Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Critical Thinkers: Are we losing the educational war?

Good morning colleagues

At the end of the year, there is often time made for reflection.  As faculty and student, we might focus more on the big picture—what have we learned (or what have we taught) and how will we use this information going forward?

Sadly, I am hearing more and more concern for the lack of critical and refractive thinkers that the U.S. educational system is producing and personally, I agree with this concern.  With such dependance on technology, we as a society seem to outsource the very ability to think.  Can you compute simple math in your head for a tip for your restaurant server? Tip for your haircut?  Can you detect errors in sale prices or applied sales percentages? Are sales really the sales they portend to be?  Many people will either assume that everything is ‘right’ or whip out their cell phones and allow technology to think for them.

Our focus is looking at our ability to think as writers.  When I look at the writing offered by many of my students, I am saddened at their inability to construct logical arguments and persuasive sentences.  Many abdicate their writing skills and think that by simply inserting many long quotes or many quotes, they have achieved their writing goal.  They fail to realize that quotes are not to substitute for our writing (or thinking) but support our writing.  As writers, we are not to simply compile our writings by connecting the thoughts of others.  Instead, we are to offer OUR original and thought provoking writing that touches our audience in a unique way to persuade our reader of the merits of our conclusions and analysis.  We are to use the concept of synthesis to connect the writings of others to share the larger meaning.  Writing should not be a verbatim book report or a repeat of facts, but an insightful and logical narrative that demonstrates meaning, understanding, and the ability to logically construct our thoughts to offer a specific point of view.

The tip to offer today is asking the question why or why not in your writing.  What is your purpose for telling your reader this story?  What do you hope to achieve?  Are you teaching them something? Trying to persuade them of a specific point of view?  Are you trying to create a logical argument for a specific business decision?  Always ask yourself why after each sentence.  Include evidence to support, but not substitute for your writing as well.  Ask yourself, how do you know this?  By asking these questions, you will increase your critical and refractive thinking skills for your reader.

My best to your success,

Dr. Cheryl Lentz

 

Share
December 14th, 2012 by admin