Fostering Critical Thinking in The Classroom

Fostering Critical Thinking in The Classroom

TEACHING CRITICAL THINKING ACROSS THE DISCIPLINES Stephen Brookfield University of St. Thomas Minneapolis-St. Paul www.stephenbrookfield.com Someone Who Thinks Critically Can

Identify Assumptions Informing Thoughts & Actions Check Assumptions for Accuracy & Validity View Ideas & Actions from Alternative Perspectives Take Informed Action ASSUMPTIONS CAUSAL - purport to explain a

sequence of events PRESCRIPTIVE - assumptions about how things should happen PARADIGMATIC - framing, structuring assumptions viewed as obvious / taken for granted TRADITIONS ANALYTIC PHILOSOPHY logical fallacies, argument analysis inductive, deductive,

analogical, inferential NATURAL SCIENCE hypothetical-deductive method, principle of falsifiability CRITICAL THEORY uncovering power dynamics & ideological manipulation PRAGMATISM experimental pursuit of beautiful consequences (democracy) CIRCLE OF VOICES Individuals reflect on the discussion topic (1-3

minutes) Participants go round the circle in order - each person has up to 1 minute of uninterrupted air time to give their viewpoint on the topic. No interruptions are allowed Move into free discussion with the ground rule that every comment offered must somehow refer back to a comment made by someone else in the opening circle of voices. This need NOT be agreement - it can be a disagreement, a question, an elaboration or

extension, an illustration, and so on QUESTION What most helps your students to think critically? How is Critical Thinking Learned? What Students Say

By Instructors MODELING, MODELING & MODELING via: Critical Incident Questionnaire Assumption Inventories Ending Practicum, Lectures & Seminars with Questions, not Conclusions Critical Incident Questionnaire (CIQ)

MOMENT MOST ENGAGED AS LEARNER MOMENT MOST DISTANCED ACTION MOST HELPFUL ACTION MOST CONFUSING WHAT SURPRISED YOU MOST HOW ADMINISTERED?

Last 5 minutes of Class Anonymous Frequency Analysis of Main Themes Reported Out at Start of Next Class Negotiation NOT Capitulation

How Is It Learned? What Students say Instructor Point - Counterpoint / Structured Devils Advocacy / Speaking in Tongues Best When Grounded in Real World Examples, Specific Experiences, Case Studies Incremental - Begin With Basic Mental Protocol /Inquiry Applied to Topics Well Away From Students Experiences then Gradually Move Closer to Home (c.f. Vigorous Exercise)

CHALK TALK Instructor writes a question in the middle of the board 5-10 minutes of silence is declared Students write responses to the question on the board whenever they feel ready Students & instructor draw lines between similar comments & add reactions

SNOWBALLING Instructor poses a question Students individually make notes & then share responses in pairs Pairs then join other pairs to share responses in quartets Quartets then join other quartets to share responses in octets & so on When groups merge they share only QUESTIONS

or DIFFERENCES QUESTION When Critical Thinking Happens in Your Class, What Does It LOOK LIKE SOUND LIKE FEEL LIKE

CIRCULAR RESPONSE Groups of 8-12 Go round the circle: each person has up to a minute to talk - NO INTERRUPTIONS What you say must respond to the previous speakers comments (can be a disagreement or expression of confusion) Once all have spoken move into open conversation with no ground rules

Question HOW DO YOU MODEL CRITICAL THINKING FOR YOUR STUDENTS? RESOURCES Teaching for Critical Thinking (2011) The Skillful Teacher (2006 2nd. Ed.)

Discussion as a Way of Teaching (2005 2nd Ed.) with Stephen Preskill All published by Jossey-Bass/Wiley www.stephenbrookfield.com

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