A Call for Fewer Calls for Critical Thinking

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Vikram Bath

Vikram Bath is the pseudonym of a former business school professor living in the United States with his wife, daughter, and dog. (Dog pictured.) His current interests include amateur philosophy of science, business, and economics. Tweet at him at @vikrambath1.

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  1. Avatar zic
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    says:

    Thinking critically, otherwise known as criticizing someone else for not comforming to your norms, does not constitute critical thinking, which might include thinking about how to bridge the differences between multiple sets of norms found within any community where there is need for people to interact.Report

  2. Avatar Creon Critic
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    says:

    Two points. “School vaporizes your rights.” I thought the Supreme Court ruled that is explicitly not the case, “Students don’t shed their constitutional rights at the school house gates.”(Tinker v. Des Moines). I’m sure the lawyers hereabouts would have more to say on the rulings post Tinker, a 1969 ruling, but I thought it was still good law.

    If you are going to write on a student’s notebook notions that got hundreds or thousands of students in that country killed 25 years earlier, then you better not whine to the Boston Globe that since you didn’t get to go to your prom that you’re “missing a lifetime of memories.”

    The Globe piece raises questions in my mind as to what the conduct agreement US students sign says – I also wonder whether he can successfully challenge the actions taken against him for the “misconduct” of his speech. But I think it is fair to criticize the US-side administrators for taking disciplinary action against a student for writing “Democracy is for cool kids,” “It’s right to rebel,” and “Don’t believe the lies your school and government tell you”. (And five hours detention and punishment stateside is pretty questionable for expressing pro-democracy sentiments the President and State Department express continually.)

    That last sentiment, “Don’t believe the lies your school and government tell you”, is probably part of a step towards critical thinking in any country (obviously there’s a whole lot more to critical thinking than that).

    Edited by Vik for HTML tagReport

  3. Avatar KatherineMW
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    says:

    It’s not critical thinking but, for an 18-year-old in a foreign country, it’s pretty gutsy.

    I can understand the school feeling they need to punish him in some way in order to continue the exchange program, and that the benefits of the exchange program outweigh the problems, but I don’t think the kid was wrong. If he takes a lesson from this, I hope it’s “Doing the right thing sometimes comes with a price”, not “Shut up and do as you’re told”.Report

    • Avatar Vikram Bath in reply to KatherineMW
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      says:

      From the comments in the Globe, I think the lesson he got was “Complain and get on the news”:

      “I did partially regret what I had done, as I’ve said, it was stupid and immature. But I don’t any more, because I’ve now had the opportunity to speak out about the school administration, so I’ve been given an opportunity I didn’t expect.”

      As to whether it’s worth risking preventing future students from being able to go on the exchange program at all so that he could learn a valuable lesson in Defying Authority, I don’t find that to be an attractive price.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        As to whether it’s worth risking preventing future students from being able to go on the exchange program at all so that he could learn a valuable lesson in Defying Authority, I don’t find that to be an attractive price.

        Well, then don’t speak out when you’re in a foreign exchange program. More to the point, tho, is the critical thinking you’re employing in the above comment just another example of “The people who most bemoan the lack of critical thinking in others are those least likely to do it themselves”?Report

      • Avatar Vikram Bath in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        Well, then don’t speak out when you’re in a foreign exchange program.

        The point is that this isn’t the kind of action whose costs are born by the decision maker. Letting each person decide how they want to act doesn’t work as a solution. That’s why there needs to be a code of conduct that students agree to. If he didn’t agree to it, he’d have been perfectly free to stay at home and express all the free speech he’d like.

        is the critical thinking you’re employing in the above comment just another example of “The people who most bemoan the lack of critical thinking in others are those least likely to do it themselves”?

        Always worth considering as a possibility! Of course *I* don’t think it is. I could be wrong, but I do think I understand the thinking of those rallying around him on Twitter and just find the reasons lacking.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        I think the lesson he got was “Complain and get on the news”

        And thus was a future pundit born.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        Vik,

        Of course *I* don’t think it is.

