Thinking Alike

(on the right things.) “They (her fellow students) spend their school lives being given all the answers and not being challenged to seek out different ones. They don’t know how to consider other possibilities, and that should be one of the main things we “learn” in education.” said The Head Girl at The Common Room.

I have said often recently that the structure of my research assignment for freshman English is purposeful. My students pick a controversial topic. They research both sides. And they write the paper for the side they disagree with first. They write a paper which they think is hogwash.

I’ve told them it is for several reasons. One of them is to make them think. Some others?
Not assume because something is written that it is true.
To know that statistics can be manipulated.
To know that just because someone important said it, it doesn’t mean it is true.
To know that just because it was published by a major source, doesn’t make it true.
To see the flaws in the other guy’s argument and hopefully avoid them in their own.

It usually works out that the papers are pretty good. Even when they don’t agree with the arguments they are making.

This is one thing I have taught to my own children well. (See the post on curriculum for a major reason we abandoned A Beka history.)