What is critical thinking and how do we teach it in the disciplines?
- Why Teach for Critical Thinking
- What is Critical Thinking?
- Encountering Barriers to Critical Thinking
- Methods for Encouraging Critical Thinking
Why Teach for Critical Thinking?
Academically Adrift (Arum & Roska, 2010) argues that students rarely enter college with significant critical thinking skills and many leave without developing those skills. An AACU (American Association of Colleges and Universities) employer survey indicated that critical thinking is more important than the major, so employers want colleges /universities to focus more on developing students’ critical thinking skills.
What is Critical Thinking?
- What Is Critical Thinking, Anyway? Vitae (Chronicle of Higher Education blog)
- The Elements and Standards of Critical Thinking (a useful diagram from the Foundation for Critical Thinking)
- Resources at The Critical Thinking Web
- QualiaSoup YouTube Videos on Critical Thinking
Encountering Barriers to Critical Thinking
How would you remove the barriers represented in these quotes:
- “Critical thinking has been floating around the world of education for years… [but] has been an add-on to the curriculum rather a core aspect of learning.” (Ferlazzo, 2011)
- “We judge students continually based on what they say, how they behave, [and] the way they respond.” (Wilson, 2011)
Now, consider this:
“It can be hard to let go of the reins… but when [instructors] give students the responsibility to be the thinkers and drive the content, they may take it in unexpected directions that are more relevant to them and thus more likely to stick.” (Nobori, 2014).
Methods for Encouraging Critical Thinking
- Activity: Stand & Declare
Read each statement describing a stance [these can be quotes, for example], and consider each (such as the statements above describe stances). Then, decide and indicate whether you:
HAVE NO OPINION
Hold up a card. Be prepared to stand and explain your position.
Give each student three cards representing each statement–these can be three colors or each have the words printed on them representing the three choices.
- Try Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats as a way to get students past the identified barriers by forcing them to think in a particular vein. It moves them beyond their own assumptions and biases etc. by assigning a “role” representing positivism, negativity, creativity, facts, feelings, control.
- Help students practice the “seven aspects” of collaborative communication in a classroom dialogue (visit this page for descriptions).
Workshop: the PDF files of the Power Point for your reference.
Ferlazzo, L. (2011, Nov. 8). Response: Several ways to teach critical thinking skills. Education Week. Retrieved from: http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/ classroom_qa_with_larry_ferlazzo/2011/11/response_several_ways_to_teach_critical_thinking_skills.html
Wilson, M.B. (2011, Dec. 28). Questioning your assumptions. Responsive Classroom. Retrieved from:
Nobori, M. (2014). Ten takeaway tips for teaching critical thinking. Edutopia. Retrieved from: http://www.edutopia.org/stw-kipp-critical-thinking-10-tips-for-teaching