        We disagree about the first part of your comment, but at least we agree about the second part! I mean, by your very own hypothesis subjective experience entails that you wouldn’t know the difference between the *real* vs. self-serving call to critical thinking. It makes me wonder what the point of the post was then. 🙂Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        OK, that was a bit of a shot in your direction. You did clarify what you mean, to some extent, in comments when you referenced the ideological Turing test. I thought that was a very useful concept, for whatever that’s worth.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to KatherineMW
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      says:

      @katherinemw

      ““Democracy is for cool kids,” “It’s right to rebel,” and “Don’t believe the lies your school and government tell you”.”

      Here is my question. Was this kid really encouraging his Chinese peers to think critically? Or did he just want them to buy what he was selling instead of what China was selling?

      It is one thing to say, “Keep an open mind and decide for yourself.” It is another to say, “Don’t listen to their bullshit. Listen to my truth telling!” What the kid wrote seems to be much more of the latter.

      I mean, does he think he choose democracy because of a completely free mind engaged in critical analysis of any and all governmental systems? And he just so happened to live in a country that (claims to) champion democracy? How… convenient.

      I believe it was Dewey who observed that it was no coincidence that the vast majority of Americans believed in democracy and the vast majority of Russians (perhaps Soviets at the time of his writing) believed in communism despite both countries claiming they didn’t brainwash their children.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Kazzy
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        says:

        It’s not advanced critical thinking. It still takes some courage to criticize a dictatorship when you are (even to a limited degree) within its power.

        I doubt that a Chinese exchange kid who wrote “Communism is awesome!” in an American classmate’s yearbook would be getting five hours’ detention, although I could be mistaken.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy
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        says:

        Ballsy, sure. Though teenagers are notoriously bad at risk assessment.

        You’re right that the situations aren’t completely analogous. I’m just not so sure this kid’s goal was more “Free the minds of his persecuted peers” than it was “Acting like a dick.”Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kazzy
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        says:

        I’m just not so sure this kid’s goal was more “Free the minds of his persecuted peers” than it was “Acting like a dick.”

        Hmmm. It’s weird to me that so much hangs on the contents found from crawling in this kid’s head so deeply.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy
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        says:

        @stillwater

        I’m not sure I understand. Can you elaborate?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kazzy
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        says:

        There’s a perfectly good way to judge this kid’s actions without crawling into his head, which is what Vic is essentially doing.

        For seconders, there is no way for you to know what this kid’s intentions were. Hell, he might not know what his intentions – you know, those real motivations exposed only after years of Freudian analysis or the helpful analysis of others itching to judge him – really were. Even God probably doesn’t know, given all the potential variables that could have contributed to his acting the way he did.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy
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        says:

        @stillwater

        Obviously, we can’t know with certainty what was going on inside this kid’s head. But we can look at what evidence we do have and attempt to draw conclusions. Or we can not.

        FWIW, I’m not all that interested in this particular kid but what we are teaching young people about what critical thinking is. If this kid thinks that he did is really encouraging critical thinking skills, than he probably hasn’t been properly taught (or properly learned, depending on where the onus lies) what critical thinking actually is.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to Kazzy
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        says:

        The difference between freeing the minds of your persecuted peers and acting like a dick is imaginary… especially when other people do it.Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        @kazzy

        Here is my question. Was this kid really encouraging his Chinese peers to think critically? Or did he just want them to buy what he was selling instead of what China was selling?

        Without speaking to your or Vikram’s larger point, could it consistently be both of those, encouraging his peers to think “critically” and sell what he was selling over what China was selling?Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy
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        says:

        @gabriel-conroy

        I suppose, though framing would really matter.

        If he says, “Your government sells you lies! Here is the truth!” I’d be hard pressed to see that as encouraging critical thinking.

        If he says, “I think what your government tells you is wrong and here is why. Here is what I think is right and why I think that way. Look at the evidence I’ve provided. What do you think?” I’d say he’s probably doing both.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy
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        says:

        @gabriel-conroy

        And if I understand the article correctly, he is claiming a certain amount of performance art. He’s not necessarily wanting them to accept his words at face value, but wanting them to think about why someone would write those words in a textbook. Personally, I think that is a bit of a stretch and after-the-fact rationalization. But I can’t say for sure.

