Insights into Promoting Critical Thinking in Online Classes

Brent Muirhead, International Journal of Instructional Technology, Distance Learning, Jun 21, 2005
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Many people equate critical thinking with reading skills. This flavour comes through clearly in this article, the core of which is a discussion of critical thinking and reading, with an eye to using the former to "increase the student’s cognitive information processing skills." Applied to writing, the same discourse stresses the importance of reflection and editing. I see critical thinking as related to reading and writing, but distinct from them. I see linguistic forms (such as those characteristic of logical fallacies) as cues for pattern recognition, not entry points for a deconstruction of the material. I see the goal of critical thinking to be instant (and even intuitive) recognition of reasoning, and the end point of writing to be to get it right on the first draft.
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