Translate this page from English
Critical Thinking and the Liberal Arts We neglect them at our peril.
By Jeffrey Scheuer Warnings about the decline of the liberal arts are ubiquitous these days, but they are hardly new. Barzun may have spoken too soon, but by various measures, liberal learning is worse off today than it was then.
Liberal arts colleges seem an endangered species as curricula shift toward science, technology, engineering, and math—the STEM disciplines. Students want jobs, not debt, and who can blame them? It often sounds like this: Vocationalism exerts pressure for substantive changes in the curriculum and substitutes a preoccupation with readily marketable skills.
The liberal arts ideal still has its eloquent defenders, and there is evidence that good jobs go to liberal arts graduates—eventually. Despite the popularity of business and technology courses, students are not abandoning the liberal arts in droves.
While defending liberal learning, however, educators might also ask some more basic questions: Why do we rely on two standard answers—critical thinking and citizenship? What Are the Liberal Arts? The idea of the liberal arts has a nearly two-thousand-year history, dating to Latin writers of late antiquity, but the underlying questions about mankind, nature, and knowledge go back to the Greeks.
Over the past century and a half, America has emerged as a superpower while adhering to a predominantly liberal arts model of higher education.
Originally there were seven liberal arts: Clearly, the model has evolved since then.
Neither liberal nor arts is an essential or complete descriptor of what we consider a liberal education. Linguistic conventions have limited malleability, and avoiding the term liberal arts may not be feasible. Questioning such terms, however—and paying careful attention to language in general—are quintessential liberal arts practices.
There are at least three nested, and largely tacit, conceptions of the liberal arts in common usage. At its best, this comprehensive vision recognizes both the value and the limitations of such categories, along with the consequent need for interdisciplinary learning.
In fact, some of the most exciting scholarship is now happening between disciplines, not within them. Free minds are flexible minds, trained to recognize that many areas of inquiry are interconnected and many disciplinary boundaries are porous. Categories are instrumental and practical: Using them without obscuring the underlying connections is another hallmark of higher-level thinking.
Climate change and biodiversity, for example, cannot be fully understood unless seen as both distinct and related phenomena.Critical thinking is a term that we hear a lot, but many people don't really stop to think about what it means or how to use it.
This lesson will tell you exactly what it means and make you. Health and Physical Education in the New Zealand Curriculum () defines critical thinking as "examining, questioning, evaluating, and challenging taken-for-granted assumptions about issues and practices" and critical action as "action based on critical thinking" (page 56)..
By adopting this definition of critical thinking and applying their learning in education contexts, students can. Objective examination of assumptions (adopted rules of thumb) underlying current beliefs to assess their correctness and legitimacy, and thus to validate or invalidate the beliefs.
"Critical thinking is thinking that assesses itself" (Center for Critical Thinking, b). "Critical thinking is the ability to think about one's thinking in such a way as 1. To recognize its strengths and weaknesses and, as a result, 2. Critical thinking definition, disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence: The questions are intended to develop your critical thinking.
See more. Dartmouth Writing Program support materials - including development of argument. Fundamentals of Critical Reading and Effective Writing. Mind Mirror Projects: A Tool for Integrating Critical Thinking into the English Language Classroom (), by Tully, in English Teaching Forum, State Department, Number 1 Critical Thinking Across the Curriculum Project, Metropolitan Community College.