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Webinar Q&A Sessions
in the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online

Join the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online to participate in webinar Q&A sessions with our internationally recognized Fellows and Scholars.

See below for upcoming webinars, participation in which is included with Community Online membership. Typically, our webinar announcements provide activities for you to complete ahead of time in the Community Online. These will be relevant to the topic at hand. Then, at the actual webinar, you are given the opportunity to ask questions of our Fellows or Scholars about the new understandings you've gained by completing the activities.

Remember: you need a Center for Critical Thinking Community Online account to participate in these webinars. If you are brand new, a 30-day free trial is available.


Upcoming Webinars

Monthly Open Critical Thinking Q&A: October 2021

Led by Dr. Linda Elder

Thursday, October 21st, 2021



8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

Complimentary with Membership in the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online!

 

What are your questions?

Together we ponder or answer them.

Thinking is driven by questions. The quality of your thinking is determined by the quality of the questions you ask. Fruitful questions, when properly addressed, lead to knowledge. Knowledge leads to important understandings. Important understandings, when actively employed by the mind, can lead to increasingly more fulfilling, satisfying, and joyful lives. In teaching and learning, the quality of our teaching can largely be captured in the questions students ask in our classes and the questions they ask when they leave our tutelage (not on how much information they have stored in short-term memory). 

Despite these insights, the importance of questions in thinking is – and always has been – largely ignored in human conversations, relationships and societies. The role of questions in thinking is rarely discussed in human life (though in academia, of course, there are some few classes on how to pursue questions, and some faculty do explore the role of questions in thinking). Theory about questions is still in its infancy. While Socrates believed the most effective way to teach was through questioning, 2,400 years later, his insights seemed to be little valued. Each of us needs to improve our ability to ask productive and rewarding questions.

In our monthly question-and-answer webinars, led by one of our Fellows or Scholars, we open the floor to your questions about critical thinking and its unlimited applications to human life. Join us in this forum where you can practice asking questions similar to how we want our students to practice asking them – to improve their ability to ask powerful questions in everyday life. Some questions we will be able to answer easily; those that do not lend themselves to definitive answers, we will explore with you.

We will largely structure this monthly Q&A webinar with the entire group together in one room, but on some occasions, we may break into smaller groups to explore a given question. We look forward to lively, convivial, and enlightening discussions based on your questions. 

Please remember that you need a Center for Critical Thinking Community Online account to participate in this discussion. If you are new to our subscription community, a 30-day free trial is available.


Critical Thinking, Spontaneity, and Happiness

Led by Dr. Linda Elder

Thursday, November 4th, 2021



8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

Complimentary with Membership in the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online!

 

Many people have the erroneous idea that critical thinking merely seeks mistakes in thinking, or in other words, criticizes. Or they think of it only as a toolbox for improving their ability to reason through everyday life or professional problems. Some stereotype critical thinking as cold and calculating, having nothing to do with emotions. Some academicians conceptualize their field as the field that defines critical thinking and how it should be contextualized.
 
All these conceptions are incorrect. Instead, critical thinking is a rich set of interconnected ideas that, if internalized and systematically employed, help us live better across our lives, and in every part. The hallmark of the fairminded critical thinker is the commitment to, and embodiment of, intellectual virtues such as intellectual integrity, intellectual empathy, intellectual courage, intellectual autonomy, confidence in reason, and intellectual humility. When we steadfastly cultivate these virtues in ourselves, over time we develop intellectual and ethical character, which in turn leads to self-actualization. When we achieve self-actualization, we are more spontaneous because we are less concerned with what others think of us, and we are happier because we have greater control of both our thinking and our actions. We see ourselves as worthy, while recognizing we are fallible. We accept that we can never be perfect, while continually working toward the ideal. We recognize that a primary purpose in life is happiness. Through our critical thinking, we seek the highest and most noble paths toward happiness. This includes, for instance giving of yourself to others while also making sure to take care of yourself. It includes not beating yourself up or denigrating yourself. It includes believing in the potency of your own mind.
 
In this webinar, Dr. Elder will explore some of the relationships between critical thinking, spontaneity, and happiness using the tools of critical thinking. These relationships have implications for our classrooms and all parts of our lives. We hope you join us for this important and invigorating topic which is directly related to well-being and self-fulfillment.

Because the session relies heavily upon your questions as participants, you will need to familiarize yourself with certain critical thinking concepts ahead of time. Please complete as many of the following activities in advance of the Webinar Q&A as you can:

1. Review page 12 in The Miniature  Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools.

2. Read the article, “Valuable Intellectual Traits.”

3. Complete the activity, “When Have you Defended a Popular but Irrational Belief?” (Scroll about halfway down the page to reach this activity.)

4. Complete the activity, “Distinguishing What You Know For Certain From What You Do Not Know.” (Scroll about two thirds of the way down the page to reach this activity.)

5. Watch the three-part video series, ‘Intellectual Virtues’ by Dr. Linda Elder:

a. Part 1.

b. Part 2.

c. Part 3.

Please remember that you need a Center for Critical Thinking Community Online account to participate in this discussion. If you are new to our subscription community, a 30-day free trial is available.




Past Webinars

Why the Human Mind Compartmentalizes and How Critical Thinking is the Key to Integration

Led by Dr. Linda Elder

Saturday, September 25th, 2021


View Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

Complimentary with Membership in the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online!

