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Introducing Critical Thinking to the Gateway Course IUPUI March 4, 2011 Patricia Payette, PhD Executive Director, i2a Associate Director, Delphi Center for Teaching and Learning University of Louisville email@example.com 1
Explore & apply core concepts: critical thinking & Elements of Thought, central course question, and fundamental and powerful concepts • Review and discuss examples of course materials that reflect critical thinking “infusion” • Practice, reflect and write as participants engage with these concepts and tools • Introduce you to structures and strategies of how we at the University of Louisville are infusing critical thinking intentionally into the classroom Session Objectives 2
Outcomes, Goals Course description Make explicit the thinking you want. Hold students responsible for the thinking they do (evaluate) Engage students in the thinking you want. Class activities, Assignments, Informal assessments Fostering the thinking you value most: 4 E’s Exams, Homework, Grading expectations Encourage!
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). Hint: try to dig deeper into concepts like ‘analysis’ Focused Listing:What is the thinking you want students to engage in?
Outcomes, Goals Course description Make explicit the thinking you want. Hold students responsible for the thinking they do. Engage students in the thinking you want. Class activities, Assignments, Informal assessments Exams, Homework, Grading expectations Fostering the thinking you value most Where is this thinking explicitly indicated as part of your course?
Critical Thinking: True or False? Having a solid, intuitive grasp of critical thinking is more important than memorizing a specific definition of critical thinking.
Onedefinition of critical thinking Decisions Synthesize Application Understanding Concepts Appreciation (Scriven and Paul, 2003)
Make explicit the thinking you want. Hold students responsible for the thinking they do. Engage students in the thinking you want. Specific to your discipline Fostering the thinking you value most
Established: 1798 in Louisville, KY • Total Student Headcount: 22,031 (Fall 2009) • Faculty: 2,125 and Staff: 3,961 • Operating Budget (2007-2008): $946 million • • Academic Programs (Degrees offered): • – Undergraduate degrees, 78 programs (includes certificates, associate degrees, baccalaureate degrees, and post-baccalaureate certificates) • – Graduate degrees, 106 programs (includes master’s degree, post-master’s certificates, doctoral degrees) • – Professional degrees, 3 programs • Source: University of Louisville’s • “Just the Facts,” 2009-2010 (http://www.louisville.edu) University of LouisvilleMission: Kentucky’s premier, nationally recognized metropolitan research university
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 Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (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. Ideas to Action at the University of Louisville
Faculty, staff and students talking about, working with, promoting and showing success with critical thinking concepts.
Home Page: http://louisville.edu/ideastoaction i2a Institute: May 23-25, 2011 Faculty Exemplars: www.louisville.edu/ideastoaction/resources Faculty Speak Video: www.louisville.edu/ideastoaction/resources/media Assessment http://louisville.edu/ideastoaction/what/assessment Join us in May! For more information on i2a: 13
Structures • Core staff team • Learning communities • Small grants • Unit-wide goals • Faculty and staff liaisons • Large-scale training • Scholarly approach Strategies • Start small, do it well, then expand • Meet people where they are (ask questions) • Reflect, try out, share, refine • Learn as you go (assess!) i2a Structures and Strategies
Richard Paul-Linda Elder framework • Agreed upon by all reviewers (virtually perfect inter-rater reliability) • Most comprehensive (many ‘models’ merely narratives) • Discipline neutral terminology • Provides a common language/terminology for discussing, modeling and measuring critical thinking that can be readily applied to all disciplines • Has a wealth of discipline specific resource materials Critical Thinking Model Adopted for i2a http://www.criticalthinking.org
Intellectual Standards Must be applied to Accuracy Clarity Relevance Logical Sufficiency Precision Depth Significance Fairness Breadth Elements of Reasoning Purpose Question Point of view Information Inferences Concepts Implications Assumptions Which leads to deeper Intellectual Traits Humility Autonomy Fair-mindedness Courage Perseverance Empathy Integrity Confidence in reasoning Paul-Elder Critical Thinking Model to develop
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 Making critical thinking visible:A Well-Cultivated Critical Thinker The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking, 2008, page 2 17
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…” How do you make critical thinking “visible”?
S: State it E: Elaborate E: Exemplify I: Illustrate For your teaching toolbox: SEE-I
Using a SEE-I prompt requires you to clarify your thinking about an idea, concept or problem • Communicating about your ideas or thinking using the SEE-I can be a tool for checking the accuracy of your thinking Why use 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.” Gerald Nosich on the SEE-I Nosich, G. “Learning to Think Things Through: A Guide to Critical Thinking Across the Curriculum.” (2011). p. 32.
