Teaching Critical Thinking: Some Practical Points
By: Linda B. Nilson, PhD
Critical thinking scholars also agree that questions are central to students acquiring critical thinking skills. We must ask students challenging, open-ended questions that demand genuine inquiry, analysis, or assessment—questions like these:
- What is your interpretation/analysis of this passage/data/argument?
- What are your reasons for favoring that interpretation/analysis? What is your evidence?
- How well does your interpretation/analysis handle the complexities of the passage/data/argument?
- What is another interpretation/analysis of the passage/data/argument? Any others?
- What are the implications of each interpretation/analysis?
- Let’s look at all the interpretations/analyses and evaluate them. How strong is the evidence for each one?
- How honestly and impartially are you representing the other interpretations/analyses? Do you have a vested interest in one interpretation/analysis over another?
- What additional information would help us to narrow down our interpretations/analyses?
Some teaching methods naturally promote inquiry, analysis, and assessment, and all of them are student-active (Abrami et al., 2008). Class discussion may be the strongest, and it includes the debriefings of complex cases, simulations, and role plays. However, debates, structured controversy, targeted journaling, inquiry-guided labs, and POGIL-type worksheets (https://pogil.org/) are also effective.
more on critical thinking in this IMS blog
Zygmunt Bauman: “Social media are a trap.”The Polish-born sociologist is skeptical about the possibilities for political change
Since developing his theory of liquid modernity in the late 1990s – which describes our age as one in which “all agreements are temporary, fleeting, and valid only until further notice” – he has become a leading figure in the field of sociology.
Q. You are skeptical of the way people protest through social media, of so-called “armchair activism,” and say that the internet is dumbing us down with cheap entertainment. So would you say that the social networks are the new opium of the people?
A. The question of identity has changed from being something you are born with to a task: you have to create your own community. But communities aren’t created, and you either have one or you don’t. What the social networks can create is a substitute. The difference between a community and a network is that you belong to a community, but a network belongs to you. You feel in control. You can add friends if you wish, you can delete them if you wish. You are in control of the important people to whom you relate. People feel a little better as a result, because loneliness, abandonment, is the great fear in our individualist age. But it’s so easy to add or remove friends on the internet that people fail to learn the real social skills, which you need when you go to the street, when you go to your workplace, where you find lots of people who you need to enter into sensible interaction with. Pope Francis, who is a great man, gave his first interview after being elected to Eugenio Scalfari, an Italian journalist who is also a self-proclaimed atheist. It was a sign: real dialogue isn’t about talking to people who believe the same things as you. Social media don’t teach us to dialogue because it is so easy to avoid controversy… But most people use social media not to unite, not to open their horizons wider, but on the contrary, to cut themselves a comfort zone where the only sounds they hear are the echoes of their own voice, where the only things they see are the reflections of their own face. Social media are very useful, they provide pleasure, but they are a trap.
more on learning and the brain in this blog:
more on storytelling in this blog:
more on learning theories in this IMS blog:
Strategies for Teaching Culturally Diverse Learners
February 28, 2016 in Volume 6, Dr. Hope J. Hartman
the author explores the importance of understanding the multidimensional of cultural diversity and inclusion and how this understanding can be used by professors and instructors to more effectively develop varied instructional strategies which will allow them to teach with better cultural responsiveness. The author describes a variety of approaches she has used in highly diverse classrooms with undergraduate and graduate teacher education students.
Teaching with cultural responsiveness means applying strategies for culturally responsive teaching in my own courses. Teaching for cultural responsiveness means that students, pre and in-service teachers, should implement culturally responsive teaching strategies with their own preK-12 or higher education students.
Both pre and in-service teachers are aware of culturally specific behavioral norms that result in discrepancies between the culture of many black students and the culture of the classroom. To address this gap, my students learn strategies for “culturally responsive social skills instruction” specifically designed for black adolescent males
Learning about this research helps students realize that even when they think that they are being responsive to cultural differences, they might be blinded by a cultural lens of invalid assumptions, causing them to lose sight of important cultural differences that can affect thinking and learning.
Everyone should realize that cultural stereotypes affecting identity go beyond race and ethnicity. For many people, their identity as adults is defined by their careers.
Gender identity/sexual orientation
Making LGBTQ resources and discussions a formal part of the curriculum helps to create a safe and accepting environment for the LGBTQ community, including not only people who identify as such, but also their parents, relatives, friends and teachers.
Special needs learners
John King is trying to repair the Obama administration’s frayed relationship with teachers
In one of his first major speeches as acting U.S. secretary of education, John King apologized to teachers for the role that the federal government has played in creating a climate in which teachers feel “attacked and unfairly blamed.”
Race to the Top, abbreviated R2T, RTTT or RTT
More on NCLB in this blog: