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Classics and Transferable Skills part IV…

Skill 3 - Critical Questioning and Reflection

Logical reasoning and attention to detail are all important skills for critical questioning. What do I mean by critical questioning? Essentially, the ability logically to challenge a statement or accepted belief, or even the status quo itself, not simply asserting that you don’t agree with someone. I have always felt this to be an integral part of education’s purpose and a very exciting one, particularly when you see a student truly enthused by a new idea or way of thinking. I wish to move beyond the language at this point. This will certainly help hone to core skills required for critical thinking, but the rest of Classics is what inspires the questions. Classics offers all manner of material for reflection upon bigger issues:

  • · Human nature and motivation

  • · How we perceive other people

  • · How we negatively construct others

  • · What the purpose of life is

  • · What kind of society is the most just?

  • · What kind of effect do our actions have on the world?

  • · Have we really progressed as much as we think we have?

To name but a few. If one can read the Iliad and Odyssey, Aescylus’ Agamemnon, Euripides’ Trojan Women, Lucretius’ de rerum natura, Thucydides and Polybius’ Histories, Plato’s Apology, and not begin to question our so-called ‘advancement’, I would not only be surprised, I would be concerned.

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