, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 93-96
Date: 16 Nov 2012

Sharon Bailin and Mark Battersby: Reason in Balance: An Inquiry Approach to Critical Thinking

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The variety of content and especially of pedagogical approaches found in critical thinking textbooks is partly explained either by the different ways authors respond to the following questions, or by their failure to respond to them: (1) Which critical thinking skills will be most useful in students’ lives? Given the limited time, what will be the most effective ways of making them (2) learn and (3) retain the material taught, and (4) transfer it to all the parts of their lives where it should be transferred?

Sharon Bailin and Mark Battersby’s general answer to question (1) is what they call the “inquiry approach”, which is summarized in the following guiding questions: “What is the issue? What kinds of claims or judgments are the issue? What are the relevant reasons and arguments on various sides of the issue? What is the context of the issue? How do we comparatively evaluate the various reasons and arguments to reach a reasoned judgment?” (p. 20, my italics). The third and fifth quest