Monthly Archives: June 2012

The Critical Thinking Left

We tend to think of the methods and attitudes of critical thinking as politically neutral. We suppose that critical thinking doesn’t discriminate; any appeal to tradition or authority is subject to critical challenge, regardless of what tradition or whose authority is in question. Nevertheless, there is a faction within the critical thinking “movement” that does have some affinity with left-wing politics. I call this faction the “critical thinking left,” to distinguish its theoretical slant from its political commitments.* Its prevalence among educational reformers helps explain the Texas GOP’s doubts about the teaching of critical thinking.

Identifying Assumptions; Imagining Alternatives

Critical thinkers universally acknowledge the importance of identifying and challenging assumptions, and of imagining and exploring alternatives. Clearly, assumption-hunting has an important role to play, and I include it as one of the… Continue reading

Do Conservatives Oppose Critical Thinking?

A juicy tidbit has been going around the Internet over the past few days that seems to confirm some of our worst fears about an anti-intellectual streak within the GOP. On the surface, it seems like the GOP in Texas, at least, has come out against critical thinking. Despite some apparent backpedaling, I think they might be onto something.

GOP Platform Fail?

H/T to Zen Faulkes who, in a recent post at NeuroDojo, drew attention to a plank in the platform of the Republican Party of Texas (RPT). To quote from the platform document directly:

We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have… Continue reading