In 2012, I created a 15-week course on how to think critically, using the 2012 US Presidential Election as a case study for teaching a range of practical critical thinking skills, including:
- Logic and Reasoning
- Modes of Persuasion
- Controlling for Bias
- Rhetoric and Persuasive Speech
- Formal and Informal Fallacies
- Media and Information Literacy
In addition to instructional lectures, the Critical Voter podcast also included interviews with well-known people in the field like Critical Thinker Academy founder Kevin deLaplante, Thank You for Arguing author Jay Heinrichs, and New York Times philosophy editor Simon Critchley. And each lesson came packaged with a lesson plan, quiz and resources (all part of an overall curriculum) to support instructors using this material to teach critical thinking as part of a flipped classroom environment.
While examples drawn from the 2012 campaign may have faded from political memory, they are still highly illustrative of the tricks people use to distract and deceive (in all walks of life – not just politics) and the critical thinking skills needed to avoid being manipulated. The entire Critical Voter program is still available for free at www.criticalvoter.com.