HEA Critical Thinking Workshop
Postgraduate Course Feedback

Middlesex University
27 November 2013
Developing Critical Thinking
Postgraduate Course the teaching of analytical
Student Perspectives on Feedback
thinking and ...
Background to the Research – How
is Critical Thinking Taught?

• Academic and student views of critical/analytical
thinkin...
Research Questions

• What is critical thinking and how is it taught
or developed (initially) in Law Schools?
• How do stu...
What is Critical
Thinking?
The Delphi Experts (1990) defined Critical Thinking
as:
“purposeful, self-regulatory judgment w...
The Research Stages

• Overview of previous
research on Critical
Thinking
• Questionnaire to all first
and second year law...
Teaching Critical Thinking
• The Development of critical thinking skills
requires:
• dedicated effort with this in mind
• ...
Teaching Critical Thinking

Slide 8

28/11/13
Teaching Critical Thinking

• ‘If we want our students to become good reasoners, we
must become concerned to help them beg...
Student problems in applying critical/analytical
thinking skills

• What are the main problems that students
have in answe...
Research Results

Student Comments:
• Lectures generally aren’t useful unless they have an interactive element.
• [Student...
Teaching Critical Thinking
– student comments
• Students do not agree that this is achieved
through ‘traditional’ teaching...
Student Views – Developing Skills

• Practical Simulated Learning – e.g. clinics, practical case work,
workshops highly va...
Student Views: Some
Desirable Elements…
• Analysis of how ‘correct’ reasoning is arrived at
• Discussion of elements in fa...
Student Views – Developing
Skills

•

Greater emphasis on practical work required

•

Move away from teacher led instructi...
Student Views – Developing
Skills

•

Practical Simulated Learning – e.g. clinics,
practical case work, workshops highly v...
Student Views: Some Desirable
Elements…

•

Analysis of how ‘correct’ reasoning is arrived at

•

Discussion of elements i...
Options for teaching Critical
Thinking/Problem solving

•
•
•
•
•

A dedicated separate module
Practical Case Workshops/us...
Discussion:
Research Contact

• Dr Angus Nurse
WG27 School of Law
Email –
a.nurse@mdx.ac.uk
• Office Hours:
Tuesday 11 – 1pm
Thursday ...
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Developing critical thinking - Angus Nurse

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This presentation formed part of the HEA-funded workshop 'Critical thinking in action: developing analytical skills in Criminology students. An experiential learning approach'

The workshop presented research and facilitated discussion on developing critical thinking skills in criminology students. Discussion of research results and use of a case study approach to teaching and learning highlighted how student views/concerns about their failure in developing critical thinking skills can be addressed via new directions in teaching.

This presentation forms part of a blog post which can be accessed via:

For further details of HEA Social Sciences work relating to active and experiential learning please see: http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/resources/detail/disciplines/Soc_Sci/Strategic_2013/ActiveandExperiential

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Transcript of "Developing critical thinking - Angus Nurse"

