Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Reading about Critical Thinking (Noddings Chap 5)

I would like to express my appreciation to how Noddings has treated the subject of critical thinking in chapter 5. The idea that formal logic can be used to learn critical thinking is a limited one was sort of obvious to me but provided a good start for discussion. The discussion started to become interesting when Paul and McPeck came into discussion. Paul asks for dialogue for one to be able to know oneself but it then has the potential to reduce objectivity and accuracy. Paul calls for critical thinking to be open and available for all. McPeck on the other hand feels that critical thinking can only be taught in a domain specific way but then it would make education elitist.

By the time I reached to the point of reading the "alternate approach" I started wondering what we are talking here. If we combine all the ideas then critical thinking does not stand a chance to be taught. Then I read on page 102 "critical thinking is itself now at risk". This is what I liked that the reading directed me to an idea. Once I made my idea, the author then concurred with it.

What to do now. I thought that there must be some way to make it workable. Critical thinking alone seems to be hanging in the space. Is there something that can help it out? And then Noddings helps us to find that anchor. Morality provides an anchor. The reasoning and argument we do is for the purpose of making the world better.

Pedagogical neutrality is another interesting concept. It requires that the teacher provides all the perspectives to an idea but does not take side with any one perspective. I then thought that can it be done. Can this be left to the students which side to take? The last para on page 104 sums it all well. As she then puts it, Pedagogical neutrality is not the same as moral or intellectual neutrality. As a teacher I must let students have access to all perspectives irrespective of if I agree with any of them or not. But then I may have my own moral intellectual stand which I can share with my student.

I feel that the chapter provides a good example of pedagogical neutrality.


Bethany Fralick said...

In chapter 5 page 96 second paragraph: "Siegel does not reject Pauls "strong" sense of critical thinking; rather, he wants to plant it on firmer ground. Tying it to worldviews risks a descent into relativism"

What does this mean????

alicepawley said...

Noddings is referring to "strong" and "weak" in the context of the previous page - that "strong" critical thinking critiques one's own position, not only that of others. So Noddings is saying that although one can have a critique of "strong" critical thinking without supporting as an alternative a perspective where everyone's worldview legitimates whatever they're thinking about. In other words, he's saying that one's worldview does not absolve oneself from thinking critically in the strong sense, that claiming one's worldview as providing a pluralistic foundation for argument does not remove the necessity of strong critical thinking. I think I may not be helping much here - we can talk tomorrow, or perhaps someone else can help Bethany out here?