Critical Thinking Classes In College

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When teachers ask you to closely analyze a poem or section from a story in English class, the assignment usually asks you to read slowly and to look for metaphors, hear the sounds of the words and figure out as many possible meanings for the text as you can.

Close reading teaches you to read between the lines, which is important for everyday tasks such as reading instructions, reading contracts, deciding which hotel to stay in or choosing a mortgage. Learning to express yourself concisely, accurately and convincingly is not simply a box to check on an assessment test or a grading rubric; if you hope to write emails that earn respect, to enter any career in which communication is essential or simply to speak with authority, learning to write well is important.

As the name implies, GTS are those skills that supposedly transfer from one discipline to another.

A key question in the debate, therefore, is whether thinking skills can exist independently from discipline-specific content in a meaningful way such that transfer is possible.

The researchers found that college students make little gain in critical-thinking skills, as measured by students’ scores on the Collegiate Learning Assessment.

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This study has been criticized for relying too much on the CLA, but that overlooks a much more fundamental issue underscored by a growing body of research: we don’t know what critical thinking actually is, and we can’t be sure that it even exists. Yet, if we realize that “critical thinking” implies a set of general thinking skills that transfer from one subject or domain to another, then the task of identifying exactly what those skills are becomes extremely difficult, and perhaps impossible, to accomplish.

Students learn about their own and other cultures not only through reading culturally relevant literature in English class, but also through discussion and writing exercises that draw on students’ biases, feelings and previous knowledge about human cultures to help students rethink their assumptions.

English class is important for helping you appreciate diversity, develop sensitivity and, perhaps most importantly, contribute to the future of culture through your writing and critical thinking.

Yet we have not found evidence that colleges or universities teach critical-thinking skills with any success.

The study that has become most emblematic of higher education's failure to teach critical-thinking skills to college students is Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa’s (2011).

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