Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking

Why study this course?

Critical Thinking has only recently been established at Malbank and is becoming increasingly popular with Gifted & Talented students. Results are consistently good with the majority of students achieving grades A*-C.

So what is Critical Thinking? It is a form of reflective reasoning that analyses and evaluates information and arguments by applying a range of intellectual skills in order to reach clear, logical and coherent judgements. It is skills-based, as oppose to content-based, curriculum. It is all about reflection. You will analyse arguments and evaluate evidence in order to reach a logical judgement. It will challenge you to really think about what you read and hear people say.  It will also challenge you to communicate effectively and consider arguments/evidence in a logical way.

How is the course structured?

AS

Unit 1: ‘An Introduction to Critical Thinking' - the language of reasoning and assessing credibility - Written paper, 1 hour 30 minutes, 
50% of AS, 25% of A2
Unit 2: ‘Assessing and Developing Argument' - evaluating arguments and developing a response - Written paper, 1 hour 30 minutes, 
50% of AS, 25% of A2

A2

Unit 3: ‘Ethical Reasoning and Decision Making' - responding to dilemmas and developing moral 
& ethical principles - Written paper, 1 hour 30 minutes, 25% of A2
Unit 4: ‘Critical Reasoning' - analysing and evaluating complex arguments and developing a response - Written paper, 1 hour 30 minutes, 25% of A2

NB: At present, it is not possible to select Critical Thinking as one of your four options. Rather, it is delivered using ‘spare' sessions and during lunch times/after school. As a result, students who wish to sit both AS exams or study the A2 course will need to dedicate several hours of their own time each week to ensure that the material is covered and examination skills are developed.

What are the entry requirements?

Critical Thinking is a challenging academic course with rigorous and demanding assessment procedures. It requires high level, flexible thinking skills and you should only opt for this course if you have achieved a grade B or above in English and related subjects such as History and RE.

Which other subjects link well with this subject?

Critical Thinking will be a useful addition to a wide range of subject combinations because it develops a whole host of transferable skills; so whether you choose to study Law, Electronics, Art or Food Technology, there's a valid argument for making Critical Thinking one of your choices. However it would combine particularly well with subjects such as Philosophy, Psychology, English Language or Literature, Sociology, History and RE. It is also a useful addition to those students who choose to study the Sciences alongside Maths as it ensures that they still develop the skills necessary to succeed at University and beyond.

What career paths would this course lead to?

As aforementioned, Critical Thinking is about the development of a range of skills that can be transferred to and implemented in a wide range of professional settings.

What specific skills will I learn?

  • How to analyse, evaluate and interpret peoples' arguments
  •  Knowing how to spot flaws and weaknesses in the reasoning
  • How to compose reasoned and coherent arguments which can be applied across the curriculum
  • Deep, structured thought processes about issues that are key to participating in society, for example ethical questions, cultural issues and issues of personal responsibility.

What Extra Opportunities are available?

Over the coming year, the aim is to establish links with local organisations that will give students the opportunity to apply their skills in a purposeful way such as policy making, debating and public speaking.

"Critical Thinking has developed my skills - I can now structure arguments logically! It's also helped me in other lessons!" - Hannah Oakes

"Critical Thinking has helped to develop my essay skills in other subjects, for example English and Ethics. The teacher is always there to give advice, too!" - Becky Jones

"Critical Thinking has taught me to argue effectively. Before, I just yelled my point!!! Now, I use logic and have clear reasons and justifiable conclusions!!! It's also helped me to hear things differently - I always weigh up what I hear before I respond!" - Jenny Short