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How to Assist Students with Critical Thinking...


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How to Assist Students with Critical Thinking...

  1. 1. How to Assist Students with Critical Thinking<br />And Award Winning Papers<br />Patricia Rhea, Associate Professor, Wellness<br />Laura Crist, Instructor, Wellness <br />Elizabeth Godwin, Coordinator of Collection Development, CCBC Libraries<br />
  2. 2. To offer suggestions as to how to better guide and support students in producing work illustrative of critical thinking, thoughtful research, smart decision making, and analysis of multiple sources<br />To assist you in more clearly communicating what you want from students<br />Our Two-Part Goal<br />
  3. 3. CRITICAL THINKING is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information, gathered or generated by observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, and/or communication as a guide to belief or action. <br />Critical thinking is not the simple acquisition and retention of information, the development of a particular set of skills, and/or the repetitive application of those skills without the critical evaluation of their results. <br />Critical thinking encompasses the eight elements of reason: purpose, point of view, question at issue, information, interpretations and inference, concepts, assumptions, implications, and consequences. (Paul, 1995) <br />Critical Thinking<br />
  4. 4. Your Requirements: What do they mean?<br />Length<br />Citations<br />Language – specific?<br />Assignments: Basic Research Paper<br />
  5. 5. Debate:<br />You will research your assigned side and come up with five, detailed, factual statements defending your side (in your own words – do not cut and paste) with at least five different references. You will cite each of your statements. You will be graded on your well researched/well thought out statements and references. You must be present and active during the debate to earn points. Topic: One serving of alcohol per day – healthy or not healthy?<br />Assignments<br />
  6. 6. Facts, not opinions or popular myths/beliefs and the ability to understand the difference<br />APA/MLA formatting/citation: how and why<br />Students to understand plagiarism = bad<br />Students to be open to research saying different things; the ability to handle 2 sides of an argument<br />Current information<br />Students to expand on quotes or bullet lists – to make that critical thinking analysis step<br />Diversity in resources<br />We Want…<br />
  7. 7. Obviously, we have books and articles in print and electronic format. The library itself is a valuable resource as a quiet place where a sense of community and communal ownership is possible. Most importantly, we have librarians, experts at your disposal and very available to students. <br />How to enhance and further integrate research and critical thinking skills into your classroom:<br />Select articles, chapters, or excerpts from high quality writing. Leave a copy at the reserve desk (to coax them into the library) or use databases to create persistent links and post them in BlackBoard. <br />Both ask the student to adopt some research skills – force them to put out some effort, which implies that good information isn’t always just a Google search away.<br />Don’t rely solely on the textbook – this might send the wrong message. The textbook is not a research resource. Consider forbidding use of the textbook in paper.<br />If you’d like, you can work with a librarian to refine your assignment, making sure that you are sending students on meaningful and possible research journeys. <br />Critical Thinking and Library Services for the Successful Assignment<br />
  8. 8. The Library as an Extension of the Classroom and the Librarian as an Instructional Partner<br />Schedule a library class at a time when students might realize they need it and BUILD IT INTO YOUR SYLLABUS. Attach a participation grade or work with the librarian to develop a small graded assignment demonstrating their library knowledge – give them reason to come. We suggest scheduling this a few weeks into the semester, when something is first assigned or roughly 4 weeks prior to submission of major assignment. Webform available on the library page. Submit your assignment and/or syllabus with it. <br />We can explain citation, plagiarism, annotated bibliographies, smart web searching etc. in addition to a basic discussion of how to locate and select information in all formats. <br />You can schedule a series of classes for them to first learn and then practice their skills. <br />You can schedule a research class where the librarian barely lectures, but individually sits down with your students. Depending on the research demand in your course, you can work with the librarian to select a ratio that is right for your class. <br />Become familiar with what it is for an undergraduate student to use the library – familiarize yourself with the practices and know when to bring them up. Confidence is contagious.<br />
  9. 9. Review the Faculty Pages or the new LibraryGuides to explore new ideas.<br />Talk to the Collection Development Librarian to ensure the library is equipped with resources for the assignment. We can put materials on reserve or rectify an incomplete collection prior to the assignment if you make contact early.<br />Be transparent. Show them how you have had to gather information to form your knowledge.<br />Integrate technology into your classroom to build these skills. This supports their ability to conduct research in the modern information environment and their career/personal skills. The greater their familiarity with things online, the stronger they will become at identifying quality information Blog, wiki, <br />Take a position on Wikipedia and stick to it. Perhaps this is something we should do school-wide. Wikipedia is a great place to start, we all use it and it has been shown to be as accurate as Britannica. HOWEVER – no college-level research paper should cite an encyclopedia of any kind.<br />The inability to complete a citation is indicative of an inability to differentiate low quality/high quality information online. <br />Information Criteria: Authority, Accuracy, Bias, Coverage, Currency: Use these words. They are appropriate in every subject area.<br />More on the Library and Supporting Critical Thinking…<br />
  10. 10. Explicit direction = support<br />Consider what you are asking and what you want. <br />Work with a librarian to review your assignments, suggest resources that will make information-hunting easier and will give students confidence, and to discuss library classes. <br />Paper before / Paper after<br />Student experience and teaching evaluations<br />The Bottom Line<br />