Concurrent Sessions I
(8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.)
Applying Critical Thinking to Academic Strategic Planning and Leadership
Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs
Western Kentucky University
Defined by Bryson as "a disciplined effort to produce fundamental decisions and actions that shape what an organization (or other entity) is, what it does, and why it does it," strategic planning sounds like a classic application of critical thinking. In fact, it is easy to map the requirements, process, and value of strategic planning against the Elements, Standards, and Traits of critical thinking. But it is here that the languages diverge. Planning dialogues readily drift into the terminology of clarifying vision, mission, and goals, and of formulating and implementing objectives and activities as well as performance indicators. Focus shifts to turning the crank on a cyclical process, which rapidly becomes the end in itself; the reflective depth of critical thinking is lost, as is the ability to evaluate critical decisions within the framework of a consistent purpose. If, however, we can be disciplined in maintaining an outcomes-based focus built on multi-system reasoning, then we can better ensure that our decision-making is fair, consistent, well-reasoned, and thus intellectually defensible.
"She Really Makes Me Think" - Studying an Educator's Long-Term Adoption of the Paul-Elder Model
University of Manitoba
“She really makes me think” is a common expression shared by many students regarding one instructor’s teaching style, this being consistent over the past ten years. Why? In that time period, the instructor schooled herself in the Paulian Framework of critical thinking, purposefully and explicitly planning for critical thinking to be ever-present in the classroom and evidenced always in student works - whether these be in-class contributions or submitted, written artifacts. A case-study approach was used to capture pivotal moments or turning points in the academic’s critical thinking journey, when knowing to know critical thinking as a concept transformed to knowing critical thinking as a knower of it, and then knowing to be a critical thinker being a critical thinker - all in the context of being an educator who is responsible and accountable for facilitating learning in others. Themes emerged in the journey: “momentum-building critical thinking skills via reflect, reflection, reflexivity”; epistemological turning from knowing oneself as teacher to knowing oneself as facilitator; “thinking about thinking while thinking”; and perseverance and courage, despite the despising.
From Theory to Practice: Using Richard Paul’s Framework for Critical Thinking to Address the Common Core State Standards
Chair of the Theology Department
Junipero Serra High School
The Common Core State Standards affect how teachers plan lessons, conduct learning strategies, and construct assessments. Embedded within the Standards are Richard Paul’s Elements of Thought and Intellectual Standards. This session will show how the Paul-Elder framework for critical thinking directly addresses the Common Core, provides highly effective teaching strategies, and offers a justification to administrators for its implementation. Participants will be walked through a rationale for including Paul's work in their classroom, and will experience critical thinking strategies that can be used immediately in instruction. A PowerPoint for teaching critical thinking, along with classroom materials, will be provided.
Critical Thinking About Domestic Abuse
Vicki Vernon Lott
Former Provost and Vice President for Academic & Student Affairs
Numerous reports show that domestic abuse permeates our society regardless of age, race, culture, occupation, income, or social status, with more than twelve million incidents per year. It has also been found that abusiveness has little to do with how a man feels, and everything to do with how he thinks. In other words, the abuser has a distorted perspective that justifies his use of power, control, and mental manipulation. Because abuse by intimate partners normally occurs at home behind closed doors, there are particular challenges rooted in the victim's fear, and perhaps in her self-esteem being negatively affected to a point that damages her ability to demonstrate intellectual courage. Several high-profile cases in the sports arena have recently drawn national attention to this subject, leading to powerful public service announcements, heightened awareness of crisis centers, and protracted discussion on assuring that abusers are punished. But what are we doing to look deeper into the causes, and to take proactive steps to consider implications and consequences BEFORE the abuse occurs? This session will consider that question and propose ways to apply the Intellectual Standards to the Elements of Reasoning in order to develop Intellectual Traits that can lead to a reduction in domestic abuse cases in the first place.
How to Teach Critical Thinking Elements in the Kindergarten Classroom
Ivy A. Randle
Chicago Public Schools
I believe the instructional strategy (my hypothesis) that I am testing in my current research provides an option that will be used in the classroom to promote critical thinking. It is an instructional strategy that I have used for about seven years in the kindergarten classroom, and I have seen the transformation in how students attack questions they were once afraid to answer. I want students to be able to process information in such a way that they can actively propose viable answers to demonstrate practiced thinking. This will come from the explicit teaching of critical thinking skills and opportunities. My proposal is to connect research with the field (the classroom) in order to meet the Common Core Standards (critical thinking). To this end, I have developed a workshop to share with kindergarten teachers on how to employ strategies via Math Stations that will give students opportunities to practice thinking.
