PFP#8: Critical Thinking vs Synthesizing Thinking

 

As the social science instructors, we have been discussing on the value of critical thinking. In my classroom, I am using the resources from the website http://www.criticalthinking.org in order to describe what critical thinking is and how it helps and how it can be improved.

There are various methods to improve critical thinking, and to my experience of teaching for more than 2 years, providing an anti-thesis for a given thesis is not the most difficult part of the “effective thinking skills” . What I would like my students to work more on is the synthesizing thinking skills, which I define as combining the theses and anti-theses, and coming up with a synthesized understanding, which is open to the anti-theses and thus, to further development.

Although synthesis is considered as a part of the critical thinking skills, I am not sure they refer to the same constructs. In a lot of the cases, while asking for critical thinking capacities, we are asking the students to come up well-grounded counter-arguments, and we value counter-arguments, and the conversation usually end up there. I believe, it is better to encourage syntesis approach in education. Asking the students to come up with new questions, new definitions, and new understandings of the phenomenons..

 

 

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