The Power of Critical Thinking (lV)

Tue, 18 Mar 2014 Source: Kwarteng, Francis

“When men are intellectually greater than others, we learn from their utterances; when they are morally better than others, we learn from their lives (See Sylvan M. Jacobs’ “James Emman Kwegyir Aggrey: An African Intellectual in the United States,” published in the 1996 edition of “The Journal of Negro History,” Vol. 81, No. 1-4, p. 47-61).

That sets the tone for today’s deliberation. That having been said, although Paulo Freire’s radical methodological approach to education is essentially Marxist, an ideological strain antithetical to Afrocentric theory, yet, like other progressive ideas with immense transformative social and political value, there exist important theoretical overlaps with Afrocentric pedagogy. That is, Freire’s critique of the so-called “banking model of education,” a foundational philosophy of Eurocentric pedagogy, frees “studentship” from the hegemonic endometrium of cranial emptiness as well as from the intimidating guillotine of “teacherhood,” an idea, which, in theory, is considered superior to “studentship.” This poses a serious problem for us because a teacher, like the student, learns along as he or she impacts knowledge. This also implies functional simultaneity between teacher and student. Therefore, technically, Freire believed, very strongly, that interpreting “learner” as a mere symbol of “empty vessel,” a theoretical borehole demanding that the “teacher,” supposedly the more knowledgeable of the two, fills it up, made the “learner” a necessary “object” in a relationship of unequal dichotomy with the “teacher.”

Admittedly, this ideological confluence accommodates Afrocentric pedagogy and Freirean critical pedagogy. As well, let’s stress here that no unlettered individual walks around bearing the zero-weight of cranial emptiness, because, sensory perception involving taste, smell, sight, touch, hearing, and umami, alone, could potentially fill parts of the human brain to the brim with useful information without instructional benefit of teacher-learner relationship. Still, the “tabula rasa” of Thomas Aquinas, John Locke, and Sigmund Freud has come under serious scientific revision (See Fiona Macrae’s article “Babies Remember Music They Heard in the Wound up To Four Months after They Are Born,” published on MailOnline, Jan 30, 2014). In addition, this Eurocentric theory on “empty vessel,” is, essentially, antithetical to Afrocentricity, this, in another creative context, which is that it also potentially distorts the ideological fulcrum of Allan Bloom’s controversially influential work, “The Closing Of The American Mind,” a book, which, among other things, sees “relativism,” or multiculturalism, as a concept detrimental to intellectual openness, community, and psychological development. Pointedly, we have belabored these points before but still needed an informational reprise to explore additional didactic questions.

That is, Bloom makes no room for critical thinking! This is exactly what our newly-proposed educational system in Africa should strive to avoid, as stifling critical thinking spells disaster for developmental retrogression, among others. Nonetheless, not everyone agrees with him. Caruther’s “Intellectual Warfare”; Williams’ “Destruction of Black Civilization”; Asante’s “The Painful Demise Of Eurocentrism”; Sefa Dei’s “Teaching Africa: Towards A Transgressive Pedagogy,” “Indigenous Knowledges In Global Contexts,” and “Schooling And Education In Africa”; Biko’s “I Write What I like”; Thiong’o’s “Moving The Center” and “Decolonizing The Mind”; Woodson’s “The Mis-education Of The Negro”; Lomotey’s essay “Independent Black Institutions: African-Centered Education Models” and book “Alternative Educational Institutions”; Shujaa’s “Too Much Schooling: Too Little Education”; Shockley’s “The Mis-education Of Black Children,” all, one way or the other, make a strong moral and political case for African intellectual and cultural independence, national development, scientific and technological advancement. In fact, Shujaa’s analytic dichotomy between “education” and “schooling” is equally provocative yet ideologically apt!