Components of the presentation include, very specifically, three Intellectual Standards that can be taught in any kindergarten classroom: fairness, accuracy, and clarity. The Math Stations are carefully designed and embedded to teach these standards. The protocol will show how to use traditional math skills along with the treatment of teaching fairness, clarity, and accuracy to promote critical thinking in kindergarteners.
I will explicitly show stakeholders what this approach looks like and how to implement these strategies in the kindergarten classroom. The stations that I have designed give students what I call a “Mental Gym” in which to practice thinking. Included in my “Mental Gym” are questions designed from the Bloom’s Taxonomy Chart; additionally, my questions have threads of the elements of Socratic Questioning, which “helps students develop sensitivity to clarity, accuracy, and fairness”(Foundation for Critical Thinking Press, 2007). This presentation will show the gap in literature around having precise tools to explicitly teach Intellectual Standards to kindergarteners along with the traditional math curriculum.
Critical Thinking Instruction and Authoritarian Educational Systems: Lessons Learned
Xian Jiaotong Liverpool University, China
This presentation will highlight current practices of university instructors delivering a critical thinking module at a joint Sino-British university in Suzhou, China and the challenges which confront them. Faculty has had success in blending traditional Socratic-dialogue methods of instruction with a multi-level communicative approach adopted from academic language instruction. Rather than adhering strictly to the one-to-one, instructor-to-student method of Socratic dialogue - popular in philosophy courses and law schools - instructors at this university use pair work, small-group and whole-classroom Socratic dialogue, and one-to-one methods to break down some of the affective filters raised by students' prior learning experiences.
Many Chinese university students enter universities having primarily learned in a strict, teacher-centered environment that discourages outward displays of criticality by the student. Moreover, the national government’s Patriotic Education Campaign has stressed the duty among students to unquestioningly support the Party and Chinese Nation. Given these prior learning experiences, the university’s students nevertheless can be encouraged to embrace critical scholarship when care is taken in choosing Socratic dialogue topics, methods of interaction, and through a supportive but rigorously-challenging classroom environment. This presentation will highlight how university faculty have addressed these unique challenges in China, and how instructors in other restrictive environments may benefit from a blended Socratic-dialogue method.
Concurrent Sessions II
(9:40 a.m. - 10:40 a.m.)
University-Wide Critical Thinking Initiative: Two-Year Narrative of Vision and Implementation
Associate Professor, School of Human Sciences and Humanities
University of Houston-Clear Lake Larry Kajs
University of Houston-Clear Lake Troy Voelker
Associate Professor, School of Business
University of Houston-Clear Lake Kwok-Bun Yue
Professor, Science and Computer Engineering
University of Houston-Clear Lake
In early 2013, University of Houston-Clear Lake boldly moved toward articulating, adapting, and absorbing critical thinking (CT) in every sphere of our university life – students, faculty, staff, and all who belong to our community. We have included all university personnel in the Foundation for Critical Thinking (FCT) workshops, and this is a continuing trend of greater inclusion of all the university's facets.
We have put in years of labor to finesse a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) for syllabi that reflect our faculty’s learning the principles gleaned from FCT workshops on our campus, and that also reflect the methods by which this learning emerges in the vision, strategic practices, and assessment taking place in classrooms. So far, we have successfully launched three cohorts of faculty through a series of four 1-2 day workshops, and have developed an array of QEP-approved courses being taught in all four colleges of our university.
Dr. Larry Kajs, School of Education, will present the institutional vision and systematic implementation of this initiative as the project's administrative lead. Dr. Troy Voelker, School of Business, will share the process of constructing CT-centered syllabi and the success in bringing aboard a sizeable group of business faculty to invest in this endeavor. Dr. Kwok-Bun Yue, School of Science and Computer Engineering, will address the significance and implications of CT skills in the fast-growing and globally-dynamic disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Dr. Shreerekha Subramanian, School of Human Sciences and the Humanities, will speak about ground-level classroom practices and how CT-centered discourse impacts and changes the lives of students on our campus, and will discuss a special university degree-earning program for men in prison. Our panel seeks to demonstrate the effective institutional and individual impact of adapting critical thinking as daily practice in the university classroom.
