Critical Thinking That Enhances Comprehension of Expository Texts

Critical thinking principles that enhance
comprehension of expository texts in an online course
This literature review was conducted for three reasons.   First I needed to better understand what critical thinking was and how it might influence the design of an online course in reading of expository texts.   Second, I needed to determine what components could be part of the online instructional process and which ones were more dependent on a face-to-face (F-2-F) classroom situation.   Third, I wanted an awareness of the difficulties and frustrations that might accompany integrating critical thinking features in the online course.   Answers to these three questions would help me construct a context for teaching reading strategies associated with information texts to 9th grade students.
Importance of critical thinking
This review of the literature on critical thinking is important because of the changing and evolving literacy requirements in our global economy and education.   Beyer (as cited in “Critical thinking,” 2002) states that critical thinking is essential in maintaining and strengthening the democratic principles of our country and making informed personal and civic decisions.   “If students learn to think critically, then they can use good thinking as the guide by which they live their lives.”
Paul (2002a) characterizes the world we and our students are entering as one where we must deal with massive amounts of information from multiple sources, where the facts of yesterday soon become as obsolete as last week’s news.   To be effective and competitive in this world, we must be accurate, precise, and meticulous and ready to upgrade our job skills continually.   Paul concludes with this challenge, “Education has never before had to prepare students for such dynamic flux, unpredictability, and complexity, for such ferment, tumult, and disarray.”
Paul’s characterization of the world is continued in an article by Leu, Donald, Kinzer and Charles (2000).   They assert...