 

The human mind does not intrinsically integrate skills, abilities, or characteristics from one domain of thought to other domains of thought. This explains why someone may be, for instance, a highly skilled, disciplined engineer while at the same time being an undisciplined, irresponsible, irrational parent or citizen.

There seem to be two primary reasons why the human mind has difficulty integrating ideas and understandings. One stems from the fact that the human mind does not intrinsically integrate ideas across its different domains of thought, and humans on the whole simply have not cultivated anything near their innate capacities to integrate. For most people these capacities largely lie dormant. People do not know, and generally are not taught, how to cultivate these capacities. They lack the tools of criticality to do so. However, through a commitment to critical thinking concepts, principles, and dispositions, we can learn to integrate ideas and dispositions across the areas of our lives. This leads to higher and higher degrees, over time, of intellectual integrity and requires lifelong commitment to everyday practice in critical thinking.

The second primary reason people tend to be highly compartmentalized thinkers is due to selfish and vested interests. When people have a selfish interest in not seeing the truth in a situation or context, they can rely on their innate tendency to compartmentalize. When people want more for their group than is their fair share, again they can easily rely on their propensity to compartmentalize. These phenomena come from the root twin problems of egocentric and sociocentric thinking, both of which we can learn to identify and mitigate through the tools of critical thinking.

In this webinar, Dr. Linda Elder will discuss these two barriers to achieving a mind that is integrated.

To prepare for this webinar, please complete the following activities:


1. Read the partial copy of the Thinker's Guide to the Human Mind found in the Community Online.

2. Complete the following statements in writing:

  • When I look at all of the domains or important areas in my life, I realize that I compartmentalize in the following ways . . .
  • For the most part I reason well in the following areas of my life . . .
  • However, I do not reason as well in the following areas of my life . . .
  • This is true because . . .
  • To become a more integrated person, I need to . . .

Critical Thinking in the Natural and Social Sciences

Led by Dr. Gerald Nosich

Thursday, September 2nd, 2021 

View Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

Complimentary with Membership in the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online!

 

Scientific thinking is that mode of thinking in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking — about any scientific subject, content, or problem — by skillfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and imposing intellectual standards upon them.

A well-cultivated scientific thinker:

  • raises vital scientific questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely;
  • gathers and assesses relevant scientific data and information, using scientific laws, theories, and ideas to interpret them effectively;
  • comes to well-reasoned scientific conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;
  • thinks open-mindedly within convergent systems of scientific thought, recognizing and assessing scientific assumptions, implications, and practical consequences; and
  • communicates effectively with others in proposing solutions to complex scientific problems.

Scientific thinking is, like all critical thinking, self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem-solving abilities, as well as a commitment to developing the intellectual skills, abilities, and dispositions of the critical mind.

In this Webinar Q&A, Dr. Nosich will field questions on the application of critical thinking concepts and tools to the natural and social scientific disciplines. Anyone is welcome to join, but priority will be given to questions related to the sciences.

Because the session relies heavily upon your questions as participants, you will need to familiarize yourself with certain critical thinking concepts ahead of time. Please complete as many of the following activities in advance of the Webinar Q&A as you can:

1. Read pages 4-21, 17, 20-21, and 42 in the partial copy of The Thinker’s Guide to Scientific Thinking found in the Community Online.

2. Complete the activity, “Analyze the Logic of a Profession, Subject, or Discipline” for your particular scientific field or discipline (e.g., the logic of biology, the logic of chemistry, the logic of geology, etc.)

3. Complete the activity, “Determine Relevant Information Sufficient to Answer a Question” using an example related to science. The prompt asks you to use a news article, but you can also use claims you’ve heard in person, have seen on social media, or have found in other sources.

4. Watch Dr. Carol Tavris’ presentation from the 36th Annual International Conference on Critical Thinking.


The Importance of Establishing an Independent Field of Critical Thinking Studies and Why the Emergence of Such a Field Has Little Chance in Today’s Political, Social and Academic Climates

Led by Dr. Linda Elder

Thursday, August 26th, 2021 


View Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

Complimentary with Membership in the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online!

 

It is essential for a valid field of critical thinking studies to emerge if we are to properly advance a robust conception of critical thinking that can be actively employed across cultures, persons, subjects, disciplines, and professions. This we can only hope for in the distant future, if ever, since far too many substantial and pervasive variables work against it to expect its realization in the present or near future. To put this problem another way, the development of a field of critical thinking studies and the cultivation of further rich theory of critical thinking are severely hampered by a number of complex variables and influences. Though there are indeed many such variables, this session will focus on four primary barriers:

1. the perspective and worldview through which philosophers tend to view and treat critical thinking as a conceptual construct;

2. the fact that most teachers and faculty at all levels tend to see themselves as fostering critical thinking in their courses when little evidence supports this notion;

3. the fact that even educators dedicated to learning a substantial conception of critical thinking tend to have great difficulty internalizing it, given its inherent complexities and the fact that they are rarely taught the requisite intellectual skills for comprehending intricacies within a rich theory of mind and of critical reasoning; and

4. the fact that freedom of thought and the cultivation of the liberally educated mind, both of which are intimately connected with a rich conception of critical thinking, tend to be little discussed or valued in human cultures or educational systems today. 

