Teaching Critical Thinking for Lifelong Learning
The task of improving critical thinking skills in students at American universities has typically been addressed by offering a stand-alone course in critical thinking, often taught by philosophy or psychology departments. In this paper I argue that critical thinking courses of this type need to be substantially redesigned before they can meet the appropriate critical thinking learning goals for their students. I begin my argument by noting that students in American higher education are currently not improving their critical thinking skills. The solution, I argue, will not lie in better pedagogy; even in the best-taught classes students will not achieve the level of critical thinking that is necessary. Instead, we must redesign our courses to help students become lifelong learners who can then continue the task of improving their critical thinking skills long after the course ends. I discuss in some detail some of the more significant ways courses will need to be redesigned to achieve these student learning outcomes.
KeywordsCritical Thinking Intrinsic Motivation Lifelong Learner Extrinsic Motivation Metacognitive Skill
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