Qatar TESOL April 9, 2011


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Critical Thinking, Gulf Arab Students, Asking Questions

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  • NOT intermittent, occasional, temporary skepticism Not an arduous process
  • Fairness Depth Breadth Logicalness etc.
  • Effort is not related to what you get as a grade.
  • I expect you all to be independent, innovative, critical thinkers who will do exactly as I say!
  • Why intimidating? Giving wrong answer can shame them in front of others.
  • Qatar TESOL April 9, 2011

    1. 1. Teaching Critical Thinking
    2. 2. Developing Gulf Arab Students’ Critical Thinking Skills Through Asking Questions by Ozgur Pala English Foundation Program Qatar University Doha, Qatar April 9, 2011
    3. 3. Overview <ul><li>Definitions </li></ul><ul><li>Why “ teach ” CT </li></ul><ul><li>Intellectual standards of CT </li></ul><ul><li>Sample situations with CT Qs </li></ul><ul><li>Sample text and Q formulation </li></ul><ul><li>Suggestions for developing CT skills </li></ul>
    4. 4. What does “Critical” Mean? <ul><li>Tendency to find errors or mistakes in an idea or argument </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mr. Baker is always critical of his students. He thinks that they are very lazy and noisy, and that they are always late to class. </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. What does “Critical” Mean? <ul><li>Something that includes careful evaluation and judgment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dr. Ahmad wrote several critical books on Ibn Khaldoon. </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. What does “Critical” Mean? <ul><li>Finding strengths and weaknesses of an argument or idea </li></ul><ul><ul><li>When you read newspaper articles critical ly, you will understand that they are mostly opinions of their writers. </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Definitions <ul><li>Dewey (1909): evaluation, reasons & implications </li></ul><ul><li>Norris and Ennis (1989): decision-making </li></ul><ul><li>McPeck (1990): reflective skepticism </li></ul><ul><li>Paul (1993): meta-cognition, intellectual standards </li></ul><ul><li>Browne and Keeley (2007): asking informed Qs </li></ul>
    8. 8. John Dewey: evaluation, reasons and implications <ul><li>Socrates - John Dewey = father of the modern CT tradition. </li></ul><ul><li>Dewey: “ Active, persistent, and careful consideration of a belief or supposed form of knowledge in light of the grounds which support it and the further conclusions to which it tends . (Dewey, 1909, p. 9) </li></ul><ul><li>active, persistent and careful process </li></ul><ul><li>r easons and implications emphasized </li></ul>
    9. 9. Norris and Ennis’s definition: decision-making <ul><li>CT is reasonable, reflective thinking that is focused on deciding what to believe or do. (Norris and Ennis, 1989) </li></ul>
    10. 10. McPeck’s definition: reflective skepticism <ul><li>CT refers to &quot; a certain combination of … a willingness or disposition … to engage in an activity or problem with reflective skepticism .&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>(McPeck, 1990) </li></ul>
    11. 11. Richard Paul’s definition: thinking about one’s thinking <ul><li>CT is that mode of thinking in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully imposing intellectual standards on their thinking </li></ul><ul><li>(Paul, Fisher and Nosich, 1993, p. 4) </li></ul><ul><li>Thinking about one ’ s thinking or ‘ meta-cognition ’ </li></ul>
    12. 12. Browne and Keeley’s definition: ability to ask informed questions and answer them <ul><li>Critical thinking refers to an awareness of a set of interrelated critical questions; an ability to ask and answer critical questions at appropriate times; and the desire to actively use the critical questions. </li></ul><ul><li> (Browne & Keeley, 2007) </li></ul>
    13. 13. Why “teach” CT? <ul><li>“ As long as people have purposes, wish to accomplish them, and wonder what is true and what is not, what to believe and what to reject, good CT is necessary. ” </li></ul><ul><li>(Facione, 2007, p. 9) </li></ul>
    14. 14. Why CT? <ul><li>“ Poor thinking wastes time and energy, engenders frustration and pain. ” (Paul, 2002, p.7) </li></ul><ul><li>In an age of technology, competition & information explosion, Ss need CT in their schools, prospective businesses, daily and academic lives. </li></ul><ul><li>(Oliver & Utermohlen, 1995) </li></ul>
    15. 15. Why CT? <ul><li>To live successfully in a democracy. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Beyer, 1995) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>CT provides enhanced engagement and therefore increased knowledge retention </li></ul><ul><li>(Meitner et al, 2005) </li></ul><ul><li>To make decisions that are informed and sound. </li></ul>
    16. 16. Honing your critical thinking <ul><li>Being familiar with fundamental intellectual standards is a key prerequisite for mastering critical thinking. </li></ul><ul><li>(Paul and Elder, 2002) </li></ul>
