Teaching for Thinking Well: Can an Interdisciplinary Approach Cut Through the Tangle of Ideas?

By:
Dr Carol Collins,
Dr Sue Knight
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It has long been argued in the West, that the fundamental goal of education is one of equipping individuals to partake of the good life as members of a just democratic society. It is argued further that a necessary condition for the realisation of this goal is that individuals are equipped to think well; more precisely, to make decisions on the basis of arguments that are both logically cogent (that is, which have true premises and which are either inductively strong or deductively valid) and ethically grounded (that is, with premises which express appropriate regard for the welfare of others). This concern with the role education might play in fostering both the capability and the readiness to engage widely in such thinking has a long and complex history across a range of academic fields, making it a daunting task to delve into the resultant tangle of ideas, definitions and descriptions. Perhaps then, we should not be surprised to find that insufficient progress has been made towards this crucial educational goal. It is suggested that progress has been hampered on the one hand by the stark disciplinary divide between the descriptive approach of psychology and the normative stance of philosophy; on the other hand by a consequent lack of a clear theoretical framework to guide educational programme development. In this paper we argue for a new interdisciplinary model of educational research.


Keywords: ethical thinking, logical thinking, interdisipinary research
Stream: Other or Stream Unspecified
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
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Dr Carol Collins

Lecturer, School of Education
Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences, University of South Australia

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Dr Carol Collins teaches and researches in the fields of social and environmental education, ethics and Philosophy for Children, in the School of Education, University of South Australia. My recently completed doctoral research focusses on the development and evaluation of a dialogue-based educational programme designed to foster logical and ethical thinking, and which fits within the existing 'Society & Environment' curriculum. More generally, my work is concerned with the development of evaluativist thinking across all levels of schooling and in teacher education contexts. I currently serve as chair of the 'South Australian Association of Philosophy in the Classroom', and am actively involved in the newly formed 'Ethics Centre of South Australia'.

Dr Sue Knight

Lecturer, School of Education
Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences, The University of South Australia

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Dr Sue Knight has a PhD in philosophy from Adelaide University and teaches and researches in the fields of ethics and Philosophy for Children in the School of Education, University of South Australia. My focus is on teaching all branches of philosophy in primary and secondary schools. At present I have a special interest in ethical inquiry, the teaching of reasoning skills and values education. My areas of specialisation within philosophy are metaphysics and the philosophy of science. I am a founding chair of the 'South Australian Association for Philosophy in the Classroom', and inaugural chair of the Seniour Secondary Assessment Board of South Australia, Philosophy Advisory Committee. I am also actively involved in the newly formed 'Ethics Centre of South Australia'.

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