English 2A: Critical Thinking and Writing II
Thursday, June 5, 2014
A “Critical Thinking and Writing” course has two obvious components: critical thinking and writing. Throughout the two quarters in my “What’s for Dinner?” CTW class, I have worked to develop both of these components. Through writing essays, doing research, and reading different books, I have developed my writing skills, and furthered my ability to critically evaluate a variety of things. Although my writing skills have improved, this class did not have as much of an impact on my writing as it did on my critical thinking skills. My CTW “What’s for Dinner?” class has pushed me to question things, because things are not always as they seem.
Before this class, I did not have much experience with writing research papers. I wrote short stories and informative essays, but my high school English classes were not very research-based. So any research papers I did write in high school were somewhat lacking in regards to the information. I would find a single source, and wring out that source for proof in a research essay, not providing any other proof except for that one source. And now, after taking this CTW class, I can see that a person should not be so quick in the research process. One source is not enough to provide a legitimate argument. For a successful research paper, a person needs multiple sources from both sides of a given issue, and they must be reliable.
In regards to reliability, my CTW class taught me to question the authenticity of claims. Some sources I came upon seemed to be wrong, and often it was because they were actually wrong. I learned that sources may not be providing all aspects of an issue, and to see what is really going on, a person must look into many sources, from both sides of a given issue. For instance, I came across an article claiming, “Healthy food is actually less expensive than unhealthy food”. Of course, I could have used this article to write a research paper, but that would not have been a wise decision. This claim was manipulated to be able to say what the author wanted to say. The study based this off of serving size, meaning that a whole chicken (when its price is divided by the amount of servings) is cheaper than, say, an order of Chicken McNuggets (which is just one serving). But overall, a whole chicken is much more expensive than an order of Chicken McNuggets. This is just one example of how a person must be critical when researching through the variety of articles that are available to use.
Overall, my CTW “What’s for Dinner?” course helped me improve both my writing and my critical thinking skills. Although my writing did improve, my ability to critically evaluate texts has been affected even more. I am now better equipped to pick quality sources for my essays, ultimately giving me a boost in my writing skills as well.