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Jessika Meza
Professor Ogbara
English 1A #72531
21 September 2015
Critical Thinking and Education
Traditional education was the beginning point of learning. It was one of the reasons why
students had great learning experiences and had applied those ideas to life, but that is not
necessarily true. At least not for some scientists and philosophers who have studied new effective
methods to education, their studies have brought to surface brighter ideas to advancing childrens
minds in education. In the essay Thinking in Education author John Dewey, educational
philosopher, argues that teachers had the wrong idea of teaching important skills and
incorporating them into curriculum. In his essay he explains how ineffective traditional education
can be compared to progressive learning methods which requires personal experiences and
understanding interactions. In a different essay named Critical Thinking written by Bell
Hooks, progressive educator, she discusses the issues faced with teachers not providing their
students the freedom to imagine and explore their ideas on controversial topics in their own
ways. Both educators believe that students need to be instructed to becoming open minded,
reflective, and critical thinkers. Critical thinking is the process of the human mind to actively
participate in everyday situations and have apply various skills to develop solutions to problems
based on their observations, experiences and believes. I believe traditional education doesnt
allow educators in the academic force to provide the correct teaching methods to prepare their
students for real life situations, learning experiences and good thinking habits.
Traditional education is based off of material that doesnt require thinking or anything
that creates self-thought. The information is being fed to students minds and the information is

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being taught by someone who is teaching off their own experiences. Encouraging students to
come to school to copy and paste information into their mind is only temporarily, it is not an
effective way to gaining knowledge. According to Bell Hooks essay she asserts that, Those
students who do not dread thinking often come to classes assuming that thinking with not be
necessary, that all they will need to do is consume information and regurgitate it at the
appropriate moments (p.1). In traditional education students find themselves in a position
where independent thinking is not encouraged, because teachers have repeatedly taught their
student to believe and accept others ideas and finding. Students are being taught one sided
fundamentals and dont think otherwise of the information handed to them. Since there is no
actual thinking involved in their education, the information is temporary and will soon be
forgotten. In this type of situation, the only solution is to incorporate critical thinking skills to
curriculum. Bell Hooks has pointed out the fact that progressive learning is based off of radical
openness; teachers have to encourage students to not always agree to ideas or finding, and dont
stand clear of others perspectives. When in the classroom teachers have to create a learning
environment to being open minded and to be willing to acknowledge what we dont know.
Critical thinking skills allow us to think for ourselves and does not allows us to be deceived by
others opinions and beliefs.
Many academic departments arent providing their students with enough experience to
develop critical thinking skills. Teachers in traditional learning environments dont apply critical
thinking skills into curriculum, which can cause several problems to students, learn abilities and
sense of independent thinking. Students should have learned to be independent and confident in
their thinking abilities to be able to use at any moment of life. In Thinking in Education John
Dewey asserts that, The material of thinking is not thoughts, but actions, facts, events, and the

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relations of things. In other words, to think effectively one must have had, or now have,
experiences which will furnish him resources for coping with the difficulty at hand (562).
Dewey is explaining that in learning there are more than thoughts involved in solving problems
and learning. To be a critical thinker you must have experiences to truly understand the problem
and come up with strategies to solve those problems. Being exposed to raw situations are
important to consuming knowledge and remembering how to apply thinking in every part of life.
Critical thinking is a challenging task, but its a crucial skill to practice and master to becoming
an excellent self-directed learner. Critical thinking should be treated as an independent learning
experience that gives you the ability come up with ideas that help understand and solve problems
on your own. Students are lacking in reasoning, rational decisions, and remembering past
learning experiences. Their educators arent giving their students the chance to develop solutions
based on their points of view, because their taught to listen and repeat given information. There
are many teachers who continue to provide biased, distorted, and prejudice concepts that are
ruining the minds of their students. Serving them repeated and unoriginal information is not the
proper way to gain control of effective learning strategies. Educators are supposed to be the main
source of developing thinking skills. The idea that students are being taught ineffective education
attempts to prevent progressive education that is based off of experience.
Students must be engaged in relevant activities and opportunities in the classrooms to
apply their critical thinking skills to curriculum. Opportunities to practice critical thinking are
opened to students when theyre in an environment where thinking is constantly being connected
to material of the classroom. In Thinking in Education Dewey annotates that, There must be
more actual material, more stuff, more appliances, and more opportunities for doing things,
before the gap can be overcome. And where children are engaged in doing things and discussing

