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April 2007 News

Schools to Teach Using Technology Effecitvely

Baltimore Examiner -- April 30, 2007
by Megan McIlroy

"Maryland schools have increased students’ access to computers, but now they must train teachers and students to use technology effectively, according to a new state education department report ... 'It does little or no value when we have technology in the classroom and teachers don’t know how to use it,' said Bob Marshall, chairman of the Maryland State Department of Education’s Committee on Technology in Education ... Integrating critical thinking activities into technology use has progressed slowly; therefore, all school districts must improve the use of computers to manipulate, analyze and interpret information, the report states." -- Read the Full Article



Tajikistan Calls for Modern Teaching in Schools

News Briefing Central Asia -- April 30, 2007

Tajikistan — "The Tajik authorities are calling for rapid educational reforms, which NBCentralAsia experts say should concentrate on improving teaching methods and modernising the curriculum ... NBCentralAsia experts say reform should focus on introducing new teaching methods and updating a curriculum that has hardly changed since Soviet times ... According to Nodir Amonov, an expert at Pulse, an organisation which supports educational reforms, the system now in use is one where teachers do all the talking while pupils listen passively, whereas what is needed is a change to modern interactive teaching methids ... There is no close interaction or active pupil involvement in the education process, and no lively discussions in the classroom. Teachers are unable to generate a discussion about some theme, either among the pupils or between pupil and teacher ... Mahmadnazar Rajabov, director of the Tajik Association for Critical Thinking, proposes that academics and practicing teachers get together in a “big laboratory” to develop teaching aids for all school subjects ... Rajabov’s organisation has already trained some teachers in how to get pupils thinking critically to help them engage with learning material. Those who have taken these new teaching methods into the classroom have seen very positive results, he says." -- Read the Full Article



Students Need All the Facts

The Vancouver Sun -- April 30, 2007

"It's the kind of lesson high school students look forward to; no books, no lectures -- just sit back and enjoy a good movie. ... Thanks to an initiative by New Democrat MLA Gregor Robertson and the generosity of Tides Canada Foundation, a copy of An Inconvenient Truth will be made available to all high schools in British Columbia ... Vancouver school superintendent Chris Kelly clearly saw the broader pedagogical benefit of the film. He said teachers might find it a 'stimulus for engaging students in the issues and possibilities' ... To that end, why not make it a double-feature? The Chernoff Family Foundation, which distributes $300,000 a year to hospitals, museums, educational institutions and students, has offered to provide free copies of The Great Global Warming Swindle, a documentary by British television producer Martin Durkin that purports to challenge current climate change dogma. The film was broadcast on Britain's Channel 4 last month." -- Read the Full Article



Illiteracy Still is the Real Enemy

San Francisco Chronicle -- April 29, 2007
by Jonathan Curiel, Chronicle Staff Writer

Sakeena Yacoobi pleaded with the American leaders to find a way to change how the United States regards Afghanistan. Please, she said, give more aid to the country's fledgling education system, even if it means reducing the amount of money for military ventures ... 'Education is the key issue,' says Yacoobi, whose organization, the Afghan Institute of Learning, is a leading educator in her native country. 'It's linked with poverty. If you have an educated society, you will manage to have skills and jobs and finances. We need long-term education, quality education. Billions of dollars have poured into Afghanistan, but if you don't (educate people), you are wasting your time and you are wasting your money ..." The shooting war in Afghanistan is hopeless unless there's a corresponding war on the country's illiteracy rates, Yacoobi says. In some rural parts of Afghanistan, 99 percent of the population has never been schooled ... The Afghan Institute of Learning, which works both in Pakistan and Afghanistan, tries to teach critical thinking to students." -- Read the Full Article



Country Boys Fighting This War for the Rest of Us

TPM Cafe (Politics, Ideas & Lots of Cafeen) -- April 29, 2007
by Deanie Mills

"A powerhouse article in today's Boston Globe by Charles Sennott lays out one of the least-known heartbreaks of this war for the men and women fighting it: 44% of service recruits come from areas that comprise only 19% of the population ... In a provincial, rural area, a small town where everybody knows everybody else and everybody grew up together, the entire mindset is very, very conservative. People don't take risks if they don't have to, not in business, and not in politics ... The churches of small towns provide, along with the schools, the social hub of the entire community.  Saying where you go to church is the same as identifying which fraternity you belong to. And if you don't go to church, you are suspect, no matter how nice you are ... ... So most people who attend regularly these churches get a pretty fair indoctrination of conservative ideology, and in the days post 9-11, that included a solid round of patriotic brainwashing ... Critical thinking is not one of their strengths ...To think critically is to call into question all the safe little cottony barriers you have erected for yourself against an increasingly frightening world: the familiar. The KNOWN." -- Read the Full Article



Making Literature Relevant

TheStar Online  -- April 29, 2007
by Hariati Azizan

YOUNG people today don’t read. They prefer to surf the Internet, watch television and film and text message friends ... Based on this trend, it is no surprise that English Literature has grown less popular ...  the declining interest in books and reading among the young is inevitable, concedes Dr Mohamed Abu Bakar, head of the English Language and Literature Unit and assistant director at the Education Ministry’s Curriculum Development Centre (CDC) ... Hence, to attract more students to take up English Literature as one of their elective subjects the ministry has introduced an updated syllabus – one that marries a more international and contemporary view of literature with an ICT-friendly teaching approach ... The updated syllabus is based on seven key education concepts – thinking skills, learning how to learn skills, ICT, values and citizenship, preparation for the real world, knowledge acquisition and multiple intelligences.  'A review is timely because the old syllabus was first introduced in 1990 and has been used for more than 15 years,' explains Dr Mohamed' ... Learning literature still involves deep analysis of the text and covers the understanding of literary devices such as irony, imagery and figurative language. Ultimately, we hope students will improve their proficiency in the English language, build confidence and develop critical thinking.'" -- Read the Full Article



Tech Savvy No Substitute for Critical Thinking

MySA.Com (San Antonio Express News) -- April 28, 2007
by Heather Draper (Express News Business Writer)

"In an increasingly high-tech world, job seekers might be surprised to learn that employers value skills like listening and critical thinking as much as knowing HTML or Java ... 'Employers are really looking for applicants that have critical-thinking skills ... are good at interpersonal communications and possess basic work ethics and habits,' said Alan Miller, executive director of Alamo WorkSource ... Jeff Gitterman, principal of the New Jersey-based financial planning firm Gitterman & Sacks LLC, said ... 'I don't think anyone young has the ability to really pay attention ... To look for that as a trait in someone I hire, it would make it difficult to hire people ... some of the keys to being a good employee or leader is about "being present" and "being silent within yourself.'" -- Read the Full Article



New Season of Sesame Street Opens

The Arab American -- April 28, 2007

"Amman — It's not everyday government officials are greeted by fuzzy and furry hands. Jordan's Minister of Education Dr. Khaled Toucan and United States Agency for International Development's (USAID) Mission Director Anne Aarnes, were at Jordan Television (JTV) to meet Tonton and Juljul, a couple of bright, bold and funny Muppets who greeted everyone with smiles, songs and laughter. But it wasn't all fun and games. Tonton and Juljul are on a very serious mission — to help instill in young Jordanian children the fundamentals of education ... Targeted to 4-7 year olds, Hikayat Simsim features Arabic-speaking Muppets, animation and live action segments to help children learn basic skills related to literacy, numeracy, healthy habits and critical thinking. The program helps develop local capacity in early childhood education, research, content development, production and educational outreach. Carefully researched and culturally appropriate segments provide engaging content for pre-school age children. " -- Read the Full Article



U.S. House Unanimously Passes Resolution to Support Music Education

WebWire -- April 27, 2007

CARLSBAD, CA - Members of Congress passed House Concurrent Resolution 121 unanimously, showing a display of continued support from Congress for music education as part of a complete education for all children ... The Resolution states that learning music in schools is important because it develops skills needed by the 21st century workforce such as critical thinking, creative problem solving, effective communication and team work; keeps students engaged in school and makes them more likely to graduate; and helps students achieve in other academic subjects such as math, science and reading."  -- Read the Full Article 



HODUMB

Vanderbilt Torch -- April 27, 2007
by Elizabeth Ryan

"Unlike its peer institutions, Vanderbilt’s most popular major isn’t English, Economics or History. It is Human and Organizational Development — known around campus as HOD.  ... In general, HOD seems to be feeling-based and experientially focused rather than knowledge or learning focused. This is particularly evident in the discussion groups where sharing about past experiences — how is your relationship with your family? What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done for love? — and performing skits is the norm ... Overall, I think my biggest concern with HOD 1000 is that it does not foster the critical thinking skills that should be at the foundation of a liberal arts education. There was emphasis on self-reflection and self-improvement that are valuable but seem far more suitable for a self-help book or a therapy session than the foundational class of a major at an academically rigorous school." -- Read the Full Article



Higher Math Useful Long After School

The Star Press (The Online News Source for East Central Indiana) -- April 27, 2007
by Oseye T. Boyd

"Indiana is pushing to get more students into upper level math courses. The Graduation Qualifying Exam (GQE) administered at the start of 10th grade includes algebra I, and the SAT and ACT college-entrance exams also require students to know tougher math ... While it is true that many students may not need the specific concepts of algebra or higher level courses in life after high school, these courses are important for two reasons: They emphasize higher-order critical thinking and problem-solving skills that can be used in a variety of situations and disciplines, even if those situations are not specifically mathematical ... " -- Read the Full Story



Construction Challenge Now Open to Canadians

Daily Commercial News (And Construction Record) -- April 26, 2007

"Milwakee, WI --The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) has expanded the Construction Challenge, a special youth-oriented critical thinking and creative problem-solving competition that AEM has developed in partnership with experts at Destination ImagiNation Inc ...  AEM has broadened the scope of the challenge to include Canada ... The Construction Challenge is part of AEM’s ongoing efforts to attract the best and brightest young people into the construction industry." -- Read the Full Article



