| Register now for the 30th International Conference on Critical Thinking and Education Reform. |
The conference will consist in approximately 40 conference sessions offered over four days. Note that this year a number of advanced sessions (including two preconference sessions) are offered for returning registrants and those who have participated in our professional development programs onsight.
July 19-22, 2010; Preconference July 17-18. Claremont Hotel and Resort, Berkeley, CA
Conference Sessions include
| Teachers and Faculty: |
Register now for our online course: CT700 Critical Thinking for Instructors
Fall 2010 Semester
This course is offered in affiliation with Sonoma State University. It introduces critical thinking theory and focuses on the application of critical thinking to classroom instruction. The course fosters understanding of how to teach critical thinking skills to students through any subject, discipline, or grade level (while working within given curricula). In this course, you will be introduced to, or deepen your understanding of, the analysis of thought, the assessment of thought, and the development of intellectual dispositions. You will design critical thinking structures, strategies and lessons, and you will engage in ongoing critical dialogue with colleagues.
For more information about class registration, cost and credit options, check the online learning section our websitefor further details.
| News from the Archives…by Linda Elder |
The program for the Fourth International Conference on Critical Thinking and Education Reform opened with the following quote by John Stuart Mill:
“In the case of any person whose judgment is really deserving of confidence, how has it become so? Because he has kept his mind open to criticism of his opinions and conduct. Because it has been his practice to listen to all that could be said against him: to profit his practice to listen to all that could be said against him: to profit by as much of it as was just, and expound to himself, and upon occasion to others, the fallacy of what was fallacious. Because he has felt, that the only way in which a human being can make some approach to knowing the whole of a subject, is by hearing all manner of diverse opinion, and studying all modes in which it can be looked at by every character of mind. No wise man ever acquired his wisdom in any mode but this; nor is it in the nature of human intellect to become wise in any other manner.”
In this statement, Mill captures the underlying philosophy of the Center for Critical Thinking, in 1986 and still today. In an introductory piece on the history of the conference (in the same program) Richard Paul writes:
“It is important to recognize that we are still very much in the beginning stages of educational reform based on critical thinking instruction. There is every reason to think that the need for an annual conference in critical thinking will continue indefinitely. The deeply entrenched compartmentalization of knowledge, the increasing sophistication of propaganda and mass manipulation techniques, the continuing dominance of rote memorization and recall of facts as modes of learning, the growth of television and the electronic media, the increasing conflict of opposing ideologies in the global village, the acceleration of misunderstanding and stereotyping in international politics, the growing desire for simplistic explanations of life with opposing groups being identified as essentially “good” or ‘evil”, the growing threat of nuclear holocaust – all argue for the pressing need for fairminded critical thinking skills.”
With only very minor editing, Paul’s statement could have been written today. The same problems he was concerned with almost a quarter century ago still plague us today. The world has become more complicated, the international community has become increasingly intertwined, the dangers facing us as humans loom, arguably, ever larger than they did when Paul wrote this statement in 1986. And still schooling continues more or less unchanged. Some modification here and there, yes; but deep and substantive global changes, no.
An article highlighting Richard Paul’s comments at a Utah State University presentation in 1987 quoted Paul as saying “We don’t have a genuine democracy. We may have the form but we don’t have the substance. If our schools are to produce students who think, discuss, pursue truth and develop independence of thought, we have a lot of work to do on a deep-seated structural level in education.” The article goes on the say “According to Paul, American schools are not now, nor have they ever been, in tune with the democratic ideal…He said the place to find critical thinking is in the future. In order to develop critical thinking, Paul believes that the powerful tendency of ethnocentrism must be combated by education before ‘we can make our own decisions on what is truth and what is not…To the extent that children can handle it, they should be taught what is truth. The whole concept of education is dependent on the notion that there is such a thing as truth. A child needs to discover and appreciate other points of view besides their own.’ Paul said that in this world of technology, getting ahead and getting a job replace some of the most important broader issues of survival [which require critical thinking]. ‘What is the point of advancing technologically in the world and being able to complete successfully if we ultimately destroy ourselves.”
Hmmm. Makes sense to me.
Then and now and into the future...we hope.
“The disposition of mankind, whether as rulers or as fellow-citizens, to impose their own opinions and inclinations as a rule of conduct on others, is so energetically supported by some of the best and by some of the worst feelings incident to human nature, that it is hardly ever kept under restraint by anyone but want of power; and as the power is not declining, but growing, unless a strong barrier of moral conviction can be raised against the mischief, we must expect, in the present circumstances of the world, to see it increase.”
John Stuart Mill, from On Liberty