EPISODE 10: How the study of creative arts sharpens critical thinking skills

19Feb

In this episode, podcaster Tracy Crow, an author, writing coach, and Marine Corps veteran, shares a Tracy_Crow_bio_photo.jpgpersonal teaching experience that reveals how the study of creative arts can sharpen one's critical thinking skills. Drawing from her academic experience, Tracy takes us through an icebreaker exercise she used often for a college course on persuasive writing with freshmen and even with her adult classes who included mostly active-duty military from the intelligence field. What we discover is how the outcomes with her traditional freshmen classes of 18 and 19-year olds significantly differed from those of her adult classes with a median age of 35. "How was this possible?" she asks. Tracy insists that this is not an indictment of military intelligence officers, because several of her closest friends are retired military intelligence officers and "...are brilliant, and would have easily aced this exercise." But, as Tracy ponders, this was also no anomaly. Each time she used this exercise with her adult classes, she witnessed the same results. So, she wonders, what does this mean? Could it be that as we age, she asks, we're so bombarded with distractions and stressors that we fall into "ruts of thinking and patterns about how we view, or should view, the world?" Are we sheep being led to slaughter, or are we living fully engaged -- awake to various messaging techniques of manipulation? Are we so deep in the ruts of patterned thinking, she muses, that "we can only see what's happening inside the ruts"? What are YOUR interpretations! And remember, Tracy reminds us, "interpretation is not fact."