The Critical Researcher: The Elements of Thought and Intellectual Standards Used to Increase Reading Comprehension and Writing Skills
Adjunct Instructor, English Department
Mt. San Antonio College
Do your students moan when they hear the words "research paper"? In this session, find out how to use the Elements of Thought and Intellectual Standards to teach an easy, effective method for research that will allow your students to find and use the best information available.
First, students will learn to summarize an article by finding the twelve most important words. Second, they will learn to use the Elements of Thought by critiquing the article and writing responses for each Element. Finally, students will grade each Element using the Intellectual Standards. Each letter grade is explained, and the final discussion includes whether or not the article chosen is worthy of being quoted in an essay. Your students will immediately respond to this process, and the end result is that they will be more critical researchers, which increases reading comprehension and improves the skills needed to express opinions in essays.
Enhancing Critical Thinking Skills in the E-Learning Environment: A Significant Pedagogical Gap
Lecturer, School of Human Services and Social Work
Griffith University, Australia
Research has demonstrated that embedding the explicit teaching of critical thinking (CT) skills in a discipline-specific context can deliver improved capacity for reasoned, thoughtful, purposeful analysis and decision-making based on sound knowledge, but there is limited research in teaching this in the online environment - especially within disciplines like social work. There are specific challenges to teaching critical thinking skills in an e-learning environment, especially when it comes to encouraging students to practice these skills outside of specific academic assessment tasks.
Social workers work with disadvantaged, oppressed, and vulnerable individuals, groups, and communities in a dynamic, globalizing world. The issues they face on a daily basis are challenging, complex, and multi-dimensional. Increasing their capacity to think and reflect upon the full implications of their actions with clients is essential to good professional practice, and will lead to improved outcomes for their client groups.
In 2014, I developed and implemented a number of different tools and strategies to educate social work students, and to encourage them to apply CT while on their first field placement (eighteen weeks in a social-work setting). These tools and strategies were based on the Paul-Elder framework. I would like to share what I've learned, and engage with other like-minded workshop participants in developing CT teaching strategies for online university students. The significance of my research is heightened by the dramatic increase in online tertiary educational opportunities taking place across the world.
Teaching to Think Critically in Turkey - from the Student's Perspective
Banu F. Hummel
Bilgi University, Turkey
I propose to discuss qualitative data, collected this semester, about students’ reflections on critical thinking course content, its purpose, and its influence on their personal learning processes and perspectives. As an instructor of Critical Thinking in Psychology at Bilgi University in Istanbul, Turkey, I have become interested in how students perceive and experience this particular learning process and environment. Although Turkish education has traditionally been based on the transfer of knowledge from teacher to student, several universities in Turkey - involving faculty and administrators alike - have begun to make critical thinking a priority in higher education. While the value of learning critical thinking in Turkish universities has been explored, and the importance of promoting critical thinking within a Middle Eastern context is also part of the academic discourse on higher education, Turkish students’ personal reflections and experiences of these classes have not been documented. In addition to analyzing students’ experiences and attitudes, I plan to explore the impact of collectivist culture on critical thinking development, which has primarily evolved within an individualistic cultural paradigm.
Using Online Self-Coaching to Develop an Inquiring Mindset
In 2012, the South African College of Applied Psychology (SACAP) commissioned the instructional designers at Cognician to create an online learning program titled, “Research and Study Skills.” SACAP provided the source material for the course on information competency, and the instructional designers then adapted this material into 26 coaching guides, or “cogs” for short. Each cog consists of a series of questions on a topic, with supporting material in a sidebar. As students work through the cogs, they read the supporting material and write their responses to the questions.
The 26 cogs are designed to provoke critical and creative thinking in order to help students appreciate the difference between a “pretending mindset” and an “inquiring mindset” (which is a combination of critical and creative thinking), and to develop affinity for the latter. Eight cohorts of students have completed the course to date. This paper explores the aims, experience, and outcomes of this course and the self-coaching methodology of the Cognician platform.
The critical thinking framework embedded in this course includes purposes, questions, information, concepts, assumptions, and inferences or conclusions. But questions are undoubtedly the lynchpin of the self-coaching methodology used. In fact, students regularly volunteer how they begin to apply the questioning mode as a habit in their own thinking.
Concurrent Sessions III
(10:55 a.m. - 11:55 a.m.)
The Creation and Adoption of a Required Class - "Critical Thinking, Decision-Making, and the Art of Leadership" - in a Business Department Curriculum
Gordon R. Flanders
Montana Tech of The University of Montana
Montana Tech of the University of Montana in Butte now requires all students pursuing a degree in Business to take a course in critical thinking. The course, titled, "BGEN 285: Critical Thinking, Decision Making and the Art of Leadership," emphasizes the importance of understanding how critical thinking assists in the process of comprehending and analyzing arguments in order to improve decision-making.