        If that truly was his intention, then he would be encouraging critical thinking but probably would not actually be trying to get them to buy what he’s selling. He’s acting on a meta level where the content of his message is less important than the fact that the message exists.Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Kazzy
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        says:

        @kazzy

        Thanks for the response. I hadn’t read the two Globe articles when I made my comments. Now that I have…..

        …..I’m more favorable to the student, in this particular situation, than I was before. Or rather, I’m ambivalent about the student, who’s no Henry David Thoreau, but I’m more critical than before of the American high school for what seems to me to be its willingness to backtrack the “touchy subject” of democracy and its willingness to accommodate the system that makes the Chinese principal responsible whenever his students contradict the party line. In an American high school, if a student wrote what that student did in someone else’s yearbook, it wouldn’t be given a second thought.

        I’m more critical and not completely critical, because I do understand, as someone said above, that the exchange program, in order to work, probably has to heed the host country’s rules. And there is definitely at least a little arrogance in what the student wrote and where he wrote it, and maybe it’s not fully a freedom of speech issue (it’s school, it’s in a different country with different cultural norms in addition to different political restrictions, it’s a program he voluntarily entered). But that American high school seems to have put itself in a situation where it has to make certain sacrifices for its program and maybe it should reconsider whether those sacrifices are worth the cost. And maybe at the end of the day, they are worth the cost. But to me it seems like a closer thing.

        None of that, however, really contradicts Vikram’s point about the careless way people appeal to “critical thinking” to justify something else. And your examples of how the student may have or may not have been engaging in critical thinking are good ones.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy
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        says:

        @gabriel-conroy

        Good analysis of the situation. I don’t really disagree. The only thing I’d add is that it is possible the student would have faced far harsher punishment from the Chinese government than he did from his own school and that by insulating him from the full consequences of his actions, they ultimately did him a service. Now, they could have simply brought him home and stood by their principles. But what he did does have consequences. Speech, in general, carries consequences and that particular speech delivered that particular way in that particular country carries very specific and tangible consequences. I don’t think it is wholly out of place for the school to say, “Listen, kid, you can’t just say whatever you want whenever you want where ever you want. However, we’re not going to let you rot in Chinese prison for the rest of your life. We’re bringing you home but you ain’t going to prom.”

        Schools will often do that. If there is a good working relationship between a police department and a school system, sometimes the former will let the latter handle what might be a criminal matter. Two kids fighting on the way home from school will be given in-school suspension instead of arrested on assault and battery charges.Report

      • Avatar Vikram Bath in reply to Kazzy
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        says:

        But that American high school seems to have put itself in a situation where it has to make certain sacrifices for its program and maybe it should reconsider whether those sacrifices are worth the cost.

        For most people, including seemingly most of the students in this particular program, going a whole semester without being pointlessly insulting isn’t really much of a “sacrifice”. I would guess that airfare would rank far higher on most students’ minds.Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        @vikram-bath

        For most people, including seemingly most of the students in this particular program, going a whole semester without being pointlessly insulting isn’t really much of a “sacrifice”.

        What I meant by “sacrifice” is that the school has to enforce and police a certain type of political speech that American educational institutions as a rule otherwise find acceptable. True, children in school have fewer rights than adults in general society. But the “sacrifice” is that the school likely has to compromise some principles that Americans take for granted in order to mollify the Chinese school (and probably government), in order in turn to pursue this exchange program. It’s like saying, “this program will be beneficial to the students in countless ways and it is a real privilege to go, but you have to show a certain kind of respect to the government there, and watch the party line.”

        Maybe “sacrifice” is the wrong word, and I hedge a bit before condemning the school wholly. The student appears to have acted like a “pointlessly insulting” jerk, and acting like a jerk comes with punishment even in American schools. But let’s not pretend that in order to do something good, we don’t sometimes have to sacrifice or give up something else that is also good.Report

      • Avatar Vikram Bath in reply to Kazzy
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        says:

        principles that Americans take for granted in order to mollify the Chinese school

        I’m not sure how accurate this is exactly. If a student calls his teacher a liar in the US while at school, would the teacher really just say “well, there those kids go again, using their free speech rights”?

        I would guess that such a student would not get a 5-hour detention, but I’m guessing there would be some sort of discipline exerted.

