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Colleges Need More Critical Thinking

October 8, 2011

A recent study by Richard Arum found that many college students aren’t learning to think or write critically. “Many of the students graduated without knowing how to sift fact from opinion… Students majoring in business, education, social work and communications showed the least gains in learning.” It should be noted that business is the most common major in college.

“Students who majored in the traditional liberal arts — including the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences and mathematics — showed significantly greater gains over time than other students in critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing skills.” At the same time the humanities has been losing a great deal of funding.

I’m not convinced that many college teachers who teach critical thinking do it as well as I would like, but whatever they’re teaching seems to be better than nothing. (I think the best critical thinking is philosophical thinking or “good reasoning.”)

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