Critical Thinking


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Critical Thinking

  1. 1. BASED ON THE WORK OF ROLAND CASE & IAN WRIGHT Taking Seriously the Teaching of Critical Thinking
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Background </li></ul><ul><li>Powerpoint – two perspectives – teacher and parent </li></ul>
  3. 3. In Today’s World… <ul><li>Our world is filled with messages conveyed in media through magazines, advertisements, television, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>How do we want our children to become active thinkers in our world? </li></ul><ul><li>Digital age video </li></ul>
  4. 4. Did you know?
  5. 5. Reflection <ul><li>Did you know… </li></ul><ul><li>Thoughts? </li></ul>
  6. 6. What critical thinking is NOT <ul><li>It is NOT any type of thinking. Because you are thinking or engaged in an activity does not necessarily mean you are thinking “critically” </li></ul><ul><li>It is not being negative, pessimistic, or mindlessly destructive </li></ul><ul><li>It is not a set of skills that are learned discreetly from all other knowledge </li></ul>
  7. 7. What critical thinking IS <ul><li>It is a philosophy used in the construction of knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>It is a process whereby something is thought though logically, sequentially, thoughtfully </li></ul>
  8. 8. Online Webster’s definition <ul><li>exercising or involving careful judgment or judicious evaluation </li></ul>
  9. 9. What is critical thinking? <ul><li>DEFINITION: </li></ul><ul><li>Critical thinking refers to the thinking through of any problematic situation where the thinker seeks to make a judgment or decision about what it would be sensible or reasonable to believe or do </li></ul>
  10. 10. Critical Thinking <ul><li>A “problematic” situation is any question or task asked of students whereby the answer or outcome is not pre-determined </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers allow students to engage in a process whereby they develop their own answers or products based on an agreed upon criteria </li></ul><ul><li>Students are asked to think from another person’s point of view. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Is the question critical? <ul><li>What is the population of North Bay? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the most plausible theory to explain the construction of Egypt’s pyramids? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you prefer solving scientific or social problems? </li></ul>
  12. 12. Critical Thinking <ul><li>The need to make reasoned judgments and decisions arises in countless ways from problem solving, decision making, issue analysis to reading, writing, speaking and listening </li></ul><ul><li>All are occasions for critical thinking and it is of limited value to undertake these tasks in an uncritical manner </li></ul>
  13. 13. Towards Critical Thinking of an Ethic Parsons & Sears article <ul><li>Knowledge is not fixed but is open to reexamination and change </li></ul><ul><li>There is no question that cannot/should not be asked </li></ul><ul><li>Awareness of and empathy for alternative world views </li></ul><ul><li>Need for tolerance of ambiguity </li></ul><ul><li>Need for a skeptical attitude toward text </li></ul>
  14. 14. How do I teach students to think critically? <ul><li>Provide opportunities for students to engage in critical thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Give students permission to engage in critical thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Teach them the requisite intellectual tools to think critically </li></ul>
  15. 15. Critical Thinking Community of Thinkers Critical Challenges Intellectual or Requisite Tools
  16. 16. Building a Community of Thinkers <ul><li>Infuse a critical standard into classroom expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Implement appropriate classroom routines and activities that cultivate critical thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Model the attributes of a critical thinker </li></ul><ul><li>Employ effective questioning techniques </li></ul><ul><li>Develop the tools for student participation in a reflective community </li></ul>
  17. 17. Infusing Critical Challenges <ul><li>Create critical thinking opportunities that answer the following questions affirmatively </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Does the question or task require judgment or a decision? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Will the challenge be meaningful to students? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Is the challenge embedded in the core of the curriculum? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Is the challenge limited in scope? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Do the students have or can they learn the requisite tools to complete the task successfully? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Intellectual (or Requisite) Tools <ul><li>Habits of Mind </li></ul><ul><li>Background Knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Critical Thinking Vocabulary </li></ul><ul><li>Thinking Strategies </li></ul><ul><li>Criteria for Judgment </li></ul>
  19. 19. Intellectual Tools: Habits of Mind <ul><li>Willingness to approach tasks carefully and critically is essential </li></ul><ul><li>Open-mindedness </li></ul><ul><li>Fair-mindedness </li></ul><ul><li>Independent-mindedness </li></ul><ul><li>An inquiring or critical attitude </li></ul><ul><li>Respect for high quality products and performances </li></ul><ul><li>An intellectual work ethic </li></ul>
  20. 20. Intellectual Tools: Background Knowledge <ul><li>Most obvious and basic tool of critical thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Students cannot think critically if they do not know anything about it </li></ul><ul><li>Poor background knowledge can lead to undesirable consequences and ill-informed conclusions </li></ul><ul><li>The requisite background knowledge will depend on the particular problem under consideration so there is no set list of information on a subject area </li></ul><ul><li>Rather, consider the background knowledge in the context of the particular problem or question </li></ul><ul><li>Ask, “What will students need to know in order to make a well-informed, thoughtful judgment or decision here?” </li></ul>
