Essay by honors faculty fellow on scientific literacy selected for publication in 'Fields of Reading'

Thomas Martin

An essay by Thomas Martin, honors faculty fellow at ASU's Barrett, The Honors College, has been chosen for publication in Fields of Reading, a well-known edited collection of essays and texts considered to be key curriculum readings from the arts and humanities, social sciences and public affairs, and sciences.

Martin’s essay, titled "Scientific Literacy and the Habit of Discourse," gives an argument for teaching students to set aside personal bias and think critically based on evidence when wrestling with scientific quandaries.

“Scientific literacy isn’t just about theory," Martin says. "It’s about inculcating habits of critical thought. 'Habits of thought' refers to a mental commitment to put evidence over your own preconceptions and practice an inner critical discourse that is more focused on evidence."

Martin says critical thinking isn’t limited to the sciences, that it is useful in any discipline, and adds that he and his Barrett Honors College faculty colleagues imbed this concept into their teaching.

“We spotlight critical thinking skills," he says. "We’re not just trying to fill heads with information, but (we’re) focusing on acquiring critical thinking habits that will begin in the classroom and go on throughout students' lives.”

Martin’s essay was originally published in Seed Magazine in 2007 and was picked up by the Christian Science Monitor in 2008. The latest publication of the essay is a welcome surprise to Martin.

“I’m in there with the likes of Plato and, more importantly, Tina Fey,” Martin says with a smile. “But seriously, it’s surreal to have my name in a table of contents with authors we actually teach here at Barrett. I’m gratified to know it will be used by thousands of students throughout the country and the world."