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                                  Spring Workshop Descriptions

Engaging Students in Taking Ownership of Content Through Thinking… 

Dr. Linda Elder

A key insight into content (and into thinking) is that all content represents a distinctive mode of thinking. Math becomes intelligible as one learns to think  mathematically. Biology becomes intelligible as one learns to think  biologically. History becomes intelligible as one learns to think  historically. This is true because all subjects are: generated by thinking, organized by thinking, analyzed by thinking, synthesized by thinking, expressed by thinking, evaluated by thinking, restructured by thinking, maintained by thinking, transformed by thinking, LEARNED by thinking, UNDERSTOOD by thinking, APPLIED by thinking. If you try to take the thinking out of content, you have nothing, literally nothing, remaining. Learning to think within a unique system of meanings is the key to learning any content whatsoever. This session thus explores the intimate, indeed the inseparable relationship between content and thinking.

When we understand the relationship between content and thinking, we realize that all subjects, all disciplines, have a fundamental logic defined by the structures of thought embedded in them.Therefore, to lay bare a subject’s most fundamental logic, we can begin with these questions:

·         What is the main purpose or goal of studying this subject? What are people in this field trying to accomplish?

·         What kinds of questions do they ask? What kinds of problems do they try to solve?

·         What sorts of information or data do they gather?

·         What types of inferences or judgments do they typically make?(Judgments about…)

·         How do they go about gathering information in ways that are distinctive to this field?

·         What are the most basic ideas, concepts or theories in this field?

·         What do professionals in this field take for granted or assume?

·         How should studying this field affect my view of the world?

·         What viewpoint is fostered in this field?

·         What implications follow from studying this discipline? How are the products of this field used in everyday life?

These questions can be contextualized for any given class day,chapter in the textbook and dimension of study. For example, on any given day you might ask one or more of the following questions:

·         What is our main purpose or goal today? What are we trying to accomplish?

·         What kinds of questions are we asking? What kinds of problems are we trying to solve? How does this problem relate to everyday life?

·         What sort of information or data do we need? How can we get that information?

·         What is the most basic idea, concept or theory we need to understand to solve the problem we are most immediately posing?

·         From what point of view should we look at this problem?

·         What can we safely assume as we reason through this problem?

·         Should we call into question any of the inferences that have been made?

·         What are the implications of what we are studying?

In this session you will work your way through one subject or discipline that you teach, rethinking it as a mode of thinking. We will focus on how to analyze thinking within the discipline and how to assess thinking within the discipline once analyzed.   And we will focus on the question: How can we help students learn to appreciate academic disciplines as modes of thinking which can only be understood when one is thinking through issues and problems within them?

Becoming a Critical Thinking Theorist…Dr.Richard Paul

In this advanced session we will focus on learning to use powerful concepts to create powerful learning and to develop long-term commitment to critical thinking virtues and values. We will think our way through the practice we must do to become proficient in theory, proficient in practice and proficient in self-transformation.

What kinds of thoughts, what kinds of designs, what kinds of passionate commitments do critical thinking theorists construct?   And what is the vehicle of teaching and learning that critical thinking theorists strongly cultivate? Answer: the teaching that models:

·         A special way of thinking and doing.

·         A special mode of questioning.

·         A special orientation as to purpose, goal, motivation, objective.

·         A special orientation to “facts”.

·         A special relationship to one’s shaping of the facts.

·         A special relationship to what one is taking for granted.

·         A special way of following possible, probable, or necessary implications and consequences.

·         A special way of seeing the human world and of the larger world of which human reality is a part.

·         A special kind of humility.

·         A special kind of courage.

·         A special kind of perseverance.

·         A special kind of autonomy.

·         A special kind of integrity.

This will be a challenging session, It is for those ready to experience and work their way through frustrating conceptualizations that build the theory and practice of critical thought. We will study and internalize some of the written work of persons who have engaged in this process (people like Bertrand Russell, John Henry Newman, and the historian Edward Carr).   We will take theory that has been developed and build on that theory. We will apply critical thinking theory to practice within academic disciplines, thereby deepening our understanding of the theory behind the disciplines. We will develop our understanding of the importance of theory in teaching and learning. A journal will be given to each participant,as we start the process of self-reflection. This session is, frankly, best suited for those with foundational understandings of critical thinking well in place.

     To download a color flier for the Spring Workshops, please click here.  

Register Now!

Register early for the best rate. 
We encourage you to come with fellow faculty or staff to enrich your experience- please see our special group rates!


Spring 2013 Workshops in Critical Thinking

Cost Per Person


1 Person

2-3 people

4-6 People

7 or More

Spring 2013 Critical Thinking Workshop
(early registration)






1 Person

2-3 people

4-6 People

7 or More

Spring 2013 Critical Thinking Workshop