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33rd Annual Conference Concurrent Sessions

These are some of the invited concurrent presenters for the 33rd International Conference on Critical Thinking. This year we are planning a full day of concurrent sessions with many sessions from which to choose. Choose from among these and other concurrent sessions once you arrive at the conference. A concurrent session program will be in your conference packet.

Download or view the 33rd International Conference program below...

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  • 33rd International Conference Program

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    Long-term professional development for Critical Thinking: Lessons from 10 Years of Educational Reform in K-12

    Presenter: Paul Bankes, Superintendent, Thompson School District, Loveland, CO

    Educational research establishes without a doubt that that for professional development to impact teaching practices and student learning in  a substantive, sustainable manner the teacher learning experiences must be continuous and practiced.  Implementing critical thinking into K-12 classrooms is no exception. This session will explore key components of professional development planning and delivery that lead to effective implementation of critical thinking in a comprehensive manner – theory, instruction, curriculum, and child development theory- leading to a long-term approach to learning and applying the foundations.  This approach has been successful at schools within the Thompson School District, Loveland, Colorado.


    Using Paul-Elder Framework as Basis for GenEd Course in Public Health

    Presenter: Pete Walton, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, School of Public Health and Information Sciences. University of Louisville

    This session explores how the General Education “Introduction to Public Health” course is designed to take full advantage of the Paul-Elder model for critical thinking. The course also makes extensive use of teams while working to combine teams and critical thinking. The reason for the two foci is that critical thinking and working with others in teams are not only the top two attributes employers look for in employees, but they are also how public health work is done. The session covers how critical thinking and teamwork form the basis of the syllabus, course, and class design; inform activities and deliverables and student responsibilities; and are integral to student grading processes. Various examples of active learning are demonstrated in this session.


    Critical Thinking for Mentors: Directing Conversations with the Elements of Thought to Model Healthy Relationships.

    Presenter: Justin Garcia, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Department Chair & Assistant Professor, Devry University

    Mentoring began in fall 2011 at a community school that serves those unable to return to their school of residence upon release from a juvenile center.  Both mentors adopted the model of Critical Thinking proposed by Richard Paul and Linda Elder to stimulate meaningful conversations with mentees.  The intent of the mentoring program is to model healthy relationships through conversation and metaphorically in art.  Using the elements of thought to direct the conversation, mentors encouraged mentees to recognize the patterns of their thinking such as the implications of their thinking, the assumptions inherent in their thinking, and the clarity of the concepts used in conversations with mentors.  To illustrate healthy relationships metaphorically the mentors and mentees collaborated on a mural that was completed one week prior to the 2011-2012 school year.  It is now displayed within the school


    Actualizing Critical Thinking Principles through Second Language Instruction in Iran as a Non-western Society.

    Presenter: Mohammad Bagher Bagheri, English Department, Casual Lecturer, Vali-E-Asr University of Rafsanjan, Iran

    Critical thinking is a western concept and as its history points out developed and flourished in the western world because the conditions were favorable. Developing critical thinking in non-western societies cannot be pursued unless the local exigencies are carefully considered. Fostering critical thinking in Iran as an Islamic country has its own obstacles and problems. Considering such limitations, the presenter tries to first discuss the main obstacles for developing and actualizing critical thinking skills in an Iranian context and then offer practical ideas and viable strategies for developing and actualizing critical thinking through Second Language Instruction. 


    Critical Thinking in Teacher Education: Perceptions and Practices of Teacher Candidates and College Faculty.

    Presenter: Spencer Wagley, Education Department, Sterling College

    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 the research examines the critical thinking skills of students. Few studies focus on the understanding of critical thinking of 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 teaching and learning should be viewed together. It is not known whether the current critical thinking perceptions of practices of faculty are modeled for teacher education candidates. 

    The purpose of this study was to examine the critical thinking perceptions and practices held by 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 critical thinking.


    Using Assessment Tools to Promote Faculty Members’ Understanding and Use of Critical Thinking Teaching Strategies


    Bill Watson, Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning & QEP Director. Parker University

    Christopher Petrie, Associate Professor and Director of Residency in Diagnostic Imaging. Parker University

    The Paul-Elder Model provides a valuable framework for promoting critical thinking, and many institutions have adopted this model in support of institution-wide initiatives designed to improve students’ reasoning skills. To determine the impact our efforts are having on improving students’ thinking, we must use assessment methods that are appropriately aligned with the Intellectual Standards and the Elements of Thought. In our session, we will share the assessment strategies our institution uses and demonstrate how our approach not only gathers information on overall student performance, but also provides a valuable framework for reinforcing the strategies and methods faculty members should employ in their courses to promote students’ development of critical thinking skills. Participants will leave the session with ideas on how they can create or revise their institutional assessments to both assess students’ critical thinking skills and to improve faculty members’ use of effective teaching and learning methods.


