Academic teaching aiming at intellectual empowerment

Jan P. Galkowski

Abstract


Nowadays university students need not only to prepare for a specific job requirements but also to prepare for the rapidly changing life circumstances. Society is changing so fast that there is hardly an academic curriculum that is in full accordance with the external requirements. The solution to this problem might be not so much in building very sophisticated an specialized curriculums but rather in the return to more classical general approach stressing on wide-ranging intellectual empowerment. This articles argues that the way to promote intellectual empowerment shall be primarily based on teaching and provoking critical thinking. Students face the ever-increasing mass of data and various intellectual stimuli but possess only limited cognitive abilities to process them. Academic curriculum in the 21st century shall aim at preparing students to critically select, analyze, interpret – and if necessary reject – reachable knowledge. When “standing on the shoulders of giants” (Bernard of Chartres) and using well established ways of reasoning student can see further than while focusing only on gathering very specialist and updated knowledge without any critical attitude.

Key words: intellectual empowerment, academic curriculum, critical thinking


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