Saturday, September 25, 2010

Forgive Me While I Go Rogue Scholar For A Moment

My English 124 professor has an infatuation with the State, Explain, Examples, Illustrate format for critical thinking. What? A format for critical thinking? Isn't critical thinking the ability to think outside the box? Isn't format the epitome of a box? (unlike structure which can be tailored to fit the situation)

It's been awhile since I wrote much that wasn't purely creative or at least literary analysis. The last composition class I took was quite a few years ago and while it was when I developed my “Point of Inspiration” theory on forcing assignments I have no emotional connection with to . . . well develop an emotional connection of some kind I never really missed it.

It's not that I don't love writing essays. Or at least I love the things my mind does throughout the process of writing an essay. I'm not usually satisfied with the end result. There is just something frustrating about being asked to say something in a certain way without anyone actually caring what I say so long as it follows the format.

I'm also used to subjective critique. “I don't understand your character's motivation in this passage, do you think you could clarify without slowing down the pace?” or “This would be clearer if it were one sentence instead of two.” Instead of “Use an example here”. I like to be asked to rethink my work and what I'm trying to express with it not told what changes to make.

And for the final touch of irony the current piece I'm working on is arguing against complete relativism.


  1. If you're a natural critical thinker, this is probably a handicap for you. A lot of people don't know how to think critically, though, and they need their hand held through the process while they learn. Formats like this can be really helpful for them.

  2. Well I hope no new set of ideas are entirely lost on me. I imagine I'll get through the frusteration.