Analysis: Fear of Islamists Mubarak's Political Ace

Middle East Times -- April 26, 2007
by Mel Frykberg

CAIRO --  Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has repeatedly claimed that the process of democratization and reform in his country cannot be speeded up due to the threat of Islamic fundamentalism - meaning chiefly the Muslim Brotherhood - which he argues has to be taken into consideration in recently passing security legislation giving Egypt's security forces broad and sweeping powers ... Emad Gad, a researcher at the Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies argues that, in fact, the Brotherhood is the political ace up Mubarak's sleeve, adding that it is largely thanks to them that he has been able to consolidate his grip on power over the last 26 years ... 'The Brotherhood provides the perfect foil against the implementation of any meaningful reform and real democracy. Mubarak needs the organization [Muslim Brotherhood] badly in order to stay in power ... The Egyptian government doesn't have the courage to move toward a society that is more enlightened, based on science and critical thinking, as this would erode the support of many Egyptians and lead to a more questioning electorate, which is anathema to a government based broadly on theocratic rule and one with sweeping police powers,' Gad says." -- Read the Full Article



Baylor Prof Awarded TOEA's Highest Honor

Baylor University (Office of Public Relations) -- April 26, 2007

"The Texas Outdoor Education Association presented its top award - the John Fortner Outstanding Educator Award - to Dr. Norman L. "Buddy" Gilchrest, professor emeritus of health, human performance and recreation at Baylor University, during TOEA's Annual Conference at Leakey's H.E. Butt Foundation Camp ... TOEA has been the leader in the state of Texas in the field of outdoor education since 1979, training teachers and others to help students learn essential elements and critical thinking skills in an outdoor environment." -- Read the Full Article



Robots Do Battle/Push Critical Thinking at UNI

Radio Iowa News -- April 26, 2007
by Matt Kelley

"Tiny robots, built by students at the University of Northern Iowa, are squaring off today with robots built by students from as far away as Hawaii and Canada. The Cedar Falls institution is hosting the Mini-sumo Robot Competition. UNI physics professor Cliff Chancey is organizing the battles between the four-inch tall robots.... Chancey says while the competition is thrilling and fun, the students are also learning a great deal. Chancey says: 'It's a wonderful exercise in critical thinking, to try to think ahead. The practical aspects are: learning something about robotics, their capabilities, the degree of programming you have to use to do it, and just the hands-on aspect of soldering the components together.'" Read the Full Article



Bio Nebraska, FutureForce Nebraska Awarded $25,000

Southwest Nebraska News -- April 26, 2007

"Bio Nebraska and FutureForce Nebraska will apply the grant toward implementing a critical-thinking, science-based activity in 25 middle school science and agri-science classrooms statewide to fuel students’ interest in the biotechnology industry and potential related careers. Once the process is in place, applications will be accepted from schools this summer." -- Read the Full Article



Education Should Go Beyond Teaching Facts

DailySkiff.Com -- April 26, 2007
by Christina Durano

"Students go to college for a variety of reasons. Many students attend universities to increase their earning potential ... Ronald B. Standler, a Massachusetts attorney who specializes in higher education law, believes that the primary purpose of a university education should be to teach students how to think."  -- Read the Full Article



Marketing Fantasy Education Makes Parents, Kids Happy

Hernando Today -- April 26, 2007
Serving Hernando County, Florida
by Dr. Domenick Maglio

"The recently launched State of Florida weightless trip in space program would interest many impressionable students. It may even inspire some to go on to an aerospace career ... There will be a small percentage of teachers and students who will actually experience a zero gravity flight ... These weightlessness experiences probably will not advance scientific thought, although it is a great gimmick ... It does not make much sense to encourage young students to participate in charades that only temporarily motivate a student's interest in school. It makes more sense for students to strengthen their skills in math and writing and critical thinking courses, which can be transferred to any major. " -- Read the Full Article



Critical Thinking to Promote Organizatonal Effectiveness

BIZCOMMUNICTY.COM -- April 26, 2007

"There’s a new wave in problem solving and organisational effectiveness about to break in South Africa, and those companies prepared to learn to control its power will ride it safely to shore while others risk being caught in the backwash. This is the opinion of Sandy Pullinger, MD of nFold and the organiser of a seminar on critical thinking taking place end of May 2007 in Johannesburg." -- Read the Full Article



Standardized Testing of College Students Won't Work

HULIQ.Com -- April 26, 2007

"When Jeremy Nolan came to the University of Washington in 1999, he thought he'd major in business and become a stockbroker, but four years later, after a research project in Indonesia got him interested in nonhuman primates, he graduated with bachelor's degrees in biology and psychology ... UW researchers who noticed changes in that young man and many other students like him have produced a comprehensive study of UW students, the first longitudinal assessment of learning among a large group of American college students ... Inside the Undergraduate Experience appears as a federal commission proposes standardized testing of college students similar to that required by No Child Left Behind ... Researchers measured critical thinking, writing and quantitative skills, personal growth, diversity awareness and knowledge of information technology ... Results of the study show that writing, critical thinking and quantitative reasoning are not generic skills and that even among freshmen, such skills are mediated by the disciplines. Thus Nolan's report on monkeys in Indonesia will be different in many ways from a chemistry lab report or an English essay. What counts as good thinking, writing, quantitative reasoning, and information literacy practice in college is closely aligned with the professional practices in those fields." -- Read the Full Article



Is No Child Left Behind About to Get Left Behind?

Kansas.Com (The Wichita Eagle) -- April 25, 2007
by Rob Hotakainen

- Five years after President Bush got a Republican-led Congress to pass a landmark law that requires schools to raise student test scores, his party is leading a revolt ... When Congress signed off on the legislation in December 2001, Republican Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas said it "represents a new era" that would benefit students across the country, and he saluted Bush's leadership. Now he'd be happy if states could just opt out of the federal testing mandates ... Ditto for Missouri Rep. Roy Blunt, the House's second-ranking Republican. After co-sponsoring the 2001 legislation, the minority whip now says that he regrets ever voting for it ... Is No Child Left Behind about to get left behind?" -- Read the Full Article



WHO Has the Better Education System: The US or China?

Electric News -- April 25, 2007
by Faith Teo

"The US has been known for its focus on creative learning - producing a riotous array of creative thinkers, from investors to entrepreneurs ... China, on the other hand, has long taken the more knowledge-based approach to learning, with an emphasis on rote learning. By and large, the Chinese have taken the world by storm with the likes of IT experts and engineers ... But, as mentioned in a recent report by the LA Times, both systems are well on their way to becoming outdated ... The report noted that China started to revamp its education system in the 1990s to introduce more creative and critical thinking in the classroom." -- Read the Full Article



National DNA Day Commemorates Human Genome Project

Business Wire -- April 25, 2007

"The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG), the Genetics Society of America (GSA) and Applied Biosystems (NYSE:ABI), an Applera Corporation business, are commemorating the fifth annual National DNA Day with activities aimed at reinforcing the value of genetic science education and driving awareness of important biomedical research accomplished since the mapping of the human genome. Recognizing National DNA Day is an opportunity for students, teachers and the public to learn more about genetics and genomics, and was created to recognize both the discovery of the structure of DNA and the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003 ... Essays were submitted, representing candidates from six countries and 41 states, and were judged on the basis of critical thinking, scientific accuracy, creativity and organization by ASHG and GSA members." -- Read the Full Article



On the Passing of David Halberstam

Green Bay Press Gazette -- April 25, 2007
by Michael T. Marsden

"The tragic death of David Halberstam marks the passing of not only one of the most distinguished social and political commentators in modern America, but of a gentle, kind, public intellectual who shared his insights with presidents and citizens alike, whether they welcomed them or not ... We mourn his passing not only because he was such a wonderful person, but also because he was one of the remaining truly public intellectuals who give us the benefit of their critical thinking about our society so we might have a more enlightened future. He wrote in a style that was accessible and with a feeling that was understood. He was large not only in stature, but also in spirit. May his works continue to correct and inspire us for many, many years to come." -- Read the Full Article



How Do We Define Critical Thinking?

Textbook Evaluator -- April 25, 2007
Independent Evaluations of Instructional Materials From Edvantage Consulting
by Mark Montgomery

"Educators and just about everyone else insist that one of the most important goals of education is to foster “critical thinking” in young people. Can anyone please define what that means? ... How much knowledge of facts and mastery of information must one have in order to think critically about something?  For example, how much math must one master before he can think critically about it? ... Is “critical thinking” the same as “criticizing”? ...  is one’s ability to “think critically” predicated on a discrete knowledge base? ... To me, the phrase “critical thinking” is empty. Let’s give it some shape or toss it in the lexical garbage can." -- Read the Full Article

Commentary
There is an interdependence between thought and learning. You don't acquire one without the other because it's impossible to know what you haven't thought. Beyond memorization and recall, students who come to understand math learn how to think mathematically to grasp the underlying correlational concepts and therories of math. Critiical reason is what makes that understanding possible. One might just as appropriately ask, "How much critical thinking must one master before he can learn math?"



Private Center Teaches Math Thru Critical Thinking

South Florida Sun-Sentinel.Com -- April 25, 2007
by Akilah Johnson

"One question often asked of those who run a math program for gifted children: If it's so great, why don't you do it for everybody? ... Now, on the heels of the founder's retirement, the Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science, a learning center that produces talented mathematicians like some schools produce star athletes, has created a pilot program to help struggling students ... At first glance, the center's 800 traditional kindergarten through 12th grade students and the 23 BLAST students seem to learn drastically different things. For example, fourth- and fifth-graders: modular arithmetic. BLAST: even and odd numbers. But the academic foundation is the same: logic and critical thinking skills. " -- Read the Full Story



NURSE POWER: Find It, Keep It, Grow It, Share It!