Further, another essay, “Culture, Power, And Education: The Philosophies And Pedagogy Of African-Centered Educators,” Vol 3 (3), 2011, p. 54-75, authored by Darrell Cleveland and Kmt Shockley and published in the “International Journal Of Critical Pedagogy,” mounts one of the strongest and most comprehensive arguments yet in favor of Afrocentric pedagogy. But then again, going back to Allan Bloom, we may want to add contrary to Bloom’s negative assertions about “relativism,” that, however one looks at it, the idea, undoubtedly, is tied inseparably to political and moral questions of multiculturalism. Then, it is also the case that “relativism” does not inhere in such religions as Christianity and Islam, arguably two foreign forces challenging the moral authority of African culture. Ironically, both religious systems obtain in the body politic. In fact, both claim to be vessels replete with cultural universalism as far as “morality” and “truth” go, yet are militantly, hypocritically intolerant to a fault. That notwithstanding, the brutal history of slavery and racism, of political Islam and Christian fundamentalism, in particular, and their accompanying religious terrorism belittle any hallowed claims to tolerance.

Arguably, to a certain extent, religiosity, particularly of Islam and Christianity, may be said to constitute the bane of many a society. Ethnocentrism, corruption, racism, political elitism, and classism are the other epidemiological ills of today’s society, of modernity. In addition, religious dogma and apeirophobia, a kind of phobia including fear of the afterlife, and asceticism, among other godly sanctioned dogmata, have replaced critical thinking, in any case, assuming the dwarfed stature of unquestioning mediocrity and mental repose. In other words, the spasmodic, sibilating voice of the shadowy pastor, prophet, or evangelist has now usurped the authoritative tenor of critical thinking. After all, as far as physiological and anatomic functionality goes, what exactly did the Christian God or Islam Allah intend for the brain when he encased it in cranial confinement? Was the brain to think, luxuriate, or idle about in the cerebrospinal fluid? Critical thinking, therefore, requires intellectual balance between theory and praxis, between healthy superstition and religiosity, between spirituality and materialism, between gnosis and empiricism.

What do we have to say about critical thinking beyond its narrow Eurocentric definition? Well, critical thinking means adding value to our raw natural wealth (mineral and flora); critical thinking means patronizing African-made goods and services; critical thinking means loving ourselves as a people, first and foremost, and then loving the rest of humanity; critical thinking means GDP does not tell us everything (See Fioramonti’s “Gross Domestic Problem: The Politics Behind the World’s Most Powerful Number” and “The Numbers Rule the World: The Use and Abuse of Statistics in Global Politics”; see also “Boyle’s “The Tyranny of Numbers” and Kumi Naidoo and others on Youtube (“I Can’t GDP”) courtesy of “Starchild,” one of our persistent and loyal readers). Critical thinking means using our natural resources to benefit the people of Africa; critical thinking means using our God-given talents and psychological resources to prevent others from manipulating us to their sole benefit; and critical thinking means we avoid uncritical imitation of foreign unhealthy cultural habits, etc.

Also, critical thinking means celebrating ethnic, cultural, linguistic, political, religious, regional, racial, and ideological differences, for differences, we firmly believe, constitute the creative hallmarks of nature. Thus, we should learn to institute diversity in the body politic as iradal cultural stamp of harmony, of unity. Namely, it’s a paradoxical statement of fact that differences ought to be seen as a unifier of contradictions. After all, was it not Kwegyir Aggrey, the “Father of African Education,” who said: “You can play a tune of sorts on the white keys, and you can play a tune of sorts on the black keys, but for real harmony you must use both the black and the white”? We emphasize that “the white keys” and “the black keys” should be analytically construed beyond the narrow definitional strictures of biological racialism. Therefore, as the parable goes Aggrey did not see harmony as an acoustic temperamental response to notational separatism.