    Using the Virtues to Frame the K-16 Common Core

    Presenters: Heather Barrack

    This presentation will focus on specific lessons in the classroom of high schools and colleges as they connect with the Intellectual Virtues.  The Common Core Framework identifies Habits of Mind from Costa and Kallick as the connection for metacognition related to assignments.  I will argue that the Paul/Elder model is more powerful in its simplicity and completeness for transfer from course to course and ownership by students and faculty.  I intend to highlight three to four of the virtues (empathy, autonomy, fairmindedness, and perseverance -- most likely)as they can frame the classroom discussions and writing assignments.


    Using the Elements of Thought to Analyze, Transform, and Resolve an Interpersonal Conflict

    Presenter: Shawn Queeny, Associate Professor, Communication Studies. Bucks County Community College. 

    Conflict is an inevitable aspect of human communication. However, conflict does not have to be a destructive force in our relationships. By employing the eight elements of thought, we can analyze, transform and resolve conflicts while we strive for collaborative, win-win solutions.  

    In this workshop, I will define conflict using one of the most widely accepted definitions by William Wilmot and Joyce Hocker:

    “Conflict is an expressed struggle between at least two interdependent parties who perceive incompatible goals, scarce resources, and interference from the other party in achieving their goals.”

    Then, by introducing the elements of thought and contextualizing them, I will ask participants to describe a conflict (either current or from the past) and apply the elements of thought to the conflict. This activity should help participants generate questions, perspectives, and ideas that will allow them to build constructive solutions they can use to manage the conflict. The participants will also work on uncovering conflict rituals (Assumptions and Concept of conflict) they engage in regularly. The workshop will conclude with participants discussing their solutions with fellow participants and using the intellectual standards (Clarity, Accuracy, Precision, Relevance, Depth, Breadth, Logic, Significance, and Fairness) to assess the quality of their solutions. Striving to resolve conflicts collaboratively and in the spirit of achieving a “win-win” resolution also aligns with the intellectual traits proposed by Elder and Paul. Transforming and resolving conflicts in a positive way demands that participants communicate with high degrees of integrity, humility, courage, empathy, fair-mindedness, confidence, perseverance, and autonomy. EndFragment 

    Striving to resolve conflicts collaboratively and in the spirit of achieving a “win-win” resolution also aligns with the intellectual traits proposed by Elder and Paul. Transforming and resolving conflicts in a positive way demands that participants communicate with high degrees of integrity, humility, courage, empathy, fair-mindedness, confidence, perseverance, and autonomy.


    Critical thinking in the College Classroom


    Jeffery Swain

    The Director of Center of Academic Support and Retention

    Faculty: English and Criminal Law


    Augustus Henry


    Critical Thinking, Pre-College Reading and Education Psychology


    Derek Ford


    Critical Thinking, Pre-College Reading and Remedial Reading

    This presentation provides three demonstrations of innovative ways critical thinking can be implemented in the college classroom. The first uses the eight Elements of Thought in an English Literature course to generate discussion in poetry. The second shows that students can use the elements of thought to explain and monitor their own learning experience. Finally, the presentation demonstrates assignments that reinforce the usage of intellectual traits, the intellectual standards, and the elements of thought.  


    Developing Course Assignments To Guide Students In Their Development Of And Use Of Critical Thinking Skills

    Presenter: Mel Manson, Professor of Sociology and Psychology. Endicott College, Beverly, MA.

    As teachers we search for a model to help bring our students to a form of thinking that will open their minds, have them think clearly, deeply, and rationally.  Critical Thinking is such a model.  By incorporating  the Elements of Thought, the Intellectual  Standards , and being aware of the Intellectual Virtues we are able to prepare meaningful class presentations and assignments that will affect the thinking and problem solving skills of our students.  This session will present instructional strategies  that can create rigor and give structure to student reasoning.  At the same time these classroom strategies can be used to assess and document a student’s ability for deep understanding of the assumptions, points of view, concepts, and issues studied in your discipline.  Participants will  be asked to evaluate how effective these assignments might be in their classroom and share suggestions on how to incorporate  these and other ideas from fellow session participants into new class assignments. 


