By Tim John Moore
Explores what it ability to be 'critical' in numerous disciplines in better schooling and the way scholars should be taught to be powerful severe thinkers.
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Extra resources for Critical Thinking and Language: The Challenge of Generic Skills and Disciplinary Discourses
202). For McPeck, the truly useful thinking skills tend to be limited to specific domains or narrower areas of application. The teaching implications of McPeck’s position are that the development of students’ critical abilities should always be pursued within the context of their study within the respective disciplines. The two different approaches are summarized by McPeck thus: Critical Thinking: History, Definitions, Issues 29 If I were to put my disagreement with the [general thinking] movement into one bold-relief sentence it is this: in their attempt to develop critical thinking, they have the order of cause and effect reversed.
Anthony Blair, for example, highlights the importance of a particular thinking ability – ‘the evaluating of information sources’ – which he takes to be what critical thinking is mainly about. The type of teaching programme Blair suggests needs to be focused on appreciating our fundamental dependence on the beliefs of others, and this means ‘recognizing the roles of various sources, making the appropriate evaluative judgements of their reliability, and continuously adjusting our beliefs accordingly’ (1992: p.
1, my emphasis). 25). Such definitions, which emphasize the ‘particularity’, even ‘uniqueness’, of different areas of study, suggest that disciplines of their nature can be thought of as relatively fixed and discrete entities; that is to say, for example, that studies in philosophy can be clearly delineated from say, studies in history or in literature. The interdisciplinary nature of a good deal of academic work, however, makes such a conception problematic. The fluidity of these fields can be seen, for example, in the many sub-disciplinary specializations that combine elements from several areas.