        I’m of the opinion (and it is just an opinion) that the decision should be left up to the students as to whether they think the trade-off is worth it rather than the school just saying “we won’t support any program that takes students to countries where they won’t enjoy the same rights they do here.”Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Kazzy
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        says:

        I think what the young man was accused of doing was more akin to writing a meaningless political slogan in a student’s yearbook than it was to calling a teacher a liar. But here are of course important differences. As has been suggested above, maybe the Chinese student faced a hard choice of getting in trouble or reporting the incident. And if somebody wrote something that you and I would recognize as indisputably offensive in a yearbook, say some white supremacist thing, then the fact that he was writing “only in a yearbook” wouldn’t be enough to immunize him against criticism. And of course, the American student should have taken into account the fact that he was a guest in the country and different norms apply.

        And I think I mostly agree with this:

        I’m of the opinion (and it is just an opinion) that the decision should be left up to the students as to whether they think the trade-off is worth it rather than the school just saying “we won’t support any program that takes students to countries where they won’t enjoy the same rights they do here.”

        I suppose it depends on how big the differential there is between which rights have to be foregone and which do not. I suppose that in the case described in the Boston Globe articles, the tradeoff is small enough that it should be the students’ choice, especially when we’re talking about 2014 China (and not, say, Cultural Revolution, or Great Leap Forward, China, where an exchange program would have probably been a non-starter because of the whole no diplomatic recognition of the mainland thing, among the obvious reasons of generalized chaos and the fact that such students probably wouldn’t have been welcome).

        Even so, by making the choice available to the students, the school is suggesting it’s a choice and a tradeoff the school is willing to endorse. And maybe the tradeoff is worth it.Report

      • Avatar Vikram Bath in reply to Kazzy
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        says:

        I think what the young man was accused of doing was more akin to writing a meaningless political slogan in a student’s yearbook than it was to calling a teacher a liar.

        I think Katherine was similarly alluding to what the “Chinese” version of the student’s actions might have been. It’s difficult to figure out a situation that would be properly symmetric for comparison.

        But if I were a Chinese administrator, I could surely imagine looking at some translation of “Don’t believe the lies your school and government tell you” into Mandarin and taking that to mean that the student was accusing me and my peers and superiors of being liars. Worse, systematic and purposeful liars.Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Kazzy
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        says:

        taking that to mean that the student was accusing me and my peers and superiors of being liars. Worse, systematic and purposeful liars.

        Good point. I didn’t even think that he actually called them “liars.”Report

  4. Avatar Damon
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    says:

    This recalls to my mind the two Christian missionaries who were in Afghanistan prior to our overthrow of the Taliban. IIRC they had been arrested and charged with converting Muslims to Christianity, in direct conflict with their sworn promises not do so. One convert had already been caught and executed. The US wanted these girls back. I argued that if they were so foolish to convert Muslims to Christianity 1) knowing the price to the converts was death and 2) knowing they intentionally lied on their applications to enter the country, they deserved whatever they got. Don’t go to a foreign country, lie about what you intend to do, and then commit crimes.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Damon
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      says:

      … um, yeah, that’s really a kind of shitty thing to do.
      But I don’t believe in the afterlife, so…Report

    • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Damon
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      says:

      You know that realpolitik demands that the U.S. or any other Western Democracy go and get the captives.

      I can’t imagine any public official saying what you said here and getting away with it.Report

      • Avatar Vikram Bath in reply to Saul DeGraw
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        says:

        No, but I could imagine a staffer putting less of a priority on getting them back than other priorities.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Saul DeGraw
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        says:

        The fact they were likely to be executed does rather change things. If they were going to be simply imprisoned and then released at the end of their sentence – well, that’s what they signed up for.

        For consideration – Canada will not extradite anyone to the US to face capital charges, without assurances that there will be no capital punishment. Doesn’t matter that there is agreement on both sides of the border that anything a US state might impose the death penalty for, at least deserves to be prosecuted as a crime.Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Saul DeGraw
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        says:

        @dragonfrog

        Many countries won’t extradite to the U.S. unless the death penalty is taken off the table.

        Interestingly France won’t extradite her citizens anywhere, for any crime.Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to Saul DeGraw
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        says:

        “realpolitik demands that the U.S. or any other Western Democracy go and get the captives”

        But what if their dad had a beard, a long one, like the Taliban?

