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Read and Learn.

Read and Learn.

Knowing what critical thinking is and why it is valuable are two different things. While it might seem obvious that we want students to engage with information to solve problems in a meaningful way, to accept something as an “obvious fact” does not demonstrate our own critical thinking abilities. What reasons do we have to develop the critical thinking abilities of our students?

For one, critical thinking is universal, i.e., it is not subject-specific. A student with advanced will be able to succeed in any field of study because critical thinking is about how individuals use information and not necessarily the information itself. In addition, critical thinking is constructive. Other thinking methods, such as data memorization, are additive—students acquire a collection of disparate facts that, taken together, compose their knowledge base. Critical thinking, however, is constructive insofar as it requires students to build on what they know by making connections and applications, resulting in further and further exploration of a subject as new problems and questions arise from the answers of old ones. An applicable analogy might be, additive learning is the assembly of a pile of lumber, while constructive learning is the building of a house.

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