The Nurses' Journal -- April 24, 2007
by Terry Taylor

"Welcome to the "workout" space for the soon-to-be-published book, "Nurse Power: Find It, Keep It,Grow It, Share It!" a collection of 100+ oral histories which highlight the focus, strength, and intention of the nurses' careers ... Critical thinking and communication are the key skills to getting problems identified and handled with the utmost respect. I’m talking about a change that starts with the premise of assessing and valuing the contribution of nurses ..." Read the Full Article



Letting Go of Limbo

Newsweek -- April 24, 2007
by Matthew Philips
"With a new Vatican report, the Pope finally sends unbaptized babies to heaven — and signals that he may be less conservative than his image suggests ... The question surrounding the fate of these souls was first addressed properly in the fifth century by St. Augustine, who concluded that they did in fact wind up in hell. Paula Frederiksen, the Aurelio Professor of Scripture at Boston University, says St. Augustine reached this conclusion as a result of his training in dialectical reasoning, a process of critical thinking whereby a problem is solved through the alternating consideration of opposing points. Since original sin was seen as being indelibly tied to the act of sex, and since babies were the natural result of that act, Augustine reasoned that they must carry sin. Ergo, those who die without having that sin removed must necessarily go to hell. “This was the corner he painted himself into,” says Frederiksen. Since Augustine was the last great Christian theologian before “the lights went out in the Western Roman Empire,” Frederiksen says, his theological legacy went essentially unchallenged for the next several hundred years." -- Read the Full Article



Board of Education Adds Additional Critical Thinking Teacher

Lockport Uniion-Sun & Journal -- April 24, 2007
by Tasha Kates

"The Starpoint Board of Education adopted the smallest budget-to-budget increase under consideration for the 2007-08 district budget Monday night ... The board approved an additional critical thinking teacher to be shared between Fricano Primary and Starpoint Intermediate schools, a school counselor for both schools, high school science and art teachers, a high school special education teacher, a middle school counselor to start in January, two laborers in the higher-grade schools to start in January, numerous clubs in the middle school, modified field hockey, several coach positions and some equipment funds."  -- Read the Full Article



Schools of Distinction Awards Narrowed to Eighteen Finalists

BusinessWire -- April 24, 2007

"Eighteen schools have been named as finalists for the Intel® Schools of Distinction Awards. The annual program honors schools for implementing innovative and replicable math and science programs that produce positive educational results. Schools compete for $1 million in grants and awards from the Intel Foundation and sponsoring companies ... Each school has achieved academic excellence in mathematics and science by embracing such 21st century learning skills as digital literacy, critical thinking and problem solving ... The winners are announced in May 2007" -- Read the Full Article



9/11: Does Anger at Pres. Bush Get in the Way of Critical Thinking?

OpEdNews.Com -- April 24, 2007
Mary MacElveen

" ... when it comes to discerning credible information as opposed to non-credible information... users always have to question the reliability of the available information. If students are not aware and conscious of this problem, they may use and learn wrong facts about anything from historical information to scientific data ... is our anger towards the Bush administration the reason that some tend to believe he caused that attack?  I really want those reading this to think hard on that." -- Read the Full Article



How They'll Learn

Unit Structure -- April 23, 2007
by Fred Stutzman
 
"Think about the role of instant messenger as children work together on math homework. Kids have adopted and internalized uses of these technologies to make the learning process more efficient - ad hoc networks of peer-teachers emerge. The only problem here is that we'd generally call this cheating ... The assignments coming from teachers are built on short-tail models. That is, everyone gets the same questions, they work on them alone, and they turn them in. Teacher has limited time for grading and answering questions ...  What if each student in the class got individual assignments, and they were encouraged to work on the homework collaboratively via instant messenger. This solves the cheating problem, and it encourages peer-to-peer learning and teaching ...The future of our knowledge economy is built on collaboration. If we are always in touch, then we are always able to work together. Why then do our schools not work to optimize collaboration skills? In this collaboration economy, the most successful participants will be the ones who combine knowledge and critical thinking skills with an ability to extend their knowledge via the network. Under our current scheme, the student who can sit alone in the library studying for hours may get the best grades, but they may be missing a critical skill for operationalizing their ability." -- Read the Full Article

Commentary
Active and cooperative learning strategies in peer-to-peer forums can offer powerful and useful ways to get students actively engaged in thinking about what they are trying to learn. Yet, getting students actively thinking about what they are learning in itself is not enough. We also want them to think well.  How might explicit instruction on critical thinking be introduced into the IM equation to foster best practices and help keep the process on track?



Testing Harvard

The Boston Globe -- April 22, 2007
by Linda K. Wertheimer

"The federal government wants to start tracking how well the nation's colleges teach. This could spur some of the biggest changes campuses have seen in decades -- and perhaps threaten the very idea of a liberal education ... the auditorium in Harvard's science center looks like a stadium theater. But the physics professor at the front of the room, Eric Mazur, takes pains not to behave like a sage on the stage ... Rather than lecture, he flashes questions on a movie-sized screen and asks the roughly 125 students to input their answers in hand-held devices. Then, their responses pour into his computer, and he sees an immediate answer to a question that many professors rarely ask: At $43,655 for tuition, room, and board, are Harvard students getting their money's worth? ... Mazur is a pioneer in a growing movement that sees more aggressive evaluation as a way to transform higher education. Professors like Mazur have been experimenting with the idea for a decade. But over the last two years, an increasing number of colleges and universities, including Harvard, have begun using critical thinking and writing tests to see if their students are learning what they should. And now the federal government is pushing to require all colleges to regularly assess students' progress -- and reveal the results to the public." -- Read the Full Article



101 Ways to Massacre Students

ThePeoplesVoice.Org -- April 21, 2007
by Carolyn Baker

"Once again, a horrific eruption of violence in the United States has been turned into a National Enquirer “blood and circuses” spectacle on every television network in the nation. Curiously, grotesque and ghastly as the carnage is, it seems that Americans are not impacted by bloodbaths until they occur in their own back yards ... almost no one is aware of the myriad levels on which, in other venues and without the spilling of blood, students are being massacred ... student loans have become a noose around the necks of a whole generation of students making our colleges and universities likely sets for the next edition of one of those crime scene shows ... in recent weeks the corruption around student loans involving kickbacks, gifts, trips, and other perks to college and university officials involved in the lending process has been exposed and appears to be just the tip of the iceberg ... But the economic warfare being waged on students is only one aspect of the massacre. Even more brutal, yet silent and seemingly benign, is the massacre of minds. Supposedly, students attend college and universities to get an education, and supposedly, even if they attend a community college, they are required to show up with basic skills. Yet anyone who has been teaching college students for the past twenty years knows that only a tiny segment of incoming freshmen are capable of writing an English sentence, and even more frightening is the reality that non-English speakers from other countries are often capable of doing so while students educated in the U.S. aren’t ... as a result of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which Greg Palast has so appropriately named “No Child’s Behind Left”, students coming to college from a public school seem to excel in test-taking, but have virtually no critical thinking skills. In my experience, I find that students enjoy critically thinking once they have learned the skill, but they require training for it because it is a foreign concept."  -- Read the Full Article



Bottoms to Retire as DePauw University President

Inside Indiana Business -- April 20, 2007

"DePauw University President Robert Bottoms will retire from that position at the end of the 2007-08 academic year to become the chancellor of the university. Bottoms, who has led the university since 1986, has served longer than any other president ... Bottoms initially vowed to enhance moral reflection at DePauw. The 2005 announcement of the ... Prindle Institute for Ethics is only the most recent example of DePauw's determination to better equip students with critical thinking skills." -- Read the Full Article



Managing Student Writing In Your Course

UDaily (University of Delaware) -- April 20, 2007

"Faculty can now register for 'Managing Student Writing In Your Course,' an interactive summer session workshop for faculty, from 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m., June 4-6. The registration deadline is Friday, May 11 ... Facilitated by Melissa Ianetta, director of the University Writing Center, and Dee Baer, instructor, UD Writing Center, sessions will include mini-presentations, discussions and time to work on syllabus and writing assignments. By the end of the workshop, participants will be equipped with a variety of skills, including the use of student writing to assess critical thinking skills, revision and sequence of existing assignments to ensure greater student engagement and implementation of efficient writing conference techniques and effective peer review strategies to give students timely feedback ... All participants will be granted $500 in support of writing-related activities, including travel costs to writing-related conferences and funding for classroom writing fellows .... " Read the Full Article



Turning Society Into Room 101

Spiked Online -- April 19, 2007
by Brendan O'Neill

"Censorship is entering into a dangerous new dawn. In the past, certain ideas and forms of speech were silenced on the (usually overblown) basis that they were immoral, corrupt, a threat to ‘national security’ or ‘public safety’. Today, thoughts and speech that fall foul of the mainstream are depicted as a mental defect, a pathology, a sort of virus that requires therapeutic intervention and corrective education. People are silenced because they are ‘in denial’ (of the Holocaust or climate change), or because they’re ‘phobic’ (whether Islamophobic or homophobic), or because they spread ‘hate speech’ (they’re consumed by irrational hatred). All of these new censorious categories – denial, phobia, hatefulness – speak to the pathologisation of certain ideas. Speech is increasingly depicted as a sickness, and censorship as the cure ... In Nineteen Eighty-Four, O’Brien, the torturer in Room 101, offers to cure Winston Smith of his anti-party thinking. ‘You are mentally deranged. You suffer from a defective memory’, O’Brien says. ‘Fortunately it is curable…. Shall I tell you why we have brought you here? To cure you! To make you sane!’ It seems that some are keen to turn contemporary society into a big, open Room 101, where dodgy ideas or critical thinking are also cured. Hands up if you would rather remain ‘sick’." -- Read the Full Article



