“The findings suggest that an effective way to hone your critical thinking skills includes having another person to confront your beliefs and challenge your thought process. Our co-workers, spouses, parents and kids are often more than willing to oblige us with this kind of help.” ROFL!! As if!! If we engage in debate, it might cause them to confront their own irrationally held beliefs! THAT cannot be allowed under ANY circumstances! Plus, there might be hurt feelings if we disagree to vehemently, or something. *sigh* No…I just went through a huge argument about how it’s not cool to go around disagreeing with people, cause it makes you look like you’re going around picking fights just for the fun of it (well…that part may be true! I love debating, but very few people I know do. :P). I so wish people would challenge me, and accept challenges from me.
This chapter works to define critical thinking for first year writers, explaining a process that helps them think, read, and write critically. With a focus on Annie Dillard’s essay, “Living like Weasels,” you can show students how they can learn to read carefully for ideas, to identify and analyze key points, and to synthesize observations into strong arguments. The chapter also provides guidance on how to move from personal response toward more formal, academic writing. An annotated student essay gives you and your students a glimpse of how strong writers approach texts critically and engage with others’ ideas to develop perspectives of their own.