Blog Post: [Part 5, Final] Dialogical and Dialectical Thinking

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Sep 26, 2022 • 63d ago
[Part 5, Final] Dialogical and Dialectical Thinking

{"ops":[{"insert":"[Missed Part 4? "},{"attributes":{"bold":true,"color":"blue","link":"https://community.criticalthinking.org/blogPost.php?param=170"},"insert":"Read It Here"},{"insert":"]\n\n \n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"bold":true},"insert":"Using Cooperative Learning to Foster Dialogical and Dialectical Thinking"},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"bold":true},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\nCooperative Learning fosters dialogical and dialectical thinking since individual students will inevitably have different points of view and will need to argue out those differences. The key is students learning to assess their own thinking so that they can make logical choices among the various proposals and suggestions they meet in cooperative learning. For example, we want students in cooperative groups to Socratically question each other in a supportive way. We want them to develop confidence in their capacity to reason together to find insightful answers to important questions. To do this they must probe each other’s thinking for its support and implications. Along the way they must develop a sensitivity to what they and others are assuming. Most importantly if cooperative learning is not to be cooperative mislearning, it is essential that students learn how to bring intellectual standards into their work, how to hold themselves and their classmates to standards of good reasoning and analysis.\n \n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"bold":true},"insert":"Assessing Dialogical and Dialectical Thinking"},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"bold":true},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\nSince dialogical and dialectical activities focus on the process rather than the product of thinking, it is essential that both students and teachers learn how to assess thought processes. To do this it is essential that definite standards for thinking be established. Unfortunately, few teachers have had an education that emphasized the universal standards for thought. This deficiency is linked with the fact that the logic of thinking is not presently emphasized in schooling. Teachers must learn – while already in the classroom – how to distinguish and explain the difference between clear and unclear, precise and imprecise, specific and vague, relevant and irrelevant, consistent and inconsistent, logical and illogical, deep and superficial, complete and incomplete, significant and trivial, openminded and biased, adequate and inadequate ... reasoning and expression. Students, in turn, need to recognize their responsibility to express themselves in reasoning that is as clear, precise, specific, accurate, relevant, consistent, logical, deep, complete, and openminded as possible, irrespective of the subject matter. These are deep and substantial, even revolutionary, understandings. They provide an entirely new perspective on what knowledge and learning are all about. \n \n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"bold":true},"insert":"How to Use Dialogical and Dialectical Thinking to Master Content"},{"insert":"\n \nBecause students do not come to the classroom with blank slates for minds, because their thinking is already developing in a direction, because they have already formed ideas, assumptions, beliefs, and patterns of inference, because they can learn new ideas, assumptions, beliefs only through the scaffolding of their previously formed thinking, it is essential that dialogical and dialectical thinking form the core of their learning. There is no way around the need of minds to think their way to knowledge. Knowledge is discovered by thinking, analyzed by thinking, interpreted by thinking, organized by thinking, extended by thinking, and assessed by thinking. There is no way to take the thinking out of knowledge, neither is there a way to create a direct step-by-step path to knowledge that all minds can follow. In science classes students should learn how to think scientifically, in math classes how to think mathematically, in history classes how to think historically, and so forth. It is scientific thinking that produces scientific knowledge, mathematical thinking that produces mathematical knowledge, historical thinking that produces historical knowledge. Dialogical exchange and dialectical clash are integral to the acquisition of all these forms of knowledge. To this day we have refused to face this reality.\n \n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"bold":true},"insert":"Conclusion"},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"Dialogical thinking"},{"insert":" refers to thinking that involves a dialogue or extended exchange between different points of view, cognitive domains, or frames of reference. Whenever we consider concepts or issues deeply, we naturally explore their connections to other ideas and issues within different domains or points of view. Critical thinkers need to be able to engage in fruitful exploratory dialogue, proposing ideas, probing their roots, considering subject matter insights and evidence, testing ideas, and moving between various points of view. Socratic questioning is one form of dialogical thinking.\n \n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"Dialectical thinking"},{"insert":" refers to dialogical thinking conducted in order to test the strengths and weaknesses of opposing points of view. Court trials and debates are dialectical in form and intention. They pit idea against idea, reasoning against counter-reasoning in order to get at the truth of a matter. As soon as we begin to explore ideas, we find that some clash or are inconsistent with others. If we are to integrate our thinking, we need to assess which of the conflicting ideas we will accept and which [to] reject, or which parts of the views are strong and which weak, or, if neither, how the views can be reconciled. Students need to develop dialectical reasoning skills, so that their thinking moves comfortably between divergent points of view or lines of thought, assessing the relative strengths and weaknesses of the evidence or reasoning presented. Dialectical thinking can be practiced whenever two conflicting points of view, arguments, or conclusions are under discussion.\n \nBecause at present both teachers and students are largely unpracticed in either dialogical or dialectical thinking, it is important to move instruction in this direction slowly and carefully as part of a reflectively designed, long-term staff development plan, one with a sufficiently rich theoretical base and pedagogical translation to allow for individual teachers to proceed at their own rates. I recommend an approach that focuses on lesson remodelling and redesign, and have written four books to aid teachers in this redesign of instruction. Nevertheless, most teachers need to work with other teachers to carry through needed reforms. They need to work together with much encouragement and many incentives. Very few districts have taken up the challenge. Most have created the mere appearance of change. In most, didacticism remains – unchallenged in its arrogance, in its self-deception, and in its fruitlessness.\n"}]}


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