Friday, February 13, 2009

Critical Thinking: It's Critical

Today I met with a math teacher to discuss my observation of his class. I was impressed to see the level of critical thinking that infused his lesson during my observation, and I told him so. We then had a discussion about his concern that students aren't really able to synthesize what they've learned across a content area or across disciplines. I agreed that I had come to the same conclusion. This led me to ask the questions: What in our thinking helps us make leaps from content that we're learning now to content that we learned earlier, and how do we make connections to the bigger picture, the picture that includes disciplines other than the one we are studying? Are there critical thinking skills that can be used in any class, any time to help us make these connections? If so, what are they, and how do we teach them?