In a time of “alternative facts” and “fake news”, how can one decide what is correct and incorrect? How can we establish what is true or not true when we find competing claims about the truth? How do we make sense of what is happening in the world when there are so many different versions of current events in the news, on our social media, and in our daily conversations? We live in an era when many feel that it has become harder to trust the government, news media, and each other as reliable sources of information and knowledge—it is more important than ever for us to be aware of critical thinking and what it can do for us. Critical thinking helps to make clear how it is that we think and communicate about the world. Not only can critical thinking help us to navigate the claims that other people make, but it can also help us to improve our own thinking and communication.
The three major goals of this course are to:
- Introduce and encourage the practice of the four aspects of thinking: Creative Thinking, Abstract Thinking, Systematic Thinking, and Communicative Thinking.
- Encourage student inquiry through asking thoughtful, open-ended questions and by thought experiments.
- Provide instruction and opportunities for students to practice and develop their discussion and questioning skills.
Connections - 7th Grade
The Connections course at the seventh-grade level is designed to develop basic techniques of analysis and an understanding of the principles and concepts involved in clear thinking. In this course we seek to explore, using critical reasoning, issues related to topics being currently studied in other courses as well as current ethical and social issues. In addition, we engage each other, using the Socratic Method, in a sustained discussion of these issues.
Connections - 8th Grade
The primary focus in the eighth-grade year is on the development, continuation, and expansion of critical thinking and communication skills that began the previous year. Eighth-grade Connections students explore the dynamic relationship of Self and Society by examining how the concept of wellness, as it relates to complete health and well-being, is a combination of different aspects of one's life and social environment.