Ideas to Action Critical Thinking to Foster Student Learning and Community Engagement
Take a few moments to “think, pair, share”: What is seems to be working well for you and your students in regard to the Critical Thinking (CT) questions and assessments? What are the stumbling blocks for you or your students?
Ideas to Action Implementation Ideas to Action (I2A) is our Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), and we need to show measurable progress to the the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) by April 2012.
“Connecting the Dots” “Our extensive consultation with all University constituencies yielded a surprisingly strong and clear call for education focused on the skills and knowledge needed to deal with real-world issues and problems, an education in which students can see the importance of the parts (the courses) to the whole (their education as citizens and workers).” [QEP Report, 2007]
Higher Education in the 21st Century • Public accountability & SLO’s: state legislatures, accrediting bodies and other stakeholders • New emphasis on intellectual, technical and practical skills • UofL’s Metropolitan Mission not unusal • Emphasis on “deep learning,” integrative learning, brain research, digital literacy, etc. • Shifts in traditional structures and divisions in the academy
What is critical thinking? “ “Higher-Order Thinking” “Complex Thinking”
Ask yourself: • What kind of thinking skills or complex performance do students need to be able to do in this course? • What does that “look like” at the end of the first semester? • What does that “look like” at the end of the second semester? • What must they absolutely be able to do?
Critical Thinking definition adopted for I2A (From: Scriven and Paul, 2003) Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process that results in a guide to belief and action.
What are the “intellectual tools” of your discipline? What does this “process” look like in Social Work? What guides your beliefs and actions in Social Work? Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process that results in a guide to belief and action.
Social Work 670/671 Course Objective #1:Develop critical thinking skills 1) Formulating problems, questions 2) Assessing information 3) Drawing conclusions Also: 4) Showing awareness of multiple points of view Each of these skills involve a whole subset of skills: data gathering, probing, considering alternatives, weighing evidence, contextualizing an incident, making a conclusion, reflecting on results.
Paul-Elder Critical Thinking Model Must be applied to Intellectual Standards Accuracy Precision Clarity Depth Elements of Thought Relevance Significance Logic Fairness Purposes Inferences Sufficiency Breadth Questions Concepts Points of view Implications Intellectual Traits Information Assumptions Humility Perseverance Autonomy Empathy Integrity Fair- mindedness Confidence in reasoning to develop Courage 12
8 Elements of Thought (p. 5) Elements of Thought Wheel Whenever we think: • We think for a purpose • Within a point of view • Based on assumptions • Leading to implications and consequences • Using data, facts and experiences • To make inferences and judgments • Based on concepts and theories • To answer a question or solve a problem
Group work In groups of 2-3, look at the course objective related to critical thinking and compare how the Paul-Elder model Elements of Thought (p.5) are captured in these objectives. Try to describe what these “elements” look like in Social Work.
Elements of Reasoning applied toAbnormal Psychology From: Paul, R. & Elder, L. (2006), Critical Thinking (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall.
But else do we want students to do? We want them to practice these Elements within certain Universal Intellectual Standards
CLARITY ACCURACY PRECISION DEPTH RELEVANCE LOGIC SIGNIFICANCE BREADTH FAIRNESS Universal Intellectual Standards (p.10-12) Hall.
Why use a rubric? • Rubric is a “scoring” or “grading device” • Rubric measures performance of a particular skill (quality of thinking, for example) • Rubric allows for shared standards Rubrics are criterion-referenced, rather than norm-referenced. Raters ask, "Did the student meet the criteria for level 5 of the rubric?" rather than "How well did this student do compared to other students?"
How does your rubric match up to Intellectual Standards? Take a look at your Social Work rubric. Then look at the Intellectual Standards on p.12 Working in your groups, use the Standards to “sum up” the descriptions on the rubric. Why is that standard important for Social Work students to demonstrate? For example, look at row 4, column 5 about “multiple responses to other salient perspectives that are important to the analysis of the issue.” (Breadth and Fairness)
How do your critical thinking questions elicit the thinking you need to see? Sample prompt:Identify an ethical issue or high risk incident and analyze how you responded to it this month. How does this question “match up” to the standards by which it will be assessed? Take a look at the sample answer to this question. Do you see all the evidence of the critical thinking criteria being “completely fulfilled”? What is missing?
Possible Solution Rephrase the question to help guide the student through the thinking process—to meet the standards-- you are looking for. For example: “Briefly describe an ethical problem or high risk incident that you responded to this past month. Provide at least two examples of evidence or pieces of information that informed your response or reaction. What were possible solutions, what were the consequences, and what did you decide to do? Based on your reflection, how could you have responded differently? Are there other points of view or perspectives that did—or might have—influenced your decision?”
Possible ways to enhance your critical thinking assignments: • Focus on the articulation and examination of one thinking skill per month, and then after 4 months, ask students to look back and integrate or assess what they have learned. • Revise questions to guide students through the thinking process that you want them to practice. • 3. Revisit your goals—what do you want to see students be able to do? How will you know when they can do it?
The result: 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