Of Note: Opening Conflict, Opening Thinking


Teaching Controversial Issues: The Case for Critical Thinking and Moral Commitment in the Classroom by Nel Noddings and Laurie Brooks
Teachers College Press, December 15, 2016

In their latest book, Nel Noddings and Laurie Brooks argue that effective critical thinking in the classroom must be guided by moral commitment. The authors challenge assumptions (such as “knowledge is virtue”) to critically examine moral and political thought. They frame their work with a primer on the sources of morality within the educational system, and in the process, question the type of citizens teachers seek to develop, highlighting too the importance of communication within a democracy and the need for open discussion of conflicting ideas. They then provide guidance on topics relevant to students today, ranging from gender and equality to global economic and environmental issues. The need for critical thinking in our classrooms, especially in our current political climate, is more urgent than ever. Through open discussions of controversial issues, teachers can help it to flourish. Noddings and Brooks dig, prod, and push, suggesting the kind of classroom our students and futures deserve. 

Submitted By: Leo Connally, Ed.M. Candidate, Klingenstein Center, New York, NY

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