The course presents critical thinking as a tool and skill to be used for improved understanding, evaluation, and construction of arguments. The goal is to leave students with the ability to reason well and improve their analytical skills. The class emphasizes the Elements of Thought, thinking and writing using SEE-I, application of Intellectual Standards and Traits, the importance of asking questions, learning how to make arguments, identifying fallacious arguments, problem-solving, appreciation of multiple points of view, how to remove emotion and bias from the thought process, how to improve decision-making, and understanding the implications of decisions. Finally, the class dives into the importance of developing coping skills, dealing with the unknown, and how to become a better leader by applying the principles of critical thinking.
There is no exam for this course; students are asked to demonstrate reflective thinking on a daily basis. They are assigned the task of identifying controversial articles and other readings, identifying the arguments in these readings, and then identifying the points of view as well as the strength and soundness of the arguments. The “final" for the course is a paper in which students argue for the grade they deserve in the class. According to students, this is the most difficult paper they have been asked to write.
Student evaluations suggest this is the best and most important class they have ever taken at Montana Tech, or any other institution, as it has taught them the process of becoming a critical thinker. The class has now been approved as a humanities option, and is also approved as an honors class.
Developing Critical Thinking Skills Through Writing in the Classroom
Coordinator, Faculty Development
Oakwood University Eva Starner
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychological Sciences
Oakwood University Ramona Hyman
Associate Professor, English & Foreign Languages Department
In 2012, Oakwood University adopted the critical thinking model by Drs. Richard Paul and Linda Elder to embed critical thinking skills in the classroom. This primary emphasis is in direct response to our Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) initiative to develop critical thinking skills in our students, as demonstrated through their writing.
The journey to this point has been, and continues to be, extremely exciting as we provide teacher support on many levels: from certification for all instructors who teach designated QEP courses, to ongoing professional development training and experiences with our critical thinking initiative. This supports self-assessment and continuous improvement for the entire university.
Oakwood University believes that the ability to think critically requires a higher level and order of thinking, which goes beyond the process of simply recalling facts, figures, and information. Equipping students to think and write critically requires intentional curriculum development and instructional methods that provide them opportunities to practice and enhance their higher-level reasoning skills, both in scholarly and practical applications. Therefore, the university works to facilitate an environment of learning that fosters the development of a critical thinking disposition which will continue to impact the student’s thought processes and decision-making beyond the university classroom.
This presentation will share curricular and instructional strategies that facilitate the processes and methodologies for embedding critical thinking skills in the classroom. It will also include practical classroom assessment techniques and activities that engage students in critical thinking and writing. Additionally, the session will share strategies to enhance professional development activities among faculty and staff.
Thinking Critically about What (Arguably) Matters: Teaching Critical Thinking about Politics, Morality, and Self-Deception
Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Sam Houston State University
Teaching critical thinking often involves a concern for guiding students to think about normative concepts, such as what sources they should consult and how they ought to evaluate evidence. While these are no doubt important norms to impart to students, in my critical thinking courses I have also found success in having students engage with morally and politically normative topics - especially topics in social, moral, and political psychology - and in inviting students to write about how the lessons from these fields can apply to their daily practices.
After having students read and discuss Daniel Kahneman’s research on dual-process psychology and the various cognitive errors to which we are often susceptible (outcome bias, hindsight bias, the "What You See Is All There Is" rule, etc.), I introduce them to recent empirical psychological findings as they are outlined by a variety of psychologists and philosophers, including Jonathan Haidt (moral and political psychology), Kevin Timpe (self-deception and intellectual humility), and John Doris (situationist moral psychology). In addition, I have a class devoted to discussing a speech from the writer David Foster Wallace, who offers some trenchant advice for how one can avoid self-deception, engage in cognitive empathy with strangers in commonplace situations, and properly deliberate about the values that sit at the center of each of our lives.
Once students have been introduced to this material, they are required to write a paper where they conduct an informal experiment in which they critically apply at least two of these ideas to their own lives. Students report striking instances of how they have come to recalibrate the pursuit of several of their life goals (career, family, and religion), recognize the ways in which they have been self-deceived in their pasts (in romances, friendships, and the workplace), and live more thoughtful and prudent lives through practices of cognitive empathy.