    17. 17. Honing your critical thinking <ul><li>More specifically, asking quality questions that are informed by those intellectual standards is one of the most important methods to reach at better reasoning. </li></ul><ul><li>(Paul and Elder, 2002) </li></ul>
    18. 18. Intellectual standards of thinking <ul><li>Clarity </li></ul><ul><li>Accuracy and Precision </li></ul><ul><li>Relevance </li></ul><ul><li>Depth and Breadth </li></ul><ul><li>Logicality </li></ul><ul><li>Significance </li></ul><ul><li>Fairness </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Paul and Elder (2002) </li></ul></ul></ul>
    19. 19. Questions on clarity <ul><li>Q: What can be done about the Islamic banking system in Qatar? </li></ul><ul><li>A: What can be done about what? Is there a problem? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Could you elaborate on that point? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Could you give me an example? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Let me state in my own words what I think you just said. Tell me if I am clear about your meaning. </li></ul></ul>
    20. 20. Questions on accuracy and precision <ul><li>“ Our orange juice is 100% organic. It contains 75.2 % Vitamin C, 10.5 potassium and 14.3 pulp ” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is that really true? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How could we check to see if that is accurate/precise? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Could you give me more details? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Could you be more specific/precise? </li></ul></ul>
    21. 21. Questions on relevance <ul><li>S: I worked so hard for this class. Why did I get a very low grade? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How is working hard connected to the question? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How does this idea relate to this other idea? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does working hard always bring high grades? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can there be other factors why the grade is low? </li></ul></ul>
    22. 22. Questions on Depth
    23. 23. Questions on depth <ul><li>It is almost impossible for Turkey to help the democratic movements in the Arab world. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Does the analysis provided take into account the historical facts, social realities, economical issues, political considerations of the problem/ situation? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How are the significant factors in the situation/problem dealt with? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is anything left out? Does the information given provide enough depth on the issue? </li></ul></ul>
    24. 24. Questions on breadth <ul><li>Q: Why do you think that atheism is the biggest source of moral problems of our times? </li></ul><ul><li>A: Because lack of belief in God brings about extreme licentious behavior. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is there another way to look at this question? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What would this look like from a conservative/ liberal standpoint? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What would this look like from the viewpoint of an atheist? </li></ul></ul>
    25. 25. Questions on logicality
    26. 26. Questions on logicality <ul><ul><li>How does that follow from the evidence? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does that follow from what you said? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do all of these ideas/arguments fit together logically? </li></ul></ul>
    27. 27. Questions on significance <ul><li>A: I think the government shouldn’t have expanded the Istanbul International Airport because the world economy is shrinking. </li></ul><ul><li>B: I don’t agree. I think Istanbul needs a bigger airport given its growing importance in the region. </li></ul>
    28. 28. Questions on significance <ul><ul><li>What is the most significant information we need to reach such a conclusion about the expansion of the airport? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the situation of the world economy the central idea to focus on? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Which of these ideas or concepts are the most important? </li></ul></ul>
    29. 29. Questions on Fairness
    30. 30. Questions on fairness <ul><ul><li>Is my thinking and my assumptions justified given the situation/evidence? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are my vested interests preventing me from being fair? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Am I using concepts justifiably, or am I using them unfairly in order to manipulate someone? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How would I feel if I was in the other side’s position? </li></ul></ul>
    31. 31. Sample Text and Question Formation <ul><li>Please read the text on Heathrow Airport Expansion on your own. </li></ul><ul><li>Work with a partner and write as many critical thinking questions as you can. </li></ul><ul><li>Which intellectual standard/s do your questions exemplify? </li></ul>
