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Critical Thinking Is More than Common Sense Essay

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If one were to ask a group of high school seniors questions like, “Who was the first U.S. president?” or, “What equation is associated with the Pythagorean Theorem?” they would likely discover that the majority of the students would answer correctly. However, if one were to pose the questions, “Why did the Civil War occur?” or, “Why are international trade relations between other countries important to the U.S.?” they would receive fragmented responses at best; few students would be able to provide clear and concise answers. This simulated example clearly underscores some of the current flaws in the education system across the nation. Instructors teach students, and expect them to learn; they do not teach them how to learn. Many educators have taught students well how to compile trivia and miscellaneous facts, but few have truly embraced the method of critical thought in the classroom. Kansans praise the system for the improving test scores, yet they fail to see through the blanket of such pseudo-success, and they do not realize the true mediocrity of the Kansas educational curriculum. Secondary schools in Kansas should place a greater emphasis on critical thinking in the classroom.

As indicated by studies from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, students fall short when it comes to critical thought and reasoning (Jasparro, 86). Because of the current classroom practices of rote memorization, “students are generally deeply habituated to passivity and low-level performance,” reports Linda Elder, executive director for the Center for Critical Thinking, who promotes the integration of critical thought into current curriculum. “Most [students] have no conception of what discursive reasoning is. Most have spen...


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...mprovement Research Series. Nov. 1991. Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory <http://www.nwrel.org/scpd/sirs/6/cu11.html>.

“Critical Thinking Skills Key to Raising SAT Scores.” Business Wire. Lexis-Nexis Online. 30 August 1991. Keywords: Critical Thinking.

Elder, Linda. “The 18th International Conference on Critical Thinking and Educational Reform.” 18th International Conference on Critical Thinking. 4 Aug. 1998. The Center for Critical Thinking <http://www.criticalthinking.org/University/univcomm/conf/conftext.nclk>.

Jasparro, Ralph. “Applying Systems Thinking to Curriculum Evaluation.” NASSP Bulletin 82.598 (1998): 86.

Paul, Richard. “Content is Thinking; Thinking is Content.” Content is Thinking. 28 June 2001. The Center for Critical Thinking <http://www.criticalthinking.org/criticalthinking.org/University/univlibrary/content.ht ml>. ---.


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