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If you have had the privilege of going to university you will have been extolled to engage in critical thinking.Many organisations have critical thinking in their competency frameworks and it is a phrase banded about a lot in professional circles.An opinion without supporting evidence and data (see this post for the difference between the two) is just that, an opinion.
That we weigh evidence based on how it was obtained and how much of the argument or opinion it supports.
Note, here there is a distinction between an unsubstantiated opinion (aka the Manchester Airport Conversation) and an evidenced opinion where the limits of the evidence to support the argument are known.
What he discovered was that when the vast majority of students typically arrive at college they think the rules of the formal learning game (at school, university or indeed any classroom) is to memorise ‘stuff’.
This short term memorisation drives not just a lot of ‘learning’ but many teachers/trainers/lecturers also think this is what it is about.
Professor Pring intoduced me to a whole world of thinking, thinking about thinking, and thinking about learning, education and human (learning, intellectual, moral and ethical) development in general.
During this time of having my mind well and truly spun around and stretched, I stumbled across a fascinating body of work by an epistemologist (the study of knowledge and how we know and understand things) called William Perry.
I’d submit something and not quite be able to predict what mark I would get.
Things I thought were great pieces of work got a B or a C and the stuff I rushed or cobbled together could get anything from a D to an A.
I did okay with my strategy of writing as much stuff down as possible and then rehearsing it just before the exams.
When I got to my masters the same scenario started to play out.