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Critical Thinking, A constructive proposal :) - From the "everyone talks about the weather" dept.  RSS feed

Bert Bates
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Premise: If an adult population's aggregate critical thinking skills improve (even slightly), society improves.

Assumptions / building blocks:

1 - Learn from Montessori. (If you're not already convinced, read about the "Montessori Mafia", i.e. the degree to which movers and shakers in Silicon valley got a Montessori education.)

2 - Isolate important "80/20" skills. (See Roger Schank's "Teaching Minds", for more info.) For example, let's say that the ability to "spot false dichotomies" makes a person a slightly better critical thinker. Create mechanisms to help adults develop small, isolated skills - like spotting false dichotomies.

3 - Leverage intrinsic motivation, not extrinsic. In short, bribery is not sustainable. Badges and points are nonsense, "gamification" is nonsense. Notice that newspapers have crossword puzzles and sudokus, and no bribery is involved - these activities are intrinsically fun.

4a - Focus on the fence-sitters. Target those people for whom embracing critical thinking is a small step, not a huge leap.

4b - Use Aikido, not boxing. Most people don't learn when confronted, sneak memes in through the side door.

Examples (maybe?)

- Click and Clack's weekly logic puzzlers
- A novelist or playwright who's heroine uses critical thinking
- Adding Five-minute mysteries to the daily newspaper

Okay, rip it to shreds...
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
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