Monthly Archives: May 2012

Are Critical Thinking Skills Transferable?

In my post of 5/5/2012, I referred to a discussion of a 2010 AMA Critical Skills Survey in which executives were asked several questions about employee’s competencies at “21st Century skills.” The survey was sponsored in part by P21, an educational reform organization leading an effort to integrate “the Four Cs” into the K-12 system via curriculum reform. The P21 movement has vocal critics over at Common Core, among them E. D. Hirsch, Jr., author of The Schools We Need and Why We Don’t Have Them. Their objections are based on a skeptical view of the transferability of critical thinking skills across subject domains (which they ascribe to P21). I think they overstate the case.

The crux of the argument is articulated by Hirsch as follows:… Continue reading

Leading Firms May Need to Outsource Critical Thinking Training

If current trends such as economic globalization, financial deleveraging, and regulatory tightening continue, corporations will face an increasing need for effective thinkers to sustain their growth. But the educational system is not preparing new workers for the realities of the 21st century. Leading firms will have to make up the “soft” skills deficit — in many cases outsourcing training for critical thinking and related skills.

In “The Real Education Gap,” Chief Learning Officer (January 2012), author Sandi Edwards remarks on the 2010 American Management Association (AMA) Critical Skills Survey, in which it is reported that critical thinking is one of four related “soft” skills are that not being adequately taught in school. In terms of critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity (“The Four Cs”), “new American workers come up short,… Continue reading