critical thinking courses do not teach critical thinking any better than other courses

30 Oct

“Students in programs that stress critical thinking still saw their critical-thinking skills improve, but the improvements did not surpass those of students in other programs.”

orgtheory.net

Critical Thinking Wars 1 and 2

A recent meta-analysis of studies of critical thinking (e.g., seeing if students can formulate criticisms of arguments) shows that, on average, college education is associated with critical thinking. From “Does College Teach Critical Thinking? A Meta-Analysis” by Christopher Huber and Nathan Kuncel in Review of Educational Research:

This meta-analysis synthesizes research on gains in critical thinking skills and attitudinal dispositions over various time frames in college. The results suggest that both critical thinking skills and dispositions improve substantially over a normal college experience.

Now, my beef with the whole critical thinking stream is that there is a special domain of teaching called “critical thinking.” The looked at studies where students were in special critical thinking instruction:

Although college education may lag in other ways, it is not clear that more time and resources should be invested in teaching domain-general critical thinking.

How the Chronicle…

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One Response to “critical thinking courses do not teach critical thinking any better than other courses”

  1. enrique October 31, 2015 at 2:34 am #

    I love this … To me, critical thinking is like riding a bike : no amount of studying is really all that helpful: instead, you learn it by doing it

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