easy journal entries 1

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1) Introduction
You will keep an intellectual journal in which you will write at least two times a week. The journal provides practice in thinking through critical thinking concepts. The only way we improve any skill is through consistent practice. Think of the journal as the intellectual equivalent of exercising. Here, you are exercising your mind. The purpose of this journal is two-fold:

  • To reinforce and deepen your understanding of the main critical thinking concepts in each module
  • To apply the concepts you are learning to your own life

Specifications
Type your journal entries each week and save them in one file. Your instructor will ask you to submit your journal entries at several points during the semester. Journals are graded mostly on content (is your thinking clear, precise, in-depth, relevant, and logical?). Entries should be written in complete sentences and should be around a typed page in length, but the structure is not formal, since this is meant to be exploratory writing where you can practice your understanding and application of critical thinking concepts. (In contrast, any “writing assignments” should be organized as formal papers.) Poor writing skills can hurt your grade, so be sure to at least proofread your entries before submitting.

The Questions
Answer at least four of the following questions in your journal. You may do more if you wish.

How well do you understand the concept of logical fallacies? Complete the following statements as clearly and precisely as possible.

  1. The concept of logical fallacies basically means. . . (State this meaning in your own words.)
  2. In other words. . . (Elaborate on your first sentence in a few more sentences.)
  3. For exle. . . (Now give an exle of what you meant, connecting the topic to your own experience so that you can better understand it.)

Repeat the above entry using any of the logical fallacies. For exle, you could explain the concept of hasty generalization, elaborating on it and giving exles of it. Choose one or more of the logical fallacies: begging the question, red herring, bandwagon, faulty analogy, either/or, etc.

How well do you understand the concept of egocentrism? Complete the following statements as clearly and precisely as possible.

  1. The concept of egocentrism basically means. . . (State this meaning in your own words.)
  2. In other words. . . (Elaborate on your first sentence in a few more sentences.)
  3. For exle. . . (Now give an exle of what you meant, connecting the topic to your own experience so that you can better understand it.)

How well do you understand the concept of sociocentrism? Complete the following statements as clearly and precisely as possible.

  1. The concept of sociocentrism basically means. . . (State this meaning in your own words.)
  2. In other words. . . (Elaborate on your first sentence in a few more sentences.)
  3. For exle. . . (Now give an exle of what you meant, connecting the topic to your own experience so that you can better understand it.)

Keep a log of logical fallacies. For a week, try to become extremely aware of logical fallacies and irrational thinking (egocentrism, sociocentrism) as you go about your business each day. Each time you see, read, or hear a fallacy, write it down in your journal, explaining what you saw or heard, where you saw or heard it, what fallacy is illustrated in the exle, and an explanation of why the exle is a fallacy or represents irrational thinking. See how many exles you can find as you drive to work, watch television, talk with your family and friends, sit in class, surf online, read the newspaper or a magazine, etc.

2) Introduction

You will keep an intellectual journal in which you will write at least two times a week. The journal provides practice in thinking through critical thinking concepts. The only way we improve any skill is through consistent practice. Think of the journal as the intellectual equivalent of exercising. Here, you are exercising your mind. The purpose of this journal is two-fold:

  • To reinforce and deepen your understanding of the main critical thinking concepts in each module
  • To apply the concepts you are learning to your own life

Specifications
Type your journal entries each week and save them in one file. Your instructor will ask you to submit your journal entries at several points during the semester. Journals are graded mostly on content (is your thinking clear, precise, in-depth, relevant, and logical?). Entries should be written in complete sentences and should be around a typed page in length, but the structure is not formal, since this is meant to be exploratory writing where you can practice your understanding and application of critical thinking concepts. (In contrast, any “writing assignments” should be organized as formal papers.) Poor writing skills can hurt your grade, so be sure to at least proofread your entries before submitting.

The Questions
For module six, answer at least four of the following questions in your journal. You may do more if you wish.

How well do you understand the concept of media bias? Complete the following statements as clearly and precisely as possible.

  1. The concept of media bias basically means. . . (State this meaning in your own words.)
  2. In other words. . . (Elaborate on your first sentence in a few more sentences.)
  3. For exle. . . (Now give an exle of what you meant, connecting the topic to your own experience so that you can better understand it.)

How well do you understand the concept of propaganda? Complete the following statements as clearly and precisely as possible.

  1. The concept of propaganda basically means. . . (State this meaning in your own words.)
  2. In other words. . . (Elaborate on your first sentence in a few more sentences.)
  3. For exle. . . (Now give an exle of what you meant, connecting the topic to your own experience so that you can better understand it.)

Identifying and analyzing biased news stories (from Paul and Elder, 2006). Locate a news story (in a newspaper) that appears biased or is told from a slanted view. Identify:

  1. The bias(es) inherent in the story.
  2. The viewpoints that are ignored or distorted.

Then state how the story would have to be constructed if it were to fairly represent all relevant viewpoints.