Prior to the discussion, please read these articles by Drs. Richard Paul and Linda Elder: 

1. "Richard Paul's Contributions to the Field of Critical Thinking Studies and to the Establishment of First Principles in Critical Thinking."

2. "Reflections on the Nature of Critical Thinking, Its History, Politics, and Barriers, and on Its Status across the College & University Curriculum - Part I."

3. "Reflections on the Nature of Critical Thinking, Its History, Politics, and Barriers, and on Its Status across the College & University Curriculum - Part II." 


Teaching Strategies that Promote Critical Thinking

Led by Dr. Gerald Nosich

Thursday, July 8th, 2021 

View Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

Complimentary with Membership in the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online!

 

Bringing critical thinking into the classroom entails understanding the concepts and principles embedded in critical thinking, then applying these concepts throughout the curriculum. It means developing powerful strategies that emerge when we take critical thinking seriously as a means for cultivating the intellects of our students at all levels.

In this Webinar Q&A, Dr. Nosich will focus on strategies for engaging the minds of students using common critical thinking language. These strategies are powerful and useful, because each is a way to routinely engage students in thinking about what they are trying to learn – as they are learning. Each one approaches students as thinkers who must learn to reason their way through ideas using their best thinking.

 These strategies offer students methods for appropriately analyzing and assessing the ideas they are exposed to in the schooling process, and suggest ways of teaching students how to do the (often) hard work of learning.  Each critical thinking process represents a shift of responsibility for learning from teacher to student, which is necessary if students are to take command of their minds.

Because the session relies heavily upon your questions as participants, you will need to familiarize yourself with certain critical thinking concepts. Please complete as many of the following activities in advance of the Webinar Q&A as you can: 

1. Read the article, “Distinguishing Between Inert Information, Activated Ignorance, and Activated Knowledge.”

2. Watch the video, “How to Teach Students to Seek the Logic of Things.”

3. After reading the content at the top of the page, complete the activity, “Analyze the Logic of a Profession, Subject, or Discipline” using the discipline or subject that you teach.

4. Review the entire transparency pack, “Content as Thinking.”

5. Read the article, “An Overview of How to Design Instruction Using Critical Thinking Concepts.”

6. Read this two-page document on teaching for depth of understanding and strategies that foster student engagement.


Is It Possible to Realize Fairminded Critical Societies?

Led by Dr. Linda Elder

Thursday, June 24th, 2021 

Watch Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

Complimentary with Membership in the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online!


"The critical habit of thought, if usual in society, will pervade all its mores, because it is a way of taking up the problems of life. Men educated in it cannot be stampeded by stump orators ... They are slow to believe. They can hold things as possible or probable in all degrees, without certainty and without pain. They can wait for evidence and weigh evidence, uninfluenced by the emphasis or confidence with which assertions are made on one side or the other. They can resist appeals to their dearest prejudices and all kinds of cajolery. Education in the critical faculty is the only education of which it can be truly said that it makes good citizens."

~William Graham Sumner, Folkways, 1906


It is becoming increasingly clear that the survival and well-being of humans largely depends on our ability to work together successfully and productively, to reach out to one another, to help one another. Yet, problems of nationalism, ethnocentrism and prejudice are pervasive across the world. People are raised to see their country or group as better than other countries or groups. They tend to favor the groups to which they belong. This is a natural tendency of the human mind. And it is a tendency fostered within most, if not all, cultures across the world.

If we are to create a world that advances justice for the vast majority of people across the globe, we must become citizens of the world. We must denounce nationalism, ethnocentrism, bias and prejudice in all forms. We must think within a global, rather than national, view. We must take a long-term view. We must begin to relegate the interests of any given country, including our own, to that of one of many: no more worthy of the world’s resources than anyone else on the planet. We must see the lives of people in other countries as no less precious than the lives of people in our own country. We must see all skin colors, shapes, sizes and ages of people as equally worthy. We must oppose the pursuit of narrow selfish or group interests. Integrity and justice must become more important to us than national or group advantage and power.

This session will explore the question: is it possible to realize fairminded critical societies in which all people’s needs are met, and in which all people are encouraged to develop as rational, caring members of society?

Part of this session will rely on your questions, so it is important to familiarize yourself with certain related concepts before joining. Please complete the following activities in advance of the Webinar Q&A:

1. Read the article "Critical Societies: Thoughts from the Past."

2. Read page 164 in Liberating the Mind: Overcoming Sociocentric Thought and Egocentric Tendencies. For those who own the book, this is found in chapter six: "Envisioning Critical Societies."

3. Complete the two "Test the Idea" activities on page 165 of Liberating the Mind.


Led by Dr. Gerald Nosich

Tuesday, June 8th, 2021 

Watch Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

Complimentary with Membership in the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online!


Critical thinking does not entail merely intellectual skills. It is a way of orienting oneself in the world. It is a way of approaching problems that differs significantly from that which is typical in human life. People may have critical thinking skills and abilities, and yet still be unable to enter viewpoints with which they disagree. They may have critical thinking abilities, and yet still be unable to analyze the beliefs that guide their behavior. They may have critical thinking abilities, and yet be unable to distinguish between what they know and what they don’t know, to persevere through difficult problems and issues, to think fairmindedly, to stand alone against the crowd. Thus, in developing as a thinker and fostering critical thinking abilities in others, it is important to develop intellectual traits (also known as intellectual virtues or dispositions) – traits such as fairmindedness, intellectual humility, intellectual perseverance, intellectual courage, intellectual empathy, intellectual autonomy, intellectual integrity, and confidence in reason.

