Critical thinking

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This course is designed for students who are native or near-native speakers of English. At the end of it, you’ll be in a much stronger position to identify and analyse arguments – and to produce your own, using relevant material and crystal-clear language.

Language guide: for this course, we recommend these levels of English: native/near-native competence / 8 (IELTS) / 120 (TOEFL iBT) / C2 (CEF) / CPE.

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Critical thinking and knowledge

Theory of knowledge, which some students may already be studying, looks at what we know and how we know it. Critical thinking considers how we use that knowledge to create good arguments.

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Looking at arguments

The argument is at the core of critical thinking. But how do you identify an argument, and what are the main types of argumentation?

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Evidence and assumptions

Strong arguments need to be supported by strong evidence. What sort of evidence do we need in order to accept an argument – or how much do we simply assume?

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Strong versus weak arguments

‘You can’t believe what they say, because they live on the north side of town.’ Obviously a bad argument. But some are not so obvious…

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The use of language

Here you look at the ways in which language can be used to inspire, persuade or change opinions. We will be paying particular attention to political rhetoric and the media.

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Writing critically

Now we turn to the development of critical writing skills. You’ll be given mini-projects on writing for a variety of audiences to practise simple and effective language, bu also different styles, tones and vocabulary.

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Consolidating the material

In small groups, you’ll be researching and evaluation a topic, and finally putting your conclusions and opinions in writing, utilising the skills you’ve acquired during the course.

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Making your argument

Each group will present their argument to the teacher and the class for feedback and critical evaluation. You are now a critical thinker!