Confronting Issues of Race and Ethnicity employing the Paulian Framework in a Socratic Approach
Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator, Office of Equality and Diversity
This session aims to increase sensitivity to implicit bias and micro-aggressions by enhancing critical thinking. The Paul-Elder critical thinking framework provides the roadmap for a relational cultural approach (or mutual-empowerment approach) to facilitating dialogue on matters of diversity. Participants will engage in a facilitated Socratic dialogue that aims to increase “thinking about one’s own thinking” (e.g., assessment of one's own assumptions and worldview), while increasing levels of self-awareness and understanding of perspectives beyond one’s own.
Diversity work and conflict often go hand in hand. Productive conflict resolution can help facilitate open and honest discussion, yet there MUST be an organized process for transforming conflict related to difference. Encouraging participants to listen to each other’s experiences without evaluating them is a key part of the dialogic process. Through guided discussion and application of the ethic of discourse (e.g., sincerity, openness, respect, and fair self-examination), a dialogue focuses on bringing all participants into the discussion (inclusion) and moves thinking forward through the exchange of perceptions, experiences, and ideas.
Guided Questions for Discussion:
1. How have recent events covered in the media regarding race and the criminal justice system affected you?
2. What has been your experience?
3. What can we do (as individuals and members of college and university communities) to improve the situation?
Mohammad Bagher Bagheri
Science and Research Branch
Islamic Azad University, Iran
Thinking, as the main function of the mind, is apparently a covert and private activity happening within the confinement of human minds. However, this tacit activity is manifested in words, decisions, behaviors, and actions. In fact, thoughts generally do not tend to stay within the mind. They announce their presence somewhere: in the things we say, the decisions we make, and the actions we take.
In the model of critical thinking developed by Richard Paul and Linda Elder, this important aspect of thinking has not been neglected. They aptly focus on the components of implications and consequences to indicate their significance in analyzing any kind of thinking. It is imperative to notice that thinking leads somewhere; in fact, it leads to implications and consequences. In this way, any responsible human being is expected to consider how his or her thinking might influence other human beings. We can think of this virtue as Intellectual Responsibility.
In this session, the presenter will try to focus on this aspect of critical thinking. What is meant by the concept of "implication"? What does "consequence" mean here? Why have these two concepts been grouped together? In what ways can we differentiate them from each other? How can one consider the implications and consequences that might follow from a line of reasoning? The participants will be actively engaged in considering the implications and consequences of their thinking.
Concurrent Sessions IV
(1:20 p.m. - 2:20 p.m.)
Developing Critical Thinking Through Online Environments
Douglas M. Harvey
Associate Professor of Instructional Technology
Online coursework has become a common format for college courses, but establishing an asynchronous learning environment that fosters critical thinking can be difficult due to constraints of the format. For example, the value of back-and-forth exchange of ideas and points can be muted by the lag time between asynchronous "discussion" posts. Students also tend to view forum posting as an individual writing activity, and not as the debate or discussion that faculty designed such environments to foster.
Some research has supported the use of online forums for developing critical thinking due to the additional reflection time provided for students to create thoughtful responses, and due to the value of anonymity or lack of face-to-face pressure from a live classroom. This session will discuss the practices of supporting critical thinking development through the use of online environments for learning activities and communication, and will consider how such environments might help develop the traits and habits of critical thinkers.
Critical Thinking in Teacher Education: Perceptions and Practices of Teacher Candidates and College Faculty
Spencer A. Wagley
Associate Professor of Education
Within teacher preparation, critical thinking is used in many different ways. Teaching and critical thinking can be linked together to provide students with more appropriate and beneficial educational experiences. The majority of research examines the critical thinking skills of students, but few studies focus on the understanding of critical thinking by educators. Research by Haas and Keely (1998) suggest that educators lack the necessary knowledge to enhance the critical thinking skills of their students. Critical thinking education should begin with faculty members (Burroughs, 1999; Hobaugh, 2005). Therefore, the issues of critical thinking in both teaching and learning should be viewed together. It is not known whether the current critical thinking perceptions of faculty practices are modeled for teacher education candidates.
The purpose of this study was to examine the critical thinking perceptions and practices of teacher candidates and college faculty. Specifically, the study aimed to explore the knowledge, skills, and dispositions toward critical thinking that teacher education candidates and teacher education faculty possess. Teaching reasoning skills should be a prime aim of education at all levels (Paul, 1990; Burbules & Berk, 1999). Modeling and transferring knowledge, skills, and dispositions may be unintentional, accidental, or not done at all. A heightened awareness of critical thinking could lead to more intentional teaching of it.