These traits of mind are essential to learning the content of any field, or in other words, of thinking through any discipline or area of study. Students cannot learn to think well in the natural sciences, the social sciences, arts, humanities, or professional fields without coming to terms with what they don’t know, or without having the intellectual courage to imagine a world far more complex than the world they have taken for granted. In all fields, students need to engage through intellectual empathy with other thinkers and envision new ideas; they also need to develop the intellectual autonomy and intellectual perseverance to work through deep and challenging issues without easily giving up or simply gravitating to group think. They need to develop fairmindedness in order to appreciate new theories and alternative viewpoints; they need to cultivate within themselves the confidence that they can, with work, come to understand themselves and the world in a deeper way.

Intellectual traits go beyond knowing a given set of skills; they define a person's intellectual character. That character influences not only the thinker and his or her social circle, but also the society in which the thinker lives. The success or failure of any society in which common citizens are empowered to participate will largely depend upon the degree to which they embody intellectual virtues, or in other words, intellectual character.

In this Webinar Q&A, Dr. Nosich will provide practical ways of integrating the intellectual traits into daily instruction and respond to your questions on this topic. Because the session relies heavily upon your questions as participants, you will need to familiarize yourself with certain critical thinking concepts. Please complete as many of the following activities in advance of the Webinar Q&A as you can:

1. Review page 12 of The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools.

2. Read page 14 and pages 19 & 20 in The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools.

3. Read the article, “Valuable Intellectual Traits.”

4. Watch Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of “Intellectual Virtues by Dr. Linda Elder.”

5. Complete the activity, “Articulate Your Own Definitions of Intellectual Virtues.” (You will see it after scrolling down below the first activity on the page.) If you find yourself having trouble, review the reading and/or viewing assignments above as needed.


Critical Thinking Therapy for Mental Health and Self Actualization

Developed and Led by Dr. Linda Elder

Thursday, May 20th, 2021 

Watch Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

Complimentary with Membership in the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online!


Critical Thinking Therapy begins with the assumption that mental health depends, among other things, on reasonable thinking. Being mentally healthy implies living a reasonable life. One cannot be emotionally healthy while also being an unreasonable person, and to be a reasonable person requires critical thinking. Yet mental health professionals generally lack an understanding of critical thinking and its vital importance to effective mental health therapies.

It isn’t that mental health professionals never use critical thinking. All the best therapeutic approaches to mental health have a direct relationship with critical thinking. However, clinicians do not always choose the best mental health therapies. This is true because they don’t always know how to choose among the theories and therapies within the various schools of thought relevant to cultivating mental health. In other words, they are frequently unclear as to the standards they should use in deciding on the best counseling strategies for their clients.

In this Webinar Q&A, Dr. Elder will briefly discuss her conception of Critical Thinking Therapy and its importance to mental health and self-actualization, as well as how critical thinking can elevate existing therapies to higher levels of efficacy. She will then open the session to your questions.

Because this session relies heavily upon your questions as participants, you will need some knowledge of certain critical thinking concepts and how they interweave with mental health. Please familiarize yourself with the key ideas in the Paul-Elder Framework for Critical Thinking by completing as many of the following activities in advance of the Webinar Q&A as you can (some of these can be completed after the session as well):
 

1. Read through page 13 of the partial copy of The Thinker's Guide to the Human Mind found in the Community Online.

2. Read pages 14-21, 24-25, and 12 in the partial copy of The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools found in the Community Online.

3. Watch the short video clip, “Critical Thinking and the Basic Elements of Thought.”

4. Complete the activity “Analyze the Logic of a Profession, Subject, or Discipline” for the mental healthcare profession. (Be sure to read the content at the top of the page first.)

5. Watch the short video clip, “Critical Thinking - Standards of Thought - Part 1.”

6. Watch the short video clip, “Critical Thinking - Standards of Thought - Part 2.”

7. Complete the activity “Convert Unclear Thoughts to Clear Thoughts.” Rather than targeting ‘throw-away’ phrases as the instructions suggest, try to target vague statements you’ve made or thought when you were dealing with mental health challenges, or vague statements made by others living with such challenges. (Be sure to read the content at the top of the page first.)

8. Complete the activity “Recognizing Inaccurate Statements.” Try to target false statements you’ve made or thought when you were dealing with mental health challenges, or false statements made by others living with such challenges. (Be sure to read the content at the top of the page first.)

9. Read the definitions for “egocentricity” and “sociocentricity” in the copy of A Glossary of Critical Thinking Terms and Concepts found in the Community Online.

10. Complete the activity “Identify Some of Your Irrational Beliefs.” See if you can think of any examples related to mental health specifically. (Be sure to read the content at the top of the page first.)

11. Complete the activity “Identify Beliefs Acquired Through Group Membership.”


Teaching Students to Think Critically Through Your Course Content

Led by Dr. Gerald Nosich

Thursday, May 6th, 2021 

Watch Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

Complimentary with Membership in the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online!

 

Some instructors conceptualize critical thinking as a skillset that students learn through a few weeks of lessons, or perhaps through a somewhat longer course or class, and then move on from. In fact, critical thinking is a set of understandings and skills that should be continually practiced throughout all lessons and courses.

