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2024 Fall Academy on Critical Thinking


Join Us for Our Next Academy on Critical Thinking
Fall 2024
in the Ozark Mountains  

For Educators, Administrators, and Leaders in Business and Government

November 15th - 17th, 2024

Peel Museum & Botanical Garden
400 South Walton Boulevard
Bentonville, AR 72712-5705

Learn in Community with Our Senior Fellows

We invite you to join us for this unique learning experience led by Senior Fellows of the Foundation for Critical Thinking. We also encourage you to register soon, as space is limited due to the intimate nature of the academy.

In this academy for both new and returning participants, Drs. Linda Elder and Gerald Nosich illuminate how we design instruction and training to foster intensive intellectual engagement by every learner, in every class or program, every day. If you are an educator, you will leverage your new understandings in critical thinking to rethink your model of instruction. If you are a business or government leader or trainer, you will utilize critical thinking tools to transform how you view, organize, and execute your training and other work.

This academy is concerned to foster deep internalization of critical thinking in the long run and is designed for:

  • educators and administrators at all levels of instruction,
  • business and government leaders, and
  • anyone desiring to advance their personal critical thinking skills, abilities and traits.

Throughout the academy, participants will work toward:

  1. internalizing first principles of a rich conception of critical thinking;
  2. contextualizing these principles within academic subjects and disciplines, or within business/governmental practices;
  3. developing instructional strategies that foster deep learning by helping students, employees, colleagues, and/or clients reason through your content using the concepts and principles of critical thinking,
  4. understanding how to embody the character traits of the fairminded critical thinker;
  5. conceptualizing critical thinking as transformative, and as essential to self-actualization and contributing significantly to the common good.

Academy Design

As an academy participant, you will have the opportunity to work as a “student” in the Paulian Approach, or Paul-Elder Approach, to critical thinking. You will be tutored by our Senior Fellows as you work to internalize a rich, interdisciplinary concept of critical thinking and learn to apply it in your instruction and/or other professional work. Our Fellows will exemplify the disciplined thinking of master teachers, demonstrating and explicating the kind of content-filled reasoning that students and trainees must themselves come to internalize over time. We will work together in an intellectual community as you further develop your understanding of content as a mode of thinking that must be reasoned through critically, and as you come to see how this model of learning is important for living a reasonable, productive life.

Returning participants at the Academy will go deeper into the Paul-Elder Framework for Critical Thinking and learn to better apply its foundations in the classroom, in business and/or government, and throughout their lives. At times, they will work as an advanced group under the guidance of either Dr. Linda Elder or Dr. Gerald Nosich. At other times, they will work with new participants in a mentorship capacity during group exercises. This process will enhance knowledge of critical thinking foundations for both new and returning participants.

At this academy, you will:

  • discuss essential ideas in critical thinking;
  • develop and articulate your understandings of key concepts within your academic discipline or profession;
  • rethink your “typical day” at work to foster deep learning in your students, employees, colleagues, or clients;
  • reason through complex questions within your field, gaining insight into how you can help students, employees, colleagues, and/or clients do the same;
  • see our Senior Fellows demonstrate ways of teaching and training that progressively build upon each other;
  • engage in close reading and substantive writing while learning instructional-design strategies for both;
  • receive feedback using intellectual standards to develop your understandings while you engage as “students” who are thinking through content; and
  • (if relevant to your work) learn to better apply critical thinking in leadership and/or training in business, government, or education.

This academy offers a unique opportunity to work closely under the tutelage of Drs. Nosich and Elder in a small, intimate learning situation, much like disciplined Socratic schools one might envision. We will create a seminar-style Socratic learning experience together in a disciplined intellectual community, one of the sort that we would hope to create in our institutions and workplaces, and one which would be prevalent in fairminded critical societies.

By working alongside one another in this academy, participants across professions and with varying purposes, issues, and concerns can learn from one another as we all work to better internalize a powerful, robust conception of critical thinking and how to foster it in others.


Event Registration Options

Cost Per Person

If Paid by October 6, 2024

1 Person

2-3 people

4-6 People

7 or More

Early-Bird Registration





If Paid AFTER October 6, 2024

1 Person

2-3 people

4-6 People

7 or More

Standard Registration






Additional 20% Off for Members of the . . .

