Blog Post: Warning! Pseudo Critical Thinking is Coming

Richard Paul Archives
Dec 06, 2021 • 359d ago
Warning! Pseudo Critical Thinking is Coming

{"ops":[{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":"The following was an article appearing in the program for the 13"},{"attributes":{"color":"black","script":"super"},"insert":"th"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":" Annual International Conference on Critical Thinking. The example on which it focuses is still highly relevant today – one of educational approaches and assessment tools designed with little or no regard for intellectual standards."},{"insert":"\n \n \n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":"Pseudo critical thinking is a form of intellectual arrogance masked in self-delusion or deception, in which thinking which is deeply flawed is not only presented as a model of excellence of thought, but is also, at the same time, sophisticated enough to take many people in. No one takes a rock to be a counterfeit diamond. It is simply other than diamond. But a zircon mimics a diamond and is easily taken for one and hence can be said to be a pseudo diamond."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":"Because critical thinking is becoming more and more important, there is more and more pseudo critical thinking being sold. Below you can read an example of the kind of battle you may be called upon to fight in your own state or country. Richard Paul made the following statement at a press conference in the [California] governor's press room on July 14, 1993. The political battle is now under way."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":" \n\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":"Good morning, and thank you very much for coming. I'm Richard Paul, director of the Center for Critical Thinking at Sonoma State University and the chair of the National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking, an organization founded by 700 concerned national educational leaders. The Council has established 12 Centers around the country concerned to ensure that fundamental intellectual standards are entrenched in education and to sound the alarm on ill-conceived approaches to education and thinking. We are today releasing a study, entitled \"Pseudo Critical Thinking in the Educational Establishment.\" It demonstrates that the new California reading and writing assessment is so flagrantly ill-conceived and designed, and so poorly implemented, that it constitutes no less than educational malpractice. We intend this term in its literal meaning of \"professional practice leading to injury” – in this case, injury to the students who will mislearn reading and writing under its sway and influence."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":"We are therefore calling on the governor, on the new superintendent of public instruction, on the State Board of Education, and on all interested citizens and civic leaders to act directly and unequivocally to ensure that this goliath of educational incompetence not be used as a guide for teaching and instruction, and that appropriate and significant reading and writing skills be identified, sound intellectual standards adopted, and a well-grounded assessment instrument developed, one which will truly serve the interests of all of our children."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":"Let me explain why we think this an issue of public importance. The ability to think critically and to reason in a disciplined manner is now well-recognized to be an essential ability for students to develop. It often decides issues of survival in a world of accelerating change and intensifying complexity."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":"The National Education Goals Panel (consisting of 8 governors, two administration members, and four members of Congress), in its 1992 Goals Report, has declared critical thinking and sound reasoning to be national goals. Joined with this bi-partisan effort, the U.S. Departments of Labor and of Commerce have been working with the Department of Education to facilitate the development of national standards and assessment of critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":"A growing number of business leaders, such as John Scully, President of Apple Corporation, have emphasized the importance of critical thinking. Scully, in fact, identifies the schools' ignoring of critical thinking to be the fundamental reason for their failure. He sees critical thinking as indispensable for the jobs of the future. Even the California Department of Education itself has given lip service to the importance of critical thinking in its curriculum frameworks and many of its other publications. "},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":"But here is the crucial link for our purpose today. The manner in which students learn to read and write is an indispensable cornerstone in their development of tools essential for their economic survival. Indeed, critical thinking and disciplined reasoning play a pivotal role in competent reading and writing. Many basic and essential reading and writing skills are none other than the skills of a critical reader and writer. These include such basic abilities as:"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":"IN READING"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":"the ability to identify the main purpose of an author"},{"attributes":{"indent":1,"list":"bullet"},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":"the ability to identify, analyze, and assess basic assumptions of an author"},{"attributes":{"indent":1,"list":"bullet"},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":"the ability to identify, analyze, and assess the conclusions of an "},{"insert":"author and what the author is basing her conclusions on"},{"attributes":{"indent":1,"list":"bullet"},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":"IN WRITING"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":"the ability to write for a specific purpose and to a specific audience"},{"attributes":{"indent":1,"list":"bullet"},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":"the ability to formulate significant questions, problems, and issues"},{"attributes":{"indent":1,"list":"bullet"},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":"the ability to gather relevant information and evidence"},{"attributes":{"indent":1,"list":"bullet"},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":"the ability to give good reasons and engage in sound reasoning in supporting what one is saying"},{"attributes":{"indent":1,"list":"bullet"},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":"Finally, I should note – for it is here that The California assessment is most deficient – that the hallmark of disciplined thinking is given in its regular use of traditional intellectual standards, such as clarity, precision, relevance, and consistency, which sound thinkers learn to apply routinely to their own thinking in cycles of self-correction."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":"Unfortunately, however, the California Department of Education's new reading and writing tests roundly ignore critical reading and writing. Instead they have developed, at great public expense, over a number of years, involving thousands of work hours of hundreds of people, an assessment that is hopelessly subjective and ill-conceived. It is an assessment instrument so riddled with fundamental flaws that it can only be called a colossal example of educational malpractice. It systematically encourages the use of vague categories and deficient practices. It guarantees that teachers, students, and the general public will be misled. It systematically rewards the wrong set of values: those which are subjective, idiosyncratic, and irrational. "},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":"The result is, ironically, that were the writings of Adolph Hitler to be assessed by their adopted standards, he would literally receive the highest possible score, that of exemplary writing, under the CAP system!"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":"Furthermore, it is clear that the test has been devised precisely to raise test scores, particularly those of racial and ethnic minorities. The high test scores guaranteed by the ill-conceived California Language Arts Assessment will doubtless produce political gain for both the Department of Education and for the local educators who can then celebrate over their \"success.\" But the children and the economy will pay the price for that success."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":"Employers are not looking for workers who, when required to read, figure out, and apply basic material in a technical manual, will create a \"creative and subjective interpretation\" of what is there. Instead they want workers who can identify clearly and precisely what the manual actually says. They want workers who can write clear and precise sentences, who can contribute by their disciplined reading, writing, speaking, and listening to effective problem identification, analysis, and solution."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":"These fundamental needs of business and industry, these fundamental abilities of the truly educated and disciplined reader and writer, are systematically ignored in the new California reading and writing assessment. The assessment tool as it now stands is not just an educational Edsel, it is an educational Titanic. It guarantees that our children will remain hopelessly undisciplined and unskilled, unable to read and write with clarity, precision, and accuracy, unable to use reading, writing, speaking, and listening as basic tools of everyday problem solving and communication. Well-reasoned reading and writing is essential to our children's lives as citizens, as family members, and as workers."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":"Furthermore, without the basic skills of critical reading and writing in place, our children will have no hope of developing the ability to reason scientifically, to reason mathematically, to reason historically, to reason geographically, to reason, in short, as a well-educated person must to be successful in a world increasingly dependent on complex problem solving and high quality thinking. We can ill afford to exchange our children's future and our economic well-being for the short-term political gains which the new California test is designed, wittingly or unwittingly, to achieve."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"black"},"insert":"We are therefore calling, as I have said, on the governor, on the superintendent of public instruction, on the State Board of Education, and on all interested citizens and civic leaders to act directly and unequivocally to ensure that this goliath of educational malpractice not be used as a guide for teaching and instruction. Instead, appropriate and significant critical reading and writing skills should be identified, sound intellectual standards articulated and adopted, and a well-grounded assessment instrument developed, one which will well serve the interests of all our children by preparing them to compete effectively in a rapidly changing world."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"}]}


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