Critical thinking: what’s the big deal?

Almost forty percent of the population has a college degree and Americans owe over $1.45 trillion in student debts. Yet, the Wall Street Journal reports that over half the schools they polled did not improve critical thinking skills in graduates.

But is that a big deal? Is critical thinking a vital part of an education?

Critical thinking skills are not all that important.

analytical thinking is the basis for resolving issues

Analytical thinking is the process of examining details in order to understand or explain something; it requires work that is logical and systematic. Analytical thinking starts with memorization and a recall of facts, which may be the most important base for intellect.

And, when memorization and fact-learning is bypassed for studying critical thinking, students may poke holes in arguments they don’t understand.

besides, our society doesn’t value critical thinking

We elected a populist president who uses plain language and few intellectual references. This strategy—to appeal to the “every” man—was used by Nixon, Reagan and Bush, all who were successful at getting elected.

Critical thinking skills are vital.

critical thinking is required to navigating the many sources of information that are now available

Because institutions recognize this need, there is an increase in media literacy classes at major universities. In addition, places like PBS offer lesson plans for media literacy. The News Literacy Projects, the National Association for Media Literacy Education, the Media Education Lab, and the Center for Media Literacy also provide relevant resources. Even school librarians are being called on to teach media literacy.

and critical thinking doesn’t mean you don’t need to learn the facts first

An argument without facts is called an opinion.

Politifact’s success comes from a market need for critical thinking

PolitiFact won a Pulitzer Prize in 2009 and became a well-known brand in American journalism.

let’s face it, ignorance is widespread

U Penns’ Constitution Day Civics Survey reported:
• 53% of Americans think that immigrants who are here illegally do not have any rights under the U.S. Constitution (they do).
• 37% can’t name any of the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment (like, freedom of religion).
• 26% can’t name the three branches of government

 

Back to the News Made Simple article here.

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