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Rick Rudd Professor and Department Head Agricultural and Extension Education Virginia Tech Strategies for building critical thinking skills in the classroom.

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Presentation on theme: "Rick Rudd Professor and Department Head Agricultural and Extension Education Virginia Tech Strategies for building critical thinking skills in the classroom."— Presentation transcript:

1 Rick Rudd Professor and Department Head Agricultural and Extension Education Virginia Tech Strategies for building critical thinking skills in the classroom

2 Teaching for critical thinking Know your content. Know what constitutes critical thinking. Rethink your content as a MODE of thinking. Thinking biologically. Thinking economically. Thinking like an animal geneticist. Design teaching as experiences based in questioning, problem solving, and thinking. Learn content. Build critical thinking skills. Enhance critical thinking disposit

3 THE most important thing… YOU must decide what is most important in YOUR course. Teaching for critical thinking will take more time to prepare. Less time is available to spoon-feed facts to the students. You must hold students accountable for their learning. Reading outside of class. Homework. Honing thinking skills. You must overtly teach the critical thinking skills.

4 Your Syllabus Course description Course philosophy Course objectives Assignments Evaluation

5 Why Critical Thinking It is human irrationality, not a lack of knowledge that threatens human potential (Nickerson cited in Kurfiss, 1986).

6 Why Critical Thinking? Everyone agrees that students learn in college, but whether they learn to think is more controversial. McKeachie cited in Joscelyn, 1988

7 Mental Structures of College Students Students have learned to be successful. Success = Grades. The prevailing model is remember and repeat. TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT ME TO KNOW!

8 Perrys theory of intellectual and ethical development (1968) Dualism The world is dichotomous… right and wrong, good and bad Learning is an exchange of knowledge Quantitative – facts Authoritative – experts The professor knows the right answer and is obligated to share it with the students… The right answer exists for everything! Disequilibrium is introduced when experts disagree.

9 Perrys theory of intellectual and ethical development (1968) Multiplicity Honoring diverse views when the right answer is unknown. All opinions are equally valid. Peers are a source of knowledge. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

10 Perrys theory of intellectual and ethical development (1968) Relativism Opinions vary in value. Some opinions have little value. Opinions need to be supported with evidence. Reasonable people can disagree. Knowledge is viewed qualitatively and contextually.

11 What is learning?

12 Learning is… an enduring change in behavior. Schunk, 2006

13 Learning is… the process by which an organism changes its behavior as a result of experience. Gage & Berliner, 1988 the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience. Kolb, 1984

14 Learning is… an enduring change in behavior, or the capacity to behave in a given fashion, which results from practice or other forms of experience. Schuell, 1986

15 Breaking down the definition. Learning yields a change in behavior or the capacity to behave differently. This change in behavior (or capacity to behave) endures over time. Learning occurs through practice and or experience.

16 What is critical thinking?

17 The use of cognitive skills or strategies that increase the probability of a desired outcome. Halpern, 1996

18 What is critical thinking? The formation of logical inferences. Stahl and Stahl (1991) Deciding what action to take or what to believe through reasonable reflective thinking. Ennis (1991)

19 What is critical thinking? Reasoned, purposive, and reflective thinking used to make decisions, solve problems, and master concepts. Rudd, 2002

20 Information / Facts / Data Data Interpretation Concepts / Theories Points of View Assumptions Conclusions / Implications / Consequences Paul, 1995

21 Good Reasoning... Identify a central problem or question associated with a course you teach that students must reason their way through. A question or problem that brings to bear the insights of the course or an area that requires synthesis. Discuss the question / problem with the person next to you. Answer the question as a student in the course. Write an answer to your question / problem (1-2 paragraphs). that shows GOOD reasoning. Write another answer that shows POOR reasoning.

22 Factors influencing critical thinking outcomes

23 Three kinds of questions Questions with one right answer Questions with no right answer Questions with better and worse answers

24 Critical thinking outcomes Rudd & Irani, 2004 Stimulus Problem Decision Others… Critical Thinking Disposition Knowledge Critical Thinking Skill + + High Quality Critical Thinking Outcome Low Quality Critical Thinking Outcome No Critical Thinking Outcome High Low Individual factors External factors

25 The power of knowledge Knowledge in a discipline is necessary to think critically about the discipline. Although critical thinking skills are transferable they are strengthened when applied within a context along with acquiring new knowledge. Critical thinking dispositions are developed over time and change slowly. They can be influenced within a context while acquiring new knowledge. There is no substitute for knowledge in critical thinking.

26 Critical thinking dispositions

27 Critical thinking dispositions Rudd, Irani, & Ricketts, 2002; Facione, 1990 Engagement Seek and anticipate opportunities to use reasoning. Confident in reasoning ability. Innovativeness Intellectually curious. Want to know the truth. Cognitive maturity Open to other points of view. Aware of biases and predispositions.

28 Evaluating Critical Thinking Disposition Florida EMI Developed by a team of researchers at UF. Revised and modified by the Critical Thinking Consortium. (University of Florida, Virginia Tech, University of Georgia, Ohio State, Louisiana State University, Cornell, Texas A&M). Free (CT Consortium asks that you share raw data to continue improving the instrument).