    Improving Student Critical Thinking Through Direct Instruction in Rhetorical Analysis

    Presenter: Lauren McGuire

    Cultivating critical thinking, intellectual growth, and lifelong learning opportunities that provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary for success in life is a fundamental goal of all educational institutions. In an effort to encourage students’ higher order thinking skills and abilities, educators are beginning to include critical thinking curriculum into a variety of academic disciplines. Instructional strategies that advance critical thinking pedagogy on a consistent basis could positively impact the range and quality of student critical thinking skills’ performance.  Further, purposeful implementation of the Thinkers Guides, based on Dr. Richard Paul and Dr. Linda Elder’s model of critical thinking and Socratic questioning, could strengthen students’ perceptions of critical thinking and of their own critical thinking abilities.  Using Paul and Elder’s Thinkers Guides, the Elements of Reasoning, and Socratic questioning, this session will focus primarily designing instruction which integrates direct instruction in rhetorical analysis. Participants will work in small groups and will be offered instructional methodologies which encourage analysis and evaluation of expository and argumentative discourse and which develop students’ critical thinking, reading, and writing skills.


    Creating & Assessing Fairminded Critical Thinkers; Improving Our Thinking to Save the World

    Presenter: Juliet Mohnkern, Director of Public Policy & Curriculum Innovation, Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools for Public Policy

    Krista Ferraro, Deputy Director of Public Policy & Curriculum Innovation, Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools for Public Policy

    High quality thinking is not automatic or natural.  All humans are inclined to see the world through their own lens, creating a narrow and sometimes biased understanding of world.  Our understanding of the world becomes the platform for our actions in it so to improve our world it is necessary to improve our thinking.  Fairminded critical thinkers are able to see the perspectives of others and work consciously to use thinking to make the world a better place.  Our democratic system relies on the thinking of the citizenry as the foundation for government action. How we understand the key democratic principles of freedom, justice, and equality as well as how we work to achieve them is a function of our thinking.  In order for nation to move closer to realizing those ideals, it is essential that education systematically cultivates and assesses fair-minded thinking.  In this session participants will review a secondary school curriculum that is explicitly designed to develop students as fairminded critical thinkers.  Participants will assess how effectively the curriculum achieves its goal of improving  students’ thinking in order to make the world a better place.  In addition, the presenters will share practical models and tools to assess students’ critical thinking in grades 6-12.  In teams, participants will practice using these tools to assess student thinking and develop plans to implement these ideas in their own field.


    Better Living Through Better Thinking: The impact of incorporating the Paul-Elder framework of critical thinking into a campus-community partnership

    Presenter: Edna Ross, Ph.D. University of Louisville

    The purpose of this session is to examine how the University of Louisville’s adoption and implementation of the Paul-Elder framework of critical thinking has had a major impact on a local community organization, Hotel Louisville.  Hotel Louisville is owned and operated by Wayside Christian Mission, a homeless shelter, and is staffed by screened and vetted Wayside resident clients. The Paul Elder framework of critical thinking was incorporated into the development of customized critical thinking tools for use in hotel/hospitality training, addiction recovery sessions, conflict resolution sessions, and other activities focused on helping all Wayside clients lead better lives through better thinking. This session will discuss the impact of the collaboration between UofL  and Hotel Louisville from the perspective of UofL faculty and students, and Wayside staff and clients.


    Critical Thinking Beyond the Academic Setting: Engaging Our Fellow-Citizens

    Presenter: Doug Matheson

    In exploring ways to take critical thinking beyond the academic setting, participants will consider the following questions:  What does a serious evaluation of our times lead one to conclude about the challenges we face?    Do we have a problem on our hands in that Conservatives and Liberals tend to not be able to talk with each other, they talk right past each other; they’re not only not on the same page, they can’t seem to think toward the same page?  Which of the Intellectual Standards is particularly critical as a point of divergence in people and groups going different directions from that point on?  Do we in fact have an obligation to leave a decent, stable, and hopefully enjoyable world to future generations?  What are some of the major roadblocks and/or challenges to making it another 50 years with greater elements of sustainability in place?  And, What factor or factors most contribute to our developing and then cultivating the tendency to seek almost exclusively belief-reinforcing “facts,” to believe what we want to believe, the tendency toward wishful thinking?    


    Mentoring: Using the Paul/Elder Critical Thinking Model to Assist Others in Fostering the Pursuit of an Examined Life

    Presenter: Paula Fraser

    University of Washington

    Presenter will share her experiences, strategies and materials that she has used in developing mentor relationships with individuals and small groups so that they are better able to focus on improving the quality of their thinking. Through fostering a plan for leading the examined life, they can hopefully better achieve their goals and ambitions, make better decisions, and take charge of what they do in all parts of their lives—personally and professionally—leading them to realize the potential to live a fuller, more happy and secure life. In addition to the Critical Thinking Mini-Guide, presenter will use excerpts from the Paul/Elder book, Twenty-five Days to Better Thinking (Now Thirty Days).