    32. 32. Questions on Clarity <ul><li>What do you mean by “badly sited” and “oversized”? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the key drawbacks of the Heathrow Airport expansion? </li></ul><ul><li>What do you mean by saying, “They have been arguing privately”? Who is “they”? </li></ul><ul><li>In what ways is this newspaper’s alternative (a new airport in the Thames estuary) any better than the expansion? </li></ul>
    33. 33. Questions on Accuracy <ul><li>Why are the “economic benefits” of an international hub in London exaggerated? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the proofs? </li></ul><ul><li>Which company did the polling? </li></ul><ul><li>Which areas did they poll exactly? </li></ul><ul><li>Are they known to be a trustable polling company? </li></ul>
    34. 34. Questions on Relevance <ul><li>Is having “green policies” against building or expanding airports? How? </li></ul><ul><li>What are some of the better ways of transportation if airways and railways are out of the picture? </li></ul><ul><li>Are these other alternatives any more environmentally friendly? </li></ul><ul><li>How can you be so sure that when the Tories come to power they will “certainly” challenge the expansion legally? </li></ul>
    35. 35. Questions on Precision <ul><li>What exactly are the limits for pollution and noise for an airport? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the exact number of cabinet ministers who think that Gordon Brown is ignoring the drawbacks of expanding the Heathrow Airport? </li></ul><ul><li>How large is this “minority”? </li></ul>
    36. 36. Questions on Precision <ul><li>How are you taking into account the political or business case of the government for the expansion of the airport? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do you think that the political or business case of the government for the expansion of the airport is not clear? </li></ul><ul><li>What makes the doubts and alternatives of the opponents of the expansion “legitimate”? </li></ul>
    37. 37. Questions on Depth <ul><li>How do you know that the noise impact will not be reduced by new quieter aircraft? </li></ul><ul><li>Any evidence? </li></ul>
    38. 38. Questions on Breadth <ul><li>Who are the experts whom you claim to have “genuine concerns”? </li></ul><ul><li>What are some of the advantages of turning Gatwick into an international hub as opposed to Heathrow? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do these advantages outweigh the advantages of having Heathrow as the international hub? </li></ul>
    39. 39. Questions on Breadth <ul><li>Are the MPs with constituencies around the airport, who fear the loss of their seats, included in the minority of ministers who are against this expansion? </li></ul><ul><li>Are their arguments based on being “green” or “saving their seats”? </li></ul>
    40. 40. Questions on Logicalness <ul><li>How are arguments on being “green” and “taking the long-term pro-business line” related? </li></ul><ul><li>What makes you assume that the air travel will not increase as much as it did in the last couple of decades? </li></ul>
    41. 41. Questions on Significance <ul><li>How significantly would an addition to an already existing airport affect “the environment and the quality of life”? </li></ul>
    42. 42. Questions on Fairness <ul><li>What makes you say that Gordon Brown is ignoring or deliberately sweeping the drawbacks under the carpet? </li></ul><ul><li>Do the cabinet ministers who are against the expansion have any vested interest in delaying or stopping the Third Runway? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do you call Heathrow an “unwieldy monster ”? </li></ul>
    43. 43. Questions on Fairness <ul><li>Are there any potential vested interests keeping you from considering the problem from alternative viewpoints? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you respond to the people around the airport and in the larger Metropolitan area who think the expansion will boost their businesses? </li></ul>
    44. 44. How can you help Gulf Arab Ss to improve their CT skills? <ul><li>1. Take time to explain what CT means </li></ul><ul><ul><li>CT presentation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>T gives examples from local culture & Ss discuss </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Becoming a critical thinker is a process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tell Ss when you are giving them CT methodology: consciousness raising </li></ul></ul>
    45. 46. <ul><li>2. Encourage them to ask questions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Critical thinkers know when & how to ask effectively formulated Qs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> (Browne & Keeley, 2007) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Crafting effective Qs to break the habit of rote learning & memorization </li></ul></ul>
    46. 47. <ul><li>“ I expect you all to be independent, innovative, critical thinkers who will </li></ul><ul><li>do exactly as I say!” </li></ul>
