Learning Skills

Critical Thinking: Putting It All Together


Web Resources for This Assignment

For General Education 110


For General Education 111

Southern and Central America: Colonialism and Independence



Critical Thinking   Throughout this semester you've learned a large number of critical thinking skills: thesis, biases, argument, secondary arguments, and discourse problems. Each of these are separate areas of critical thinking and the critical engagement with learning materials and with discourses. No one skill stands alone in spite of the fact that I've separated them. Identifying a thesis, for instance, is intimately related to understanding the structure of the argument. Discourse problems, of course, intimately relate to both theses and biases.
   At this point, then, you are ready to apply the whole gamut of critical thinking skills in one large guerilla raid on your textbook. I want you to closely examine your reading for the day and determine several things: what problems does the writer see as needing to be solved? What problems does the writer ignore? Are they important? What overall argument does the writer seem to be making? What are the parts of the argument? What subsidiary arguments are related to this central argument? What definition arguments does the writer make? Do you agree with the writer's definitions (or implied definitions)? Does the writer use any words as if they have a single meaning? Does the writer ignore alternative definitions? What kind of analysis does the writer do? Is it valid? What bias do you detect both in the selection of problems, the overal thesis, and the way the argument is put together? Where do you take issue with the overall presentation of your textbook?
   You are to write a one to one and a half page essay examining all these questions above on the assigned part of the textbook for either General Education 110 or General Education 111. Your essay itself should be an argument that is critical of the textbook, its argument, or its presentation. As always, your essay should have a thesis and a clearly organized argument.


World Cultures

World Cultures Home Page


1997, Richard Hooker
Updated 2-22-98