Critical Thinking?

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by Challenger78, Jun 7, 2009.

  1. Challenger78 Valued Senior Member

    So here's the thing,

    I'm in a History class, where I'm being told to follow the textbook. Every question I ask is answered with "the textbook says"... or "that's irrelevant"
    Or "Follow the Syllabus".

    A similar thing occurs to me in English, when we are asked to interpret Hamlet.

    The above behaviour by teachers is understandable in Physics or maths, or even Economics, but the two most speculative subjects, we are being told to conform to accepted views. Why ?, Why don't we question the textbook ?.

    My greatest regret is that the one subject (history) in which we are taught to question everything, has become syllabus bound. Even though there is nothing new under the sun, we should never underestimate the power of curiosity. ..

    I thought education was meant to encourage questions, not stifle them.
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  3. takandjive Killer Queen Registered Senior Member

    There's a goal, though. Sometimes things seriously have NO relevance. If you're a history major, then worry about alternate views. If you're an English major, then you need to understand literary theory. However, general education is about functionally understanding things to be a well-rounded adult. My understanding of geometry is very basic and some things I learned probably don't always hold true, etc., but the goal in school was to give me a basic grasp on it.
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  5. Absane Rocket Surgeon Valued Senior Member

    Why would you question the validity of accepted truths in mathematics?

    It is reasonable, however, to question how a textbook presents the material when dealing with mathematics. Some of them are too simplistic and leave out things that lead to better understanding of the material.

    But when I was taking physics, I remember being told that much of what I learned is wrong and that we still don't know how the universe works. And that while we have equations to tell us this, that, or another, they don't explain anything and that it's quite possible there is an even better equation out there.

    As for other subjects... a lot of it on the elementary level is presented to make it easier to learn. If you start out economics, physics, biology, etc by saying "there are other views on this subject but we are only going to teach it this way" then when it gets to the point you are confused or having trouble with BASIC material, you have a scapegoat. You can say that the basic material is inconsistent and therefore irrelevant.

    When you get to a more advanced level, you start to learn what you really don't know and can learn alternative views.
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