Acquiring knowledge is a basic social need and essential commodity for survival. It is a common belief that knowledge can empower an individual for the notion of facts and truths guides a person on how to proceed on things that must be attended to. In every decision an individual makes, comprehension and weighing of information play a vital role on what and how certain actions and attitudes will be conceptualized and performed.
When the complexity of the nature, source and limit of a particular knowledge is exposed in terms of the perspective used by a person, conflict on what point of view to follow along with the beliefs and values a person holds, most often than not determines the behavior, given that the person is a ware of the possible principles and truths he or she could consider. In any professional discipline, it is notable the relevance of development and progress not just of knowledge that governs the field but most importantly of the application and benefits of the implementation as well as sharing of a particular body of thought.
The teaching profession is considered greatly in terms of professional development since the future of all other professions is very much dependent on the efficiency and effectiveness of the people in the academic discipline in their responsibility to impart knowledge. Professional development helps teachers eliminates the discrepancy between the current teaching programs and strategies employed in the academic community, and the ideal setting of being able to achieve and benefit from the set goals and objectives which are most ideal for the improvement of the teaching profession.
Such will not only be an advantage to the teaching fellows but also to the students from whom much will be expected. Astleitner, Hermann. (2002). Teaching Critical Thinking Online. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 29(5). 55-65. With the bulk of information available at present due to the development and advances in communication as well as information technology, critical evaluation of the materials that enhance learning should be practice in the whole academic community.
But such proposal proves to be problematic when it comes to training an educating the students on how to critically process and assess a particular reading material. The rapidly changing lifestyles in a highly technological and global world as well as the changing societal structures brought about by increasing social and cultural diversity wherein marketing of ideas and products whose primary target are the teenagers calls the need to impart critical analysis among the students for the society to benefit from the advantages of upholding critical thinking.
Critical thinking has been defined as “a literacy that encourages a reflective, questioning stance toward the forms and content of print and electronic media” (Tyner, 1998). The ideal of critical thinking supports the claims of rhetoric criticism which deals with the social construction of meaning or the way the public perceive and understand the information presented by different channels of communication. Rhetorical criticism likewise tackles and examines how the messages are constructed and presented to the public which are reflective of the interests and motives of the source of information.
In here also comes the issue on commercialism and the ways in which information are distorted, sanitized, designed and delivered in order to get the thinking and behavior that the source intends the audience to take as implicit ideologies are made explicit. The fast changing, social, cultural and technological structure of the society poses a challenge in the whole educational system to examine and reflect the positive and negative effects of the uses and manipulation of information and be critical members of the community.
Critical thinking in this regard, should be taught and practiced as a whole school approach so as to equip the students with the skills and knowledge that they need as literate members of the civil society. As teachers push students to access and avail of so much information while ignoring the need to provide students with instruction in how to effectively use the resources available in the school the phenomenon which Richard Wumen calls “non-information explosion is observed.
This describes how the availability of so much information could lead to more misinformation and disinformation. He highlights the present condition of information management skill of every individual’s access to excess information as provided by the Internet which does not give us better knowledge nor characterize us with better information use. In this regard, members of the academic community call the attention of school libraries to be initiator of upholding the principles of critical thinking as primary source of information to the students.
The nine information literacy standards by the American Association of School Librarians and the Association for Educational Communication and Technology (1998) upholds the importance of information literacy and acknowledge the need to incorporate the ideals of critical thinking in the prevalent access and evaluation of the content and messages provided by the current information technologies. The standards are divided into three: subcategories: (a) information literacy, (2) independent learning, and (3) social responsibility:
Rudowicz, Elisabeth. (2002) Assessing University Students’ General and Specific Critical Thinking. College Student Journal, 363(11), 120-125. Other means of incorporation critical thinking especially into the information literacy knowledge and skills of the students should be widely implemented and supported by the whole educational system and the government in order to realize its aims and objectives to provide quality and critical information management among the students.
Intense debates about literacy education are long been issues of social importance with its normal wide media coverage. In these debates, we have frequently heard from politicians, policy makers, members of the community, key media representatives, and language educators. Critical thinking is a combination of using a set of general dispositions and abilities, along with specific experience and knowledge within a particular area of concern-in school, often the subject-matter area. This view might lead to the teaching of general critical thinking principles (e. g.
, conflict of interest, denial of the consequent) both as a separate course (or within an existing course sequence such as English or social studies), and as infused into the existing subject-matter instruction, where general dispositions and abilities would be applied. It is not known which approach is most effective. The numerous attempts at infusion or immersion include content areas such as social studies, chemistry, geometry, general science, and the physical sciences. They have generally yielded higher experimental group gains in critical thinking ability, and sometimes even in content areas
Henig, R. (1994). Rethinking School Choice: Limits of the Market Metaphor. Princeton Journal of Higher Education, 73 (16) 35-42. The call for such radical educational reform in the United States is rooted on several strongly stated claims. The first argument is that the performance of American schools, especially American public schools, is so poor that unless strong and dramatic steps are taken, the nation risks a serious and irreversible shift into eventual economic stagnation and mediocrity.
The second claim is that conventional remedies of increased spending and budget to attract better teachers, mandates on higher and tougher standards of academic performance as well as improved and redesigned curriculums have been tried and implemented yet, all have failed. Meanwhile, the final claim traces the fault for past failures in the very political processes and governing institutions that the public mistakenly turn to search for a remedy. The current curriculum followed by educational institutions at present should be able to adapt the need to incorporate and teach critical thinking.
The students should be given opportunities to undertake deeper appreciation of the information that are accessible to them by teaching them how to think critically. Exercises that enhance critical assessment and evaluation of facts and claims should be provided to the students for them to demonstrate their abilities to judge and contemplate on the content and subliminal messages buried in between lines of literary pieces, presentation and delivery of the message, and the credibility of the sources of information.
Academic researchers that will cultivate assessment in the use of resources among students could be assimilated to the different subjects that they are taking. The application of critical thinking for the students to inherent the skill should be exercised in all aspects of the students’ lives for them to become life-long critical learners and users of information. Warnick, B. (2002) Critical thinking in a Digital Era: Technology, Rhetoric, and the Public Interest.
Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 23(2), 109. Once critical thinking is applied and practiced in the educational system, other means of applying its principles, especially in the use of school libraries as information banks, should be able to accommodate the changes needed to foster the appreciation of being critically literate amidst the mass of information offered in the libraries.
Facilities inside the li9braries should provide for the information of the students while at the same time should be able to provide caution and constant guidance as to how to critically evaluate the available information. Incorporating the proper skills and knowledge in utilizing the information available in the libraries to the academic curricula should be considered by educational reformers to serve as preliminary field of applying critical thinking.
Good researching and cross-referencing skills in using the facilities in the library should be able to inculcate critical thinking among the students. The emphasized that coming up with better program ideas simply does not work because the reigning decision-making processes systematically screen the good ideas that were presented and proposed and that implementing present programs more effectively will not succeed either because the existing institutions of school governance are neither willing nor able to make the sustained and serious efforts that are required.
He proposed instead a call for public action for a radical restructuring in which the educational institutions especially those in public nature should take the initiative as significant movement of intervention in the said issue by intensifying the degree rather that the direction of change. In this respect, it is evident that there is a need to imbibe optimistic outlook in pursuing reforms in the educational system.
The unforeseen challenges that may confront and hinder the realization of maximizing the advantages of practicing critical thinking should be embraced and overcome by the significant leaders and authorities not just in the educational system but also among policy-makers and the public in general.