  21. 21. Intellectual Tools: Critical Thinking Vocabulary <ul><li>The vocabulary or set of concepts that permit us to make important distinctions among the kinds of issues and thinking tasks before us: Examples are </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cause and effect </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Fact, value, and conceptual statements </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Premise and conclusion </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Points of view (e.g. moral, aesthetic, environmental) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Deduction and induction </li></ul></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Intellectual Tools:Thinking Strategies <ul><li>Never a simple matter of following procedures or steps, but there are strategies or heuristics that are helpful </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Step back and get the big picture </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Talk through the problem with a friend to pick out specific points </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Double check responses </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Use models, metaphors, drawings and symbols to simplify problems </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Use graphic organizers (e.g. webs, diagrams, T-charts) to represent information </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Take another perspective </li></ul></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Intellectual Tools: Criteria for Judgment <ul><li>Critical thinking is essentially a matter of judging the reasonableness of alternatives </li></ul><ul><li>All judgments are based on some criteria or other (e.g. this is a “good” picture) </li></ul><ul><li>Though we may not always use the same criteria to make our judgments, students need help thinking through the criteria used in deciding “this is a ‘good’ judgment or decision”. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Intellectual Tools: Criteria for judgment <ul><li>Some examples of criteria relevant for good reasoning are: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Accuracy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reliability </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Logical coherence </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Weight of evidence </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Clarity </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Precision </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Relevancy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>It’s not always important that students can name these standards, but it is important for them to be able to apply them appropriately in judging the reasoning and actions of others and in monitoring their own thinking and acting </li></ul>
  25. 26. Why is it important? <ul><li>Critical thinking is an important part of any educational program for two reasons: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>it is an essential ‘life skill’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>it offers an effective and motivating way for students to learn subject matter. </li></ul></ul>
  26. 27. Example: You be the judge <ul><li>Compare the difference between, on the one hand, asking students to copy from the textbook the five distinguishing features of the major regions of Canada </li></ul>
  27. 28. <ul><li>and, on the other hand, assigning students a specific region and challenging them to convince the rest of the class that their region would be the best place to move their entire family (in terms of climate, natural beauty, cultural attractions, occupations, life style) </li></ul>
  28. 29. How can parents help? <ul><li>When helping with homework, encourage your child to suggest his/her own ideas and to explain why, and when correcting errors, rather them simply telling the right answer guide your child by asking open-ended questions </li></ul>
  29. 30. <ul><li>e.g., Have you thought about the effects of . . . ? What else might happen if you did this? That sounds interesting, can you tell me why you thought this? </li></ul>
  30. 31. <ul><li>Look for casual opportunities, especially while reading books, to raise questions that require assessing various alternatives (e.g., Do you think it would have been better for the character to do or ?) </li></ul>
  31. 32. <ul><li>Encourage your child to explore positions from different points of view, especially from perspectives that he/she does not personally hold (e.g., How might your brother feel about . . . .? I know you don’t like having to do it, but why might your teacher think that homework is important? </li></ul>
  32. 33. <ul><li>Perhaps, the most important point to remember is that encouraging children to be critically thoughtful is more time consuming and slower than simply telling them what to think. </li></ul>
  33. 35. Young Children <ul><li>How does the character feel in this book? </li></ul><ul><li>Can you think of a time when you felt the same way? </li></ul><ul><li>What do you think the character is trying to tell us? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do you think that is important? </li></ul><ul><li>If you were ___ in the story what would you say about_____? </li></ul><ul><li>What happened in the beginning, middle and end of the story? </li></ul>
  34. 36. <ul><li> </li></ul>
  35. 37. Older Children <ul><li>Developing information literacy skills </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What makes an internet site or newspaper reputable? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are some books more valid than other books? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Can you summarize what you just read? (put it in your own words) </li></ul>
  36. 38. Books to help enhance questioning <ul><li>“ Three Questions” John Muth </li></ul>
  37. 39. <ul><li>“ The Gardener” Sarah Stewart </li></ul>
  38. 40. <ul><li>The Great Fuzz Frenzy by Janet Stevens </li></ul>
  39. 41. Through Pictures
  40. 42. Sharpen your critical thinking skills <ul><li>Bloom’s taxonomy six level of cognitive functioning </li></ul><ul><li>Since critical thinking happens at the higher level, is a key component of standardized tests, and an important life skill, challenge students with critical thinking questions during class discussions and on chapter and unit tests throughout the year. </li></ul>
  41. 43. Higher Order Thinking Skills: <ul><li>Evaluation: Ask questions that require students to assess, compare, criticize, justify, resolve, conclude. </li></ul><ul><li>Synthesize: Ask questions that require students to combine, create, invent, plan, formulate, negotiate. </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis: Ask questions that require students to analyze, connect, infer, compare, contrast, prioritize. </li></ul><ul><li>Application: Ask questions that require students to apply, classify, solve, demonstrate, experiment, determine. </li></ul>
  42. 44. Lower Order Thinking Skills <ul><li>Comprehension: Ask questions that require students to explain, describe, interpret, discuss, differentiate, restate. </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge: Ask questions that require students to define, describe, tell, identify, list, name. </li></ul>
  43. 45. Is the question critical? <ul><li>What is the population of North Bay? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the most plausible theory to explain the construction of Egypt’s pyramids? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you prefer solving scientific or social problems? </li></ul>
  44. 46. Think about it article: Critical Thinking <ul><li>Scholastic parents online </li></ul>
  45. 47. Questions