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what arises in the course of their doing, it is found, even with comparatively indifferent modes of
instruction, that childrens inquiries are spontaneous and numerous, and the proposals of
solutions advanced, varied, and ingenious (561). Dewey makes a point to expanding the
material in the classroom and encourage participation of students to give more of an opportunity
to gain experience. In order to engage in learning effectively students should be given actual
work and communicative duties in their studies. Due to the matter that learning is an important
task of growth, teaching effective ways to engage students to their course work allows them to
make stronger connections to their studies. It is the job of an instructor to present criteria to
students where they are able to develop their own understanding and have learned the lesson by
being involved in the assignment, mentally and physically. In my view, teachers should be
looked at as someone of the community to present problematic lessons and students should take
note of how to work through problems and work towards finding the solution. The teacher is
their guide to work through issues, but not be the one to hand out the answers. One must enforce
students to think beyond their knowledge and use their imagination towards an assignment to
inform them that creating opinionated and critical judgments of an assignment is a way of storing
memorable experiences. Relating to past experiences to new criteria does allow students to recall
their past knowledge and form possible ideas to how they store recent lessons. Providing creative
and interesting topic questions is a way of applying critical thinking to some discussions.
Students feel a stronger connection between the material when compared to personal experiences
that relate to the subjects of the classroom. Critical thinking can easily be introduced to
interaction by asking challenging questions or asking how they feel about the subject. Any form
of them relating or explaining their thoughts in their own words helps understand how a student
processes of interaction between criteria and their understanding.

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Although John Dewey has argued that traditional education isnt the best form of
learning, students have been taught that method for several years and it has proven that students
do learn. Before passive education was introduce to educators the only method students were
ever taught was the traditional method. It is known that children are curious and will question
what is in their surroundings and why they are presented. Bell Hooks pronounce that children
are organically predisposed to be critical thinkers. Across the boundaries of race, class, gender,
and circumstance, children come into the world of wonder and language consumed with a desire
for knowledge (Critical Thinking 1). Students were always eager to learn, its part of
understanding life and how it works, whether its traditional or passive learning methods students
have always had a drive to learn. Human beings come into a world full of questions and are
bound to find the answers to their questions in life. Critical thinking should be a constant action
happening in our brain, to produce new and more developed ideas and thoughts. Everyone has
formed different ideas based on their experiences, observations, and beliefs. No matter of what
background or gender our brains all equally produce desire to want to learn. However, traditional
learning is too straight forward and it never allows students to be challenged in their thinking
ability. Due to the fact that all the work is done by educators, students werent given the chance
to think beyond what they already know. Critical thinking strategies may arise a greater
opportunity to be mentally engaged in creative and abstract thinking abilities. To master such
ability will allow students to independently settle in difficult and problematic situations. This is
all part of preparing students for the real world and real problems that will be present in the
future. Thats why it very important to develop good habits of developing skills of thinking and
apply them in everyday activities.

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To sum up, John Dewey and Bell Hooks have proven their points in regarding
progressive education to be a more effective way of learning. Although traditional education had
been the common way to educate students it no longer has relevance to present education.
Dewey explains that experiences and interaction are the main reason why learning is a
memorable lesson. Being able to a critical thinker is one of the best skills a student can learn and
master to being an independent learner. As for hooks she explains that students need to be open
to learning experiences and others perspectives. Critical thinking involves being comfortable in
classroom environments to being productive students. Both progressive educators have shown
their points to why teachers have been educating students ineffective lessons. As for traditional
methods of education that teaches students to be handed life lessons through others experiences
and live by others opinions and perspectives of life. A life lesson is not based off others ideas and
finding, it based off ones own experiences, interactions, and perspectives. Based on these
traditional educational methods it has not prepared students for real life situations, learning

experiences, and critical thinking skills for the future.