Connections between reading and critical thinking

I came across a page today — Critical Thinking Development:  A Stage Theory by Elder and Paul.  They talk about the stages we go through in critical thinking, as we develop, and to me it suggests interesting connections to the stages of reading.  Two things:  First, I’m surprised, though not that surprised, at their observation that students come to college (and sometimes leave college) all the way back at “Unreflective Thinkers.”  Sounds  strongly connected to metacognitive skills that you use when reading that a number of students definitely lack.

Second, I’m not exactly sure where I fall on the spectrum — I think I still have some work to do . . .


4 responses to “Connections between reading and critical thinking

  1. This is a great resource, Elise–one that certainly can help offer clarification for instructors expressing concerns about the dereferentialization (or “loose”/”vague” use) of the term “critical thinking”, particularly with regard to how reading and/or writing course learning outcomes associated with the development of “critical thinking” and/or “critical reading” might be interpreted and (pedagogically) achieved.

  2. I too love this article and am going to try to work it into my curriculum at ALI. We do a unit on education that highlights the differences between educational systems that ask students to learn “facts” and systems that challenge students to think creatively (and critically). It may be a little bit tough, but I think I can adapt it for them.

  3. Great! I’m glad you think it’s useful. I thought it was pretty good.

  4. This a very useful article! In general, I find stage of development theories are sometimes too over-simplified, but this particular description helps me think more clearly about where students might be and what intellectual habits I can work on helping them develop.

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