Explain in your own words the difference between critical thinking and opinion.

Explain in your own words the difference between “critical thinking” and “opinion.”

Discussion Questions

1. Explain in your own words the difference between “critical thinking” and “opinion.”

2. What does it mean to say that knowledge is socially constructed? Give some examples.

3. What do the authors mean when they say that “what you know” is connected to “who you are”?

Extension Activity

1. Choose a newspaper article, textbook passage, novel, film, commercial, or other text. Identify which of the various forms of knowledge (personal/cultural knowledge, popular knowledge, school knowledge, mainstream academic knowledge, transformative knowledge) manifest in the text, and describe how.

2. a. Read Chapter 1 of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States: 1492–Present (New York: HarperCollins, 1980) or Bill Bigelow and Bob Peterson’s Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years (Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, 1998).

b. Watch the film Pocahontas (Walt Disney Pictures; Burbank, CA: Walt Disney Home Entertainment, 1997). Using the text and the film as a window into knowledge construction, reflect upon the following questions:

» Which story of first contact is most often taught in schools? How is it taught?

» Whose interests are served by “school knowledge” about first contact?

» How do these texts illustrate the concept of knowledge as socially constructed?

Patterns to practice seeing:

1. What kinds of knowledge are presented as fact and which are presented as opinion? How is this difference conveyed to us?

2. How do families tend to feel about what school their children go to? What are all of the different processes and options related to school choice? What does this say about the idea that all knowledge is equal?

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