Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines

Volume 20, Issue 4, Summer 2001

Leah Segal, Ruth Richter
Pages 34-41

Criticism and Democracy

This paper describes a holistic approach and an interdisciplinary curriculum in enhancing critical thinking and education for democracy at the junior-high schools and highschools levels. The curriculum includes academic subjects such as the humanities, sciences, social sciences and art. The aim of this curriculum is not to teach an additional lesson in history, political sciences, art, etc., but to foster critical thinking and democratic behavior. The theoretical framework has two bases. The first derives from eighteenth century rationalism and scientific thinking, while the second is from the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century. Both produced social economies and a political structure of mass democracy. The focal point here is that critical thinking is a prerequisite for the existence of democratic values and principles in a post-modern society. The program integrates McPeck’s strategies on the conception of critical thinking and the dialectic technique of Richard Paul. The curriculum is designed for one or two semesters (14 to 28 meetings). It is built in a modular fashion, in which each subject stands on its own and is presented by various lecturers from different domains. The curriculum was implemented in junior high and high schools in Haifa and vicinity. "It is this consensus around liberal democracy as the final form of government that I have called “the end of history.” (Fukuyama, F (1990) in Fortune, January 15, 1990, p. 75).