DNI Leverages Personal Powers

United Press International -- April 19, 2007
by Shaun Waterman

"WASHINGTON April 19 (UPI) -- Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell recently restructured his office to help him leverage his limited authorities over the 16 U.S. spy agencies he is supposed to manage -- chief among them being the power to set personnel policies ... McConnell last week laid out an ambitious 100-day plan that his newly reorganized staff will push ahead with and emphasized the importance of implementing the personnel mandates Congress passed in 2004 as part of the law establishing his office ... The aim, he said, was 'a set of common critical competencies and behaviors that every (Intelligence Community) employee and separately every (Intelligence Community) senior officer -- senior executive -- will be gauged against' ... The 'critical target competencies' included 'collaboration, critical thinking, accountability for results, communication skills, of course technical expertise, and personal leadership and integrity' ... Ronald Sanders, the DNI's point man on the issue, said that by the end of the 100 days, on July 1, any civilians appointed to posts reporting directly to the head of any of the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies would have to have served a so-called joint-duty tour -- a posting to a different agency from their own or to a multi-agency operation like the National Counter-Terrorism Center or the DNI's own office ... the performance review process would conform to 'corporate best practice' by being '360 degrees ... That means 'you get it from all angles: from co-workers, from those people who are in your collaborative network, from subordinates if you have them, from superiors, from clients, from customers ... There were signs this week that the Intelligence Community proposals might also encounter choppy waters on Capitol Hill ... 'I am concerned that the (House Permanent Select) Committee (on Intelligence) has not seen enough detail on this proposal,' its chairman, Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, said Tuesday. 'While we all support the goal of rewarding high performers, it is imperative that we are rewarding the right kind of performance and that employees have the ability to help design the system in which they will have to operate.'" -- Read the Full Article

Commentary
It's a start, but here again we see newly proposed strategies for overhauling our intelligence community -- to, on one hand, "incentivitize collaboration" between 16 agencies and to, on the other, reward individual performance based upon critical thinking, a matrix of cognitive complexity (as well as a cadre of skills and best practices) that encourages independent thinking. As if this were not a tall enough order, the new system will be overseen and reviewed by Capitol Hill, another beaurocratic bastion of political tendentiousness not normally known for its protocols in critical thought. Throughout this article and in the comments of those interviewed, there is the suggestion that critical thinking is a well known commodity; that by simply deciding to do it  ... critical thinking results. We too are concerned about not seeing enough detail; that this initiative may not have taken into account the scope of orientation and training necessary to upgrade critical thinking skills among teachers and trainers who will be teaching, training, and retraining DNI personnel within our intelligence culture(s).



On TV Tonight: Osama bin Laden's Worst Nightmare

Foreign Policy Passport -- April 19, 2007
A blog by the editors of Foreign Policy
by Preeti Aroon

"When she was 14 years old, Irshad Manji, a Canadian Muslim, asked her madrasa teacher, 'Where is the evidence of the 'Jewish conspiracy' against Islam?'  Her teacher responded by kicking her out of the madrasa ... Since then, Manji has been using her own brain to study Islam and launch a campaign to reform her religion. Manji, who moved to Canada as a child when Idi Amin expelled the East Indian community from Uganda, has written the book The Trouble With Islam Today: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith. Her latest endeavor is the documentary Faith Without Fear, which debuts tonight in the United States on PBS as part of the channel's series America at a Crossroads ... I'm intrigued by Manji's current Project Ijtihad (pronounced "ij-tee-had"). On her website, Manji says that ijtihad is Islam's long-lost tradition of independent thinking that was stomped out at the end of the 11th century. Manji wants to create a network of reform-minded Muslims who engage in critical thinking and bring about a reformation of Islam that updates it for the 21st century. If Christianity could have its Protestant Reformation, it seems possible for Islam to have one too ... I plan to make my own assessment tonight when I watch Faith Without Fear. I encourage you to watch the documentary too." -- Read the Full Article



Religious Inconsistencies

Frederick News Post -- April 18, 2007
by D.C. Rice

"We’ve come a long way since the days when one-room schoolhouses were scattered throughout the countryside, a time when community instructors not only carried Bibles into the classroom, but also actually taught from them ... Kris Helphinstine, a part-time high school biology teacher from Oregon, probably longs for those days ... Helphinstine found his class permanently dismissed after opting against teaching all of the approved “facts” of evolution, choosing instead to raise questions that most students typically aren’t allowed the opportunity to hear, let alone answer. Though he did sprinkle his lectures with biblical references, Helphinstine says he stopped short of specifically teaching creationism ... The ousted teacher attempted to defend his decision, stating, “Critical thinking is vital to scientific inquiry. My whole purpose was to give accurate information and to get them thinking ... But the school board didn’t see it that way, and they felt they had no choice but to fire him. Critical thinking must not be in the curriculum, but force-feeding students an unproven ideology apparently is ... It was a severe contradiction of what we trust teachers to do in our classrooms,” said one of the school board members ... That’s right. Who wants America’s youth thinking for themselves? They might actually want to hear more about opposing viewpoints, and we can’t have that." -- Read the Full Article

Commentary
All religions provide good examples of non-critical thought, through which principles and values of critical thought are best recognized and understood. Yet, here we have a classic case of a new teacher's pedagogical enthusiasm and political naivete running headlong into public policy prohibiting coverage of religion based content in public schools. While we realize such policy was put there to prohibit "arguments by authority" from being imposed onto critical reason, it would appear the school board -- whose responsibility it is to foster critical thinking -- should have seen this as an honest misstep towards experience in Helpinstine's pedagogical approach rather than as a blatant attempt to proselytize. By definition, critical thinking is the antithesis of blind calls to faith and indoctrination in the curriculum.



Are NCLB Testing Pressures Creating a New Form of Illiteracy

Tribune & Georgian -- April 18, 2007
Serving Camden County, Georgia Since 1894
by Jeremy Spencer

"Whether politicians realize it, testing pressures in the NCLB era are creating a new form of illiteracy among students, lack of critical thinking skills. I assure you, educators are highly aware of this phenomenon, but politicians could care less ... The lack of critical thinking skills in older students is becoming more prevalent, and I truly believe it is linked to teaching students how to take a test instead of mastering the material. Georgia has implemented performance standards, but true performance curriculum cannot be formally tested with a bubble sheet ... I find it very interesting that high-powered politicians are making these crucial decisions in education, and most have never taught a day in their lives. How long will politicians be allowed to continue this malpractice against our children? Unfortunately, our country is creating a generation of public who will not be able to critically think through a real problem." -- Read the Full Article



Education Charlatans and Quacks

WorldNet Daily -- April 18, 2007
by Walter E. Williams

"So many Americans graduate high school and college having learned what to think as opposed to acquiring the tools of critical, independent thinking. Likewise, they have learned little about our nation's history. As such, they fall prey to the rhetoric of political charlatans and quacks ... Americans' ignorance of our history and inability to think critically have provided considerable ammunition for those who want to divide us in pursuit of their agenda. I don't usually buy into conspiracy theories, but it's tempting to think America's charlatans, quacks and demagogues are in cahoots with the teaching establishments at our government schools and colleges to dumb down the nation. " -- Read the Full Article

Commentary
Group think is, unfortunately, alive and well in all institutions. The "teaching establishment" is no exception. It's not easy or comfortable to be intellectually honest or independent in our thinking. And, it is too easy to seek associations with others who "think like we do," even when critical thought is the least of what we may have in common. Our metaphysical longing for acceptance compels us to seek out relationships with others on common grounds. Yet, we gravitate towards authoritative leadership on ideas and issues seeking our own acceptance in the notoriety of others without critically arriving at our own well tempered positions. Acculturation within and across societies, constantly pulls us into intellectual assumptions and positions of compromise on issues in our associations with others. The scarcity of independent critical thinkers -- even in open forums where best ideas are showcased, shared and held up to the light -- subjects us and our institutions to manipulation, control, and abuse by demagogues. Or worse, it bonds us closer to our non-critical, non-reconciled cultural legacies that are too often grounded in prejudice.



Canyon High School Named a "California Distinguished School"

Orange County Register -- April 17, 2007
by Diane Reed

"Canyon High School Principal Gloria Duncan got good news from Sacramento Monday morning ... State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell called to tell her that Canyon High School had been named a California Distinguished School ... 'I didn't expect a personal call,' Duncan said. 'He asked me to extend his congratulations to the entire staff ... I think the key things for us were our innovative spirit and our unique array of programs including Stellar Technology and Critical Thinking ... I don't know of anyone else in the nation, using the critical thinking program we have, school wide.'" -- Read the Full Article



TUSC Drafts Guest Speaker Policy

Arizona Daily Star -- April 17, 2007
by George Sanchez

"The Tucson Unified School District has unveiled a new policy on guest speakers — one year after a free-speech firestorm was ignited at Tucson High Magnet School by a speech from the co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America ... According to the policy, guest speakers and their statements must be "appropriate to the age and maturity of the student audience to be addressed and relevant to the enhancement of the students' education development." The policy also asks speakers to "endeavor to develop an appreciation for a subject area, topic, culture, or viewpoint that will encourage critical thinking" and will "refrain from messages intended to promote hatred, bigotry or animosity between groups of people." -- Read the Full Article



Govenor Pawlenty Waxes CT at UMM's School of Law

The Minnesota Daily  -- April 17, 2007
Serving the University of Minnesota Community Since 1900
by Courtney Blanchard

"Govenor Tim Pawlenty returned to his alma mater Monday to give a speech at the Law School ... Pawlenty, a Republican, said the University's Law School taught him the communication and critical thinking skills he uses to govern the state." -- Read the Full Article



DesMoines Focus Research Calls for Critical Thinking

DesMoines Register -- April 17, 2007
by Megan Hawkins

"The school board met with consultants Monday night to hear the results from the 10 focus groups, which were held privately to shape larger "community conversations" this spring about the future of the district ... In focus groups, people named diversity and the staff as great assets of the district. They also placed on their wish lists very specific lessons students should learn - such as foreign languages at a young age, critical thinking skills, and career and life skills - so they can succeed and function after high school."  -- Read the Full Article



