The Study Dude—The Toothless Grin of Critical Thinkers

Are universities puppets for the powerful and wealthy?  Well, ask yourself, Who funds the theory?  And Who says what counts as critical thinking?

Today’s universities seem more political, less practical, even less economical than ever before.  I saw an AU business thesis, not on economic matters, not on shareholder dividends, but on postcolonial feminism in management.  Doesn’t that belong in the soft sciences—like sociology?  Or better yet, in Venezuela?

It seems Harvard, once the king of Ivy Leagues, has toppled into the pits of soft science.  Where will this line of teaching head over the next ten years?  I don’t think toward free markets, freedom of speech, freedom of religion—or simply freedom.

Have Universities dumbed down curriculum to Marxism and its offshoots?  The book I cite below (by Klassen and Dwyer) touts Marxism as a theory of choice.  But haven’t we figured out better theory since 1848?  With that in mind, departments should list key theoretical models on their websites.  That way, we can flee to trade school at the starting line.

But you might argue that Marxism hallmarks critical thinking.  I’ve learned that critical thinking hinges on agendas—with funders given the biggest sway.  George Soros, for instance, who is inspired by Karl Popper’s work on open societies and is, in my view, pushing mass migration, recently had meetings with Justin Trudeau, and has put 18 billion into his Open Society Foundations. So how much of Soros’s coffers have clunked into Canadian classrooms, and what does that mean?”?

But, what trumps both theory and critical thinking? In my mind, problem solving.

Thomas R.  Klassen and John A.  Dwyer list steps to problem solving in their book How to Succeed at University (And Get a Great Job!): Mastering the Critical skills You Need for School, Work, and Life.

  • On one hand, theory and practicality don’t dance in time together. So, many students fail to mingle between theory and the real world.
  • On the other hand, complex problem-solving tackles real world concerns.
  • But when you problem solve, don’t jump to solutions. We often wing solutions, pulling them out of the dark, without fully sifting through the issue.
  • And don’t rush to the first solution. Don’t cling to what strikes as right either.  Explore, let unfold, reassess.
  • First step to problem-solving? Identify the issue, clearly, measurably, and truthfully.
  • Second step?   List all potential causes, no holding back.  Lay them out with fishbone diagrams or mind maps.
  • Third step? Identify solutions.  Tear them apart.  But know that even so-called impossible solutions can turn out winners.
  • Fourth step? Pick the optimal solution.  Apply a point system to measure the value of each solution.
  • Fifth step? Apply the solution through planning, scheduling, and action.  Have a contingency plan in case things go wrong.
  • Sixth step? Measure success with milestones.  Collect data to measure whether solution succeeded.
  • Seventh step? Ensure the problem doesn’t recur.  Stay on guard.

To universities’ credit, hard sciences lead to practical outcomes—consider engineering, computer science, and economics.  And education and medicine stand most practical—teachers and doctors don’t disappear from demand.

But the day dentists focus on post-colonial feminism, I’m donning the toothless grin.

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