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Critical Thinking

Posted By: Bill Ellis on February 3, 2004
Dan, I read you comment with interest.
Many good educators like you recognize that too much of our education is the rote memorization of facts and texts. These are rather easy to sort out and easy to test and to grade. It is also east to grade many students who all a trying to repeat the last lecture the heard.

I recall one graduate student I had in a course in Theoretical Mechanics. I sit down with exams from the other 12 in the class, line them up and follow the way the solved any problem given them. The one student always found a unique way of solving the problem And I had to spend a lot of extra time following this method and determining whether he was on a path that would solve the problem.

It is not so easy to instill critical thinking in students, particularly in classes of 20 or more. Brain research shows us that not two brains are the same. They are not prepared to learn the same thing, at the same time in the same way. 'A Coalition for Self-Learning' is discussing diffent modes of inducing critical thinking.

I hope you don't mind if I copy you response to
It's exactly the kind of thinking we need.
Bill Ellis

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 Critical Thinking by Bill Ellis on February 3, 2004
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