The importance of teaching all subject matter through a critical thinking lens, at all levels of education, cannot be overstated. As educators, we all must understand two key points:

1. Most students have never learned to think critically to any significant extent (except perhaps in very specific ways and areas). This includes students who have taken courses in critical thinking.

2. Students who do not, or cannot, think critically through course content are incapable of learning it in a meaningful way – i.e., of internalizing and being able to reliably apply it in the real world.

In this session, Dr. Nosich will answer your questions about practical strategies and foundational principles for incorporating critical thinking instruction into any course or class.
 

Because this session relies heavily upon your questions as participants, you will need to familiarize yourself with certain critical thinking and instructional concepts. Please complete as many of the following activities in advance of the Webinar Q&A as you can (most are quite brief):

1. Read the article, “Distinguishing Between Inert Knowledge, Activated Ignorance, and Activated Knowledge.”

2. *Read page 37, page 12, pages 14-21, and pages 24-25 (in that order) in the partial copy of The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools found in the Community Online.

3. Watch the short video clip, “Critical Thinking and the Basic Elements of Thought.”

4. Complete the activity “Analyze the Logic of a Profession, Subject, or Discipline” for your own discipline or subject. (Be sure to read the content at the top of the page first.)

5. Watch the short video clip, “Critical Thinking - Standards of Thought - Part 1.”

6. Watch the short video clip, “Critical Thinking - Standards of Thought - Part 2.”

7. Complete the activity “Convert Unclear Thoughts to Clear Thoughts.” Try to use examples related to your course content. (Be sure to read the content at the top of the page first.)

8. Complete the activity “Recognizing Inaccurate Statements.” Try to use examples related to your course content. (Be sure to read the content at the top of the page first.)

9. Complete the activity “Recognize When Precision is Needed.” Try to use examples related to your course content. (Be sure to read the content at the top of the page first.)

10. *Read pages 3-22 and page 34 in the partial copy of How to Improve Student Learning found in the Community Online.

Please remember that you need a Center for Critical Thinking Community Online account to participate in this discussion. If you are brand new, a 30-day free trial is available.


Foster a Local Critical Thinking Town Hall or Critical Thinking Cafe

Led by Dr. Linda Elder

April 14th, 2021 


Watch Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

 

To achieve fairminded critical societies means, among other things, coming together in community to boost the resources and services made available to people in our communities. Fortunately, progressive communities across the world are increasingly focused on how they can improve and add to resources in their local areas. This gets to the heart of the mental well-being of people who live in our communities.
 

Here are some of the many questions that communities should be asking: What services, programs and amenities are available to people in their home communities? What choices do people have, near home, for cultural advancement? What free activities are offered for families and children? What sports activities are available? Are there community gardens? Are there community centers where people feel welcomed and invited? What art and theater programs are available? Where can people get together to play music and learn from one another? What are we doing to address sustainability issues in our community?

Many people in our communities feel disconnected, marginalized, alienated, and a sense of hopelessness. Many people are falling into depression. We cannot solve all of the problems facing people, but we can offer more support locally to help people function at higher levels, and to achieve self-fulfillment and self-actualization. This can be done through the tools of critical thinking.

In this session, Dr. Elder will discuss how to set up a Critical Thinking Town Hall using the concepts and principles in a robust, integrated, fairminded conception of critical thinking that can be taught to all community members (of all ages) as you work together to reason through the issues and concerns you face, and to develop the programs you would like to see realized in your community. Dr. Elder will also discuss how to set up a Critical Thinking Café in your community, in which people come together on a weekly basis at a local coffee shop or other meeting place to discuss current events and/or participate in an ongoing book study program. The Critical Thinking Café concept, which can be replicated across your city or town, is one program that can be made available to help support intellectual development of the people in your community.

To read more about the Critical Thinking Town Hall concept, click here.

Prior to attending the workshop, please visit the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online to read partial copies of the following publications:

1. The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools

2. The Thinker's Guide to the Human Mind

Please remember that you need a Center for Critical Thinking Community Online account to participate in this discussion. If you are brand new, a 30-day free trial is available.


Why Intellectual Standards are Essential in Teaching, Learning and All Parts of Life [Dr. Gerald Nosich, Senior Fellow]

April 1st, 2021 

View Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

 

Effectively assessing reasoning is essential to critical thinking. While everyone at least sometimes uses standards appropriate for assessing thinking, often without consciously realizing it, do they adhere to the most relevant and important intellectual standards in every context? And how often do they fail to use any appropriate standards at all? For example, have you ever failed to think through the complexities of a problem before making a decision? Are you living your life in a way that is most significant to you, or are you being ensnared by a superficial lifestyle? When you make decisions, do you consider all the relevant and significant information needed to make those decisions? How frequently do your belief systems or ideologies impede your ability to adhere to intellectual standards (such as clarity, accuracy, precision, depth, breadth, logicalness, significance, fairness, and sufficiency)? In teaching, to what degree do you explicitly foster command of intellectual standards so that your students learn to think through content in your classes through appropriate application of standards to the elements of reasoning?

Errors in reasoning frequently lead to poor decisions, and hence a poor quality of life. They can also create enormous impediments to both teaching and learning. In this session, Dr. Nosich will address your questions on the importance of intellectual standards in teaching, learning, and life, and he will share ways of integrating intellectual standards into day-to-day living.