Bringing Critical Thinking into the Heart of Teaching and Learning
Researcher and Lecturer, Department of Education
Roma Tre University, Italy
The idea behind the series of projects I have been coordinating in my department is that of verifying the effectiveness of a model built to increase critical thinking skills, with the aim of applying it in different settings - both in higher education and training.
Surely, the context that young generations of Western countries find themselves living in highlights an inadequate attention to those cultural resources which represent the backbone to implementing innovation and progress in any sector. As Harold Bloom reminds us, European history was built upon the cultural canons of the West. In an interview, Bloom stated that "...culture cannot be dominated by [visual media such as PC's and smart phones] and remain related to Dante, Shakespeare, and Cervantes..."
The issue raised by Bloom is real, and must be faced with strength. To counter the tendency to be addicted to the system, interventions - ones aimed at compensating for the lack of reference structures needed to build young generations’ cultural repertoire - are to be promoted and validated through dedicated research projects.
The project I will present in this session attempts to assess whether technology enables us to provide spaces for further cultural insights that represent stable architectures - ones which tend to fill certain easily-noticeable gaps in the present student population - facilitating the construction of a responsible and unbiased critical awareness in new generations.
In this session, the methodology adopted, the analyses carried out, and the results collected over a three-year project time - when different cohorts of education students attended the online module "Critical thinking skills and the reading of the classics" - will be reported
Cultivating Critical Thinking in the Elementary Classroom
Thompson School District
Cultivating strong-sense critical thinking in the elementary classroom is essential to fostering students who use critical thinking as a disposition for learning and a pathway to accessing content, all while producing quality thinking. Using the Paul-Elder framework - specifically the Elements of Thought, Intellectual Standards, and Intellectual Virtues - one can begin to rethink how students are asked to learn, what they are asked to learn, and how they can share their thinking. Additionally, close reading, Socratic dialogue, diads, and other instructional strategies bring critical thinking to life in even the youngest of students. Children need not be taught what to think, but rather how to think critically.
This session will bring critical thinking to the forefront of all instruction, provide real classroom vignettes of students doing intellectual work, and shift one’s thinking to the urgency of creating critical thinking classrooms systemically. “The important thing is to not stop questioning,” Albert Einstein stated; this is the preface for my work as a primary-school educator who utilizes the Paul-Elder framework as my primary source for restructuring the educated classroom and, in result, the educated mind.
Using Election Issues to Teach Critical Thinking and Civic Participation
President & Managing Editor
Many people in the United States vote for candidates based on uninformed or misinformed views. Learning how to weigh and consider candidates and issues requires critical thinking, which many people use on unimportant matters (which fruit to pick, which route to take, which outfit to wear), yet often fail to apply to important decisions like who to vote for. The objective of this presentation is to show attendees how people typically make election decisions, how to improve that process so that decisions use more critical thinking and are thus more informed, and how to teach these improvements to students so they are engaged and educated in candidate selection as soon as they can vote.
The presentation will first highlight research on voting behaviors in the last few presidential elections, focusing on voter education, motivation, and decision-making. The presentation will then explore methods of better informing voters about candidates - some of which have worked well, and others of which have not. The presentation will conclude with showcasing which methods work best and how to incorporate them into simple lessons and exercises.
Concurrent Sessions V
(2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.)
Using Critical Thinking to Enrich Teaching and Learning
District Director, QEP
Broward College Michelle Jackson
Professor of English
As part of the accreditation process, Broward College is focusing on a college-wide initiative to improve students’ critical thinking skills. The College has adopted the Paul-Elder model, and as a result of this initiative, faculty have seen improvements in students’ abilities to think critically. The presenters will share specific teaching and learning strategies that faculty from multiple disciplines employ, and will also share outcomes-based assessment results after one year of implementation. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in activities that foster critical thinking, while gaining concrete and applicable strategies to use in the classroom.
Developing Critical Thinking in First-Year Students Using Formative and Summative Methods
Life Chiropractic College West
This session focuses on a practical method used to help freshman students learn the Paul-Elder model of critical thinking and how to apply it to course topics. Methods presented are currently being utilized in a health-sciences philosophy course. A rubric for the Intellectual Standards and examples of the worksheets that are given to students will be shared and discussed. A formative, feedback-driven series of structured group assignments is used, which culminates in an individual summative assessment for each student. Students are challenged beyond the levels of other course work and have responded enthusiastically to these methods.
