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Please fill out the True-False worksheet while waiting for session to start!. “Will this Thinking be on the Test? Using Critical Thinking to Engage Students in Thinking Deeply in Your Discipline”. Dine and Discover Series Delphi Center for Teaching and learning Patricia Payette, PhD

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Please fill out the True-False worksheet while waiting for session to start!

“Will this Thinking be on the Test? Using Critical Thinking to Engage Students in Thinking Deeply in Your Discipline”

Dine and Discover Series

Delphi Center for Teaching and learning

Patricia Payette, PhD

Executive Director, i2a

Associate Director, Delphi Center

[email protected]


session objectives
Session Objectives
  • Explore concepts and definitions of critical thinking
  • Examine and articulate the fundamental concepts and central questions that “live inside” your courses and assignments, but often seem elusive to students
  • Revise or revisit your teaching activities to more effectively engage students in original inquiry, and to think critically


focused listing what is critical thinking
Focused Listing: What is critical thinking?

Think of a specific course that you teach, or a specific learning context in which you teach and/or mentor students to think critically.

Describe in a short list the changes in students’ mindset (or “mental models”) you want to see in them at the end of your time with them in the classroom, lab, etc. (e.g. ask relevant questions).

Page 2 of your worksheet packet

focused listing what is critical thinking1
Focused Listing: What is critical thinking?

Let’s share our “focused listing” regarding the changes in students’ thinking, or thinking abilities, we want to see our students achieve.

for your teaching toolbox focused listing
For your Teaching Toolbox: Focused Listing
  • Focuses student attention on a single important term, concept, name, idea from a class session and asks them to list several ideas
  • Helps students recall the most important points related to a topic
for your teaching toolbox focused listing1
For your Teaching Toolbox: Focused Listing
  • Helps faculty assess what students retain about a concept OR unearth assumptions or preconceptions students bring to the class
  • Use in groups;
  • or as individual prompt to help students recall information ;
  • or as a prompt class discussion or review for an exam
  • It is a “low stakes” way to assess students’ thinking

Question: How could you use “Focused Listing” to engage students?

one definition of critical thinking
Onedefinition of critical thinking







(Scriven and Paul, 2003)

ideas to action the basics
Ideas to Action: The Basics
  • Ideas to Action (i2a): Using Critical Thinking to Foster Student Learning and Community Engagement is our Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP).
  • Part of our accreditation report to SACS-COC to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to student learning
  • Our 10-year initiative we created to renew our focus on critical thinking and community engagement and the undergraduate experience.
for more information on i2a
For more information on i2a:

Home Page:

Faculty Exemplars:

Faculty Speak Video:



making critical thinking visible a well cultivated critical thinker
Making critical thinking visible:A Well-Cultivated Critical Thinker
  • Raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely
  • Gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively
  • Comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards
  • Thinks open mindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as needs be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences
  • Communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems


The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking, 2008, page 2

how do you make critical thinking visible
How do you make critical thinking “visible”?
  • Choose one critical thinking skill/behavior from the list of the “well-cultivated” critical thinker that you teach (or mentor) students to do well.
  • Paraphrase it in your own words and elaborate on that behavior as it relates to a specific teaching context.

“In other words…”

  • Give an example of how you teach this skill or an assignment that helps students master this skill.

“For example….”

  • Try to describe the teaching/learning dynamic in terms of a metaphor, an illustration, a concept , or a diagram. “It’s like…”

Page 3 of your worksheet packet

for your teaching tool box see i
For your teaching tool box: SEE-I

S: State it

E: Elaborate

E: Exemplify

I: Illustrate

why use see i
Why use SEE-I?
  • Using a SEE-I prompt requires you to clarify your thinking about an idea, concept or problem
  • See page 44 in “Aspiring Thinker’s” Guide
  • Communicating about your ideas or thinking using the SEE-I can be a tool for checking the accuracy of your thinking
gerald nosich on the see i
Gerald Nosich on the SEE-I

“If you can accurately S,E,E, then I a concept or principle in a course, it means you almost certainly have a good grasp of it, that you understand it to a much greater degree than if you are merely able to state it.”

Nosich, G. “Learning to Think Things Through: A Guide to Critical Thinking Across the Curriculum.” (2009). p. 35.

when to use a see i
When to use a SEE-I
  • As a prompt for courses or other learning contexts when teaching a new concept or when checking for understanding
  • As a prompt for going deeper during a discussion: “Can you elaborate on that?” “Does someone have an example of this?”
  • As a homework assignment /exam review/exam question
  • Other?
examples of see i in action
Examples of SEE-I in action

Dr. Lynn Boyd

College of Business

Question: When could you use the SEE-I to prompt your students’ critical thinking about a concept, idea, or topic in your course?

Page 4 of your worksheet packet

teaching toolbox fundamental and powerful f p concepts
Teaching Toolbox: Fundamental and Powerful (F&P) Concepts
  • explain or help us think about a huge body of questions, problems, information, and situations.
  • are attached to a course theme
  • are to be contrasted with individual bits of information, or with less general concepts.
  • reflect the primary and essential thinking trait(s) you want students to achieve at the end of an assignment/course.

