Edev_502 response wk4_2

Both of you promote the idea that habit formation and critical thinking are uneasy bedfellows. I’d like to offer a contrasting opinion.

Following Duhigg’s (2014) tripartite model, the habit sequence is broken down into components rather than see a ‘habit’ as a single repeated action. This division allows for the analysis of the individual elements: cue, routine, reward. I’ll look only at the ‘routine’ stage. I argue that a routine can be multiple actions and that those actions can include critical thinking.

A routine may be a single action or a complex set. When walking into my classroom (the cue) I see that the previous professor has left the blinds down, my routine is to open the blinds to achieve the reward of the bright, positive emotion inducing light classroom. Although it is debatable that this routine is actually a single action, for the purposes, I’ll consider it so. I also have the habit of lesson preparation on a Thursday afternoon when I have no classes. This habit comprises many cognitive actions as well as the attendant physical ones and may take up to a whole afternoon to complete. It is arguable that any individual action (beyond the coffee and notebook preparation) is predicted by the formed habit itself. Yet the whole is habitual.

Elder and Paul (2001) address the question of whether or not critical thinking can be habitual. Their final stage six of the development of a critical thinker is defined as “The Master Thinker” where “skilled and insightful thinking become second nature to us”. Prior to this, they describe the process of habit formation as it relates to critical thinking. In other words, this stage subsumes the actions of the earlier stages and allows for flexibility in the performance of the skill within the confines of a routine.

Duhigg, C. (2014). The power of habit. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks.

Elder, L. & Paul, R. (2001). Critical thinking in everyday life: 9 strategies. Tomales, CA: Foundation for Critical Thinking, Retrieved August 5 from:http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/critical-thinking-in-everyday-life-9-strategies/512

About theCaledonian

Scot living in north Japan teaching at a national university.
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