Saturday Morning Media: Teaching Logic Via The Viral JK Rowling Bias Teacher

The best way to teach critical thinking is to think critically through stuff you care about. 

A student asks a teacher about JK Rowling being transphobic, pointing out how the author’s had a controversial past and said some bad stuff on Twitter. “Do you still like her work despite her bigoted opinions?”

The teacher composes himself and starts to speak, “We’re gonna treat this as a thought experiment, I’m not going to say what’s right or wrong or what way to think. The whole point is to learn HOW to think, now WHAT to think.” 

I can get behind that. 

(sidebar: see also this post on Merve Emre’s “how to be a critic” segment on her new podcast, it’s gold too – and all about teaching critical thinking by example)

I can also get behind the student coming around to thinking independently, and recognizing how susceptible to the opinions of our peers we can be. 

Which is beautifully captured in this quick conversation. 

The chatter around us is often common knowledge – the stuff we know everyone else knows. It’s sneaky because it’s so… everywhere. Not always in a bad way, just in a pervasive way. The earlier we learn to look for it, the better. And the later we remember to check in and decide for ourselves about it, well, it’s always better late than never with this stuff.