Language and Thinking
Language and Thinking is a course designed to develop critical thinking skills which include looking at more than one side of an issue, creating arguments with relevant support, judging the arguments and providing evidence in a piece of writing, avoiding bias, spotting logical fallacies and solving problems. Working with critical thinking skills will motivate students to reflect more on a text and connect on a deeper level with a piece of writing. These skills are important for students in any academic setting, as they allow them to participate more fully in discussions and debates as well as improve their academic writing skills. The important part of the course is informal writing which is done both in preparation for, and quite independently of, formal writing assignments in a course. This include freewriting to become centered, present for the learning that is about to begin; focused freewriting that explores a term, problem, issue or question; metacognitive process writing to examine how and why you acted in a situation — done before or after reading an assignment, working on a problem, writing a paper, thinking about an issue, etc. The course aims at developing communal learning encouraging open exploration and discovery in a community of inquiry, rather than isolated competition; at promoting ’connected’, not separated, teaching and learning, at developing motivation for learning not in the ’relevance’ of the subject or in the performance of the teacher, but in the social dynamic of the learning community. The goal of the course is to develop general capacities for learning — the ability to question, to create problems as well as solutions, to wonder, to think for oneself while working with others. The reading material of the course includes extracts from fiction, newspapers and magazines, television programs, poetry, academic papers, advertisements, etc. The course is taught in English.