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Is That Right? Critical Thinking and the Social World of the Young Learner.

Ian Wright. Toronto, Ontario: Pippin, 2002. Wright, a university professor who once taught social studies in public schools, makes his case for teaching critical thinking, especially in social studies. The book, aimed at teachers and teacher education candidates, begins with the author's confession that early in his career he did not think about or use critical thinking strategies in his classroom. During his graduate studies, he discovered the wisdom of applying these strategies in the classroom.

Wright's book illustrates the history of critical thinking and its importance as an educational goal, defines critical thinking, and discusses the teaching and assessment of critical thinking in the classroom. The author believes that education should be more than the learning of facts. He is really talking about transmission versus transformation theory, concepts that, unfortunately, are not generally evident to teacher education candidates until the graduate level. The growth of state-sponsored standard assessments for students, especially in reading and writing, have left little time in teacher education programs for training in transformation theory.

While few would argue with the idea of educating students to be thoughtful and questioning citizens, the emphasis on assessable skills and the historical use of transmission theory in American education are impediments to its use. The author, along with his often-lengthy discussions, includes examples of activities for teachers to use in the classroom to practice critical thinking. He warns that critical or reflective thinking is not an easy strategy to learn or teach, but most would agree that it is a crucial one for students of all ages. Reviewed by Meredith E. Kiger, Morgantown, WV
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Author:Kiger, Meredith E.
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 22, 2003
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