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Passive No More: Fostering Creative Thinking in Higher Education Classrooms. Rita L. Halasz LDR 622 Student Development Siena Heights University 11-11-2012. Critical Thinking. Reasoning, analysis, skepticism, evaluation, problem solving A desire to understand (Reinstein & Lander, 2008)

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passive no more fostering creative thinking in higher education classrooms

Passive No More:Fostering Creative Thinking in Higher Education Classrooms

Rita L. Halasz

LDR 622 Student Development

Siena Heights University


critical thinking
Critical Thinking

Reasoning, analysis, skepticism, evaluation, problem solving

A desire to understand

(Reinstein & Lander, 2008)

Using rational criteria in evaluation

(Browne & Freeman, 2000)

Analyzing conclusions for their basis in truth

(Sumner, 1906)


Critical Thinking is Cultivated

“It is a mental habit and power. It is a prime condition of human welfare that men and women should be trained in it” (Sumner, 1906, p. 633).

“Excellence in thought, however, must be systematically cultivated”

(Defining critical thinking, 2011, para. 9).

today s employers expect critical thinkers

Today’s Employers Expect Critical Thinkers

Employers’ Top Desired Outcomes in Graduates

(Hart Research Associates, 2010), p. 2)

is higher education producing higher order thinking

Is Higher Education Producing Higher Order Thinking?

45% of college students show no

appreciable increases in higher order learningafter two years of college

After four years . . .

36% show no significant improvement in learning

(Arum, Roksa, & Cho, 2011)

classroom barriers

Classroom Barriers

(Browne & Freeman, 2000; Evans, Forney, Guido, Patton, & Renn, 2010)

developmental model integration
Developmental Model Integration




High degree of personalism, structure, and experiential learning in the classroom


Order 2 - Rules

Need for authority


Decreasing structure & personalism. Increased risk taking, complexity of tasks

Order 3 - Socialized Mind

Acceptance > Conflict

High diversity of assignments: complexity and volume

High risk environment

Order 4 – Self-authored

Responsible for own beliefs


(Evans, Forney, Guido, Patton, & Renn, 2010)


The Developmental Dissonance of the Classroom

Kegan noted:

that college instruction tends to use

Order 4


while students tend

to function in

Order 3.

The classroom needs to possess the attributes of critical thinking to ensure that

all students can bridge the gap.

(Evans et al., 2010)

attributes of critical thinking classrooms

Attributes of Critical Thinking Classrooms

Developmental Tension

(Browne & Freeman, 2000)

diversity fostered critical thinking

Significantly improved higher order thinking when students are engaged in:

Diversity Fostered Critical Thinking

Significantly higher benefits were recognized when employed with First Year Students

Cross-racial or ethnicity relationships

Diversity & cultural workshops

Discussions with those of opposing/different views of:

Politics Social issues

Philosophy Values

Religion Ethnicity & Race

(Pascarella, Palmer, Moye, & Pierson, 2001)

six thinking hats looking at all views

Each group of students takes a Hat and analyzes the position, proposal, belief,

or conclusion from the Hat’s perspective.

Values & benefits

Why it will work



Managing processes

Potential problems

Why it will not work

Six Thinking Hats- Looking at all views

New ideas

Creativity &


Gut instinct

Feelings &


Facts & information:

Known or needed

(Geissler, Wayland & Jane, 2012; What are the six thinking hats?, 2009)

the new 21 st century c lassroom for the 21 st century s s tudents

Diverse interactions, relationships, and meaningful discussions

Thorough analysis

Looking at all views

Demand for evidence

Enthusiasm for truth and its pursuit

The New 21st Century Classroom,

for the

21st Century’s Students


Perhaps most importantly in today’s information age,

thinking skills are viewed as crucial for educated persons to cope

with a rapidly changing world.

Many educators believe that

specific knowledge will not be as important to tomorrow’s

workers and citizens

as the ability to learn and make sense of new information.

(Gough’s Thinking about thinking, as cited in Cotton, 1991, p. 1)



Arum, R., Roksa, J., & Cho, E. (2011). Improving undergraduate learning: Findings and policy recommendations from the SSRC-CLA longitudinal project. Retrieved from Social Science Research Council website:

Browne, M. N., Freeman, K. (2000). Distinguishing features of critical thinking classrooms. Teaching in Higher Education,5(3), 301. Retrieved from:

Cotton, K. (1991, November). Close-up #11: Teaching thinking skills. School Improvement Research Series. Retrieved from:

Defining critical thinking. (2011). Foundation for Critical Thinking. Retrieved from:

Evans, N.J., Forney, D.S., Guido, F.M., Patton, L.D., & Renn, K.A. (2010). Student development in college: Theory, research, and practice (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Geissler, G. L., Wayland, S. W., Jane, P. (2012). Improving students’ critical thinking, creativity, and communications skills. Journal of Instructional Pedagogies, 8, 1-11. Retrieved from:

Hart Research Associates. (2010). Raising the bar: Employers’ views on college learning in the wake of the economic downturn: A survey among employers conducted on behalf of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. Retrieved [originally] from:

Pascarella, E.T., Palmer, B., Moye, M., & Pierson, C.T. (2001). Do diversity experiences influence the development of critical thinking? Journal of College Student Development, 42(3), 257-257. Retrieved from:

Reinstein, A., & Lander, G. H. (2008). Developing critical thinking in college programs. Research in Higher Education Journal, 1, 78-94. Retrieved from:

Sumner, W. G. (1906). Folkways: A study of the sociological importance of usages, manners, customs, mores, and morals [Google Books]. Boston, MA: Ginn.

What are the six thinking hats? (2009). Retrieved from