        Shouldn’t the death penalty at least be on the table?Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Saul DeGraw
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        says:

        Saul, a nice critique of the american electorate. nice!Report

  5. Avatar Kazzy
    Ignored
    says:

    “Where there is disagreement, it is because others have not grappled with what we already know to be true.”

    I attempted to make this point on @saul-degraw ‘s recent post on art and criticism and whathaveyou. I will fully confess to having previously been VERY guilty of this thinking. “You don’t like X? You probably haven’t even tried it. Oh you did? Well did you try it this way? Yea? Oh. Well, TRY HARDER!” I’ve worked to not be such a jerk about it. Because it was ultimately a very egocentric position to stake out. “I like it therefore others will as soon as they understand it as I do.” It is fully possible for people to look at the same situation from the same perspective and to come to the same understanding of it and disagree completely on what that means.Report

    • Avatar Vikram Bath in reply to Kazzy
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      says:

      Well, sometimes the problem is that others haven’t done their due diligence. It’s just less often than you might think.

      Of you’re a fan of, say, Jazz and meet someone who hates it, he might be ignorant. But if he can explain what is good about jazz and what others appreciate in it, then his opinion is well-founded.

      There is a sort of test mentioned on some of the blogs I frequent. It’s basically an ideological Turing test. If you can pretend to be an intelligent member of the opposing party, then you have a right to be listened to. Most people fail this because they think people who disagree with them are idiots and this disagree for idiotic reasons. The picture of the opposition in their heads is a caricature rather than a photograph.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        I’m reminded of my first foray into Indian food. I was always interested in trying it but had somehow gone the first 23ish years of my life not having done so. This despite having multiple Indian friends growing up and living in an area with no shortage of Indian restaurants. Alas, it definitely wasn’t something my family was going to partake in growing up and by the time I was well-positioned to be making all my food choices, I was worried that I would go out for Indian on my own, choose a shitty place, and think that Indian food was bad. I knew I had to get the experience right. That way, if I didn’t like it, I knew I tried my best. So I had two Indian friends and another friend well-versed in the cuisine take me out to a good restaurant and handle the ordering. I also wanted to try a range of things so that a particular dish wouldn’t turn me off to the entire cuisine. Well, I’m no fool, so naturally I loved every bite of it and it remains one of my favorite cuisines.

        I think about this when experiencing something new. And, perhaps more importantly, when I expose other people to something knew.

        Of course, anyone who doesn’t like Indian food is wrong.Report

  6. Avatar Murali
    Ignored
    says:

    You can’t call your principle a butthead, that’s a category error. You can however call your principal a butthead.Report

  7. Avatar Kolohe
    Ignored
    says:

    On a related note, I would have liked to have seen the clashing of principles and principals if a student here would have taken the Westboro side.Report

  8. Avatar Kazzy
    Ignored
    says:

    If I may share a story…

    I hate uniforms in schools. I particularly hate gendered uniforms in schools. My school has gendered uniforms. (I believe I’ve spoken on this before.)

    During the first trimester of the year, I worked with some upper school (7th, 8th, 9th grade) students on diversity and leadership skill building. One thing I wanted them to explore was our gendered uniform policy. We talked a lot about gender norms and sex versus gender and equity vs equality and all sorts of things. They were very much on board with breaking down certain barriers between the genders. They hated gender-segregated busses on long field trips and many decried the disparate sport offerings for the different genders. But they were steadfast in defending the uniform policy. They liked it. They preferred it.