Put differently, the intrinsic dialectic of our shared history should be a matter of solemnization, not acrimony, de jure, or de facto separatism. Yet, multiparty democracy, a cultural product imported from the West, with its ethnic undertones, has threatened to tear the body politic across the social fault lines of oppositional mutuality. Yet again, religion, mostly imported ones, is serious business in many parts of the African world. In Ghana, for instance, religion and politics prostitute themselves freely on the material divan of public space. Ideally we will not advance a one-sided theory that religion is necessarily and generally bad and evil, however. That notwithstanding, religious intolerance may be one of the major vehicular variables driving Africa’s negative growth and development, a position we hinted at previously. Boko Haram’s and Al-Shabab’s Islamic terrorism and Joseph Kony’s Christian terrorism are just two good examples. “Religions that lay claim to world stature on certificates of ultimate truth and universality should pause and demand of themselves,” writes Wole Soyinka, adding: “Why is it that the worship of Orisha has never, in all these centuries, and even on hostile foreign soil, spawned an irredentist strain?” Attempts by Afrocentrists to acknowledge the true dichotomy between “universalism” and “particularism” are in order. In principle, Western “universalism” is another word for Eurocentric particularism.

It’s no wonder that renowned intellectuals like Soyinka take the forced imposition of “universalism” on the world to task (See “Myth, Literature and the African World,” Achebe’s “Hopes and Impediments,” Toni Morrison’s “Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and Literary Imagination,” Asante’s and Vandi’s “Contemporary Black Thought: Alternative Analysis in Social and Behavioral Science,” Schiele’s “Rethinking Organizations from an Afrocentric Viewpoint” and “Afrocentricity as an Alternative World View for Equality,” Ani’s “Yurugu: An Afrikan-Centered Critique of European Cultural Thought and Behavior,” and Ngugi’s “Moving the Center”). It’s also precisely why a new breed of scholars from around the world, dead and alive, such as Ama Mazama, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Ani Marimba, Kwame Nkrumah, Oswald Spengler, Noam Chomsky, Samuel P. Huntington, Steve Biko, Martin Bernal, Cheikh Anta Diop, Molefi Kete Asante, to name a few, is advancing cultural multiplicity as a creative response to Western cultural arrogance, ignorance, and superiority. Importantly, let’s only say Soyinka’s philosophical concerns relate to the tolerance of African Religion as opposed to the intolerance of Christianity and Islam. This is a moot question.

Again, we have variously belabored against the tendentious universalist claims of “truth” and “morality,” two cultural constructs, principally advanced by Eurocentrists for self-serving purposes which includes the implosive hegemony of Western culture on the rest of the world. Afrocentrists, on the other hand, are careful not to extend the cultural particularity of African culture to the rest of the world, because, for one, they see African culture with non-African cultures primarily in terms of moral questions of equalitarianism. They will rather see African culture partner with non-African cultures in humanizing the world. Hence universalism is merely a phenomenological mirage. It is not an existential phenomenon in international law or social science.

But what is his response, Soyinka’s? He continues: “The answer lies of course in the fundamental, accommodative intelligence of the Orisha. We need only contrast this with the catechism of submission that is the pillar of faith in other religions, such as Islam or Christianity.” Soyinka’s is alluding to the cultural freedoms African Religion grants its adherents. Further, in both theory and practice, the fiery morality of “tolerance” consumes Soyinka’s intellectual lapel as he seeks to explore as well as understand the problems Islam and Christianity have and continue to create for humanity. In this regard, he suggests we switch discussions on “the existence and nonexistence of God” to questions of “believe and nonbelief” if we truly want to appreciate the cultural depth of “intolerance” attributed to both religions. Thus he writes: “Wherever we choose to abandon the sterile field of contestation between the existence and nonexistence of God, we can begin to concentrate instead on the question of how belief and nonbelief, and the structures that uphold either conviction—humanity, especially in the realm of ethical choices (“Of Africa,” p. 164-165).”