Scholastic Stocks Middle Eastern Bookshelves

PR Newswire -- April 17, 2007

"The Magic School Bus(R), Owen and Mzee and Heidi -- translated into Arabic and adapted to the culture ... Scholastic and the U.S. Department of State have sent more than 7 million books like these into classrooms across the Middle East and North Africa -- and trained thousands of teachers -- as part of a program called My Arabic Library ... My Arabic Library, created by Scholastic and funded through the State Department's Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), provides classrooms with something many of them have never had: age-appropriate fiction and non- fiction books that help young students develop independent, critical thinking and reading skills." -- Read the Full Article



Summer Scholars Program at UMM Emphasizes Critical Thinking

University of Minnesota/Morris -- April 17, 2007
by Judy Riley

"For 22 years the University of Minnesota, Morris has offered high school students an opportunity to attend "summer college” through the Summer Scholars program. The program accepts juniors and sophomores that are in the top 20 percent of their class ... An alternative to attending a summer camp, UMM's two-week Summer Scholars program offers students a chance to earn two college credits and experience college life. Summer Scholars at UMM will be held July 8-20 ...  Each course emphasizes skills that are essential for success in college, including writing, critical thinking, discussion and interdisciplinary perspectives ... During Summer Scholars students will learn about writing papers, developing critical thinking skills, using a college library, participating in classroom discussion and interacting with peers who share the same interests and intellectual curiosity."  -- Read the Full Article



What Every B-School Needs: Higher-Order Thinking

Business Standard -- April 17, 2007
by Shantanu Prakash

"So, what do they not teach you at B-school? A lot really, and it is easy to sermonise about this. But if the purpose of a B-school is to produce wealth and value creators, then the people who run B-schools need to take a hard look at real life and model the curriculum based on how value gets created. So, here is my prescription of creating a cutting-edge curriculum ... Life-skills: It is well known that the information and knowledge component of what we learn will soon be forgotten or become irrelevant, so focus on life-skills in the affective domain — that is, communication, creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving skills ... Higher-order thinking: The ratio of theory to real-world learning should be 70:30. The real world is all about higher-order thinking; therefore, the ability to develop higher-order thinking skills such as application, design and evaluation should be valued more than knowledge and comprehension, and the evaluation and grading system of B-schools must reflect this ... Measure how many new ideas each student comes up with. Don't make this a course, make this a part of every course. You have 24 months to change the thinking paradigm of each student, make full use of it. " -- Read the Full Article



United Nations Media at MIPTV 2007

UNESCO.ORG -- April 16, 2007

"UN Headquarters and seven UN agencies - UNESCO, UNDP, UNEP, UNFPA, UNICEF and World Bank as well as the Millennium Campaign - will present their audiovisual catalogues at MIPTV 2007, which is taking place from 16 to 20 April in Cannes, France ... UNESCO will be presenting three major audio-visual initiatives at MIPTV. UNESCO’s Audiovisual e-platform, boasting more than 500 outstanding productions from 85 countries, connects independent filmmakers, producers and broadcasters, festival organizers and other interested institutions. Latest production Documenting Reality focuses on how 'reality' is created by the camera and why certain 'truths' are legitimized, providing a tool for critical thinking and analysis of contemporary mediated societies. UNESCO's series of podcasts, currently being produced in 10 different countries, focuses on human rights, the fight against discrimination and building peace and tolerance." -- Read the Full Article



Is Critical Integration Possible in Politics?

National Review -- April 15, 2007
The Mark Levin Blog

"I'm disheartened by conservatives who continue to lecture that we must ignore serious defects in a Republican candidate's record. Conservatism is about more than tax cuts and the war on terrorism, it's about more than abortion and illegal immigration. These are certainly important policy aspects of conservatism.  But conservatism is about a way of life, a way of governing, and a way of bettering society.  When a pundit or candidate demands that conservatives limit their critical thinking to one or two subjects or positions, that's self-serving. They're usually putting their own political preferences and motivations ahead of serious analysis." -- Read the Full Article

Commentary
This blog calls for critical thinking throughout all political positions and issues as opposed to a policy of overlooking serious defects and applying critical thinking to a handful of key issues. Issues have different appeal and should have different priorities in a campaign. Yet, critical integration across all issues for the purpose of envisioning and defining visions of what a society is capable of becoming (and inherent consequences of becoming) is at the heart of a politician's, and a party's, intellectual integrity. Critical integrity is at the very core by which candidates are ultimately elected and through which social institutions are ultimately transformed. There's perhaps no defect more serious than a lack of critical integrity.



Save the Children Releases Report

Inter Press Service News Agency -- April 14, 2007
by Eli Clifton

"WASHINGTON -- Children in so-called conflict affected fragile states (CAFS) represent a disproportionate number of the world's out-of-school population largely because these countries are under-funded by international aid donors when compared to other low-income countries, says a report released Thursday. ... The new report, "Last in Line, Last in School", released by the Save the Children, a U.S.-based charity, calls attention to the fact that most donor nations and multilateral donors prioritise education-related funding to stable countries instead of those affected by conflict ... Primary education) contributes to economic growth, peace and stability, and promotes critical thinking in citizens and their ability to hold local and national systems to account, paving the way for good governance and institution-building," says the report."  — Read the Full Article



Smarticles Compete For Destination ImagiNation Today

Sheboygan-Press.Com -- April 14, 2007
by Belia Ortega

"The Smarticles have made their way to the Destination ImagiNation state finals and are competing today at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point ... The five Oostburg Middle School students' quick thinking and imaginative improvisational skills have earned them a place in Destination ImagiNation — a creative and critical thinking competition that involves teamwork, time management and problem solving ... 'We're all excited to be going,' said Sue Kappers, team manager. "I don't think their feet have hit the floor yet. They're pretty high ... .The international organization, Destination ImagiNation, is based in Glassboro, N.J. and will begin celebrating its 25th year anniversary in May, according to Linda Wayne, vice president of marketing. The organization is represented in the entire U.S. and 41 other countries and has 45,000 volunteers and 350,00 participants. There are currently 500 tournaments and trainings going on this years like the one at UW-Stevens Point" --  Read the Full Article



Huron Technical Center Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Huron Daily Tribune -- April 13, 2007

"For 20 years the HATC has been preparing students for success in the working world. Not only do students learn the skills necessary to work at their chosen craft, they acquire other invaluable tools. Problem solving. Critical thinking. Team work."  — Read the Full Article



Intelligence Center Launched at CSUSB

AScribe (The Public Interest Newswire) — April 13, 2007

"Intelligence Center Launched at California State University, San Bernardino ... Curricular programs on the seven consortium campuses are designed to help students with language acquisition, critical thinking and writing, foreign studies, graphic information system-related skills, national security and intelligence studies, and graduate studies in related programs. Top students will have the opportunity to earn funding to participate in summer travel-abroad programs.  ... Read the Full Article




Graduates Leave Employers Cold

Workforce Management -- April 13, 2007
by Mark Schoeff Jr

In a March 28 Capitol Hill briefing, the groups presented findings from their poll of about 400 companies showing that new entrants to the U.S. workforce generally disappoint those who would like to give them their first job. High school-educated workers lack the level of ability employers seek in everything from writing and work ethic to oral communication. Twenty-three percent to 27 percent of respondents said college graduates were weak in writing and leadership ... Although college graduates fared better than their high school counterparts, they weren’t given rave reviews. Less than 30 percent of employers rated them as “excellent” in skills that those companies say will become more important over the next five years — critical thinking ,,, Read the Full Article



Don Imus' Comments Reflect a Larger Problem

PoynterOnline (Everything You Need to be a Better Journalist) - April 13, 2007
by Jill Geisler

"The Don Imus story makes me uncomfortable -- and I hope it makes news leaders queasy, too. No one, not even those who praise the man's philanthropy, defends the sexist, racist spittle he aimed at the women of Rutgers ...  Maybe we've become inured to ugliness -- even lured to it ... The ad hominem attack has become so much a part of our media culture that I suspect Imus was acting within the bounds of what he thought his audience wanted and his bosses valued. ... If you're a news manager or media executive, this might make you uncomfortable. Perhaps it should. Instead of looking at this as someone else's misfortune, consider looking inward. That can be a productive exercise in discomfort. If you don't know the difference between critical thinking, self-control and censorship, be uncomfortable ... The most comforting example of leadership I witnessed during this whole mess didn't come from the NBC or CBS executives who dropped the Imus show ... It came from the members of the Scarlet Knights team in their news conference, who spoke in thoughtful, measured tones about anger and pain. They stood their ground and never took a cheap shot at their assailant. Without so much as a raised voice, these young women demonstrated the value of reason in the face of outrage." —  Read the Full Article

Commentary
Well said!  Ad hominem attacks and celebrity firings are more often than not superficial self-righteous acts of indignation and of piling on when public consensus indicates it's safe to pile on. Such pointing of fingers at the other guy -- a way we let ourselves off the hook -- is not usually accompanied by the constructive critical introspection necessary to recognize the deeper underlying problems or to prohibit future occurances. Ultimately, each of us are culpable for indulging a media culture that brought us this. In contrast, the women of Rutgers taught us all something about intellectual integrity and grace.



The Gift of Kurt

IndyStar.Com — April 13, 2007

"Vonnegut will continue to live on through his art and profound literature -- which mixed dark humor with critical thinking and impacted the way many of us view the society we live in," Mayor Bart Peterson said. "Indianapolis will certainly do its part to commemorate and honor him through the 'Year of Vonnegut' celebration and beyond."  -- Read the full Article



Jacksonville University to Offer Degree in Film

Florida Times Union -- April 13, 2007
by Matt Soergel

"Some interesting news from Jacksonville University - the private school will offer a new undergraduate major in film, starting in the fall ... Students will be able to get a degree in film, with a concentration in either directing or screenwriting, according to Bill Hill, dean of the College of Fine Arts ... And Hill says studies show that the critical thinking and writing skills of film majors are wanted in the workplace." — Read the full Article



Q&A Explores Best Practices

Education Week News April 12, 2007
Q&A Discussion on Making the Curriculum Meaningful
with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach,
Marsha Ratzel, &
Mark Clemente

"I often hear the issue of what to teach being framed as a choice between “teaching to the test” and “deep, meaningful learning”. Why can’t we have both? What I try to do is simply break the standards into learning objectives (especially higher-order thinking ones) then bring students to master them. If I’ve done a good job ensuring the students master those objectives, which were intensely keyed to the standards, then they should do fine on the state test. Meanwhile, they’ve completed projects, written essays, created plays, debated, engaged in critical thinking, and produced PowerPoints, along with a host of other activities that facilitate “deep, meaningful learning”. So my question is, doesn’t this “objectives mastery” approach do both things – ensure success on the test and provide deep, meaningful learning?"  ...
Read the full Article

Commentary
Testing goals and comparing Zscores are fine, but they have little to do with learning. Universal intellectual standards (purpose, clarity, accuracey, precission, relevance, breadth, depth, etc. grounded in the best practices of critical thought, on the other hand, have everything to do with learning. We think the question one needs to ask is, "Can you teach to a test with significance without first laying a clear foundation of intellectual standards by which such test outcomes and objectives become meaningful?



