Craven Critical Thinking

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For today, increasingly complex scientific and technological issues challenge our global society.

The present quality of life is, and in the future will continue to be, affected by such issues both old and new.

Such skills enable one to identify ill-defined problems, to generate a variety of solutions to any particular problem, to act upon informed decisions, and to evaluate actions and their consequences (Hurd, 1993; Resnick, 1992).

Resnick argues that successful schools not only cultivate these skills -- they cultivate the habit to use them.

Unfortunately, this typically requires the rejection and abandonment of models of pedagogy that are all too familiar and all too easy to mimic.

The science teacher educator must understand that the process of challenging deeply held, personal mental models -- and, perhaps, their subsequent rejection -- is extremely difficult.

Yet the models of science education that widely persist in schools across the grade levels (including the college science classroom) are inadequate for developing the knowledge needed to tackle those problems.

Those models largely fail to truly engage most students in the learning process; their consequences on student outcomes are disastrous.

In such an environment, learners must engage in inquiry, value thinking, and dedicate themselves to working together as they explore and test their thoughts, ideas, and perspectives.

Finally, the science teacher educator must help his/her students realize that such values must extend beyond small communities of learners (e.g., classrooms).

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