But how can “the question of how belief and nonbelief, and the structures that uphold either conviction” enjoy moral authority in the hearts of men without a putative spiritual imprimatur of a deity? How is this possible? Could it be because the conception of “deity” itself may be a figment of human imagination? However, Soyinka’s tactful avoidance of this question should not be cause for worry. He proceeds: “Of these, tolerance is perhaps the most relevant, the most sorely in demand in our global dilemma…Tolerance, in its own right, is at the heart of Ifa, a virtue worth cultivating as a foundational principle of humanistic faith—the catechism of the secular deities, a spirit of accommodativeness…(Ibid: 165).” What this means is that African cultural thought harbors elements of progressive ideas that are there for us, the Africa world, to harness for sociocultural harmony, national growth and development (See also Maulana Karenga’s “Maat, The Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt: A Study in Classical African Ethics” and “Odu Ifa: The Teachings). Many of our cultural theorists have explored how African culture essentially harnesses internal chaos, even using it to turn the cultural fire of seeming disharmony into one of smooth cultural rhythmicity. We know spiritual problems in African societies may be imputable to human-induced perturbations of the natural order.

That said, how does the worship of Orisha compare with God or Allah in terms of human socialization? Soyinka does seem to have a ready answer for us. He maintains: “Let us bear in mind that Islam—like its sibling, Christianity—invaded the black world, subverted its traditions and religions, often violently and contemptuously. It rivaled the earlier aggressor violence for violence, disdain for disdain, enslavement for enslavement. Both of them proven iconoclasts, yet what wisdom does this largely defamed and near-invisible religion of the Orisa prescribe for its own adherents?” The answer Soyinka has for us is simply this: “Tolerance, it enjoins, tolerance! You humiliate the Moslem or indeed any religious cleric, warns Ifa, and you will die the death of maggots. We know we shall end up as food for maggots, but to also die the death of maggots. Now that is one fate that is truly worse than death. May Orisa-nla protect us all from such a fate—(Ibid: 166).” These noble declarations generally characterize the humility and tolerance of African Religion vis-à-vis the sham universalist claims of Eurocentrism!

Technically, two of our greatest thinkers, Kwame Nkrumah and Kwegyir Aggrey, advanced an Afrocentric formula of education to counter the negative legacies of foreign cultures, such as Islam, Christianity, colonialism, and imperialism. As we argued in “What Amiri Baraka Said About Kwame Nkrumah (9),” both saw a cultural need for African pedagogy—meant to ensure the psychological reanimation of the African after centuries of colonial brutalization and imprisonment. So, what sort of education did Aggrey have in mind? “By education, I do not mean simply learning. I mean the training in mind, in morals, and in hand that helps to make one socially efficient. Not simply the three R’s, but the three H’s: the head, the hand, and the heart,” Aggrey once wrote (See Sylvia M. Jacobs). The three R’s are reading, writing, and arithmetic. Stated differently, Aggrey’s conceptualization of education is a well-rounded one, much like Nkrumah’s, Asante’s, Gardner’s, Diopi’s, or Mazama’s. Certainly, any educational formula that is devoid of grounding students in an environment of cultural awareness has no social utility given that culture constitutes the spiritual lifeline of any progressive society.

Then again, it was why Ngugi wa Thiong’s opined: “You can’t study African literatures without studying the particular cultures and oral traditions from which Africans draw their plots, styles, and metaphors (See “Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Chinua Achebe on the Politics of Language and Literature In Africa,” published on the website of “Global Literacy Project”). Recall that we have consistently stressed the analytic indispensability of the particularity of cultural context in evaluating African thought. This was also why, according to Ngugi, “during colonization, missionaries and colonial administrators controlled publishing houses and the educational context of novels.” The reason? To prevent the African from questioning his lowly position in the colonial system. Therefore, the colonial administrators encouraged publication of texts with religious themes. “Africans were controlled by forcing them to speak European languages—they attempted to teach children (future generations) that speaking English is good and that native languages are bad by using negative reinforcement…Language was twisted into a mechanism that separated children from their own history…” continues Ngugi. Do any of these critical observations account for the instructional emphasis our educational system places on European languages? Possibly!

