Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Cattywampus and Teaching Critical Thinking

I recently came across an old article from Life magazine about a teacher who sounds a lot like Mount Vernon Middle School teacher John Freshwater. The article, by David Owen, was titled “The Best Teacher I Ever Had.”

The author’s science teacher encouraged his students to use critical thinking and to be willing to question not only the textbook but also the teacher. The students even had a code word they would say aloud when they questioned the validity of something—Cattywampus.

(Click her to read the full story.)


Anonymous said...

I feel there is a difference between kids saying a code word on their own and a teacher teaching the kids a "code word", and a teacher teaching the kids that the book is wrong is different than a kid challenging a teacher. (which, by the way, I would not encourage as a parent. I also would not encourage them to challenge their Sunday school teachers.)

Anonymous said...

I think a challenge is a positive thing! I know I caused heartburn for many of my teachers; especially those incapable of critical thinking.

The number of people who can really think are few because too much indoctrination goes on in the public schools.

We really need teachers like Freshwater who give a more balanced approach to subjects. The goal of a school is not to indoctrinate; rather, it should be to teach them to think critically.

I think teaching kids that the book may be wrong creates a challenge for the child and helps him to be thinking outside the box.

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