Dr Errol Benjamin, author of the book Critical Thinking For Tertiary Level - Photo by Innis Francis
The Need for Critical Thinking
THERE is a need for tertiary students to do more critical and analytic thinking rather than just learning information from books, says local author and lecturer Dr Errol Benjamin.
Due to this need, he has written a text book entitled "Critical Thinking for Tertiary Level"- a self instructional course.
The book will be available to the public at the end of September and will be sold at the branches of Mohammed's Book Stores.
Benjamin, 69, is a senior lecturer in Critical Thinking at the Caribbean Academy of Fashion and Design, University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) John Donaldson Technical Institute in Port-of-Spain.
He has been a teacher of English and English related studies throughout his career. He holds his first, second and third degrees in those studies that he obtained from the University of the West Indies(UWI). He received his doctorate in 2007.
His thesis for his second degree was " Possibilities for Literature in Raising Social Consciousness with special reference to race and gender."
His dissertation for his doctorate was "Anglophone Identity as Cross-Cultural Transaction in selected Caribbean fiction from 1970." Benjamin is a former principal of the Couva Government Secondary School and Barrackpore Secondary School. He continues to write letters to the newspapers on " key" national issues.
Previous publications included Integrated English for Secondary Schools, books one, two and three.
He said, "Critical thinking is telling you that you need to go beyond the information, the content you will read in a book. You need to interrogate it. You need to examine it and there might be a variety of perspectives there. You are looking at different ways at looking at the same issue. It helps you to intellectually approach your material in a more meaningful way rather than just sitting down and regurgitating or recollecting it in an exam or something."
Benjamin said he spent four years compiling the information for the book together and about one year writing the text.
The book is a "compilation of 12 lectures that would have been delivered for critical thinking course," he said.
An extract from the book states, "Why is there the sudden emphasis on critical thinking? As a rational approach to issues which influence the way we live, critical thinking is now being recognized as an effective strategy in countering the irrationality which has been, and continues to be the downfall of nations, groups and individuals. At every level of human society, then and now, the tragedies which have occurred have often resulted from the failure to be rational, indeed to be intellectual about the behavioural choices we make. The net effect has been the penchant for self-interest and egoism, power and control, bias and prejudice, indifference to consequence and unbridled emotionalism, and all the other elements of irrationality which have so dominated the psychology of human behaviour."
The text is designed " to suit a one-semester delivery and is geared to meet the needs of students as a supplemental course attached to core courses, preferably in the first year of a degree programme," Benjamin said.
And he is hoping that the Critical Thinking course will eventually become one of the main courses that each tertiary student at UTT will have to complete before they can graduate.