Though very little present instruction deliberately aims at lower order learning, most results in it.
“Good” students have developed techniques for short term rote memorization; “poor” students have none.
The mind that thinks critically is a mind prepared to take ownership of new ideas and modes of thinking. It works its way into a system of thought by thinking-through: The skills in up-grading thinking are the same skills as those required in up-grading learning.
The art of thinking well illuminates the art of learning well.
Learning to think historically becomes the order of the day.
Students learn historical content by thinking historically about historical questions and problems.They recognize, for example, what it is to interpret the American Revolution from a British as well as a colonial perspective.They role-play different historical perspectives and master content through in-depth historical thought. They discuss how their own stored-up interpretations of their own lives’ events shaped their responses to the present and their plans for the future.Students can easily blindly memorize what they do not understand.A book contains knowledge only in a derivative sense, only because minds can thoughtfully read it and, through this analytic process, gain knowledge.Knowledge is produced by thought, analyzed by thought, comprehended by thought, organized, evaluated, maintained, and transformed by thought.Knowledge exists, properly speaking, only in minds that have comprehended it and constructed it through thought. Knowledge must be distinguished from the memorization of true statements.In the typical history class, for example, students are often asked to remember facts about the past.They therefore come to think of history class as a place where you hear names and dates and places; where you try to memorize and state them on tests.These three facts, taken together, represent serious obstacles to essential, long-term institutional change, for only when administrative and faculty leaders grasp the nature, implications, and power of a robust concept of critical thinking — as well as gain insight into the negative implications of its absence — are they able to orchestrate effective professional development.When faculty have a vague notion of critical thinking, or reduce it to a single-discipline model (as in teaching critical thinking through a “logic” or a “study skills” paradigm), it impedes their ability to identify ineffective, or develop more effective, teaching practices.