Generally, these observations are no different from KA Busia’s preoccupation with his intellectual alienation from his immediate African cultural context the deeper his tongued psychology dug into the cultural lavatory of Eurocentrism. Again, we explored this particular question in “What Amiri Baraka Said About Kwame Nkrumah (9).” Frantz Fanon also explored the interrelationship among missionary colonialism of Africans, their culture, and language. “By removing their native language from their education they are separated from their history which is replaced by European history in European languages. This puts the lives of Africans more firmly in the control of the colonists.” However, even a facile review of Western colonial encounter with Asians clearly underscores Asia’s rejection of Eurocentric universalism, then and now. That is, we understand why Christianity, for instance, is not a dominant motif of Asian culture. Interestingly, reversing this negative colonial legacy nibbled away at Casely-Hayford’s, Mensah Sarbah’s, Kwame Nkrumah’s, and Kwegyir Aggrey’s impatience with Eurocentric education. All four proposed African languages as media of communication in their Afrocentric educational formula. Meanwhile, Ngugi points out: “At school, they are told that the only way to advance is to memorize history textbooks in the colonizer’s language.”

Yet memorization and regurgitation are the bane of our educational system! And speaking French and English well in Africa has come to symbolize a cultural mark of wisdom. On the contrary, speaking native African languages well has come to represent a cultural mark of cultural crudity, of intellectual backwardness. Of course, there is nothing particularly wrong with speaking and writing native African and European languages well. Besides, Molefi Kete Asante’s “The Asante Principles for the Afrocentric Curriculum,” Mazama’s and Asante’s “Pedagogical Knowledge,” Howard Gardner’s “the Theory of Multiple Intelligences,” and the numerous writings of Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Ama Mazama, Theophile Obenga, and Ayi Kwei Armah make “language,” especially Gardner’s “multiple intelligences,” one of the cardinal pillars of human intelligence. And “language” as employed by these scholars is not exclusively restricted to proficiency in European languages, allegedly the highest form of human vocal expression. In other words, European languages are not organically or genetically superior to non-European languages. Then, attempts to locate a unified linguistic paterfamilias to account for a common source of human language, as Joseph Greenberg and others tried to do, have proved hopelessly elusive.

Therefore, these misguided claims to universalism have no scientific or statistical basis in fact. Thus, generally, the formulation of taxonomic linguistics and language classification meant to situate European languages on the pyramid of human cultural excellence merely represents ghostly emotionalism, a question of scientific fabrication at best. Obviously, such scientific exercises are intellectual images of Eurocentric constructs. Further, linguistic dichotomies based on cultural particularities do in fact exist, while Eurocentric ignorance of these proven scientific facts do not impute universalism to European culture. Let’s go back to Kwegyir Aggrey again. Elsewhere Jacobs has maintained: “No race or people can rise half-slave, half-free…For Aggrey, education was training for the development of the skills and character which would be required for success in life.” Obviously we see character defects in neocolonial African leadership! Do we teach morals, social justice, and acquisition of good character in our schools, recalling that ancient Egyptian civilization and other African Classical Civilizations focused on building strong character in their citizens?

Nkrumah chose to make African Personality the centre of African social science, liberal arts, or the humanities, but the Ghanaian Eurocentric intellectual elite prevented this progressive concept from becoming a material reality! In fact, this is what Asians and Europeans have successfully, in relative terms, done to their education. Africans will rather study everybody else but themselves! What is the superficial nature of Eurocentric education doing to African Personality? Hasn’t Eurocentric culture already destroyed the social fabric of community, Africa’s extended family system? Let’s make a quick reversion to Paulo Freire and his influential work on critical pedagogy. That is, we may have to appropriate the Freirean thesis for our immediate purpose, namely, to use Freirean critical pedagogy to undermine, or question, the political objectification or social peripheralization of African humanity and African cultural psychology in Western spiritual consciousness, theoretical formulations, and Eurocentric educational models. Again, this acknowledgement assumes critical reversion to analytic conditionalities based purely on Freirean critical pedagogy and Afrocentric pedagogy, as alluded to previously.