Millennials, Online Learning, and Critical Thinking
State University of New York at Canton
When I left last year’s conference, my biggest takeaway was to build my online modules around conceptual development. Working with millennial and non-traditional students, I revamped modules and developed new assignments and rubrics that encourage critical thinking in my students. This workshop session will discuss:
• Current research on millennial and online students. (What are their needs?)
• The Community of Inquiry framework (Garrison, D.R., Archer, W., 2000), which recognizes that community, critical reflection, and knowledge construction are essential for online learning.
• Examples of essential questions from a variety of disciplines (social sciences, humanities, and business) used in discussion forums.
• Web 2.0 tools that support critical thinking.
• Assignments that help students activate conceptual understanding.
The session will conclude in analyzing rubrics I have used, and in a participant discussion of how these rubrics can be further developed and adapted to participants' disciplinary needs.
Critical Thinking in Creative Practice
Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
As a professor of sculpture, I held the same opinion as most of my colleagues: that art (and art instruction) is primarily a matter of intuition, emotion, and free association, and that it requires a kind of thinking more or less the opposite to the systematic, logical, critical thinking required by other academic disciplines. After I attended the 2012 International Conference on Critical Thinking and Educational Reform, I became convinced that successful creative practice actually depends on effective critical thinking skills. Surprisingly, studio courses are an excellent place to teach these skills.
The goal of this presentation will be to articulate the relationship between critical thinking and creative practices, and to provide some practical pedagogical tools for using creative process as an arena for developing critical thinking skills. This workshop will be highly interactive, utilizing the eight Elements of Thought and the Intellectual Standards, with particular emphasis placed on Fundamental and Powerful concepts.
Using Critical Thinking to Save Thinking, Sentient Species Like Apes and Dolphins Shawn Thompson
Thompson Rivers University
In February of 2015, I was chair of an expert advisory committee that wrote a ground-breaking report on humane and ethical treatment of orangutans in captivity. This report was for a court case in Argentina dealing with an orangutan in the Buenos Aires zoo. Orangutans - a thinking, sentient species threatened with extinction - have demonstrated the ability to reason, plan, communicate, form culture, be self-aware, and understand concepts of right and wrong on a rudimentary level.
The foundations of the court report I wrote included the work I have done on applying reason and critical thinking to ethics, my work on overcoming the abyss between empiricism and ethical principles that Kant identified, and my personal knowledge on orangutans as the author of a published book on the species.
This session will explore the barriers to applying critical thinking to ethical principles for the rights of apes, and will discuss the solution I have proposed in the categorization of suffering as a marker of needs and rights. In the application of critical thinking and ethics, it would also examine the difference between ethical arguments in philosophy and ethical arguments in the specific rational structure of the legal system, where interesting efforts are being made to change the rights of apes. The law is an institutionalized system of critical thinking that has an internal consistency, and it contrasts with critical thinking outside the system.
Concurrent Sessions VI
(3:45 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.)
Getting Started: A Community College Begins to Think Critically About Critical Thinking Steve Knapp
Professor of English
Arkansas State University at Beebe Jim Brent
Associate Professor of Social Sciences
Arkansas State University at Beebe
This concurrent session will share the experiences of an infant critical thinking initiative at a small, two-year liberal arts college in Arkansas as it tries to crawl from an idea to a curriculum-integrated critical thinking program. The session will focus on how ideas can be transferred from the conference directly into the classroom. How-to information, as well as sample simulations and participatory exercises, will be included to show how we have begun to adapt and introduce critical thinking theory into our classes and how - through presentations and workshops - we are working toward building a dedicated faculty coalition. This coalition is committed to fostering explicit learning and learner autonomy in employing critical thinking techniques across the curriculum, which will provide valid assessment results useful for institutional planning.
Improving Student Critical Thinking Through Direct Instruction in Rhetorical Analysis Lauren McGuire
Professor of English
Victor Valley College
Purposeful implementation of Dr. Richard Paul and Dr. Linda Elder’s Elements of Thought, Intellectual Standards, and of Socratic questioning could strengthen students’ perceptions of critical thinking and their own critical thinking abilities. Educators can cultivate these Intellectual Traits by encouraging students to develop the skills necessary for clearly and logically evaluating the credibility and reliability of rhetoric.
Assuming that an argument can be any wording - written or spoken, aural or visual – that expresses a point of view, it is vitally important that educators challenge students to consider new perspectives on topics they may feel they already understand, and for those educators to provide practice in analyzing the sorts of arguments that their students will be assigned in various courses.
