Thinking pragmatically about your coursework and the problem of what tutors want?? - Start from the specific and broaden out to the general & then back to particulars
What do these phrases mean precisely? Do they mean the same thing to different tutors? Do they mean the same thing in different subject areas & disciplines?
Being critical or becoming a critical being is the key to success in HE Key difference in transition from 1 st to 2 nd & 2 nd to 3rd, level of criticality expected Worth remembering that it is something that doesn’t figure in primary, secondary and even in most FE.
Importance of cultural difference and your particular educational background. CT is very peculiar to UK HE, aspects of your educational background may not be valued (e.g. memorising = rote learning, respecting & agreeing with a tutor as ‘expert’ Examples of photography, sciences and humanities There is a sense of reflexivity in it as critical thinking would usually involve critical examination of the personal process of critical thinking that has led to any judgment.
J. Moon’s definition, ie making a judgment based on appropriate and well considered evidence that takes account of the context in which the judgment is made. I found it helpful to focus not on the outcome of critical thinking, but on the effective provision of evidence
In this case, responsible in its deepest sense, ie, not the person who did the action but who is to blame, or has a duty of care, etc.
Analysing information and being ‘critical’ ‘In general students lose more marks for lack of critical analysis than any other single weakness in their work’ (Cottrell 2003:232). What does a tutor say or write to show there is not enough critical analysis ?
Typical tutor comments... ‘More analysis needed’ ‘Less description more critique’ ‘Too descriptive’ ‘Descriptive rather than analytical’ ‘You have told me what theory is rather than how you evaluate it.’ ‘Lacks analysis.’
Look at your assessmentcriteria To get a first (70%): Evidence of a logical, clear coherent development of the topic. Demonstrates an authoritative grasp of concepts and theories in the development of the topic. A comprehensive use and integration of relevant literature. Evidence of insight/originality…
So what is critical thinking…? There is not one definition. It depends on the discipline & the task. Working with complex ideas, taking a deep & not surface approach to processing ideas. Involves thinking about what we know already, to learn more - like reflection. Specifically, we think/focus on something & expect an outcome (usually) a judgment or conclusion.
A provisional definition … ‘Critical thinking is a capacity to work with complex ideas whereby a person can make effective provision of evidence to justify a reasonable judgement. The evidence, & therefore the judgment, will pay appropriate attention to the context of the judgment.’ J. Moon (forthcoming)
Being critical may involve... AGREEING WITH, ACCEDING TO, DEFENDING OR CONFIRMING a particular view. PROPOSING a new point of view. CONCEDING that an existing point of view has certain merits but that it needs to be QUALIFIED in certain important respects. REFORMULATING an existing point of view or statement of it such that the new version makes a better explanation. DISMISSING a point of view on account of its inadequacy, irrelevance or incoherence etc.
Being critical may involve... REJECTING, REBUTTING or REFUTING another’s argument on various reasoned grounds. RECONCILING two positions which may seem at variance by appealing to some ‘higher’ or ‘deeper’ principle. RETRACTING or RECANTING a previous position of one’s own in the face of new argument or evidence. (Taylor 1989:67)
The Bridge Read the text and decide who you think is the most responsible for the woman’s death (rank them in order). In your group see if you can reach agreement. You must justify, give evidence and logical reasons for your position.