The Sage of Reason

Topic: The University of Aukland offers critical thinking in a highly popular professor; but are students actually learning how to think critically?

Synopsis:  This article profiles the biography and presentation tactics of a popular multi-talented, multi-dimensional critical thinking professor whose classes, for lack of a better term, are  performances.

Read the Full Article

Sunday Star Times — April 12, 2007
by Margo White

Commentary
"The University Of Auckland's stage-one philosophy paper, Critical Thinking, could be seen as a modern manifestation, and clearly students are still keen on the art of good arguing. Almost 700 students have enrolled in the paper this year, three times the number who enrolled in 2003. This is partly because it is now offered as a general education course, which means anyone can do it. But at least part of its appeal can be attributed to the reputation of the course and the lecturer who has designed it."  This piece celebrates Jonathan McKeown-Green — a blind philosophy professor — for having "made philosophy fashionable." No easy task!  Indeed, we all have our blind spots, and who better to see this than one who practices and teaches critical thinking?  The introduction of critical thinking to students in their general education experience is essential, yet one wonders if critical thinking is also being taught integral to other subjects at the University of Aukland. The seminal concept of critical thought finds and improves on itself in application through other subjects and, therefore, it also needs to be carried into and assessed integrally from within the contexts of all domains and disciplines across the curriculum.



Journal of Peacebuilding Calls for Papers

Center for Strategic & International Studies

Topic: .Journal of Peacebuild and  Development , International Peace Academy, call for papers.

Synopsis:  Critical thinking is seen as the common denominator for building understandings and peace in this forum.

Read the Full Article


PCR Project
— April 11, 2007

Commentary
"The Journal of Peacebuilding and Development and its issue partner, the International Peace Academy, are calling for papers. JPD is a bi-annual refereed journal providing a forum for the sharing of critical thinking and constructive action on issues at the intersections of conflict, development, and peace."  Peace through critical thinking is a process we support..


Dispatches on the Evangelical Movement

Pacific Views -- April 11, 2007

"Orcinus' Sara Robinson has a couple of excellent pieces up this week providing some of the best dispatches on the state of the evangelical movement. One post is about her semester at Pat Robertson's Regent University. (Yeah, that's the one where Monica Goodling got her law degree so she could help reshape the US government to be the tool of her fundamentalist and dominionist faith.) What Sara found was something quite different than she'd expected. Her professor was much more interested in active discourse and the use of critical thinking to explore the topic at hand" ...  The second post was one she wrote for the Blog Against Theocracy blogswarm. In this post she listed the reasons she thinks we are seeing the waning edge of the current attempt of the Christian Right to take over our country. Here's what she sees changing the evangelical movement today." -- Read the Full Story



Stanford President Emeritus Calls for Critical Thinking

Topic:  Faith vs Reason

Synopsis:  Creationism is "a religious concept that attributes the creation of life and the universe to a supernatural deity," and thus, it is inconsistent with the purpose of science. Donald Kennedy argues "that teaching creationism discourages students from applying the scientific method."

Read the Full Article

Stanford News — April 11, 2007
by Chelsea Ann Young

Commentary
"High school students who are taught creationism instead of evolutionary theory lack the critical thinking skills that are necessary for college, according to Stanford President Emeritus Donald Kennedy ... Kennedy is currently serving as an expert witness for the University of California Regents, who are being sued by a group of Christian schools, students and parents for refusing to allow high school courses taught with creationist textbooks to fulfill the laboratory science requirement for UC admission. After reading several creationist biology texts, Kennedy said he found "few instances in which students are being introduced to science as a process — that is, the way in which scientists work or carry out experiments, or the way in which they analyze and interpret the results of their investigations."



Report Reveals Economic Competitiveness

Topic: The profound change in the UAE's competitiveness is attributed to policies that embrace critical thinking within its academic and economic institutions.

Synopsis:  This report illustrates what people and societies can do to reinvent themselves with critical thinking concepts and best practices at the core of their policies and actions.

Read the Full Article

Mena Report — April 11, 2007

Commentary
The Arab World Competitiveness Report 2007
, released today by the World Economic Forum, "underscores the importance of a profound change in mindsets in order to realize the region's full potential. Entrepreneurship, an element that is often cited as the key to unlocking the potential of the Arab economies, can only take root in societies where freedom of thought, enthusiasm for inquiry and critical thinking are popular values." Well said. Such is our thinking as well.


Shakespeare: Was He or Wasn't He?

The Oregonian -- April 11, 2007
by Lynne Terry

"Portland Upon Willamette -- William Shakespeare is widely considered the greatest author in the English language. But was he?  What if someone else really wrote that wealth of work? That was-he-or-wasn't-he question, which has produced mounds of doctoral dissertations, is the focus of a four-day conference starting Thursday at Concordia University in Northeast Portland. About 200 scholars, theater directors, doctors and even a neurologist will pour in from Europe and North America for hours of debate about the authorship of Shakespeare's works ... And while this may seem a pointless academic exercise, it helps build students' critical thinking, says Greg Harris, marketing director of Concordia." -- Read the Full Article



An Interview with Made to Break Author, Giles Slade

PopMatters -- April 11, 2007
by Rob Horning

"STAY FREE!: How did book come about? GILES SLADE: I came back to North America from teaching in the Arab Emirates after 9/11, and every interaction I had in public was very curt, very rude. I wondered where that shortness developed and ultimately became convinced that it has to do with our attitudes toward material culture ... I thought this was an interesting connection—rather than attribute rudeness and impoliteness to cultural mores and leave it at that, the move to ground our understanding of the mores in material culture seems an absolutely necessary next step ... If the values are built in to material culture, which is made up mostly of consumer products and embodies consumerist values, then it makes some sense that generations raised entirely within that culture, which has been proliferating steadily, would be protective of it and grow defensive if you imply that there’s something damaged about it. It’s as though you are saying they can’t help but be impaired by the culture they grew up in. But that situation holds for everyone, no matter what generation; it takes a special effort of negativity and critical thinking to escape the biases built in to the society we learn to adapt ourselves to." -- Read the Full Article



Bad Politics or Bad Research?

Topic: The dismissal of a professor at the University of Colorado: Is it driven by bad politics or by bad research?

Synopsis: Colorado University  has dismissed a professor whose Internet-published essay was controversial. As noted scholars and "intellectuals" come to his defense, the University's Standing Committee on Research Misconduct has recommended that the dismissal stand due to repeated acts of "serious research misconduct." The article calls for a reversal of this dismissal.

Read the Full Article

ColoradoDaily.Com — April 11, 2007
by Rachel Berns (Staff Writer)

Commentary
A CU professor has been facing an ongoing battle with his employers. In early 2005, his Internet-published essay regarding the 9/11 terrorist attacks -- where he questioned the innocence of many killed that day  -- became a focus of criticism. The University's Standing Committee on Research Misconduct recommended that (he) be penalized for repeated acts of “serious research misconduct.”  Critical thinking should help us to recognize that any professor receiving accolaids from distinguished scholars, such as Noam Chomsky, is not doing bad research. This looks like a classic case of censorship.


Indiana Employers Seek a "Certain Bucket of Skills"

Tribune Star — April 11, 2007
by Arthur E. Foulkes


"Indiana government officials want Hoosier job seekers to take a “skills-based” approach to finding a job, according to Department of Workforce Development officials speaking in Terre Haute on Wednesday ... A skills-based approach means workers should think of the broad set of skills they have, such as speaking, reading comprehension or critical thinking, instead of thinking of themselves as members of a very specific occupation, the officials said." — Read the full Article



Exhibit Uses Multimedia to Examine Oppression

Spartan Daily (Serving San Jose State University Since 1934) -- April 10, 2007
by Samie Hartley

"Hate. Ignorance. Discrimination. These are just some of the words that will greet visitors at the entrance of the Tunnel of Oppression, a multimedia exhibit that addresses various types of prejudice in the world ... The Tunnel of Oppression is a multi-sensory experience that has six rooms that are meant to inform and prompt critical thinking," said Hyon Chu Yi-Baker, director of the MOSAIC Cross Cultural Center."  --  Read the Full Article



Taiwan's Academic Credibility Linked to Critical Thinking

Topic: Taiwan's Credibility Linked to Critical Thinking.

Synopsis:  "A real democracy requires a real education system, an ability to discern between true and the false and to arrive at creative solutions through critical thinking."

Read the Full Article

Taipei Times — April 10, 2007
by Michael Mauss

Commentary
The tactical approach to all agressive inquiry, discourse, understanding and learning, critical thinking is a recognized and valued skill set celebrated to some degree in all cultures and societies most by those who see it disappearing. This article suggests "many expatriots" of Taiwan's educational system now see the critical edge of their students eroding and admonishes politicians and educators in Taiwan to revisit critical thinking.



