Lizzie Casanave’s philosophy is simple – learn how to think.
This is the wisdom she imparts to her students in the Practical Logic classes she has been teaching both online and in the traditional classroom for the last six years.
“I love philosophy and critical thinking,” she says. “I think it’s important for students to learn how to think instead of being told what to think.”
With today’s technology making legions of information available to all, she believes it is vital for individuals to apply that knowledge to bettering themselves and the world.
“I love seeing the spark of excitement ignite in my students when they discover that learning and wrestling with tough questions can be fun and even exhilarating,” she says.
It is not unusual for her students to confess that her class has changed their lives.
“It forces them to look at themselves and their approach to life from an entirely new point of view. It equips them with tools to really make positive changes in their lives that can be applied to their career, their relationships, their approach to learning, and their degree.”
To get her students to that point, Professor Casanave admits that she asks them “tough questions”.
“…thought-provoking questions that challenge their current belief systems,” she says.
Most of her students, she says, start the semester wondering why they need a course in Practical Logic, but just a few short weeks into the semester they see its value. Some students have even suggested it be mandatory for all students.
The semester culminates with her students using their newly honed skills to explore a social issue of their choosing.
“I believe that in order to be successful in Practical Logic,” she says, “You need to learn the tools for being a good critical thinker and apply logical/philosophical concepts to everyday life.”
With a bachelor’s in Philosophy/Religion and a master’s in Critical and Creative Thinking, Professor Casanave’s first career was in Human Resources, where she was involved in hiring, training, and employee relations. She uses this experience in her role as a facilitator for the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) program which affirms diversity in the classroom and on the campus.
Practical Logic at NECC is offered through the Liberal Arts and Sciences division of the Global Studies Department. The course is designed to introduce the basics of reasoning, argumentation, and critical thinking. It can be used as a Humanities Elective, Liberal Arts Elective, Open Elective, Philosophy/Religion Elective, or Reading Content Course.