Landing : Athabascau University

Is "Critical Thinking is Best Taught Outside the Classroom"?

Critical thinking is an essential skill that PSE students must acquire. A Scientific American article published in 2013 suggests that these skills are best taught outside the classroom. It suggests that high stakes testing environments found in K-12 and in PSE do not provide the right setting for developing these skills because failure is really not an option. Opportunities to fail and learn from that failure (productive failure) seem limited in traditional educational settings. The article suggests informal settings might provide opportunities for the development of critical thinking - because of the tolerance for failure. Should students be encouraged to become involved in the DIY movement, volunteer, participate in citizen science or community-based projects, become members of local organizations or volunteer for a political campaign? And then to reflect on these experiences more formally in our courses? Should their participation in these informal activities be recognized in some way to encourage participation?


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