Because this session relies upon your questions as participants, you will need to familiarize yourself with the concept of intellectual standards. Please complete as many of the following activities in advance of the Webinar Q&A as you can:

1. Read pages 1-6  in The Thinker’s Guide to Intellectual Standards: The Words that Name Them and the Criteria that Define Them.

2. Read pages 19-21 and page 30 in The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools.

3. Complete the activity, “Convert Unclear Thoughts to Clear Thoughts” after reading the text and diagrams on the page.

4. View the video, “Critical Thinking - Standards of Thought - Part 1.”

5. Complete the activity, “Target Significance in Critical Thinking” after reading the text and diagrams on the page.

6. View the video, “Critical Thinking – Standards of Thought - Part 2.”

7. Complete the activity, “Recognize Irrelevant Statements” after reading the text and diagrams on the page.

Please remember that you need a Center for Critical Thinking Community Online account to participate in this discussion. If you are brand new, a 30-day free trial is available.


How Critical Thinking is Essential to Seeing Through Disinformation, False Narratives, Conspiracy Theories, and Fake News [Dr. Linda Elder, Senior Fellow]

March 17th, 2021 


View Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

 

Much has been said about the problems of disinformation, false narratives and fake news. From the point of view of critical thinking, false information masquerading as truth is easily debunked. One need only look at the facts to discern what is really happening. But if these problems are so easy to see through, why are so many people believers of ideas that make no sense? Why do so many people fall prey to narrow ideologies or irrational conspiracy theories that cannot withstand the most basic tests of reason?

In this session, Dr. Elder will address these questions, as well as your questions focused on disinformation and belief in false narratives and ideologies. 

Please complete the following activities in advance of the Webinar Q&A:


1. View Dr. Elder's presentation, 'What Is Truth in a Post-Truth Political Era?'

2. Review this partial copy of the Thinker's Guide for Conscientious Citizens on How to Detect Media Bias and Propaganda.


Please remember that you need a Center for Critical Thinking Community Online account to participate in this discussion. If you are brand new, a 30-day free trial is available.


Why the Elements of Reasoning are Essential in Everyday Life [Dr. Gerald Nosich, Senior Fellow]

Webinar Held March 4th, 2021


View Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

 

Our thinking largely determines the quality of our work, learning, and life. Those who have not yet internalized the foundations of critical thinking may view them merely as tools to be wielded on specific occasions, and then to be put away for days, weeks, or even months at a time. For example, such persons may analyze and evaluate their reasoning when making large purchases (cars, houses, etc.), but may otherwise leave their daily decision-making at the mercy of the spontaneous, associational thinking that comes more naturally to human beings.

Those who have made a greater commitment to intellectual discipline are aware that examining their reasoning throughout their waking hours, during the many hundreds or thousands of choices they make in their daily lives, can pay great dividends that accumulate over time.

In this session, Dr. Gerald Nosich will answer your questions about how the Elements of Reasoning – the building blocks of human thought – can be practically integrated into our thinking in everyday life.

Remember: This session depends on your questions, and Dr. Nosich will presuppose that you are reasonably familiar with the Elements of Reasoning in the Paul-Elder Framework for Critical Thinking. Even if you have learned about the elements in our written work, our online courses, or at our events, we strongly recommend you complete the following activities to prepare for this Q&A session:

1. Read the article, “The Elements of Reasoning and the Intellectual Standards.”

 
2. Watch the video, “The Elements of Reasoning by Dr. Linda Elder, Part 1 of 2.”


3. Watch the video, “The Elements of Reasoning by Dr. Linda Elder, Part 2 of 2.”


4. Read pages 5, 7, 22, and 23 in The Thinker’s Guide to Analytic Thinking.


5. After reading the text at the top of the page, complete the activity “Analyze the Logic of a Problem of Issue” using a real problem from your life.


6. After reading the text at the top of the page, complete the activity “Analyze the Logic of a Concept or Idea.” Focus on a real idea that you use in your daily life – for example, the idea that “I should put my children’s needs before my own,” or that “I should ensure my needs are met before trying to help others.”

Please remember that you need a Center for Critical Thinking Community Online account to participate in this discussion. If you are brand new, a 30-day free trial is available.


Critical Thinking for Students: Your Questions About Critical Thinking [Dr. Linda Elder, Senior Fellow]

Webinar Held February 17th, 2021

View Recording Here

8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

 

Critical thinking skills, abilities and traits are essential to deep learning. This Webinar Q&A session is designed for students in middle school, high school, or higher education who are interested in developing their critical thinking abilities and who are self-motivated to learn. We ask all participants to complete the activities listed below before attending.

Students must be over 13 years of age to participate, and students aged 14-17 must have the permission of a legal guardian.

Students attending: be aware that this Q&A session focuses on your questions, so please complete the following activities and then bring your questions to the session. 

1. Read through this partial copy of The Aspiring Thinker’s Guide to Critical Thinking.

2. Read pages 14-15 and 35-36 in The Thinker’s Guide to How to Study & Learn a Discipline.

3. Complete this activity in the Criteria Corner after reading the section introduction near the top of the page.

4. Complete this activity in the Wheel of Reason after reading the introduction near the top of the page.

Remember that you need a Center for Critical Thinking Community Online account to participate in this discussion. If you are brand new, a 30-day free trial is available. Students must be over 13 years of age to participate, and students aged 14-17 must have the permission of a legal guardian. 