Identifying sensationalism in the news (from Paul and Elder). Identify a news story in which some behavior is sensationalized. You are looking for a story that is blown out of proportion in terms of importance (while other important stories are ignored). Explain how the event or behavior is sensationalized. Explain why you think it was reported in the first place. What is the effect (or possible effects) of reporting this story?

Reading outside the mainstream. Visit at least three of the alternate online news sources listed in the lecture notes. Summarize what you find: How is the reporting different from that of your usual news outlets? Did anything surprise you? Explain.

Rewrite a news story (from Paul and Elder). Using a daily newspaper, choose a story that you think you can rewrite from another viewpoint. Rewrite the story. Explain the changes you have made and why you have made them.

Read and respond to views of dissenting thinkers (from Paul and Elder). Get a book or article by one of the authors listed below and read some part of the book or article. You will have to read enough to get an idea of this author’s views. Then write a short summary of his or her views. Why do you think this author is placed in the list of independent thinkers?

List of independent thinkers:

  • Tom Paine, Common Sense, 1776
  • Wendell Phillips, Speeches, Lectures, and Letters, 1863
  • Margaret Fuller, Memoirs (two volumes), 1852
  • Henry David Thoreau, Essay on Civil Disobedience, 1849
  • Emma Goldman, My Disillusionment with Russia, 1923
  • William Graham Sumner, Folkways, 1906
  • William J. Lederer, A Nation of Sheep, 1961
  • Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays, 1952
  • Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States, 1995
  • Ralph Nader, The Ralph Nader Reader, 2000
  • Edward S. Herman #038; Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent, 2002

3) Introduction

You will keep an intellectual journal in which you will write at least two times a week. The journal provides practice in thinking through critical thinking concepts. The only way we improve any skill is through consistent practice. Think of the journal as the intellectual equivalent of exercising. Here, you are exercising your mind. The purpose of this journal is two-fold:

  • To reinforce and deepen your understanding of the main critical thinking concepts in each module
  • To apply the concepts you are learning to your own life

Specifications
Type your journal entries each week and save them in one file. Your instructor will ask you to submit your journal entries at several points during the semester. Journals are graded mostly on content (is your thinking clear, precise, in-depth, relevant, and logical?). Entries should be written in complete sentences and should be around a typed page in length, but the structure is not formal, since this is meant to be exploratory writing where you can practice your understanding and application of critical thinking concepts. (In contrast, any “writing assignments” should be organized as formal papers.) Poor writing skills can hurt your grade, so be sure to at least proofread your entries before submitting.

The Questions
Answer at least two of the questions listed below in your journal. You may do more if you wish.

How well do you understand the concept of science (as it relates to thinking critically about information)? Complete the following statements as clearly and precisely as possible and include the concept of pseudo-science in your response.

  1. The concept of science (as it relates to thinking critically about information) basically involves. . . (State this meaning in your own words.)
  2. In other words. . . (Elaborate on your first sentence in a few more sentences.)
  3. For exle. . . (Now give an exle of what you meant, connecting the topic to your own experience so that you can better understand it.)

How well do you understand the concept of the humanities (as it relates to thinking critically about information)? Complete the following statements as clearly and precisely as possible.

  1. The concept of the humanities (as it relates to thinking critically about information) basically involves. . . (State this meaning in your own words.)
  2. In other words. . . (Elaborate on your first sentence in a few more sentences.)
  3. For exle. . . (Now give an exle of what you meant, connecting the topic to your own experience so that you can better understand it.)

How well do you understand the concept of technology (as it relates to thinking critically about information? Complete the following statements as clearly and precisely as possible.

  1. The concept of technology (as it relates to thinking critically about information) basically involves. . . (State this meaning in your own words.)
  2. In other words. . . (Elaborate on your first sentence in a few more sentences.)
  3. For exle. . . (Now give an exle of what you meant, connecting the topic to your own experience so that you can better understand it.)

Identifying questionable professional thinking (from Paul and Elder, 2006). Newspapers sometimes carry stories that document professional misuse of information (for exle, a district attorney who ignores evidence in favor of a person, leading to a wrongful conviction of that person) or contain questionable judgments by professionals. Scan a daily newspaper and see if you can find an article that documents, or plausibly involves, a professional misusing information. Often you will find that the view expresses some vested interest. Complete these statements:

  1. The issue outlined in the article is. . .
  2. The main information the professional seems to use in his or her thinking is. . .
  3. Other information that the professional should consider, but apparently isn’t, is information about. . .
  4. This professional seems to be viewing the situation in a questionable manner because. . . (here you are trying to determine whether the professional seems to have been influenced by some vested interest to exclude relevant information or whether the professional was simply engaging in poor-quality thinking because of naivete or a similar reason).