  1. 1. HEA Critical Thinking Workshop Postgraduate Course Feedback Middlesex University 27 November 2013
  2. 2. Developing Critical Thinking Postgraduate Course the teaching of analytical Student Perspectives on Feedback thinking and (socio-legal) problem solving skills: a research discussion Dr Angus Nurse Email – a.nurse@mdx.ac.uk
  3. 3. Background to the Research – How is Critical Thinking Taught? • Academic and student views of critical/analytical thinking: gaps in perspective • Critical Thinking Research: students may not be developing the skills that teachers think they are • Collaboration, motivation, innovation: student views, preferences and information to develop effective strategies
  4. 4. Research Questions • What is critical thinking and how is it taught or developed (initially) in Law Schools? • How do students develop their critical thinking skills? • How do students think they should be taught these skills and what assistance or materials do they need to develop them?
  5. 5. What is Critical Thinking? The Delphi Experts (1990) defined Critical Thinking as: “purposeful, self-regulatory judgment which results in interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and inference, as well as explanation of the evidential, conceptual, methodological, criteriological, or contextual considerations upon which that judgment is based.”
  6. 6. The Research Stages • Overview of previous research on Critical Thinking • Questionnaire to all first and second year law undergraduates (May and June 2009) • Two Focus Groups/Workshops in June 2009 • Publication of interim research report and recommendations (July/August 2009) Slide 6 28/11/13 • Presentation of initial results and staff discussions - LILAC 2010 (Jan 2010) • Further literature review • Group discussions with 3rd Year criminology/CI students October ‘11-April ‘12 further staff discussion • Environmental Justice and Green Criminology case study/workshop - 2012/13 • Student EJGC feedback case studies May 2013
  7. 7. Teaching Critical Thinking • The Development of critical thinking skills requires: • dedicated effort with this in mind • reflection on thinking skills, practice and procedures, not subject specific content • similar effort and formal training to the development of research students
  8. 8. Teaching Critical Thinking Slide 8 28/11/13
  9. 9. Teaching Critical Thinking • ‘If we want our students to become good reasoners, we must become concerned to help them begin to notice the inferences they are making, the assumptions they are basing those inferences on, and the point of view about the world they are taking – hence the systems in which they are thinking. To help our students do this, we need to give them clear examples of simple cases, and lots and lots of practice analyzing and reconstructing them.’ (Paul, 1993 Slide 9 28/11/13
  10. 10. Student problems in applying critical/analytical thinking skills • What are the main problems that students have in answering problem-type questions or applying critical or analytical thinking skills? • Discussion
  11. 11. Research Results Student Comments: • Lectures generally aren’t useful unless they have an interactive element. • [Students] whinge about skills teaching but if you give them a choice on learning the skills and having practical skills most students would welcome it as an addition to the pure academic consideration. • Teaching viewed as non-essential to passing the degree or preparing students so that they could actually go and do a job tends to be avoided by students; why turn up if its clear you don’t need to and can pass anyway? • There needs to be more practical application; you should be taught how to read cases, analyse policy documents etc. If student essays are good but they’re not analysing, evaluating etc. this should be flagged up so that the student is given the skills you need. • Low take up on electives demonstrates the popularity of lecturers but not their personality, their ability to teach the material and help students learn the material.
  12. 12. Teaching Critical Thinking – student comments • Students do not agree that this is achieved through ‘traditional’ teaching • lectures seen as ‘delivery mechanism’, informative but outmoded • teaching may not reflect their needs in absorbing information • teaching methods and perceived value impacts on attendance
  13. 13. Student Views – Developing Skills • Practical Simulated Learning – e.g. clinics, practical case work, workshops highly valued • Longer in-depth work aids understanding • Collaborative working through workshops and exploration of faulty reasoning and processes necessary? • Reflective practices and not just right or wrong answers.
  14. 14. Student Views: Some Desirable Elements… • Analysis of how ‘correct’ reasoning is arrived at • Discussion of elements in faulty reasoning and steps leading up to incorrect conclusions • Workshop discussion of flawed cases, common errors and misconceptions • Analysis of areas of dispute/conflict between professionals, text book authors - the ‘what if’s’ • Techniques for evaluating evidence and detail so that conclusions can withstand scrutiny
  15. 15. Student Views – Developing Skills • Greater emphasis on practical work required • Move away from teacher led instruction to student centred learning • The ‘how’ of analytical/critical thinking rather than just subject specific analysis. • Motivation is improved when reasoning is explained, developed and understood.
  16. 16. Student Views – Developing Skills • Practical Simulated Learning – e.g. clinics, practical case work, workshops highly valued • Longer in-depth work aids understanding • Collaborative working through workshops and exploration of faulty reasoning and processes necessary? • Reflective practices and not just right or wrong answers.
  17. 17. Student Views: Some Desirable Elements… • Analysis of how ‘correct’ reasoning is arrived at • Discussion of elements in faulty reasoning and steps leading up to incorrect conclusions • Workshop discussion of flawed cases, common errors and misconceptions • Analysis of areas of dispute/conflict between professionals, text book authors - the ‘what if’s’ • Techniques for evaluating evidence and detail so that conclusions can withstand scrutiny
  18. 18. Options for teaching Critical Thinking/Problem solving • • • • • A dedicated separate module Practical Case Workshops/use of real case examples Lectures on solving legal/policy problems Seminars that explore problem solving techniques Clinical Education or Simulated Learning Other experiential learning?
  19. 19. Discussion:
  20. 20. Research Contact • Dr Angus Nurse WG27 School of Law Email – a.nurse@mdx.ac.uk • Office Hours: Tuesday 11 – 1pm Thursday 11.30 – 1.30pm
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