Critical Thinking and Responsible Freedom of Speech [Dr. Linda Elder, Senior Fellow]

 

Webinar Held February 3rd, 2021


View Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 60 Minutes

People frequently misunderstand the concept of Freedom of Speech, believing they can say anything they want, whenever they want, and in any way they want to, even if people get harmed in the process. But Freedom of Speech as a universal ideal does not endorse or excuse vulgar, belligerent, quarrelsome, loud-mouthed discourse designed to destroy and damage; instead, it presupposes that one is adhering to guiding principles for reasoning. This entails engaging in disciplined reasoning using universal intellectual standards such as clarity, accuracy, depth, bread, logicalness, and sufficiency. It also presupposes that the reasoning being put forth “freely” is embodying and exhibiting intellectual virtues such as intellectual empathy, intellectual humility, intellectual autonomy, confidence in reasoning, and fairmindedness.Freedom of speech is also connected to freedom of thought, which presupposes the same guiding principles for reasoning.

How do we create societies which honor and encourage freedom of speech based in critical thinking principles? How do we create classrooms which advance freedom of speech and freedom of thought using disciplined reasoning? How do we create business and government cultures that encourage disciplined freedom of thought and speech? These are some of the questions we will explore in this webinar. Bring your questions and join us for what will surely be a provocative Q&A session. 


 

Webinar Held January 14th, 2021
View Recording Here
 
8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 90 Minutes

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a clear and painful example of how our thinking determines the quality, and sometimes even the continuation, of human life. Its widespread, largely preventable devastation, wrought from failures in reasoning at all levels of society, has provided a harrowing reminder of what can happen when we fail to sufficiently think through our choices.

Each day, we who are living through this tumultuous time face many of the same questions that arose when the pandemic began: how do I best protect myself, my loved ones, and my community? How much risk must I accept to meet the demands of day-to-day living, and how can I mitigate that risk to the greatest extent possible? When do my choices pose threats not only to myself, but to others? How do I meet my ethical obligations to those around me? How best can I address the secondary challenges manifested by this pandemic, such financial woes, loneliness, turmoil within my social circle, and depression?

While this webinar deals with critical thinking as an indispensable skill set for weathering a pandemic, its implications apply more broadly to other extraordinary challenges – especially those occurring on a massive scale, such as during natural disasters or protracted social unrest.

This session will be driven by your questions. Below, you will find several activities to complete ahead of time in the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online, all relating to critical thinking and its applications to the sort of pandemic we are facing now. Dr. Elder will presuppose that attendees have studied the subject matter through these activities, and therefore, the webinar will be based on what questions you bring to the discussion.

The following are the activities that we ask you to complete prior to the webinar.

1) If you have not studied the Paul-Elder Framework for Critical Thinking to any significant extent, we strongly recommend that you complete the assignments listed under the webinar description below for ‘The Elements of Reasoning, Intellectual Standards, and Intellectual Traits.’ (At minimum, complete all of the reading and viewing activities.)

2) Triangle of Thinking, Feeling, and Desires: Review the reading and diagrams on this page, and follow its recommendation to read pages 3-10 in The Human Mind.

3) Think of a situation you were in recently that resulted from the pandemic, where you experienced a negative emotion such as anger, frustration, depression, insecurity, or fear. Complete the activity ‘Understanding the Relationships Between Thinking, Feeling, and Emotions’ with this situation in mind.

4) Think of the most significant problem you now face as a result of the pandemic. Complete the activity ‘Analyze the Logic of a Problem or Issue’ with this problem in mind.

5) Read pages 4-15 in The Thinker’s Guide to Ethical Reasoning.

6) Strong-Sense Versus Weak-Sense Critical Thinking: Complete the reading at the top. Then, complete the activity; for questions 3 and 4 in the activity, think specifically of examples of your thinking that relate to the pandemic. Then answer question 5 with those examples in mind. 


The Elements of Reasoning, Intellectual Standards, and Intellectual Traits [Dr. Linda Elder, Senior Fellow]

Webinar Held December 30th, 2020
View Recording Here


8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
(5:00 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 90 Minutes

The elements of reasoning (also known as the elements of thoughts, components of thinking, etc.), the intellectual standards, and the intellectual traits (or intellectual virtues) together form the bedrock of critical thinking theory. Understanding these conceptual sets and their relationships with each other is the first step in elevating one’s reasoning, while deepening that comprehension through continued study and practice is a lifelong journey. Most people who begin to learn the fundamentals of critical thinking stop learning before they have a chance to adequately internalize them, and therefore to use them with significant consistency and effectiveness.

This webinar asks you to complete several activities ahead of time in the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online, all relating to the three concepts above, and to formulate questions that you can bring to the session. Therefore, Dr. Elder will presuppose that attendees have studied the subject matter through these activities, or previously through attending our conferences, academies, or courses. This webinar will be almost entirely based on the questions you bring to the discussion.

The following readings and activities are recommended prior to the webinar:

1) Review Page 14 in The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools.

2) Watch ‘Critical Thinking and the Basic Elements of Thought.’

3) Complete the activity ‘Analyze the Logic of a Problem or Issue’ after reading the template and example at the top of the page.

4) Review pages 19 and 20 in The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools.

