In the UK’s ‘Times Education Supplement’ of 18 February, an article by Dale Bassett of the think-tank ‘Reform’ looks at the issue of what should be taught for the country’s ’21st-century society and economy’. Bassett stresses that ‘Problem solving, critical thinking, data manipulation and analysis, the structuring of an argument’ are ‘transferable, high-level cognitive skills everyone will need.’ Apart from the point that critical thinking includes argument structuring (and much of the other two), the point is significant. Bassett goes on to conclude that students will need to develop ‘skills that cross subjects and specialisms, skills that will be useful for all and in all walks of life.’ Critical thinking certainly earns its keep in this skill-development.
In a recent publication by the Brookings Institute, ‘Competencies for the 21st century’, the importance of these competencies has been stressed. As it explains, ‘The