Tracy and John were casually chatting shortly after their annual meeting about the high school curriculum had drawn to a close. Both were intrigued by some of the proposed changes they had discussed with their fellow school administrators. They were especially interested in a notion that was sweeping the university scene – critical thinking. While both agreed that orienting the class structure to include a greater focus on thinking skills would enhance education as a whole, John questioned the reality of the situation. Could a critical thinking curriculum be a viable option for their small Kansas school district?
Tracy: Regardless of the school district’s size, the students will undoubtedly benefit from having to think critically about almost everything they do. Currently the classrooms rely almost entirely on textbooks to provide all of the necessary answers that are written into the test. This blatant reliance on rote memorization, in my opinion, has crippled our curriculum and testing system and has deprived students of the intellectual growth they need to succeed in life after high school. Should we not educate students of the skills they will surely require in their college courses? If these students choose not to obtain a post-secondary education but instead decide to enter the independent world of work and family, do they not need these skills in thought and reason? I have yet to discover a manual containing answers to all of life’s questions in the back of the text. The National Assessment of Educational Progress “shows consistently that high school students fall short” in the areas of critical thinking and problem solving (Jasparro 86). We as educators should work to help t...
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...ded counterpoints to Tracy’s arguments by stating that Kansas already has elements of critical thinking woven into high school education, such a reform could prove costly to the district and the state, and that the amount of information taught in schools could suffer as a direct result of Tracy’s idea. This may be a future issue not only discussed by educators in Kansas, but also on a national scale.
“Critical Thinking Skills Key to Raising SAT Scores.” Business Wire. Lexis-Nexis Online. 30 August 1991. Keywords: Critical Thinking.
Eichhorn, Roy. “Developing Thinking Skills: Critical Thinking at the Army Management Staff College.” Critical Thinking. 13 June 2001. Army Management Staff College <http://www.amc.belvoir.army.mil/roy.html>.
Jasparro, Ralph. “Applying Systems Thinking to Curriculum Evaluation.” NASSP Bulletin 82.598 (1998): 86.
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