6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Fails to deliver,
This review is from: The Thinking Teacher's Toolkit: Critical Thinking, Thinking Skills and Global Perspectives (Paperback)
The authors of this book claim to `have unique thinking skills subject knowledge and understanding of course design'. However, I am very puzzled as to how unique this knowledge and understanding is, because the book provides scant evidence of either of these areas. In addition, they claim to have unparalleled experience of assessment methodologies and insight into the difficulties teachers face in teaching thinking skills and critical thinking'. The justification of this latter claim is not provided although the authors perhaps sensed that they can't provide it, because later they downgrade themselves to having merely `considerable experience'.
Raising problems with these initial claims is not just being mischievous. For Critical Thinking, we are often looking for support for claims. One can't just claim anything and that makes it `true'. I have to say, as a teacher of thinking skills (including Critical Thinking) whose experience probably goes further back than either of these two authors can claim, that the book has a number of negative qualities.
The first of these is that the material provided (and the suggestions made) are often pretty dull. Getting students in their first lesson to debate whether the fictitious Donna should leave school at the age of 16 would switch most students (and teachers) off doing a thinking skills course. In an important sense, who cares? Far better to start with real examples and real evidence: an advert, a recent piece of statistical evidence, a real claim.
Secondly, much of the suggested dialogue between students and teacher is so stilted that both students and teacher would be keen for the lesson to end.
Third, there seems to be something of an agenda going on. Why is the OCR A-level in Critical Thinking commended so strongly (stressing the link with Cambridge Assessment, thus being based on `considerable expertise' and explaining that there is `plenty of support' for teachers and students), whereas the AQA version is seen much less positively, with even a reference to part of it worrying `some teachers and students'.
The claim by the authors that they're going to help new teachers get to grip with teaching this subject is not one that should tempt any of those who are looking for such help. There is little here that will produce the intellectual creativity and excitement that comes from a good thinking skills lesson.