Misuse of information on the web. Find a website that you think misuses information, either uncritically or unethically (or both). Include the URL, and describe the site and its purpose. Explain specifically how the site does not use information in a critical or ethical ma

Introduction

You will keep an intellectual journal in which you will write at least two times a week. The journal provides practice in thinking through critical thinking concepts. The only way we improve any skill is through consistent practice. Think of the journal as the intellectual equivalent of exercising. Here, you are exercising your mind. The purpose of this journal is two-fold:

  • To reinforce and deepen your understanding of the main critical thinking concepts in each module
  • To apply the concepts you are learning to your own life

Specifications
Type your journal entries each week and save them in one file. Your instructor will ask you to submit your journal entries at several points during the semester. Journals are graded mostly on content (is your thinking clear, precise, in-depth, relevant, and logical?). Entries should be written in complete sentences and should be around a typed page in length, but the structure is not formal, since this is meant to be exploratory writing where you can practice your understanding and application of critical thinking concepts. (In contrast, any “writing assignments” should be organized as formal papers.) Poor writing skills can hurt your grade, so be sure to at least proofread your entries before submitting.

The Questions
For this module, answer at least two of the following questions in your journal. You may answer more if you wish.

How well do you understand the concept of an activist, rational decision-maker or problem-solver? Complete the following statements as clearly and precisely as possible.

  1. The concept of activist, rational decision-making and problem-solving basically means. . . (State this meaning in your own words.)
  2. In other words. . . (Elaborate on your first sentence in a few more sentences.)
  3. For exle. . . (Now give an exle of what you meant, connecting the topic to your own experience so that you can better understand it.)

Creating problems through poor decision-making (from Paul and Elder, 2006). Consider the following strategies for dealing with, or making, decisions. Each represents poor decision-making. Can you see why? Explain the problems in at least four of the decisions stated below. Do you see one or more of these exles as a good way to deal with decisions? If so, explain your contrary view.

  1. Staying in an abusive relationship “for the sake of the children.”
  2. Taking drugs to gain an immediate escape from the pain of facing unpleasant realities in your life.
  3. Overeating to deal with depression.
  4. Establishing an escalating “get tough” policy on crime, leading to larger and larger prison cultures that create more and more hardened criminals.
  5. Smoking to win approval in a group.
  6. Establishing an escalating “get tough” policy on terrorists, leading to more and more resentment and hatred in the groups resorting to “terrorism,” leading to even more violent responses.
  7. Getting angry and acting out by hitting things or people, throwing things, and shouting.
  8. Feeling self-pity when frustrated.

Evaluating good decisions (from Paul and Elder, 2006). Review in your mind your earliest recollections about your life as a child. See if you can remember or reconstruct some of what proved to be significant decisions made either by you or for you. Ask yourself the following questions. If you cannot answer a question, simply move on to the next. Write out the responses you can answer.

  1. To what extent did your parents give you opportunities to make decisions?
  2. When did you begin, or have you not begun, to take the long view in your decisions?
  3. To what extent were your early decisions highly egocentric?
  4. To what extent were they sociocentric?
  5. To what extent did your parents exercise control over your decision-making? Was it excessive or insufficient?
  6. To what extent are you still an egocentric or sociocentric decision-maker?

Evaluating adolescent decisions (from Paul and Elder). Review in your mind your recollections about your life as an adolescent. Which of your decisions proved to be most significant? Ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Can you identify some ways in which you were influenced by the media as an adolescent? Elaborate, providing specific exles.
  2. To what extent did your decisions during adolescence reflect an attempt on your part to gain recognition and acceptance from other adolescents? What decisions can you specify?
  3. To what extent did any of these decisions become the basis for short- or long-term problems?
  4. Can you identify one bad habit you formed as a result of poor adolescent decision-making?





SIntroduction These last two journal entries provide the opportunity for you to demonstrate that you have internalized a robust, comprehensive concept of critical thinking and have developed the skills necessary to apply critical thinking to your learning and your life.The Questions Define critical thinking and argue for its necessity in today’s world. Be precise and give specific exles. Use the format we have been following all semester:What is critical thinking and why should we care? Complete the following statements as clearly and precisely as possible. In your answer, include an explanation of the necessity for critical thinking in today’s world. You should write at least a full typed page in response.

    1. The concept of critical thinking basically means. . . (State this meaning in your own words.)
    2. In other words. . . (Elaborate on your first sentence in a few more sentences.)
    3. For exle. . . (Now give an exle of what you meant, connecting the topic to your own experience so that you can better understand it.)

    Global self-assessment: Using the information you have gained about metacognition and the standards for thinking well, give yourself a final grade for this course. Write a defense of the grade in which you use specific exles, relevant information and criteria, and sound reasoning to support your assigned final grade. To get started, look back at the self-inventory you wrote at the start of the course. How have your thinking skills, and how has your knowledge of thinking, improved over the course of the semester? Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses as a thinker and in your performance in this course. In other words, support your claims with relevant and representative evidence and reasoning. Don’t argue for a higher grade than you deserve. Write at least a full typed page in response.

 

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