    And that was ultimately cool with me. My goal wasn’t to get them to think the way I did. It was to get them to challenge their own thinking, to challenge norms, to challenge assumptions. If in the process of doing so they arrived right back at the same place, so be it. To me, that was encouraging critical thinking and open-mindedness. If I simply indoctrinated them to a different way of viewing the world, I was not encouraging critical thinking.Report

  9. Avatar Gabriel Conroy
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    says:

    In my early years as a TA, I thought my job was to challenge students to think “critically,” and by that I meant something like what Vikram means in the OP: I wanted them to “expose the students to new ideas,” which in practice meant I wanted them to think like I do (very pro-leftist, at the time). I won’t go into details, but that wasn’t a good thing for me to do. I had a bully pulpit and used it, and that was really just a power play more than anything else. I didn’t always use my position as a bully pulpit, and I believe I was as fair a grader as one could be given the subjectivity inherent in grading essays (and believe me, people worried about biased grading don’t usually acknowledge the sheer joy an instructor encounters when a student advances any argument–even one the instructor disagrees with–that’s written in standard English, uses evidence and logic to make a point, and considers counterarguments). But the bully-pulpit aspect of it was wrong and inappropriate, and in my later years as a TA and then an adjunct, I tried my best to eschew it.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Gabriel Conroy
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      says:

      @gabriel-conroy

      Great point on the way in which power dynamics and roles matter. I talked about this recently with a colleague when a student brought in a children’s version of the Bible to share on her birthday (all children in the class are invited to share a book on their birthday). I told her she shouldn’t worry about having allowed the share to take place because it was a student sharing an aspect of her life; that it was religious in nature was of no matter. However, had the teacher took to sharing the Bible, I think she would have crossed the line because of the weight of her authority within the classroom. When a student shares it, the children tend to think, “Oh, that is what Emily likes.” When a teacher does, they tend to think, “This is what is.”

      Important to note that we are a secular independent school so any inappropriateness would have been ethical/professional, not legal.Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Kazzy
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        says:

        I do think that most of the calls of bias in the classroom (at the undergraduate level) tend to focus too much on supposedly biased grading and not on the bully-pulpit aspect. I know many professors who agree with me that doing what I did was a base power play. I also know others who think that it’s all right to do it.

        Some of those undoubtedly do it well and in a way that really does foster discussion and “critical thinking.” But some do it very poorly. And for the record, one of those was a conservatarian* historian, and his classroom lectures (western civ.) would, in my opinion, strike almost anyone as unfairly biased and misleading.

        *I usually avoid using the term “conservatarian” because it tends to forestall debate. But he meets the stereotype: he purports to be a “19th century liberal” but he appears more interested in what modern-day “conservatives” have to offer than in what I consider more sincere libertarians to advocate.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy
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        says:

        I think owning the bias can go a long way towards mitigating the issue. I’d rather teachers be as neutral as possible. But if they aren’t going to be or can’t be for any reason, than I think they should own up to whatever bias they might put on display. That helps students make a better analysis of what they are being exposed to. Insisting that neutrality exists where it doesn’t is not only dishonest but can really exacerbate the situation.Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Kazzy
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        says:

        I agree about owning bias. But I do think “owning” can too easily be a way to assume the bully pulpit. Probably not for everyone, but for me. I find it, personally, better to try to affect an aura of neutrality, while 1) realizing that I can never be neutral and 2) even acknowledging to my students that I can never be neutral but still not telling them exactly where I stand, and 3) exploring with them how my framing of a given issue has its own inherent biases (certain voices excluded/included, my focus on institutions obfuscating individual agency and vice versa, etc.).Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy
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        says:

        @gabriel-conroy

        I think it depends on how something is owned.

        It is one thing to say, “I’m a liberal, damnit, and I’m not going to pretend otherwise!” It is quite another to say, “Here is the perspective and lens through which I tend to view these things. Consider how that my color both my choice and presentation of the material. Be willing to change my objectivity but do not think that the possession or acknowledge of an ideology or ideological bias necessarily invalidates anything either.”Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Kazzy
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        says:

        @kazzy

        That’s probably the best approach.Report

  10. Avatar Patrick
    Ignored
    says:

    There are some good ideas that have become so saddled with context or assumptions that they’re not good ideas any more, because they’re no longer an actual idea, they’re some sort of fuzzy concept embedded in your lizard brain.

    Critical thinking, skeptical thinking… two peas in that pod, right there.

    Critical thinking is (properly, IMO) double-loop learning. Learning about how you learn, deconstructing your assumptions, ensuring that you’re not letting bias influence your thinking without acknowledging it.

    It usually doesn’t mean that any more. It means what Vikram says: “Critical thinking is something for other people to do until they finally realize that we are right.”

    Realize my assumptions are the right ones, you dolt.Report

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