Implementing the Elements of Thought, Intellectual Standards, and Socratic questioning through direct instruction in rhetorical analysis could encourage students to detect and evaluate the assumptions, egocentrism, and sociocentrism in rhetoric which they are exposed to in literature, the media, and their own writing. Consistent application of Paul and Elder’s Intellectual Standards provides students with the tools necessary for acquiring intellectual humility as they approach the complexities of life with clarity, accuracy, and precision; explore multiple perspectives of difficult problems; and learn to sympathetically acknowledge the viewpoints of others with breadth and clarity.
This session will focus primarily on designing teaching strategies that integrate direct instruction in rhetorical analysis. Emphasis will be placed on incorporating Paul and Elder’s Intellectual Standards and Elements of Thought. Participants will work in small groups and will be offered instructional methodologies which encourage the evaluation of expository and argumentative discourse, and which develop students’ critical thinking, reading, and writing skills.
Questions and More Questions for Transfer in Learning Communities Heather Barrack
Bergen Community College
The critical thinking vocabulary of Elements of Thought, Intellectual Standards, and Intellectual Virtues must be emphasized as necessary transferrable knowledge for students and faculty. This emphasis should take place from the introduction of the syllabus to the specific assignments (including the rubrics for assignments), discussions, and tests and research.
This workshop will look at learning communities and paired courses to consider how the connectivity of these models in science, philosophy, world cultures, literature, history, sociology, and composition can serve as a foundation for critical thinking (Paul-Elder model) across the curriculum.
The design will include the opportunity to observe changes in discussions and assignments as faculty modify lectures, assignments, and tests to explore assumptions, evidence, conclusions, and implications from different curricula.
Philosophical Assumptions in Psychotherapy: An Analysis of Harry Stack Sullivan's Interpersonal School of Psychiatry and Viktor Frankl's Logotherapy Sally Carey
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Notre Dame College
This paper examines two necessary and foundational assumptions inherent in all forms of psychotherapy: a view of the person, and a view of reality. Indeed, without these assumptions, therapy could neither be practiced nor achieve its goals. Grounded upon the school of thought in which they originate, the author demonstrates how these foundations are both paradigm-specific and have an ineliminable, normative force for the client. Two contrasting schools of thought are analyzed in this regard, namely, Harry Stack Sullivan’s Interpersonal School of Psychiatry and Viktor Frankl’s Logotherapy. Consideration is given to the prevailing trend of eclectic psychotherapeutic practices, and rather than exonerating therapists from critically investigating the foundations of such practices, this places an even greater moral obligation upon them for the sake of their client’s well-being.
Higher-Order mLearning: Cultivating Creative and Critical Thinking Through the Use of Mobile Devices
Train the Trainer School
United States Marines
This presentation explores the literature regarding development of higher-order learning through student participation in technology-enhanced environments - specifically, the use of mobile devices in the practice of critical thinking by leveraging their inherent elements and affordances of temporality, space, and connectedness.
The literature on mobile learning only recently began to explore critical thinking, and remains focused on content delivery. However, the collaboration, just-in-time, learning-on-the-go capabilities of mobile learning hold potential for deeper discourse within the context of higher-order learning. This presentation argues that carefully designed learning spaces, accessible by technology in hand, create beneficial opportunities for reflection and critical thinking that drive academia, business, and military organizations. However, poor definitions of critical thinking compromise its effective development and evaluation. Through an inquiry of higher-order learning, critical thinking, mobile learning, and technology-enhanced learning, the author defines and recognizes reflection as an essential component of critical thinking, identifies gaps in research associated with higher-order mobile learning, and establishes the importance of critical thinking in mobile learning.
Cultivating Critical Thinkers in the Academic Writing Course for Non-Native English Ph.D. Candidates Bo Gao
English Lecturer, School of Foreign Languages
Beijing Institute of Technology, China
Badly-constructed Chinese English is characterized by redundancy, inaccuracy, and lack of logic. The author argues this phenomenon is essentially caused by the lack of critical thinking rather than the English chunks, grammar, or culture. The academic writing course, therefore, prepares PhD candidates to think critically, rationally, and empathically in the content-based instruction. Four-year practice of Socrates-Plato questioning tasks has effectively enhanced students' linguistic and logical clarity and accuracy, both in their English academic writing and in their research. More importantly, integrating critical thinking with academic writing enlightens them to the long-term mind control of the government, so that they become mentally and spiritually independent citizens who value their essential human right to think and speak freely.