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The expectations of writing at the University level are very different from High School and having someone experienced in academic writing give you feedback can be very helpful.
There are larger points, like the nature of science and scientific thinking, and the perspective brought on by an appreciation of the complexity of Earth systems and the mind-numbing scale of the universe.
In the face of this balancing act, the traditional approach is often to simply focus on the details of a particular science (to build that foundation for prospective majors) and assume that the students will absorb the other stuff in the process.
Where standalone critical thinking courses exist, however, they are mostly found within the humanities and social sciences.
Those courses often center on argumentation and literary criticism, or instead on the philosophy of logic, but there are opportunities to expand this— particularly by giving science a larger presence.
These assignments are usually rather formal, demanding good reading and academic writing skills.
They require you to research a topic and then develop a thesis (a perspective, a point of view), which is backed up with evidence from peer-reviewed resources or primary sources (e.g. In addition, there are less academic items to write, such as emails to your professors and graduate school or job applications.
Like most educators, one of my central aims is to impart critical thinking skills— to help students make sound decisions in a confusing world of conflicting information, sales pitches, and smooth-talking politicians.
Though critical thinking is universally regarded as a pillar of higher education (including by employers seeking college graduates), results show that students are not developing their critical thinking skills to the extent we expect.
That’s a remarkable failure to realize the promise of a college education—and that disappointing reality actually appears to have gotten considerably worse over the last few decades.
It’s irrelevant how much blame should be placed on the school and how much on the students. As an educator, I’ve constantly struggled with how to stimulate growth in these skills.