Critical Thinking - AS level at Ipswich School
Critical Thinking AS in Years 10 and 11 will be offered as an additional course for those who are taking the full GCSE programme; it is not an alternative to a GCSE. The subject will be taught after school in weekly sessions roughly equivalent to a double period. A small amount of homework will be set and pupils will be expected to undertake tests and mock exams as preparation for modules. It is envisaged that Module One will be taken at the end of Year 10 (Introduction to Critical Thinking), whilst Module Two (Assessing and Developing Argument) will be taken either in January of Year 11 or the summer exam period, depending on the teacher’s assessment of the group’s progress.
Critical Thinking is an unusual and demanding academic subject. It can be frustrating as well as stimulating! The course teaches a set of skills rather than a body of knowledge and so preparation for modules depends on practice rather than traditional revision. The course is firmly based on logic. Pupils learn how arguments are constructed and what strengthens and weakens arguments. Eventually pupils are required to construct their own arguments but it is important to understand that the exercise is to produce a logical, strong argument rather than express opinions. The course uses a wide variety of reading material usually based on current affairs.
Critical Thinking AS is highly regarded by higher education institutions as an additional qualification. Thinking skills tests are now routinely set by some universities as part of entrance requirements or for first year undergraduates, especially for subjects such as Law and the Critical Thinking AS is excellent preparation for this. However, the subject does not suit everyone. Those undertaking the AS alongside GCSEs much have mature language and reasoning skills and must be willing to concentrate hard during sessions. An ability to listen to other people, to work independently and in groups is essential. Experience in Critical Thinking should have a positive impact on other academic subjects for those who are willing to make the significant commitment that the AS demands.
How to apply
If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Ipswich School directly.