January 17th, 2009


critical thinking

I'm teaching an English class right now that involves a component of critical thinking. I'm not enjoying the literature part sooo much, but the critical thinking and the writing I do enjoy (although grading English papers is much worse than grading math). One of the students' first assignments was to consider such topics as race, gender, class, etc. and to come up with problems related to them, and to discuss which "problems of thinking" (as listed in the textbook) each one of the problems in society could be traced back to.

As to be expected, one of the students mentioned the subject of same-sex marriage. The problem in thinking she cited? The Bible says so.


I had to explain that since everyone doesn't believe in the Bible, citing this failure to follow it is not a problem in thinking... and in fairness, failing to believe the Bible is not either. She needed to dig deeper. How could she make the argument to others who reject the Bible that same-sex marriage was a bad thing?

I hope that she could see how this connected to our discussion of points of view as well, because frankly, citing the Bible is itself a problem in thinking. It doesn't take in other points of view. It doesn't accept the validity of views that reject it, and assumes that someone is just not interpretting it correctly, or doesn't know that's what the Bible says.

Unfortunately, my hands are a little tied. If I push it too far, they will wrap back into their little religious cocoons, and learn nothing. I hope that asking her to dig deeper will be more effective.

But really, someone really needs to tell these students that you can't cite the Bible in college classes that are on subjects other than religion.