Developing Critical Thinking For Applied Research


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Developing Critical Thinking For Applied Research

  1. 1. Developing Critical Thinking for Applied Research Critical Thinking Forum United States Army Intelligence Center Ft. Huachuca AZ 26 March 2009 Joseph B. Baugh, Ph.D., PMP University of Arizona South
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding Critical Thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Developing Critical Thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Assessing Critical Thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Limitations </li></ul><ul><li>A Practical Example </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul>
  3. 3. Introduction <ul><li>Are we still bound to teaching effective skills? </li></ul><ul><li>Where does critical thinking occur? </li></ul><ul><li>The role of educational institutions </li></ul>
  4. 4. Understanding Critical Thinking <ul><li>Effective skills are intended to produce specific and generally pre-determined outcomes within a specific domain </li></ul><ul><li>Significant debate still occurs in academia over what is “Critical Thinking” </li></ul><ul><li>Critical thinking has two components </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cognitive thinking skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Critical thinking dispositions </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Critical Thinking Theories <ul><li>The skills of critical reasoning (such as the ability to assess reasons properly); </li></ul><ul><li>A disposition, in the sense of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A critical attitude (skepticism, the tendency to ask probing questions) and the commitment to give expression to this attitude, or </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A moral orientation which motivates critical thinking; </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Substantial knowledge of particular content, whether of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Concepts in critical thinking (such as necessary and sufficient conditions), or of </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A particular discipline, in which one is then capable of critical thought. 1 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>1 Mason, 2007, pp. 343-344. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Critical Thinking Skills <ul><li>Ability to recognize and validate problems, </li></ul><ul><li>Original, independent thinking, </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to develop theoretical concepts, </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge of recent advances within ones field, </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding of relevant research methodologies and techniques, </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to critically analyze and evaluate findings, </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to summarize, document, report, and reflect on progress. 2 </li></ul><ul><li>2 Andrews, 2007, p. 2. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Cognitive Thinking Skills <ul><li>Interpretation </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>Inference </li></ul><ul><li>Explanation </li></ul><ul><li>Self-regulation 3 </li></ul><ul><li>3 Facione, 2009, p. 5. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Critical Thinking Dispositions <ul><li>Inquisitive </li></ul><ul><li>Systematic </li></ul><ul><li>Judicious </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical </li></ul><ul><li>Truthseeking </li></ul><ul><li>Open-minded </li></ul><ul><li>Confident in reasoning 4 </li></ul><ul><li>4 Facione, 2009, p. 10. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Unifying Critical Thinking Theories <ul><li>A four part model to unify and teach critical thinking skills and critical thinking dispositions: 5 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Modeling </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interactions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Opportunities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Feedback </li></ul></ul><ul><li>5 Yang and Chou, 2008, pp. 668-669. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Developing Critical Thinking <ul><li>Transferring critical thinking across multiple domains </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Include a dispositional or attitudinal component, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide instruction in and practice with critical thinking skills, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop structure-training activities designed to facilitate transfer across contexts, and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Implement a metacognitive component used to direct and assess critical thinking. 6 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>6 Halpern, 1998, p. 451. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Developing Critical Thinking <ul><li>Use online components </li></ul><ul><li>Combine critical thinking skills and dispositions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Structured Assignments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Case Studies </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Experiments </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Group Projects </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Develop oral and written argumentation skills </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Seminars </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Negotiation exercises </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research papers </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Assessing Critical Thinking <ul><li>Multi-level assessments are required </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Grading rubrics </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Instructors and Courses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Student course evaluations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Instructor evaluations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Programs and Schools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Adhere to mandatory standards where applicable </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Develop guidelines across programs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Develop entry assessments </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Develop exit assessments </li></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Limitations <ul><li>Pressures on instructors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Student Evaluations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Institutional Requirements and Policies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lack of structured programs </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of support </li></ul><ul><li>Constraints </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Financial </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personnel </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. A Practical Example <ul><li>UA South BAS-Supervision program </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Two year rotation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>100% online environment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Eight concentration courses </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Typical student profile </li></ul>
  15. 15. Concentration Courses Senior Capstone Course RNCV498 Agency Budgeting and Financial Reporting RNCV404 Supervision in a Diverse Work Environment RNCV401 Developing and Maintaining Work Teams RNCV400 Human Behavior and Ethics RNCV305 Personnel Policies and Procedures RNCV304 Oral and Written Argumentation RNCV303 The Supervisory Function RNCV302
  16. 16. A Typical Course <ul><li>Weekly reading assignments </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Theory, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Case studies, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discussion questions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Weekly discussion threads </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Initial postings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Responses to classmate postings </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Research papers </li></ul><ul><li>Group project </li></ul>
  17. 17. Goals and Objectives <ul><li>Ensure mastery of the content </li></ul><ul><li>Develop cognitive thinking skills and critical thinking dispositions by </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Modeling critical dispositions and behavior </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Providing ample opportunities for interactions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Providing appropriate feedback </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Develop effective leaders who can think critically to solve complex problems and add value to their future organizations. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Next Steps <ul><li>Develop critical thinking assessments across the BAS-Supervision program </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Entry assessments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Establish baseline of critical thinking skills and dispositions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exit assessments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Determine efficacy of the program </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Determine where course corrections are necessary </li></ul></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Conclusion <ul><li>Educational institutions and other stakeholders must commit resources to develop, assess, evaluate, and modify critical thinking programs across the curricula </li></ul>
  20. 20. Questions
  21. 21. References <ul><li>Andrews, R. (2007). Argumentation, critical thinking and the postgraduate dissertation. Educational Review, 59 (1), 1-18. </li></ul><ul><li>Facione, P. A. (2009). Critical thinking: What it is and why it counts [Electronic document]. Retrieved on March 12, 2009 from </li></ul><ul><li>Halpern, D. F. (1998). Teaching critical thinking for transfer across domains. American Psychologist, 53 (4), 449-455. </li></ul><ul><li>Mason, M. (2007). Critical thinking and learning. Educational Philosophy & Theory, 39 (4), 339-349. </li></ul><ul><li>Yang, Y. C., & Chou, H. (2008). Beyond critical thinking skills: Investigating the relationship between critical thinking skills and dispositions through different online instructional strategies. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39 (4), 666-684. </li></ul>