3. Before engaging in discussion, introduce students to the skills needed to evaluate arguments and online sources.

Critical thinking consists of the skilled and systematic questioning and analysis of information and argumentation.1 These questions address the legitimacy of the source, the structure of the argument as well as the evidence provided.  Having students learn about and identify common errors in reasoning (appendix 2 pdf)2, for example, prepares them to recognize weak and manipulative arguments.

EXAMPLES OF EXERCISES TO INTRODUCE CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS:

Exercise 1:

Read:

  1. Crap Detection 1013
  2. Assessing the Credibility of Online Sources

Answer:

  1. According to the reading, what is “crap”?
  2. What are key questions that you need to keep in mind when evaluating sites?
  3. Evaluate the site martinlurtherking.org according to the guidelines from your reading

Exercise 2:

  1. Read the handout on fallacies (appendix 2 pdf)
  2. Choose a social media site and identify three fallacies

Comments: How do you introduce critical thinking skills to your students? Do you have any sites or strategies to suggest?

Show 3 footnotes

  1.  Alec Fisher and David Scriven. Critical Thinking: Its Definition and Assessment (England: Centre for Research in Critical Thinking , 1997), 21.
  2.  Cherri Porter. “Handout on Fallacies,”  http://www.cherriporter.com/docs/fallacy%20handout.pdf
  3.  Howard Rheingold, June 30, 2009 (3:12 p.m.), “Crap Detection 101,” http://blog.sfgate.com/rheingold/2009/06/30/crap-detection-101/

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