Problem of the Development of Critical Thinking in Global Educational
Strengthening civil society is possible in the conditions of the development of the
critical thinking in historical perspective.
Critical thinking is fundamental to education for a free civil society. And my research in the sphere of education is very important for democracy society, because peoples need to improve their problem-solving, cultural communication and co-operation.
At first, our problem is in designing and implementing such assessment.
And I would like to create a model for the national assessment of higher order thinking. It is very important for scholars and practitioners, for the development of Global education and relationship, for strengthening civil society in the next 21st century.
In the field of the development of the critical thinking one of the most important reason is to discover who we are and who we are not, how we can develop ourselves, what faults we have to watch out for, and what strengths we can build upon.
The fundamental criteria to use in analysing and evaluating reasoning comes from an analysis of the purpose of the reasoner and the logic of the question or questions raised. For example, if a person raises the question, say, as to whether democracy is failing in Russia (in the light of the dwindling number of people who vote and the growing power of vested interest groups with significant money to expend on campaign contributions), we can establish general criteria for assessing the reasoning by spelling out what in general one would have to do to settle the question. Those criteria would include such matters as the following:
An analysis of the Concept of the Ends of Democracy. What would it be for democracy to succeed? What would it be for it to fail? What do wetake the fundamental objective of democracy to be? For democracy to succeed is it enough that it simply ensure the right of the people at large to vote or must it also serve the well being of the people as well?
Most people, to take the point a step further, do not have "evidence" - other than the stuff of their subjective reactions - to justify their preferences. They prefer because of the way they feel not because of the way they reason. To choose because of these subjective states of feeling is precisely to lack criteria of evaluation or evidence that bears upon objective assessment.
The logical structures implicit in an educated person's mind are highly systematised. The well-educated person is able to reason quite directly and deliberately, to begin somewhere, know where one is beginning, and then reason with awareness from that point to other points, all with a given question in mind, with specific evidence in mind, with specific reasons to advance, with specific conclusions to support, with consciousness of one's point of view and of contrasting points of view. The good reasoner is always reasoning within a system that disciplines and restrains that reasoning.
We consider that educational reform will not produce meaningful change
unless educators explicitly grasp five inter-related truths:
- that students, as all people, trend to reason egocentrically;
- that multi-dimensional problems, traditionally ignored, ought to be central in schooling;
- that indoctrination into prevailing views has inappropriately been the major academic response to real world problems;
- that children from the earliest years need to be encouraged to think for themselves through dialogue, discussions, and constructive debate;
- and, finally, that [teaching strategies need to be revamped across the board] to stress the development of dialogical and dialectical thought.
The problem of the research is to determine integral pedagogical conditions, providing critical education for students, teachers, parents and all citizens.
The object of the research is the process of the development of critical thinking and individual style in the system of education in the USA , Israel and Russia.
The subject of the research is the systems of education.
The objectives of the research, pursued are:
- To study the process of teacher education in the USA in order to use its positive experience in Russia and Israel in connection with current reforms in the sphere of education for democracy and strengthening civil society.
- To determine and experimentally substantiate professional pedagogical conditions in different teachersí communities.
- To find possible opportunity for practical application and development of our research.
In accordance with my hypothesis the development of the critical thinking, moral integrity, and citizenship may be realized in new pedagogical conditions from elementary schools to Universities, in teaching for the intellectual virtues, human development, and rational productivity.
To understand logical structures is to integrate them, to establish logical connections between them, to make it possible for the mind to make an extended series of nuanced inferences, deductions, and derivations.
Scientific novelty and theoretical significance of the research is in revealing the essence, content and stricture of an individual creative approach to future teacher education.
We strive to determine and experimentally approve of pedagogical conditions and instrumental means for staged development of critical-thinking.
Practical significance of the research lies in the fact that pedagogical technology,
developed and experimentally approved of, essentially enriches integral educational
background for teacher education in improving teacherís skill. It also promotes the
development of educational reforms and strengthening civil society.
Approval and introduction of the results of the research. It should be noted
that the main statements and conclusions of the research have been discussed at the annual scientific conference of Global Education in New York (1995), in Moscow Pedagogical University, (1999). The results of the research have been approved of in the course of seminars for post-graduate students and young scientists of educational and psychological department of Moscow State Pedagogical University (1992 - 1999) and in Indiana University (1995).