While continuing to read Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom as well as Tate’s A Guide to Composition Pedagogies, it became obvious to me how valuable critical thinking skills are to the average teacher/student classroom dynamic. This is no surprise. Further critical thinking is always conceived of as a good thing and I hope I have done my job of pushing my students to critically think in my class. But is it ever possible to go too far or have too much critical thinking?
Perhaps. Some of my research has led me in the direction of looking at eating disorders and the rhetoric associated with them. There exists such things as pro-ana websites, meaning “pro-anorexic.” These websites turn critical thinking on its head, fighting it with a radical rhetoric that contradicts what common practices do. In this contradiction is power, much like subversion critical thinking in the classroom. It is challenging and rewarding. However, it is quite dangerous in this situation.
I am by no means asserting that it has been proven that pro-ana websites have been linked to critical thinking, but merely connecting the dots. Having a background that covers both eating disorders and critical thinking, I have sometimes wondered if the two contradict. However, I’m not sure where this leaves me. If there is a limit to critical thinking in this particular way, is the opposite – not thinking at all – or thinking in very simple terms – best? I do not know. I can’t imagine what other topics critical thinking might be dangerous in if this is the case. Any thoughts on the matter would be much appreciated.