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Freedom to think can aid learning, studies show

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Over at AITSE, headed by Expelled’s Caroline Crocker, author of Free to Think, we learn (May 20, 2011) something that should not surprise us: Freeing students to think is an aid to learning:

Do students learn better when taught by experienced lecturers in the traditional method or when given specific problems to solve in a small group setting? According to a study conducted with over 500 engineering students at the University of British Columbia, even if the teacher is inexperienced, students that are encouraged to read, solve problems, and bounce ideas off the teacher are more engaged, attend class more frequently, and achieve higher average exam scores (74%) than those who are forced to sit and listen to lectures (41%).One of the best ways to help students learn is to teach them controversial subjects and allow them to be free to think. Students need to be stimulated to want to learn the subject matter rather than forced to memorize “facts”. Controversy helps them to apply critical thinking skills to their new knowledge. A study at Ohio State University showed that … More.

Traditional prof, shouting from bench in front of senior’s residence: To the extent that an education institution did want students to  think, some practice would seem essential.

Critical thinking is a skill that is solely needed today. I took a college-level course on this subject a few semesters back, but it should be taught as early as middle school and most definitely in high school. Barb

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