Furthermore, operating outside the perimetric definition of our foregoing arguments we may want to give our position another philosophical facelift. That is, a discursive incursion into Black liberation theology, especially of Jeremiah Wright’s, James Hal Cone’s, and Obery M. Hendricks’, and the “Pedagogical Knowledge” of Mazama’s and Asante’s, already mentioned, represent a radical break with the paternalistic hegemony of Eurocentrism. Plus, on another level, Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s, “The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism,” an astounding work of literary criticism, takes a sharp appraisive detour from Eurocentric paradigms of literary criticism vis-a-vis African literature. Toni Morrison’s “Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination,” also already mentioned, takes on a critical tone of analysis similar to Gates’. Finally, the work of Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings, a critical race theorist and culturally relevant pedagogist, supplies powerful arguments supportive of multiculturalism. Every one of these creative works tends to bring Richard Wright’s “Black Boy” out of the social periphery of Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man.”

In effect, unlike Eurocentrism, the theory of Afrocentricity essentially sees the African, his psychological, material, spiritual, and cultural ontologies, as well as his experiences and perceptions, as indispensable cluster-points of self-reference. Let’s also advance another debatable theory, that Eurocentrism essentially underwrites the African’s self-abnegation. This is not necessarily a healthy human virtue. Slavery, colonialism, imperialism, and neocolonialism in the African world may have evolved from our outwardly-imposed self-abnegation. Afrocentric philosophy and Freirean critical pedagogy redirect the self-abnegation of a peripherized people toward the center of their cultural, spiritual, and material needs. Incidentally, self-reference and critical thinking dissolve in the Bermuda Triangle of self-definition and self-knowledge. Simply, this point of pedagogical intersection constitutes a meaningful articulation of Freirean critical pedagogy and Afrocentric pedagogy. Accordingly, African Personality, as defined by Kwame Nkrumah strictly in line with Afrocentric theory, enjoys a great deal of cultural latitude in respect of psychological elasticity in the epistemological, historiographic, and social theaters of African developmental beingness.

In other words, the social and political subjectification of the African is primarily evaluated as part of the interpretive constraints of his “nativist” culture. Strictly speaking, this does not overrule accommodationist considerations for progressive globalism. Also, these questions cannot be sufficiently addressed along emotional pathways of cultural instantaneity. As a result, vigorous intellectual pathways of cultural continuum where, for instance, well-entrenched fusty cultural elements are surgically pruned to accommodate science and challenges of modernity, should, we argue, be taken together to represent the ideological scaffolding of critical thinking within an African context. This is what our children must know and abide by. In the end culture should be viewed fundamentally as a living organism with all the benefits of developmental mechanics accruing to a living cell, given that healthy living cells employ apoptosis as part of their natural growth process to rid themselves of unwelcome elements. Consequently, we argue that culture be viewed as a potential living organism with physiological possibilities of harboring benign or malignant cells where apoptosis ensures a living cell’s good health for an organism’s continued survival. Afrocentricity represents apoptosis among other creative responses to cultural decay.

Let’s also advance another argument that Afrocentric education is there to provide African students with critical thinking skills to guide them as they culturalized malignancy and benignity to waste. This is the task set for the new education. On the other hand, let’s remind ourselves that group cognition should eventually evolve into subgroups made up of both sexes if an institution is co-educational. The primary motive is to acquaint either sex with the intellectual potential and respectability of the other. Then, later, the child, male and female, enjoys additional freedoms as his intellectual possibilities, or knowledge acquisition, expand with age, as well as, if you will, through his increased communication with his environment, immediate and remote. At this stage in his life, the child becomes, for the most part, his own “teacher.” Self-knowledge then assumes a form of collateralized platform on the birded wings of cultural psychology. In one sense, then, Afrocentricity, like Freirean critical pedagogy, salvages the dislocated mindset of the African from the Eurocentric “Animal Farm” of humanized androids and automatons.

