The present level of instruction for thinking is very low indeed.
Question: But there are many areas of concern in instruction, not just one, not just critical thinking, but communication skills, problem solving, creative thinking, collaborative learning, self-esteem, and so forth.
In this interview for Think magazine (April ’’92), Richard Paul provides a quick overview of critical thinking and the issues surrounding it: defining it, common mistakes in assessing it, its relation to communication skills, self-esteem, collaborative learning, motivation, curiosity, job skills for the future, national standards, and assessment strategies.
Paul: First, since critical thinking can be defined in a number of different ways consistent with each other, we should not put a lot of weight on any one definition. With this qualification in mind, here is a bit of scaffolding: critical thinking is thinking about your thinking while you’re thinking in order to make your thinking better.
And then when you explain what you mean, I think you will find that the person is not able to articulate any such standards.
Thinking skills programs without intellectual standards are tailor-made for mis-instruction. Only with quality long-term staff development that helps the teachers, over an extended period of time, over years not months, to work on their own thinking and come to terms with what intellectual standards are, why they are essential, and how to teach for them.
The "making" and the "testing of that making" are intimately interconnected.
In critical thinking we make and shape ideas and experiences so that they may be used to structure and solve problems, frame decisions, and, as the case may be, effectively communicate with others.
The result was, by the way, that a flagrantly mis-graded student essay was showcased nationally (in ASCD's Paul: I don't think so.
Let me suggest a way in which you could begin to test my contention.