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? When to use a SEE-I
Example of SEE-I from: Nancy Evans Lecturer / Coordinator of CIT First Year Experience, CIT10600, CIT11200 / CITIDOE Director Department of Computer Information and Leadership Technology
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 in your field or discipline. Fundamental and Powerful (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. Faculty Examples of F&P Concepts
Higher Education Administration • (skills, attitudes, behaviors, concepts of the field) • Career Fit • (goals, interests, abilities, values, experiences) • Professionalism • (leadership, interacting with others, choices, expectations) F&P Concepts for a course: Internship in Postsecondary Education
“A fundamental and powerful concept is one that can be used to explain or think out a huge body of questions, problems, information, and situations. All fields have f&p concepts, but there are a relatively small number of them in any particular area. They are the most central and useful ideas in the discipline. They are to be contrasted with individual bits of information, or with less general concepts.” Nosich, Learning to Think Things Through (2005)
Try writing one or more f&p concepts from your field/discipline that are essential to a course you are teaching. Rememberthat f&p concepts are used in your thinking about every important question or problem in the course….. …yetthey also allow you to begin to think through questions that lie beyond the scope of the and are central to the discipline Fundamental and Powerful Concepts
Worksheet Application:reflect on this concept of a F&P concept and come up with two ways you might explicitly underscore the centrality of this concept in your course design or teaching. Try to Apply
Outcomes, Goals Course description Make explicit the thinking you want. Hold students responsible for the thinking they do. Engage students in the thinking you want. Class activities, Assignments, Informal assessments Fostering the thinking you value most Exams, Homework, Grading expectations Reflect: where does your course allow students to practice working with F&P concept(s) explicitly?
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 Central Course Question:
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? Faculty Examples of Central Course Questions
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 uncertaintyon the multinational level? Central Course Questions and F&P Concepts
Central Course Questions and F&P Concepts 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?
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? Your central course question
Try this at home: Writing an answer to that question in a few paragraphs andconsider how your course currently responds and reflects your answer. Question: How can you use your central course question to foster and illuminate the critical thinking you want your students to practice? How can you use your central course question to foster to foster and illuminate the critical thinking you want your students to practice? Your central course question
Model the thinking you want. Hold students responsible for the thinking they do. Engage students in the thinking you want. Core Concepts: teaching critical thinking Revisit your central course question again and again as you introduce new content.
Intellectually Disciplined Process (Scriven and Paul, 2003)
“Becoming a critical thinker means becoming adept at using the elements explicitly and reflectively in your thinking.” G. NosichGoing around the wheel with your and others’ thinking allows you to analyze,break apart, and understand the logic of an issue. It allows you to think through any topic, question or problem in a thorough way. Why go around the wheel?
Interpretation & Conclusions: What are the judgments that will allow me to know if I’ve been successful? Purpose: What am I trying to accomplish? Point of View: Whose point of view is important to consider? Key Question: What problem am I addressing? Implications & Consequences: What are the implications of my proposed solution? Information: What information do I need? Essential Concepts: What concepts do I need to apply to correct the problem? Assumptions: What am I taking for granted? Dental Hygiene Case Study for Critical Thinking How does having this structure help students grapple with the challenge of patient case studies? How does it help the instructor ?
Disciplinary thinking: Fields and disciplines embody distinctive ways of looking at the world. Practitioners know the concepts that structure information and content. How parts of a discipline fit together creates “the logic of a discipline” “Go around the wheel” with the Elements of Thought
Example of before and after: Social Work BEFORE: Identify an ethical issue or high risk incident and analyze how you responded to it this month. Elements of Thought
AFTER: • “Briefly describe an ethical problem or high risk incident that you responded to this past month. How did you conclude this is a high risk incident? Provide at least two examples of evidence or pieces of information that informed your responseor reaction. What were possible solutions, what were the consequences, and what did you decide to do? Based on your reflection [point of view], how could you have responded differently? Are there other points of view or perspectives that did—or might have—influenced your decision?” • Consider the before and after: how do the second set of questions help make disciplinary thinking “visible”?
What exactly is this problemasking me to find? • What informationis given to me in the problem? • Is all of the information relevant, is some information more relevant than others? • Does this problem have any point of view that might help me develop a solution (or rule out a solution path)? • What elements of my prior knowledge might help me find an answer? (Let students answer, and write them all down. Then eliminate any that are not relevant by asking again). • Is there now enough informationto answer the question? • If not, what assumptions can I make that will simplify the problem? • Now can I solve the problem? No, go back. • State how I will solve this problem. Ok, so now we will find the gradient of f and the gradient of g, then find their cross product, and then use this to find the equation of the line normal to the curves at P. • Now I will do what I said, and not stop until I get to the end. • Does this answer the question? • Does it make sense, is it logical?Is there anything I can add (such as units) that will make this more precise? Engineering Analysis III Making Expert Thinking Visible What benefit is this “think aloud protocol” for students? Instructor?
“Go around the wheel” with your central course question in • mind using the single worksheet. • Which Elements represent the thinking you value most • in your course? • How can you explicitly engage students in these thinking skills & assess their ability to master these skills? What are the Elements students need to master?
Model the thinking you want. Hold students responsible for the thinking they do. Engage students in the thinking you want. Core Concepts: teaching critical thinking Infuse the Elements of Thought in your course assignments & hold students accountable for mastering that thinking.
“I think that for decades I have given my students many opportunities to engage in critical thinking, and I have modeled critical thinking in class discussions. But I don’t think I can claim ever to have taught critical thinking in a systematic way. The model gives me a way to share a critical thinking vocabulary with students and to chart their progress. I know and can tell my students exactly what I am looking for.” Spring 2008 Pilot Program Participant, Department of English Faculty Perspective
Let’s generate 10 ideas, insights, strategies or new concepts you are taking away from today’s session. Let’s share 10 Insights