Critical Thinking: Teaching Students How to Study and Learn (Part I)

By Paul, Richard; Elder, Linda | Journal of Developmental Education, Fall 2002 | Go to article overview

Critical Thinking: Teaching Students How to Study and Learn (Part I)


Paul, Richard, Elder, Linda, Journal of Developmental Education


All thinking occurs within, and across, disciplines and domains of knowledge and experience, yet few students learn how to think well within those domains. Despite having taken many classes, few are able to think biologically, chemically, geographically, sociologically, anthropologically, historically, artistically, ethically, or philosophically. Students study literature but do not think in a literary way as a result. They study poetry but do not think poetically. They do not know how to think like a reader when reading, nor how to think like a writer while writing, nor how to think like a listener while listening. Consequently they are poor readers, writers, and listeners. They use words and ideas, but they do not know how to think ideas through and internalize foundational meanings. They take classes but cannot make connections between the logic of a discipline and what is important in life. Even the best students often have these deficiencies.

To study well and learn any subject is to learn how to think with discipline within that subject. It is to learn to think within the subject's logic to:

* raise vital questions and problems within it, formulating them clearly and precisely;

* gather and assess information, using ideas to interpret that information insightfully;

* come to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;

* adopt the point of view of the discipline, recognizing and assessing, as need be, its assumptions, implications, and practical consequences;

* communicate effectively with others using the language of the discipline and that of educated public discourse; and

* relate what one is learning in the subject to other subjects and to what is significant in human life.

To become a skilled learner is to become a self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinker who has given assent to rigorous standards of thought and mindful command of their use. Skilled learning of a discipline requires one to respect the power of it as well as its, and one's own, historical and human limitations.

Because we recognize the fact that students generally lack the intellectual skills and discipline to learn independently and deeply, we have designed a Miniature Guide for Students on How to Study and Learn. Its goal is to foster lifelong learning and the traditional ideal of a liberally educated mind: a mind that questions, probes, and masters a variety of forms of knowledge through command of itself, intellectual perseverance, and the tools of learning. It respects equally the traditions of John Henry Newman, Bertrand Russell, and Albert Einstein. The guide emphasizes that all bona fide fields of study share common intellectual structures and standards of reasonability. It emphasizes that foundational intellectual structures and standards of reasonability are worth learning explicitly and in themselves, since they help us more deeply interconnect and understand all that we learn. This miniature guide also emphasizes foundational intellectual dispositions and values that define the traits of the disciplined thinker in all fields: intellectual autonomy, intellectual humility, intellectual integrity, intellectual perseverance, intellectual empathy, confidence in reason, and fair-mindedness.

In this column, and the next few columns, we will focus on the ideas highlighted in this miniature guide, for we believe they are essential to the cultivation of the educated mind. The miniature guide begins with the following 18 ideas for becoming a master student:

Idea #1: Make sure you thoroughly understand the requirements of each class, how it will be taught, and what will be expected of you. Ask questions about the grading policies and for advice on how best to prepare for class.

Idea # 2: Become an active learner. Be prepared to work ideas into your thinking by active reading, writing, speaking, and listening. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Critical Thinking: Teaching Students How to Study and Learn (Part I)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.