    47. 48. <ul><li>3. Cultivate CT skills </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Model, rehearse and coach (Brown, 1984; Hayes and Alvermann, 1986, cited in Tama, 1989) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teach explicit identification, explanation and evaluation of good reasoning habits </li></ul></ul>
    48. 50. <ul><li>4. Analyze & improve CT statements </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use warm-up, pre- or post-reading and post-listening activities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cartoons are great tools for stimulating critical thinking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do these activities in groups for cultural reasons </li></ul></ul>
    49. 52. <ul><li>5. Raise issues of controversy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dissonance of conflicting ideas motivates better CT (Frager, 1985) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ss tend to speak their emotions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Establish strong rapport </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Utilize authentic material loaded with subjective, judgmental and evaluative L </li></ul></ul>
    50. 53. <ul><li>6. Verbalize your thinking process </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Thinking aloud’ is an effective method for collecting information on Ss’ thinking patterns, their strengths and weaknesses. (Davey, 1983) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Thinking aloud’ is effective because: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Gulf Ss are better at S/L vs. R/W </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Extreme need for step-by-step modeling </li></ul></ul></ul>
    51. 54. <ul><li>7. Use silence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wait time has considerable impact on the quality and complexity of students' thinking (Tobin, 1987) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shouting out As is common and might intimidate/ discourage low-achievers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Restating what they/you said provides thinking time </li></ul></ul>
    52. 55. <ul><li>8. Take advantage of ambiguity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Clear-cut Qs/As may discourage Ss from thinking. Ambiguous materials stimulate more complex patterns of thought. (Strohm & Baukus, 1995) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gulf Arab Ss may find such materials boring & intimidating </li></ul></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
    53. 56. Questions? <ul><li>Thank you for your attention </li></ul><ul><li>You can reach this presentation @ http:// </li></ul><ul><li>Please feel free to ask questions  </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>
    54. 57. References <ul><li>Beyer, B. K. (1995). Critical thinking. Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation. </li></ul><ul><li>Browne, M. N. and Keeley, S. M. (2007). Asking the Right Questions: A guide to Critical Thinking . Pearson Prentice Hall. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. </li></ul><ul><li>Center for Critical Thinking (1996). The role of questions in thinking, teaching, and learning. Retrieved on December 26, 2007 from . </li></ul><ul><li>Davey, B. (1983). Think aloud: Modeling the cognitive processes of reading comprehension. Journal of Reading, 27 (1), 44-47. </li></ul><ul><li>Facione, P. (2007). Critical Thinking: What It Is and Why It Counts. Retrieved January 10, 2008 from . </li></ul>
    55. 58. References <ul><li>Fisher, A. (2001). Critical thinking. An introduction . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Frager, A. (1985). Conflict: The key to critical reading instruction. Paper presented at annual meeting of The Ohio Council of the International Reading Association Conference, Columbus, Ohio, October 1984. 18pp. [ED 251 806]. </li></ul><ul><li>McPeck, J. E. (1990). McPeck, J. (1990) Teaching Critical Thinking: Dialogue and Dialectic , New York and London: Routledge. </li></ul><ul><li>Meitner M., Gonzales J., Gandy R. and Maedel J. (2005). Critical Thinking, Knowledge Retention and Strife: Reflections on Active-learning Techniques. Retrieved on April 1, 2009. </li></ul><ul><li>Oliver, H. & Utermohlen, R. (1995). An innovative teaching strategy: Using critical thinking to give students a guide to the future. (Eric Document Reproduction Services No: 389 702) </li></ul>
    56. 59. References <ul><li>Paul. P. and Elder L. (2002). Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life . Financial Times Press. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. </li></ul><ul><li>Paul, R., Fisher, A., and Nosich, G. (1993). Workshop on Critical Thinking Strategies. Foundation for Critical Thinking, Sonoma State University, CA. </li></ul><ul><li>Strohm, S. M., & Baukus, R. A. (1995). Strategies for fostering critical thinking skills. Journalism and Mass Communication Educator, 50 (1), 55-62. </li></ul><ul><li>Tama, M. C. (1989). Critical thinking: Promoting it in the classroom. ERIC Identifier: ED306554, Available at . </li></ul><ul><li>Tobin, K. (1987). The role of wait time in higher cognitive level learning . Review of Educational Research, 57 (1), pp. 69-95. </li></ul>