The Right Way to Measure College Learning

The Christian Science Monitor -- April 9, 2007
by Catharine Hoffman Beyer

"How do we know what college students really learn? A commission on higher education headed by US Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings has raised the issue of whether national standardized tests, such as the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA), can answer that question." -- Read the Full Article



No Child Left Behind: A Threat to National Security

The Huffington Post -- April 9, 2007
by Gerald Bracey

"The World Economic Forum usually ranks the United States as the most creative and innovative nation in the world and usually number 1 in global competitiveness among the 125 nations it ranks annually. If creativity gives the U. S. its competitive edge--and a lot of people do think so -- and if No Child Left Behind menaces that creativity, does it not constitute a threat to national security?" -- Read the Full Article

Commentary
The author makes a good point relevant to the limitations of No Child Left Behind and constructs a list of "qualities that need to be assessed which he feels are "difficult to measure." Unlike other qualities on the list, critical thinking is a seminal discipline that accompanies any and all levels of inquiry, discourse, understanding, and learning within and between all domains and disciplines, including all of those qualities mentioned on the list. Critical thinking's universal intellectual standards, elements, traits, dispositions and best practices are well defined, researched and documented across an applied range of depth and breadth. It is discretely assessable within the contexts of other domains and disciplines through which it is best taught, and in most studies the evidence is dramaticly obvious. For example, creativity, resilience, resourcefulness, civic mindedness etc. are defined benefits of thinking critically. Is it really possible to be creative, resourceful, civic minded, etc. if you haven't thought about creating for a purpose, about where and how to be resourceful, or about the specific civic needs it takes to be civic minded? Is blind patriotism analogous to courage any more than independent dissent is a form of cowardice? Etc.



Classroom Caste System

Washington Post -- April 9, 2007
by David Keyes

"Written five years ago to reduce the "achievement gap," the No Child Left Behind Act has in fact created a gap in American education. Its pressure to raise test scores has caused many schools to give poor and minority students an impoverished education that focuses primarily on basic skills ... As it comes up for reauthorization, members of Congress should consider the unintended consequence of the act: a new gap between poor and minority students, who are being taught to seek simple answers, and largely wealthy and white students, who are learning to ask complex questions ... Schools often use test-prep programs to try to raise test scores. The problem with these programs is that they teach the skills covered on tests, and only these skills. Poor and minority students spend hours repeating "B buh ball" and two plus two equals four. Every hour spent drilling basic skills is an hour not spent developing the higher-level thinking skills that are emphasized in wealthier school districts."  -- Read the Full Article



China, U.S. Taking Notes on Education

Topic: China is embracing critical thinking as a "bottom up" path to become a "nation of innovation."

Synopsis:  When government realized China's explosive growth couldn't be supported without an expoentially larger, better educated and innovative workforce, it adopted the U.S. model for critical thinking and initiated an aggressive plan to build schools in rural communities and to quintuple the size of its university system.

Read the Full Article

Los Angeles Times — April 8, 2007
by Mitchell Landsberg

Commentary
"In many ways, China and the United States represent the yin and yang of international education. Whereas China's top-down system places supreme emphasis on tightly structured, disciplined learning, the United States has a highly decentralized system that places greater importance on critical thinking and 'student-centered' learning ... American educators have been exploring why Chinese and other Asian students do so well in math and science, and trying to apply some of their findings to U.S. classrooms ... The Chinese, in turn, are trying to distill the American genius for innovation, recognizing that, for all its faults, the U.S. educational system is unrivaled at turning out creative minds — inventors, filmmakers, rock 'n' roll stars and Nobel laureates among them." Given the long up hill struggle for recognition, understanding and acceptance of critical thinking in government, media, business and academic constituencies in the United State, we think it's somewhat ironic China would wish to hold the American Education System up as its ideal. Yet, having routinely worked with educators from China over the past two decades, we recognize the thirst for independent critical thinking in China and respect the rate at which its people are grasping, adopting, and applying it in plans to transform their institutions and society.



Intelligence Workers to be Paid Based on Critical Thinking Performance

Topic: Federal Intelligence Community Announces A New Pay For Performance Management Program Based on Critical Thinking will Go Into Effect in 2008.

Synopsis:  Brought together by the 9/11 terror attack, all 16 agencies of the Intelligence community are banding together to place a premium on critical thinking and information integration; their intellectual integrity.

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Federal Times.Com — April 6, 2007
by Stephen Losey

Commentary
In 2008, intelligence workers will go onto a new pay for perfornance management system where personnel will be measured by how well they collaborate and think critically. In a conference call today, chief human capital officer, Ron Sanders, said this will be "the first such system to cover all 16 federal agencies involved in intelligence gathering and analysis. Judging employees on their critical thinking skills is needed to address criticisms of the intelligence community that arose after the failures to stop the Sept. 11 plot and to properly assess Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction capabilities , , , 'Many commissions have said we need to look at problem sets and think about them from alternate points of view,'" said Sanders. "'Critical thinking is such a core competency across the intelligence community' that it must be considered in performance assessments." We have had the intelligence community in our conferences for over a quarter century, and we are gratified to see mounting recognition for critical principles, concepts and best practices within our intelligence institutions. We think this is a good start, but will government now follow through and continue with inservice development for trainers and key personnel?



Famed Philosopher Talks Critical Thought

Topic: Jacques Ranciere Critiques Critical Thinking

Synopsis:   Ranciere has devoted much of his life to exploring political discourse and society's conception of class and aesthetic theory. More recently, he has focused his attention on what types of situations justify human rights interventions and war.

Read the Full Article

The Dartmouth — April 6, 2007
by Emily Weisburst

Commentary
Professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of Paris-VIII, St Denis, Jacques Ranciere critiqued critical thinking to a Dartmouth audience on Thursday. "After the lecture in Haldeman Center, the attendees engaged the tweed-clad philosopher in a 25-minute question-and-answer session about topics ranging from ignorance to propaganda to the Bush administration's use of the media." In his lecture Dr. Ranciere identified the need for fairminded critical thinking that goes beyond the surface of issues to their deeper implications and significance. We couldn't agree more.



Technology Ruining Attention Spans?

Topic: Technology is Ruining Attention Spans; Causing the Loss of Critical Thinking Abilities.

Synopsis: Technology and many of the new media are inherently discursive and at odds with our responsibilities to focus, think, and integrate information critically; therefore, they often work at cross purposes with our need to be responsible and informed citizens.

Read the Full Article

ISD Iowa State Daily — April 5, 2007
by Nathon Paulson

Commentary
Director of the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communications, Michael Bugeja, said in a lecture here today, "'Screen Culture,' I contend, is omnipresent and distracting; so much so, that it has displaced us from our communities, creating an 'interpersonal divide' ... This country was not founded on technology; it was founded on ideas ... All the electronics people use are not in and of themselves bad, but technology has a tendency to take over everything it touches ... The emphasis in the past few decades on technology and not on the actual education process is what worries Bugeja the most ... Since students have been able to instantly find answers to questions, they have lost critical-thinking skills necessary to be responsible and informed citizens," he said. This article provides many substantive insights into why and how our thinking is diverted by non-critical distractions.



Why the Conflicting Opinions Over Global Warming Data?

Topic:  What explains the difference in interpreting scientific data on climate change?

Synopsis:  Conflicting opinions on data relevant to the degree of humanity's contributions to global warming lead this journalist to call for an explanation from within the scientific community.

Read the Full Article

The Gauntlet — April 5, 2007
by

Commentary
"The purpose of education is to assist in creating a well-rounded person; someone who is a critical thinker. That is why I was skeptical when my geophysics 375 classmates and I were told that, based on the "true" scale for charting carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, there is really little or no correlation between CO2 levels and changes in the climate ... that taking measures to reduce pollutants would be virtually ineffectual, and thereby pointless ...I had come to believe that scientists now largely agree that humans contribute to climate change and that global warming is a serious problem, the causes of which we have some control over." The author's healthy dose of skepticism contemplates a key contradiction within the scientific community leading to a critical call for explanation.



Here Come School Musicals

Topic: High School Musicals to Teach Creative and Critical Thinking

Synopsis:  Musical productions are galvanizing Intellect, talent, creative and critical thinking in teachers as well as students who "want to be here, which is not always the case in high school classrooms."

Read the Full Article

The Arizona Republic — April 4, 2007
by Rachael Quattrini

Commentary
High Schools are turning to musical productions because the experience galvanizes creative and critical thinking, as well as a host of other applied skills and talents. These musicals are not typically funded by the schools and don't come cheap. The scripts and music from Roger and Hammerstein to produce Oklahoma, for example, cost $1,500 and "that's before sets, costumes, and other goods and services ...Techies, student directors and the band in the pit play critical roles in bringing a complete show to the public." Intellect, talent, and creative expression all find themselves through critical application and execution. As do critical communities and critical societies. So, practice,  practice, practice!



Senate OKs Marketplace for Kids Funds

Topic: Annual Marketplace for Kids Receives Funding from North Dakota Senate.

Synopsis:  Events which promote creative and critical thinking should be a priority for government. Here's a clip that demonstrates a bipartisan effort to do just that.

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InForumNews — April 4, 2007
by Teri Finneman

Commentary
The North Dakota Senate approved funding Tuesday to continue Marketplace for Kids, an annual entrepreneruial event that — since 1995 — has been offered to students across the state where students present projects that demonstrate inventive and critical thinking. The Senate had turned down an earlier proposal to fund the project in February. "Sen. Tony Grindberg, R-Fargo, a co-sponsor of the original bill, said the state funding is intended to replace the loss of federal funds that supported the program." The revised bill that includes funding for the Marketplace for Kids now goes to the House for a vote.



Forensics Class Teaches Kids How to Think Critically

Topic: High School Forensic Class Teaches Critical Thinking Across Disciplines.

Synopsis:  Forensics is a natural domain to teach critical thinking across disciplines. Here's what one high school is doing to drive the process.

Read the Full Article

NorthJersey.Com — April 4, 2007
by Joseph Ax

Commentary
The Forensic Class at Emerson High School is teaching critical thinking through forensic processes. The teacher, Elizabeth McClafferty administrates a journey of mystery, clues and discovery in her class room that could compete with any of the prime time thrillers making forensics a popular subject in today's culture. And that's just enough to engage student participation in Critical thinking across a number of disciplines.