Our Organization and Approach to Critical Thinking and Teaching

The Center and Foundation for Critical Thinking together have hosted critical thinking academies and conferences for 44 years. During this time, we have worked with hundreds of thousands of educators as well as businesses, governments, and educational leaders from across the professions in designing instruction and training that place critical thinking at the core of learning and decision-making.

Our instructional design strategies and approaches emerge from first principles in critical thinking. These include:

  1. That the only way to learn content of any kind is to incorporate it actively into your thinking.
  2. That all people, and hence all students and professionals, reason at differing levels of quality within differing contexts and domains of thought. Students, employees, colleagues, and clients must therefore be approached as unique thinkers in their own right, with their own respective strengths and weaknesses, if they are to develop their capacities as reasoners.
  3. That humans are fundamentally reasoning creatures; we work our way through life using our reasoning to figure things out. Because the quality of one’s life depends directly on the quality of one’s reasoning, and because we cannot depend on our reasoning to be naturally of high quality, people need intervention strategies for thought. These strategies should be at the heart of teaching and learning in any area.
  4. That it is not enough to leave the development of criticality at the implicit level if we are to take command of knowledge and become skilled learners and professionals. Instead, the lingua franca of critical thinking – in other words, the critical-analytic vocabulary embodied in all natural languages and describing concepts such as assumptions, implications, interpretations, accuracy, relevance clarity, etc. – should be made explicit in instruction and training, used on a daily basis in teaching and learning, and employed throughout the professions and everyday life.


Teaching and training for genuine understanding and robust critical thinking entails:

  • Teaching and living through a Socratic spirit, emphasizing the importance of the learner taking ownership of his or her own ideas, questions, and content by actively thinking it through. In this mode of teaching and thinking, the inquiry process is more important than the answers.
  • Teaching with intellectual standards, so that learners are expected to adhere to clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, logic, and significance in their academic discourse. In this mode of teaching, intellectual discipline and rigor is expected and fostered.
  • Teaching that encourages learners to identify key structural components in thinking, such as purposes, questions at issue, information and data, inferences and interpretations, concepts and theories, assumptions and presuppositions, implications and consequences, and points of view and frames of reference.
  • Teaching that requires learners to read, write, listen, and speak critically.
  • Teaching that is dialogical, wherein learners come to thoughtfully question the reasoning of others and expect their own reasoning to be so questioned.
  • Teaching that encourages students to think for themselves while exercising intellectual humility and intellectual empathy.
  • Teaching that locates ultimate intellectual authority in evidence and reasoning, rather than in authority figures or “authoritative” beliefs or texts.

About Our Presenters

Dr. Gerald Nosich

Dr. Gerald Nosich is a noted authority on critical thinking and has given more than 250 workshops to instructors and governmental agencies on all aspects of teaching it. He is the author of Reasons and Arguments, Learning to Think Things Through: A Guide to Critical Thinking Across the Curriculum, and Critical Writing: Using the Concepts and Processes of Critical Thinking to Write a Paper.

Dr. Nosich has given workshops for instructors at all levels of education in the United States, Canada, Thailand, Lithuania, Austria, Germany, Singapore and England. He has worked with the U.S. Department of Education on a project for a National Assessment of Higher Order Thinking Skills; given teleconferences sponsored by PBS and Starlink on teaching for critical thinking; served as a consultant for ACT in Critical Thinking and Language Arts assessment; and been featured as a Noted Scholar at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Nosich has been Assistant Director at the Center for Critical Thinking at Sonoma State University, and is Professor Emeritus at the State University of New York Buffalo State and at the University of New Orleans.

Dr. Linda Elder

Dr. Linda Elder is an educational psychologist and international authority on critical thinking. President and Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Critical Thinking, she has taught psychology and critical thinking at the college level, and she has given presentations to more than 50,000 educators and leaders in business, government, and the military. 

Dr. Elder is author of Liberating the Mind: Overcoming Sociocentric Thought and Egocentric Tendencies. She has also coauthored four books, including 30 Days to Better Thinking and Better Living through Critical Thinking and Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life, as well as 24 Thinker's Guides on critical thinking. Concerned with understanding and illuminating the relationship between thinking and affect, and with the barriers to critical thinking, Dr. Elder has placed these issues at the center of her thinking and work.