Critical thinking

I attempted to attend the synchronous session today with Grainne Conole (on the Critical Literacies online course) – but I’m afraid I abandoned it when the audio kept cutting out and it was clear that I was not get the return on investment of my time that I needed. Shame – because I think it would have been very useful and Slideshare without the speaker never quite does it for me.

So I’ll move on.

I’ve done the description post (previous one) and now will try to do more of a  ‘take what you have and move beyond it’  type of post – as Carmen has done so eloquently (as always) in her post.

The reading list for this week is not completely unfamiliar to me: how to be persuasive (I scanned this but it didn’t grab me) critical thinking (I read this, but noted it’s date and know that there is more recent ‘stuff’ out there – will come back to this) studentguide to Freakonomics: rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything (Another quick scan but it didn’t grab me) How scientific peer review works (Haven’t even looked at this) The critical thinking community (Already know of this)

I’m sure this is very telling of my level of critical literacy! So to return to the Alec Fisher article which I did read – I felt it did not distinguish clearly enough between critical thinking and reflective thinking. I know of course that it’s not as simple as that and that there is overlap – but I like the work of Jenny Moon, which is more recent. She has written extensively about reflective learning. Two wonderfully helpful books are:

  • Moon J (2006) Learning Journals. Routledge Falmer
  • Moon J (2005) A Handbook of Reflective and Experiential Learning. Routledge Falmer
  • And she has also written about critical thinking and tried to unravel the differences between them.

    Moon J (2005) We seek it here…a new perspective on the elusive activity of critical thinking. Escalate Discussion Series  See

    This is how she thinks about critical thinking and reflection

    We said above that deep reflection is similar to
    critical thinking but tends to be more often associated
    with thinking about the self and personal activities
    and critical thinking tends to be more associated with
    the need to arrive at a conclusion or judgement. (p.21)

    I can relate to this. I see reflection as internally oriented  and critical thinking as externally oriented and I also see them as being interdependent.

    So what has all this to do with critical literacies? And I’m wondering if in this course critical literacies is going to be confused with digital literacy or one of the other literacies that Grainne mentioned in the very first part of her presentation that I was able to pick up.

    I think we might need to start being clear about what kind of literacy we are talking about.

    4 thoughts on “Critical thinking

    1. John King June 4, 2010 / 10:14 pm

      Jenny, thanks for the reference to Jenny Moon. I did find Alec Fisher’s chapter to be a useful introduction.

    2. Ken Anderson June 5, 2010 / 1:05 pm

      >I think we might need to start being clear about what kind of literacy we are talking about.

      I certainly agree with you on this; I am unclear what the course definition is; it seems to be leaning towards digital literacies.

    3. Carmen Tschofen June 5, 2010 / 4:05 pm

      Hi Jenny,

      I’ve always thought “critical thinking” is more about reflecting on the object/text at hand as a closed/limited system, and “critical literacy” is more about understanding/identifying the assumptions and context under which the “text” was produced– developing a view of /perspective on the system itself. “Digital literacy” seems like a term used as we try to grapple with the elements of communication/thinking/literacy that seem new… differences that are/appear significant due to their newness.

      Hope you have a fabulous trip– will there be pictures:-)?

    4. jennymackness June 7, 2010 / 2:47 pm

      Hi Carmen – many thanks for your comment. I’ll have to think about the distinction between critical thinking and critical literacy further.

      I’m looking forward to my trip and have my camera ready. Last time I went to India, it took me months to edit all the photos!


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