5) Watch ‘Critical Thinking - Standards of Thought - Part 1.’

    Also watch ‘Critical Thinking - Standards of Thought - Part 2.’

6) Begin to Think About Intellectual Standards: after examining the diagram at the bottom of the page, complete the activities for at least four of the intellectual standards listed. The more you complete, the better you will understand how the various intellectual standards can be applied to the elements of thought.

7) Read ‘The Elements of Reasoning and the Intellectual Standards.’

8) Read ‘Valuable Intellectual Traits.’

9) Watch Parts 1-3 of ‘Intellectual Virtues by Dr. Linda Elder.’

10) Complete the activity ‘Articulate Your Own Definitions of Intellectual Virtues.’ (Activity begins halfway down the page.)

11) Examine the diagram on page 12 of The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts & Tools. Write at least four examples of how applying a given intellectual standard to a given element of reasoning can help develop a given intellectual trait over time.

Example: ‘Checking my assumptions for accuracy can help me to develop intellectual humility.’


Why Intellectual Character is Essential to Strong-Sense Critical Thinking and to Reasoning Within All Fields of Study [Dr. Linda Elder, Senior Fellow]

August 18th, 2020

View Recording Here
 

1:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time
(10:00 a.m. Pacific)

Duration: 50 Minutes


What is strong-sense critical thinking? What is weak-sense critical thinking? Where do you see either being played out in human life today? What is intellectual character and how do we develop it in ourselves and in our students? How do intellectual virtues interrelate with intellectual skills and abilities? Why is the development of intellectual character essential to teaching and learning, and to high-level functioning in personal and professional life? Can people develop intellectual traits partially? If so, how might this be manifest? In this webinar discussion, Dr. Elder will address these questions, as well as your questions about how to cultivate intellectual character in students and in yourself.

Prior to the webinar, please complete the numbered items listed below, which are found in the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online. In this discussion, Dr. Elder will presuppose that attendees have studied the Intellectual Virtues through these activities, or previously through attending our conferences, academies, or courses. Therefore, the webinar will be based on the questions you bring to the discussion.

1) Study Intellectual Virtues by reading pages 14 & 15 in The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools.

2) Read pages 37 & 38 in The Thinker's Guide on How to Study and Learn a Discipline.

3) Study Intellectual Virtues by watching this video.

4) Read the definitions of weak-sense critical thinking and strong-sense critical thinking in A Glossary of Critical Thinking Concepts and Terms.

5) Complete the four activities on this page.


Bringing Analysis to the Center of Instruction Using the Tools of Critical Thinking [Dr. Linda Elder, Senior Fellow]

 This event has concluded. Links to the video recordings on the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online are below.
 

Webinar Held June 9th, 2020
View Recording Here

 

4:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time
(1:30 p.m. Pacific)

Duration: 50 Minutes


How is thought best analyzed in any field of study? What are the parts of thinking or elements of thought? How can you bring analysis of thought more explicitly into teaching and learning? In this webinar discussion, Dr. Elder answers these questions, as well as your questions about how to bring explicit analysis to the core of instruction.

Prior to this discussion, please complete the numbered items listed below, which entail video, reading, and activities in the Center for Critical Thinking Community Online. During the discussion, Dr. Elder presupposes that attendees have studied the elements of reasoning through these activities, or previously through attending our conferences, academies, or courses.

1) Study the elements of reasoning by reading the following pages in The Thinker’s Guide to Analytic Reasoning: pages 4- 7, 12-13, 22, 40-41, and 51-52.

2) Study the elements of reasoning by watching these videos:

3) Complete the following activity:


4) Complete this activity in writing; write out the logic of one subject you teach, focusing on the elements of thought.


What is Truth in a Post-Truth Political Era? [Dr. Linda Elder, Senior Fellow]

This event has concluded. Links to the video recordings on the
Center for Critical Thinking Community Online are below.

Recording Published Wednesday April 22, 2020
View Recording Here

Live Discussion with Q&A Held Thursday April 23, 2020
View Recording Here

2nd Live Discussion with Q&A Held Friday April 24, 2020
View Recording Here 

 
Note: Due to widespread latency issues caused by abnormally high internet traffic during the COVID-19 lockdown, and the resulting risks posed to live video feeds, this webinar was changed from a live event to a prerecorded presentation. Two live Q&A sessions took place after the video was published (see details above and below).

Truth seems at the moment a matter of debate. No wonder, since in today’s political climate, lies are routinely camouflaged as truth so that truth has little chance of emerging from under the many levels of deception, manipulation, and mind-control. The people, as a result, are run roughshod over – fitting with a typical pattern throughout history.

The concept of truth in itself is fairly simple: 'based in facts, accurate.' But can we twist the concept of truth? Or, can we twist the truth and still have truth? Is truth whatever we decide it is? How do we apply the concept of truth in this or that situation? And when is truth relevant? How can people come to see through misuses of language that seek to cover up the truth?

This presentation will begin to deal with these questions using the explicit tools of critical thinking. You will be invited to apply critical thinking 'moves' (based in these questions) to today’s political arena, and to come up with your own examples of truth-as-lies and lies-as-truth. Be sure to have something handy to write with (either digital or manual), both to take notes before the live Q&A sessions and to complete any activities assigned.

Join us for this powerful presentation with many applications to living the examined life and dealing with life's many complexities.