More specifically, the African child becomes a complete human being with all the benefits of cultural, spiritual, and psychological autonomy. As well, for the growing child, therefore, these freedoms pave the way for self-love, personal confidence, healthy intellectual competitiveness, love for community, respect for African culture, and love for humanity. More pointedly, the adult versions of Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X, to name but four, exemplify this stream of Afrocentric consciousness! Finally, the African child must be made to feel comfortable in the social exclusiveness of his culture as the Western child and the Asian child are in their respective cultures. The argument does not end there, however. The educator must be trained with these progressive ideas in mind. In fact, the educator must be made to feel comfortable in African culture as well. This is why the universalism of Eurocentrism finds no moral and intellectual support in the analytic bosom of Afrocentricity. This is because the sum total of knowledge which a child acquires cannot possibly exceed that of the teacher’s.

But then, parents, older siblings, and the community at large have a moral responsibility to play in pedagogizing the African child through Afrocentric consciousness as well as through Freirean critical pedagogy. Now, regarding Afrocentric culturalization of the African child, why not, for instance, employ cultural motifs and linguistic symbols popular with Ghanaian school-going children? Why use the “dollar” in a mathematics class, say, when the school child is more familiar with the “cedi”? Yet, that said, the student should also be made to know about “foreign exchange” and foreign currencies as the exigencies of globalization demand this of the child, of humanity! Again, this is because what the impressionable mind of the African child absorbs from the teacher is constrained by the cultural totality of his teacher’s total knowledge. Once again, we advance these theories because we firmly believe education is as much a political question as it is a moral question of cultural psychology, sociology, economics, and survival.

The next question is: How do we teach critical thinking? Criticalthinking.net asks students to perform the following routine tasks: 1). Focus: Identify or be clear about the main point, that is, the conclusion, 2). Reasons: Identify and evaluate the reasons, 3). Inference: Consider whether the reasons establish the conclusion, given the alternative, 4). Situation: Pay attention to the situation, 5). Clarity: Make sure the meanings are clear, 6). Overview: Review our entire appraisal as a unit. Overall appraisals and subsequent analysis entail understanding of the situation, sensitivity, experience, and background knowledge. Finally, assessing the critical thinking abilities of students should go a long way to help educators gauge its successes and failures: Motivation, diagnosis of students’ critical-thinking strengths and weaknesses, feedback, teacher acquaintance with instructional techniques, etc., are a few of the assessment skills educators need to develop (See Criticalthinking.net for additional details). But honesty, hard work, and truth should always be part of the equation of critical thinking.

Therefore, let’s join hands in making the African child the intellectual equal of the Western or Asian child, even though, in technical terms, the African child already is, had it not been for the fact the African child’s totally immersed in Eurocentric conscientization and inferiority complex, though, once again, much more work need to be done. The African Diaspora should lend a hand to this new pedagogical enterprise. Those of our Western-trained sons and daughters of Africa who commit to this endeavor should not come across as elitist or as more intelligent than their locally-trained counterparts. That is, Western education does not necessarily make an African a better thinking-machine than his African brother or sister who has undergone radical pedagogical “nativization.” Let Molefi Kete Asante’s series “The Prospects for Afrocentric Victory,” published on Ghanaweb and elsewhere, guide us as we push our theories further and further down the path of moral conscientization. Ideally, oneness, we believe, is the ultimate answer to social and political divisiveness, a problem partly of the doing of Eurocentric fracturing of African Personality.

We shall return…

Columnist: Kwarteng, Francis