Bottom Line: What you are aiming for is to make those f&p concepts part of the way students think.

faculty examples of f p concepts
Faculty Examples of F&P Concepts
  • English: Texts construct culture; cultures are complex sites of contest.
  • Finance: Almost all decisions that corporations make have to be made under conditions of uncertainty.
  • Psychology: Human thought and behavior can be studied scientifically.
  • Engineering analysis: Use the principles of mathematics and science to obtain analytical solutions to engineering problems.
f p concepts for elfh 690 internship in postsecondary education
F&P Concepts for ELFH 690: Internship in Postsecondary Education
  • Higher Education Administration
    • (skills, attitudes, behaviors, concepts of the field)
  • Career Fit
    • (goals, interests, abilities, values, experiences)
  • Professionalism
    • (leadership, interacting with others, choices, expectations)
fundamental and powerful concepts worksheet p 3
Fundamental and Powerful Concepts (worksheet, p. 3)

Try writing one or more f&p concepts from your field/discipline that are essential to a course you are teaching.

Page 5 of your worksheet packet

Remember that f&p concepts are used in your thinking about every important question or problem in the course…..

…yet they also allow you to begin to think through questions that lie beyond the scope of the course…

Question: how can you illuminate and revisit the f&p in your assignments and course activities?

making f p concepts take root promoting deep learning
Making F&P concepts take root: Promoting Deep Learning

“Deep learning is learning that

takes root in our apparatus of

understanding, in the

embedded meanings that

define us and that we use to

define the world”

Tagg (2003)

Deep knowledge

Tagg, J. (2003). The learning paradigm college. Boston, MA: Anker.

Teaching Toolbox: Promoting Deep Learning
  • Helps students go beneath the rote memorization of an idea : to “think through” ideas and concepts
  • Relies on making connections between ideas and information (“connecting the dots”)
  • Applies ideas and concepts to “real life”
  • Fosters the integration and synthesis of information with prior learning or knowledge
teaching toolbox thinking through important ideas and concepts
Teaching Toolbox: Thinking Through Important Ideas and Concepts
  • See page 46 in “Aspiring Thinker’s” Guide
  • Choose one F&P concept from your list of course concepts
  • 1. State the meaning of the concept in one simple sentence (boil down its essence in everyday language)
  • “X is….” or “In other words….”
  • 2. State the significance of the idea or concept
  • “This idea is important because….
  • 3. Give an example of the concept (as it applies to real life)
  • “For example….”
  • 4. Connect the concept or idea to other concepts in the subject
  • “This concept is connected to the following ideas/concepts within the subject…”
  • 5. Give examples for number 4. above
  • “Some examples that show the relationship between this idea and other important ideas are….”

Page 6 of your worksheet packet

thinking through important ideas why and when
Thinking Through Important Ideas: Why and When?
  • Allows you to help students move beyond memorization and “work with” new concepts
  • Promote deep learning by focusing on
  • Integration
  • Synthesis
  • “Real life” relevance
central course question
Central Course Question:
  • provides the structure through which everything else is understood and all components of the course are connected.
  • serves to unify your vision of the course and the field.
  • is an open-ended but specific question that is ripe for exploration from a number of angles and has no easy, central “answer.”
  • functions like a “mission statement” for your course
faculty examples of central course questions
Faculty Examples of Central Course Questions

English: In what ways and why did England change in the transition from medieval to early modern, and what was the role of texts in that change?

Criminal Justice: How does reading, understanding, and critiquing scholarly research publications in the field of criminal justice system develop a consumerism for criminal justice research?

central course questions and f p concepts
Central Course Questions and F&P Concepts

Almost all decisions that corporations make have to be made under conditions of uncertainty.

  • Central Course Questions from Finance:
  • What are the major sources of uncertainty in doing business at home and abroad?
  • 2. How is the required reward affected by the level and sources of uncertainty?
  • 3. What are the compounding and mitigating sources of uncertainty on the multinational level?
  • 4. How do multinational enterprises adapt their activities to manage uncertainty on the multinational level?
Central Course Questions and F&P Concepts

F&P Concept from Biology:

An individual human's survival depends on homeostasis: the maintenance of

relatively constant internal body conditions

which are favorable for survival and function of many specialized celltypes.

Central Course Questions:

How do the forms of human body structures support their function?

How do the form and function of human body structures contribute to

the maintenance of homeostasis?

How can we monitor the function of such structures in order to

1) understand their response to challenges

and 2) determine whether they are working well enough to maintain homeostasis?

teaching toolbox your central course question
Teaching toolbox: your central course question

Try writing the central course question of one of your courses. Write four versions of it.

Consider: Which one seems to capture the most central question of your course?

Page 7 of your worksheet

your central course question
Your central course question

Question: How can you use your central course question to foster and illuminate the critical thinking you want your students to practice?

Try this at home:

Writing an answer to that question in a few paragraphs and consider how your course currently responds and reflects your answer.

core concepts teaching critical thinking
Core Concepts: teaching critical thinking

Make explicit the thinking you want.

Hold students responsible for the thinking they do.

Engage students in the thinking you want.

let s share 10 insights
Let’s share 10 Insights

Let’s generate 10 ideas, insights, strategies or new concepts you are taking away from today’s session.

Page 8 of your worksheet