Critical Thinking Curriculum for High School (Review)

My daughter, Julia, is extremely logical. When she is asked a question, you can almost see the wheels turning in her mind as evaluations are being made. Her outlook and answers are almost always objective. When we were given the opportunity to review Practical Critical Thinking from The Critical Thinking Co., I knew it would be perfect for her.

We received the student book and the teacher manual for review.

Critical Thinking Review

Critical Thinking Review

When I first talked with Julia about the review, her immediate response was, “What’s the difference between critical thinking and logical thinking?” I stared blankly at her for a moment and then turned to my trusted friend, Google. After a bit of searching and reading, I had my answer and was able to pass the info on to my daughter.

The difference between logical thinking and critical thinking

Logic says there is absolute truth. Any answer formulated using logic is completely objective and is NOT influenced in any part by the one giving the answer. Simple, absolute, unchanging truth- think Vulcan.

Critical thinking involves the answerer taking in information and providing an answer based on his/her own experience, emotions, or thoughts along side the provided facts. In short, while critical thinking is based on truth, it is also laced with personal opinion. The process and end result is subjective.

How we used Practical Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking Review After she understood the difference, she was more than willing to begin the review. We sat down together with the student book and teacher manual to see where we should start.

It quickly became obvious that the teacher manual is more of an answer key. There are some explanations in the beginning of each chapter as to what the student should be able to do, but that’s about it. The rest of each chapter is filled with answers to the questions in the student book.

Also, a great many of the answers are “Answers will vary” (the subjective nature of critical thinking.)

Of the 250-some pages, the answers are located in the front while the back three quarters is made up of reproducible activity pages to go along with the student book. All of the pages in the teacher manual are perforated. The student book is not.

There are eight chapters in the Practical Critical Thinking student book:

  1. The 411 About Critical Thinking
  2. Playing Games, Doing Puzzles: Practicing Critical Thinking Skills
  3. Some Basic Concepts for Critical Thinking (facts, opinions, evidence, possible vs. probable)
  4. Critical Thinking and Language (ambiguity, euphemism, jargon…)
  5. Analyzing Arguments (deductive and inductive reasoning)
  6. Informal Fallacies (an in depth look at the different types of fallacies)
  7. Advertising (the power of persuasion)
  8. Eyewitness Testimony, Direct & Circumstantial Evidence

Each of the chapters has between seven and eleven units (1.1, 1.2, 1.3, etc.) Also, they all include Chapter Summaries & Takeaways and end with group activities and discussions.

The Chapter Summary is a pre-written record and/or chart of valuable information that was learned in the chapter. The Takeaways are a list made by the student of things they believe are important.

Overall, Julia has enjoyed working in the student book. It has given her a break from her normal subjects, and she likes having to prove her answers. The funny lessons are easy to enjoy and don’t seem like work at all. Practical Critical Thinking has encouraged and equipped Julia to foster a different type of thinking that no doubt will aid her in the future.

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