First of all, since the WPAs have long proclaimed that English 1010/2010/2020 are about teaching critical thinking, at their core, I thought I would share a fun link on Wikihow entitled How to Think For Yourself. I think it's a good starting place for a discussion about critical thought. Since it's a wiki and since this is something we think a lot about, it might be interesting to see how we as teachers would add or expand to this definition (it is a wiki, after all). I'm sure there's a lot we could add to step #4, in particular.
As for my second link, all I have to say is: I got scooped! I've had the dream of creating a visual graph of logical fallacies for a long time and now the Fallacy Files have beaten me to it. Check out their Taxonomy of Logical Fallacies. It's pretty amazing.
Do you teach logical fallacies in your class? I have a class period devoted to it early on in the semester because I think it's helpful to begin a discussion of sound logic by talking about what is not logical. I actually have a 35+ guide to logical fallacies. It's kind of becoming my magnum opus. I based it on Kip Wheeler's Logical Fallacy Handlist, making heavy edits using additional content and examples from Wikipedia and the afore-mentioned Fallacy Files (among others). All three of these sites grant copyright permission for non-commercial use, which is nice. Normally, I would share my entire guide with all of you, but I'm working on getting some copyright permission for some of the images I use and it makes me nervous to distribute it to anyone but my students right now. However, I might be willing to let you read it just for your own personal reference, if you'd like. Just contact me for the file.
When I teach about logical fallacies, I do a little introduction to Logical Fallacies by reading Max Shulman's "Love is a Fallacy" (with a heavy disclaimer that it's a very chauvinist text) and then I divide them into groups of 3 and assign them 3 logical fallacies to present to the class using my guide.
As a follow-up to the lecture, I have them write online forum posts identifying logical fallacies in 1 of the 4 common film texts they view for my class. I heard an idea for another possible follow up that I used to use, but I stopped doing it because it made my classes run out of time. I got the idea from an Academic Evolution podcast featuring Kathryn Cowley. I still think it's a great idea. Here's the directions I used to use for it:
Now you’ll get to use your creativity to apply your logical fallacy to an argument. Choose one of the two passages on the following pages (Abraham Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address" or "America Recycles Day"). Your group is going to pick one of the logical fallacies you learned about together and you’re going to "doctor" this piece of writing so that it has your assigned logical fallacy in it. For example:
From a section of Kennedy’s Inaugural Address:
To those people in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required—not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
Doctored Inaugural Address with the "Ad Hominem" logical fallacy:
To those people in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required--not because those stinkin’, lyin’, no good, evil, God-hating Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
I then had them doctor the text of either The Gettysburg Address or an editorial that used to be available on the America Recycles Day website. (You can contact me if you want the text.) Back when I did it, I sometimes got some pretty creative responses. It's a fun activity if you want to give it a try.