    In Vivo: Facilitating Critical Thinking in Medical Education/Training Using a Case-Base Modality

    Presenters: Gilbert Villela, MD. Associate Clinical Professor 

    University of California, San Francisco 

    David Elkin, MD. Clinical Professor

    University of California, San Francisco

    How do we improve diagnosis, arrive at accurate clinical interpretations, and develop optimal interventions with the hope of reducing medical misdiagnosis and poor treatment outcomes?  We introduce a critical thinking (CT) group process we have used with medical students and resident trainees by implementing CT elements and standards in a non-didactic, group discussion format using a stimulating clinical case as a modality.  Group facilitators utilize CT techniques (i.e. Socratic questioning, paraphrasing, paradoxical examples, highlighting assumptions or biases, etc.) in fostering participants to discuss among each other and reflect on their thinking in the moment (in vivo).  One group process objective is to nurture CT dispositions such as persistence, humility, courage, honesty, fair mindedness, and openness to dissonance.  In our session, we will provide a stimulating ethical/clinical case to present to the group to have the participants experience the process of thinking about a case using our approach. We will consider briefly the obstacles in thinking critically in medicine. 


    Developing Critical Thinking within a Master of Science in Leadership Program.

    Presenter: Daryl Watkins 
    Assistant Professor, College of Business
    Department Chair, Graduate Studies, Leadership and Business
    Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

    How do Leaders develop themselves into better leaders, ready to take on the complexities of today’s world? In our Master of Science in Leadership program, we believe that better leadership starts with better thinking. Our students are asked to begin their studies by learning about the elements and standards of critical thinking as well as the intellectual virtues and barriers to thought. We continue to revisit these concepts throughout their degree program and we ask our students to take the critical thinking basic concepts assessment four times throughout their program. In this workshop, we describe our approach and share the issues that we have experienced along the way.


    Learning to think within a doing it

    Presenter: Christopher Petrie
    Associate Professor and Director of Residency in Diagnostic Imaging
    Parker University

    One of the most challenging aspects of learning a discipline, and frequently a skill that receives little or no attention in the curriculum, is the skill of thinking within that discipline. For example, students can learn all there is to know about the human body and human disease, but they are little more than medical encyclopedias until they learn to think like a doctor or nurse. Unfortunately, many courses and curriculums emphasize content over concepts, and consequently leave learning to think within the discipline for the students to figure out on their own. In this session, we will explore faculty’s experiences with immersive learning activities that are being used to help students begin thinking within a discipline. Participants will leave the session with ideas for creating immersive learning experiences that not only help students make sense of the content, but also to begin thinking within the discipline.


    Critical Thinking in the Primary Classroom

    Presenter: Carmen Polka

    Kindergarten Teacher

    Dynamic is the primary classroom that embraces critical thinking at the heart of the teaching and learning. The foundation of effective classroom instruction and student learning is the understanding, application and integration of the Paul and Elder theory.  Embedded within this theory and approach are thinking routines and systemic instructional strategies. It is careful consideration that is given to the relationship of these thinking routines and systemic structures

    that enables one to foster a conceptually based, inquiry driven, critical thinking rich classroom all the while embracing the young child. These strategies while implemented with fidelity in a primary classroom, are also effective in all classroom settings. This session will focus on bringing clarity to routines and structures that foster critical thinking and those that do not. Furthermore, using specific instructional strategies sets the stage for students, regardless of their age, to engage in content in a critical way. Effective thinking routines and instructional strategies are infused in the Paul and Elder model and are necessary for a rigorous and robust primary classroom.


    Assessing Critical Thinking using Scientific Reasoning TestsPresenter: Joseph D'Silva
    Department of Biology

    This presentation discusses the merits of deploying tests to evaluate critical thinking among some science students. Critical Thinking is a component of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) at Norfolk State University. The university employs a number of critical thinking tests to gauge student performance, including the Scientific Reasoning Test (SRT) designed to assess critical thinking in the physical and biological sciences. The SRT was administered (pre and post) to nursing students in two introductory courses: BIO 165 (Anatomy & Physiology - Part 1) and BIO 166 (Anatomy and Physiology - Part 2), and in an upper level course: BIO 320 (Pathophysiology). The elements of reasoning and the standards of critical thinking formed part of the instruction after the pre- test. While 62% of students in BIO 166 met the competency requirement (defined as a 70 or above on the SRT), the results suggest that continued exposure to instructional strategies and assessment items designed to enhance students’ critical thinking increases student achievement. The results also suggest a need for continued research on student test-taking motivation, as lower level students often outperformed upper level students. The SRT is a low-stakes test for students, thus it does not affect their course grade, and research suggests that students may not put forth their best effort on low-stakes tests that assess higher- level thinking. Scientific reasoning tests may be used to measure critical thinking ability among students.