Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Most Powerful Argument Ever for Teaching Critical Thinking?

I'm dumbfounded at the number of cheating scandals and incidents that are being chronicled daily by news agencies worldwide. I've long had an interest in academic integrity but I've begun studying this issue lately with increased vigor. Currently, I'm reading Creating the Ethical Academy by Tricia Bertram Gallant. I'm still reading through it so I'll report on the book in its entirety later, but I do want to share something powerful from the book.

I've heard and read many arguments for why we should teach critical thinking in schools, but this may be the most powerful argument I've come across in all my study and reading. I shared this with my faculty today and I want to share it with you, too.

Tricia Bertram Gallant says, "According to Rest’s theory (Bebeau, Rest & Narvaez 1999), ethical decision making is contingent on meeting four distinct challenges: (1) interpreting the situation as involving an ethical dilemma that has multiple possibilities of action which impact others differently (ethical sensitivity); (2) determining which action is the most ethically justifiable (ethical judgment); (3) giving greater value or weight to the most ethically justifiable action over self-interest (ethical motivation); and (4) having the courage, conviction, and determination to choose the right course of action despite hardships, challenges, and frustrations (ethical character). It is worth noting that each of these components is significantly dependent on the more general skill of 'critical thinking.' The ability to identify a problem, to generate possible solutions, and to successfully implement a workable solution are all steps that will be carried out well only when critical thinking skills are sufficiently robust."

If you're in a position to be a change agent on your campus in the area of academic integrity, I recommend Creating the Ethical Academy. I also recommend that you check out Tricia's blog.

More to follow...

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