Critical Thinking through Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking
Lake County Public Schools
November 13, 2010
Presented by: Maggie Pagan
To review the connections of critical thinking and the real world…
To explore what critical thinking is…
To practice critical thinking activities…
To share strategies to increase students’ critical thinking skills…
To review the levels of critical thinking…
How do we use critical thinking in our lives and work?
25% of adults in the United States cannot understand their pay stub.
58% cannot determine the differences between two medical benefit options.
78% of adults in the United States cannot figure out how much interest is paid on a loan.
71% cannot figure how many miles per gallon their vehicle gets.
55% of adults in the United States cannot determine the correct dosage of liquid aspirin substitute to administer to their child, given a label with ages and weights.
Current Brain Research
This generation struggles with:
Parts to Whole Relationships
Our brains are shaped by the world around us
This is the media generation
Thinking by “remote control” builds a different set of skills
Changing the Paradigm of Teaching and Learning
Engagement in learning
Application of knowledge
Collaboration among teachers and students
Active learning is necessary for the teaching of critical thinking.
Critical thinking should be integrated into every aspect of the educational process.
Students should be made aware of the thinking process.
Critical thinking must be taught explicitly.
Process is as important as content.
Teachers often confuse physical attention for mental attention
What is Critical Thinking?
“The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.”
-Robert M. Hutchins
Critical thinking is the process of analyzing the arguments of others. It means examining the logic of such arguments. It enables people to do more than just repeat knowledge.
Critical thinking is…
Asking thoughtful questions (knowledge)
Answering questions with good reasoning (skills)
Believing the results of your own good reasoning and acting accordingly (dispositions)
What can you infer from this map? What is your proof?
Why is Critical Thinking Important?
Critical thinking prepares students to educate themselves for the rest of their lives.
Critical thinking skills are necessary for success in many fields.
Critical thinkers are less likely to just go along with the crowd
Ways to increase students’ critical thinking skills…
Use of real world documents, media and technology in classroom instruction to increase rigor, relevance and critical thinking.
Motivate and get student’s interest with the use of technology, real world documents and authentic and engaging tasks.
Remember…The more engaged the student and the more thinking and relevance in the learning, the more parts of the brain work to form lasting and retrievable memories.
Prerequisites for critical thinking
Substantial knowledge of facts, concepts, ideas
Belief in one’s ability to think critically
Safe environment in which to express thoughts
Rewards for thinking critically
Procedures of Critical Thinking
Identifying key definitions
Defining issue or problem
Distinguishing fact from opinion
Noting missing evidence
Comparing & contrasting
Cause and effect
Key Learning Strategies
to Increase Memory and Critical Thinking in Any Content Area
Use of technology
Use of visuals – video, use the classroom walls, graphic organizers, etc.
Adding relevance – found materials, real world application of content
Use of inquiry and experimentation
Teaching with critical questions
Use of grouping strategies tied to desired level of thinking
Increase Writing – it is a whole brain activity
Student questioning and self-evaluation
Great vocabulary/concept strategies
Keys to Developing Critical Thinking Skills
There is a hierarchy of learning levels.
It takes time and effort to climb the ladder of understanding.
Teach Students to Look at the Question Words and Identify What is Asked
This pyramid depicts the different levels of thinking we use when learning. Notice how each level builds on the foundation that precedes it. It is required that we learn the lower levels before we can effectively use the skills above.
Making decisions and supporting views; requires understanding of values.
Combining information to form a unique product; requires creativity and originality.
Identifying components; determining arrangement, logic, and semantics.
Using information to solve problems; transferring abstract or theoretical ideas to practical situations. Identifying connections and relationships and how they apply.
Restating in your own words; paraphrasing, summarizing, translating.
Memorizing verbatim information. Being able to remember, but not necessarily fully understanding the material.
How to Teach Critical Thinking
Promote interaction among students
Ask open-ended questions
Allow sufficient time for reflection
Teach students to apply knowledge to other domains
Use real-life problems
Allow for thinking practice
21st Century Skills
Communication and Information skills
Thinking and Problem Solving skills
Interpersonal and Self-Directional skills
Pitfalls… of Developing Critical Thinkers
Teaching for critical thinking takes more time to prepare
Teaching for critical thinking will reduce the amount of “material” covered
Teaching for critical thinking is not popular with students in the beginning
One destination, many roads
One match, many strokes
One painting, many colors
Said Other Ways,
Critical Thinking is . . .
One question, many answers
One song, many voices
One topic, many interpretations
Relate content to practical situations.
Design lessons so that students internalize and analyze concepts they are learning.
Routinely ask questions.
Make the lessons “work intensive” for the student, not you.
Be a model for your students.
Use tactics that encourage active learning.
Next Steps and Closing
What is one fact, strategy , or data you’re walking away with today?
What are two strategies you learned today?
One thing you’re going to implement with your students, or share with a peer is...
May Your Moments be Many!
“Educators are addicted to the moment when a student’s eyes light up, when the teaching becomes learning. May your days be filled with such moments.”
-Philip Patrick Horenstein