Critical thinking

If most people think that prison

should be tougher,

doesn’t that mean it really should be?

What’s the difference between

inductive and deductive reasoning,

and does it matter?

Why has the teacher written

‘weak argument’?

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.


Knowledge and critical thinking

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.


Looking at arguments

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


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?


Arguments, good…and bad!

‘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, and pulling bad arguments apart can be fun!


It depends what you mean by…

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


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, but also different styles, tones and vocabulary.


From making an argument to making a case

A series of arguments come together to make a case.  How will you present your arguments in an appropriate sequence, and how will you adjust your approach to suit your audience?


Presenting you case

In small groups, you’ll be researching and evaluating a topic as the basis for a case.   Each group will present its case to the rest of the class for feedback and critical evaluation. You’re all critical thinkers now…