media largely ignore qualified global-warming skeptics. Name five scientists who dispute global-warming theory and explain their arguments.

I invite students, teachers and administrators to contact me with such classroom examples.

Don't hold your breath waiting, Mike. You'll die.


Anonymous said...

I've been saying the same thing for a long time now. But what's amazing is that these moonbatty faculty have no shame whatsoever among themselves. They will shamelessly discuss on faculty mailing lists how to grade down a paper because it's not PC party line without actually coming out and grading it down for not being the PC party line.

Among themselves, they don't even try to maintain the fiction that they care about critical thinking. All they care about is leftist groupthink.

Anonymous said...

Seems like a random rant, but you're allowed as much on your own blog. Inquiring readers are curious as to what might have triggered the post, though.

And continuing in the spirit of invitations, I'd invite you to offer us examples of "leftie" critical thinking exercises actually used in classrooms, parallel to the examples you offered. You'll need to do better thanto say, "everyone knows they're out there," since the same has been said about little green men from Mars.

Such as
• Name fives ways teachers' unions might be vehicles to improving the quality of public education.

• Critique Tim LaHayes' Left Behind series and theorize about what motivates evangelical Christians who obsess about the End Times while downplaying the lack of evidence for it.

• Explain why the ideology of capitalism is in direct conflict with moral behavior and, consequently, perpetually doomed to failure.

• Research the unvarnished truth about Ayn Rand and contrast her professed public beliefs to her real-life personal behavior.

• The corporate media routinely gives free air to unqualified global-warming skeptics. Name five studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals that dispute global-warming.

Darren said...

You obviously don't read my blog enough. Remember Jay Bennish?

Or better yet, ask your students. I hear about leftie indoctrination in class all the time. Perhaps you should *listen* to them.

I know, wild thought.

Anonymous said...

Or how about this article?

Have you forgotten about this story?

I've given you enough crow to chew on. You can do your own research from here.

Anonymous said...

I was hoping for a real live example from your school. You used your school's calendar as an example of... well, I'm not sure what that was an example of, but show us how your leftie colleagues are brainwashing your students. Or is your school an island of conservatism and common sense?

Coach Brown said...

I have my government kids read an excerpt of People's History and do a contrast to the text book version of why the Framers created the Constitution. Like most reasonable people, the kids find that most answers are much more gray than the textbook or Zinn.

I happened to like the Left Behind series for about 75% of the storyline, then it got dull. I'm agnostic, and like good stories.

Anonymous said...

Darren, I'm shocked! I read *your post* on *your blog* thinking the words were *yours*.

Clearly, I erred in my own critical thinking because your post was a direct lift--verbatim--of Rosen's article.

For future reference (!), how shall I know which words are yours and which ones are plaigerized?

Would it not have been appropriate to credit the author within the confines of the original post?

Darren said...

I use a format in which I indent and enlarge text that I copy from other sources. Additionally, I provide a link to that source.

You must be new here, or you'd have recognized that format.

To answer your last question, it *would* have been appropriate to do so. However, by following a standard format and providing the link, I've done *at least* the minimum required to avoid the accusation of plagiarism.

Don't toss that around lightly, especially here.