WHAT’S THE ISSUE?
It's never been more important for students at universities to learn about critical thinking. And it is not a new concept in universities. Scholars like Thomas Aquinas often list every argument and then against every argument. Academics are constantly evaluating, making sure that arguments stand up, testing what the opposition to them is, what alternative theories there might be and then arriving at a conclusion about the way forward.
To learn more about it, Stephen is joined by Anthony McLaren from St. Mary's University in London.
MEET THE EXPERT
Anthony McClaran is the third vice chancellor of St. Mary's University in London, and he has huge experience in education and also of running the Australian education system.
Anthony has served as a member of the boards of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) and the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE), and has recently begun his second term on the International Advisory Board for the US Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
WHAT DOES ANTHONY MCCLARAN SAY?
He says critical thinking isn't simply an intellectual exercise. It can be and should be a guide to action in the real world.
“The dominance now in public communication of social media has led to a situation where the ego is predominating. That makes people far less willing to accept other points of view When they hear another point of view, one that perhaps is different to theirs or directly contradictory to theirs, rather than thinking, well, that's another perspective, let me evaluate that, they take it as a personal attack on them.”
McClaran adds that younger students particularly those so-called digital natives, have grown up with this. Therefore, part of coming to university now is also learning to think in ways which social media is not conducive towards.
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