Topics Introduced

To help encourage students to change their view from accepting the social norms (viewed by critics as being gullible) into being independently critical (viewed by mainstream society as being cynical) the instructors often introduce challenges to heroic icons and self-edifying history using contradictory reports or external points of view of the same subjects.

Generalized Examples

To encourage students to become critical the instructor might use these tasks to challenge the generally accepted paradigm of the student's society:

Cause the student to investigate a war that their society has waged and considered just and critically evaluate if it meets the criteria of a just war.

Encouragement to students to explore issues of power in their own families.

To lead students to examine the underlying messages of popular culture and mass media.

Require the evaluation of existing controversies in contemporary society, such as the relative merits of U.S. government spending on atomic weapons versus international health programs.

Ask whether the metaphoric emperor is, in fact, clothed.

Real-world examples of concepts often introduced to generate critical thinking:

A challenge to the reverential mythology around Christopher Columbus and leading students to investigate primary sources by and about the historical figure. One might possibly suggest sources such as the Black Legend, or other sources that cast more disconcerting views on the legacy of his efforts.