Inventions From Lebenon Qualify for Intel Science Fair

Topic: Young Student Scientists in Lebanon Embrace Critical Thinking. New Inventions Net Their Participation in Intel's Science Fair.

Synopsis:  Science projects and inventions from Lebanon qualify for participation in Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

Read the Full Article

AMEInfo (The Ultimate Middle East Business Source) — April 4, 2007

Commentary
"The capital of south Lebanon, Sidon, has earned the country's participation in Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) to be held in New Mexico, United States, in May 2007."  Iman Secondary School and National Evangelical Arts School were awarded participation based on inventions they developed. "Intel believes that knowledge is the source of comparative advantage in today's global economy. 'Technology enables the rapid evolution of ideas and industries, and those who benefit most are those who can innovate and adapt most quickly. For these reasons, success at the individual, and ultimately the national level, is linked to the quality of education. Through ISEF, students must develop key 21st century skills such as digital literacy, problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration. They must also excel in mathematics, science, and engineering - the building blocks of technical innovation,' added Habash. "
 



Why Are So Many Americans Afraid of the Truth?

Topic: Why Are So Many American Educators Afraid of the Truth.

Synopsis: Issues such as homosexuality and faith are facts that impact our potential of becoming a critical society. The National Education Association's stance in these matters should be to foster open discourse in the context of critical thinking, rather than to acquiesce in politically correct affectations of silence.

Read the Full Article

TownHall.Com -- April, 4 2007
by Michael Johnson

Commentary
Thinking is characterized as "the enemy" in this analysis of a scheduled "Day of Silence," portrayed as an event designed to help teachers and administrators "to show solidarity with culturally oppressed kids who get bullied 'just for being who they are.'" It projects that the limits of this sympathy, empathy, and unanimity will "quickly become apparent on the day after the 'Day of Silence,' when Christian students throughout the country request a 'Day of Truth,' in which to counter the unspoken assertions of the riot of quiet with some thoughtful discussion of differing views – religious, scientific, social, personal – on homosexual behavior ... You can almost hear some principal yelling," Johnson muses, "'This is a school, people – the last thing we want to do is think!



Ohio State GRE Test Dates Delayed Again

Topic: Changes in admissions and testing requirements.

Synopsis:  Changes in the new GRE involving the move away from memorization-based questions and emphasis on critical thinking has been delayed.

Read the Full Article

The Lantern (The Student Voice of Ohio State University) - April 4, 2007

Commentary
The more things change, they more they seem to stay the same. The Educational Testing Service, the publisher/designer of the rGRE, announced yesterday that it was delaying the updated GRE test slated for introduction this fall, because "it felt it would not be able to provide enough testing centers for those wishing to take the exam." Just last Wednesday,
Brian Endicott, Manager of Enrollment Services at Ohio State University, had announced a new GRE would go into effect on September 10th. "This delay is one in a series of delays to the updated test that is supposed to replace memorization-based questions with critical thinking and quantitative reasoning."



Quality Care Comes from Questioning, Nurse Says

Topic: Good Nurses Ask Questions

Synopsis: TCU is becoming a focal point for critical care applications based in critical thinking concepts and best practices, of which asking essential questions is an applied art.

Read the Full Article

The Daily Skiff (Texas Christian University) - April 4, 2007
by Kailey Delinger

Commentary
With the emphasis on "evidence-based practice," there's a need for nurses who have mastered the art of asking essential questions. In a presentation to nursing faculty and other Ft. Worth nurses, Alyce Schultz, associate director of the Center for the Advancement of Evidence-Based Practice, "enumerated instances in which asking questions about why things are done the way they are has improved the quality of care in hospitals." TCU's Center for Evidence-Based Practice and Research is initiating critical thinking as a foundation for training nursing students.



Overselling Literacy

Topic: The link between "literacy" and economic "development" needs to be expanded to include critical thinking.

Synopsis:  It is necessary to revisit what is meant by "literacy," long held by economists and educators as a panacea to economic development in under developed countries.

Read the Full Article

The International News — April 4, 2007
by Dr Shahid Siddiqui

Commentary
The Director of The Centre for Humanities & Social Sciences at the Lahore School of Economics called today for an expanded understanding in what is typically meant by "literacy," long-held as the panacea to economic development. "The idea that the gap between developed and developing countries is actually the gap of 'knowledge' has been hammered consistently in developing countries. The oversimplified solution given by the donor agencies is that just by increasing the literacy rate we can bridge the gap. But certain examples tend to challenge this claim. For instance the official literacy rate in Sri Lanka is 92.3 per cent. But can we call it a developed country? This leads us to raise some basic questions and look for some alternative thinking. For instance, does literacy lead to development or is it development that leads to literacy? Graf wonders that literacy might well be a consequence rather than the cause of economic and social advance. Are we then overselling literacy? Smith refers to the "extravagant claims that are made for literacy and with the inflated manner in which literacy research is frequently discussed".



Tales of a Stranded Tory - Day 8

 

Topic: American Television Debates Need Critical Thinking

Synopsis:  Americans are exposed to both sides of the debate, including the extremes, but frequently choose to tune to one channel and take its broadcast words for pure gold."

Read the Full Article

University College London Conservative Society — April 4, 2007
by Luca

Commentary
Commenting on American customs and issues in this newsletter and the obvious need for critical thinking in U.S. Television, this Brit seems to have it right: "It is disturbing though that a large proportion of Americans are exposed to both sides of the debate, including the extremes, but frequently choose to tune to one channel and take its broadcast words for pure gold. Where has the critical thinking gone? Free media should broadcast whatever they want within the limits of the law, but people should be empowered to come up with an opinion of their own ... Teaching people to see both sides of a debate and deciding for themselves is a matter of education and an urgent one, or we’ll come out divided into consolidated incompatible ideological sub-cultures."



Try to Save Intramural Sports

Topic: Try To Save Intramural Sports

Synopsis:  Gordon Jr. High School faces a possibility their intramural sports budget may be cut. The commuity is considering installing two cell towers to offset revenue.

Read the Full Article

Warwick Daily Times — April 3, 2007

Commentary
The evidence from research is overwhelming: It's clear one's physical conditioning sustains their intellectual health and therefore growth, and vice versa. It is also evident one's acceptance of responsibilites within and to others in society is centered in intramural activities in society. Sports needs to be more than a revenue producing activity at varsity levels, because that would exclude the majority of students from activities that undercut their physical and, therefore, intellectual growth. "Gorton Jr. High School Physical Education Director is quite passionate about keeping intramural sports at the junior high level in Warwick - as evidenced by his letter on this page, and the conversation the Daily Times had with him on the matter. He should be; athletics programs teach camaraderie, trust and critical thinking, and the earlier we can start educating our children in those regards, the better." Well put!



What Our Society Sorely Lacks – Critical Thinking Skills

Topic: CAHSEE Test

Synopsis: Although Gilroy Mother is Happy More California Seniors Are Passing the High School Exit Exam, She is Concerned Critical Thinking and its Assessment are Being Ignored.

Read the Full Article

Gilroy Dispatch - April 3, 2007
by Lisa Pampuch

Commentary
Concerned parents with exposure to critical thinking -- better yet, who have no formal academic exposure to it but recognize their children are not sorting out and integrating information to make better, more accurate and informed decisions in school and in their daily lives -- have a responsibility to speak out. The earlier, the better, because learning how to learn well is best acquired early in life. The social implications of not speaking out, as this heart felt articles suggests, affects us all. When something's missing in education, teachers, school administrators, local government, et al need to hear about it.



Is Feminism Finished?

Topic: Is Feminism Finished?

Synopsis:  Is Feminism Still Viable? Should Virginia Taxpayers Fund Gender Based Idealogies or Gender Studies?

Read the Full Article

TownHall.Com — April 2, 2007
by Jennifer Roback Morse

Commentary
In this article feminism is critiqued as having evolved into an ideologically oriented program with an illegitimate psychological emphisis. The author calls for an emphasis on critical thinking in place of the ideology.



For Chinese Schools, a Creative Spark

Topic: Educational Reform in China

Synopsis: An ancedotal article on the current reformation of the Chinese Educational system from the perspective of a Harvard freshman from mainland China.

Read the Full Article

International Herald Tribune -- April 1, 2007
by Ann Hulbert


Commentary
While the irony hardly escapes anyone pushing for critical thinking across social institutions and across the curriculum in the United States, the Chinese are embracing it in plans to modernize their own social institutions. "Even as American educators seek to emulate Asian pedagogy — a test-centered ethos and a rigorous focus on math, science and engineering — Chinese educators are trying to blend a Western emphasis on critical thinking, versatility and leadership into their own traditions. To put it another way, in the peremptorily utopian style typical of official Chinese directives (as well as of educationese the world over), the nation's schools must strive "to build citizens' character in an all-round way, gear their efforts to each and every student, give full scope to students' ideological, moral, cultural and scientific potentials and raise their labor skills and physical and psychological aptitudes, achieve vibrant student development and run themselves with distinction."



Considering the challenges of the 21st century

EKUpdate (A Newsletter for Eastern Kentucky University Faculty & Staff) — April 1, 2007
by Jaleh Rezaie (professor/chair of Computer Science, soon to be Associate Dean of Graduate Education and Research)

In order for EKU to succeed in developing informed, critical and creative thinkers who communicate effectively, we must create an educational environment that will foster the higher-order thinking skills necessary for our students to be the innovative and effective thinkers which today’s society demands. This environment can be created through innovative activities, curricula, and instructional methods. Many faculty already use innovative methods in their teaching to develop students’ thinking skills. Now, the programs and the infrastructure outlined in the QEP provide perfect examples of such creative and innovative methods to create such an environment ... One example is the CACTUS project (Citizens’ Assembly for Critical Thinking about the United States): An Exercise in Deliberative Democracy
...
Read the full Article