29 Enhancing Disposition Give students opportunity to ask and answer questions. Present real problems and allow time to solve. Expose students to varying opinions and resources. Demonstrate the quest for truth – even when it is not what you want to hear… Encourage multiple solutions, not one right answer.

30 Enhancing Disposition Consider personal and industry biases when learning. Frame problems and learning so that reasoning is cued. Recognize student displays of positive disposition and reasoning. Model good critical thinking disposition!

31 Scoring the EMI All questions scored in the affirmative (high score = more disposed to the disposition) Maturity = 40 max Engagement = 55 max Innovativeness = 30 max High disposition 80% or above Low disposition 50% or below

32 Critical thinking skills

33 Critical thinking skills Facione, 1990 Interpretation Analysis Evaluation Inference Explanation Self-regulation

34 Example course Biotechcriticalthinking.ifas.ifl.edu

35 Critical Thinking skills and sub-skills Interpretation Categorization Clarifying meaning Decoding significance

36 Interpretation What is this? Where does this information Fit? How does this relate to what I already know? Why is this important?

37 Interpretation examples Leaf key for plant ID Nutrient deficiency symptom chart Animal disease chart Periodic table Food pyramid Nutrition labels What do you use? Use interpretation as a basic building block in your course!!

38 Critical Thinking skills and sub-skills Analysis – Examining ideas Analyzing arguments Analyzing assumptions

39 Analysis questions What is the point? What is the issue, position, recommended action…? What are the assumptions? What evidence or information supports the main point? Is the argument logical?

40 Read, Analyze, Report Give the students a reading that takes a position on an issue. Ask the following questions to help students analyze. What does the author believe and/or value? What does the author want us to do or believe? What evidence does the author use to make his point? Is the evidence credible? Students can provide a written, oral, poster, or other format to report results.

41 Analysis examples Case studies Economic simulations Decision models Your examples Integrate into your course

42 Critical Thinking skills and sub-skills Evaluation – Assessing claims Assessing arguments Assigning value

43 Assigning value using Universal Intellectual Standards Paul, 1995 Clear: If unclear we cannot evaluate. Accurate: Would reasonable people agree? Is it true? Precise: Is there enough detail to completely understand. Relevant: Is the information connected to the question at hand? Depth: Do the information, facts, and data address the complexity of the issue? Breadth: Are there other points of view or other ways to consider this question? Logic: Does it make sense? Can you make that conclusion based on the information and evidence?

44 Apply the intellectual standards… Everyone knows that farmers pollute the water with nitrates in their fertilizer! Farmers use tons of fertilizer every year to grow their crops. Much of this fertilizer runs off of the surface or leaches through to ground water eventually polluting our river. The nitrates in the water are not safe to drink and cause serious health problems. Farmers also exploit animals on their factory farms just to make a profit. Since the farmers put the nitrates in the river they should pay to remove them. We should tax farmers to pay for nitrate clean-up!

45 Evaluation examples Evaluating recommendations Evaluating cases Evaluating management practice Evaluating lab practice Your examples? Integrate into your course

46 Critical thinking skills and sub-skills Inference – Finding alternatives Drawing conclusions Making recommendations

47 Inference Recognizing that problems have a range of solutions and that decisions fall along a range from better to worse. Formulate multiple alternatives that flow from the evidence. Project a range of potential consequences for alternatives. Questions… What are the potential problems? What solution do you recommend? What will be the consequences? What is the best / worst case scenario?

48 Inference examples Recommending plans of practice Diagnosis and recommended treatment Planning in many forms… Your examples? Integrating in your course

49 Critical Thinking skills and sub-skills Explanation – Stating results Justifying procedures Presenting arguments

50 Techniques for explanation Debates Oral presentations Defend the opposition Classroom discussions Teaching in the round Your techniques?

51 Critical Thinking skills and sub-skills Self-regulation – Self examination Self correction

52 Questions for self regulation What is my belief? Why do I believe this to be true? What evidence of information do I have? Can I justify my belief with evidence and information? If yes, continue to hold this belief. If no, question my belief and search for more information. I may need to change what I believe…

53 Point of view Origin or Source – How did I arrive at this point of view? Implications and Consequences – What follows from my point of View? Conflicting views – How does my thinking differ from other points of view? Support. Reasons, Evidence, and Assumptions – What reasons or evidence support my point of view?

54 Self regulation examples Class self regulation assessment handout Your examples?

55 Designing teaching to enhance critical thinking

56 Teaching for critical thinking Know your content Know what constitutes critical thinking Rethink your content as a MODE of thinking Thinking biologically Thinking economically Thinking like an animal geneticist Design teaching as experiences based in questioning, problem solving, experience, and thinking Learn content Build critical thinking skills Enhance critical thinking disposition

57 THE most important thing… YOU must decide what is most important in your course. Teaching for critical thinking will take more time to prepare. Less time is available to spoon-feed facts to the students. You must hold students accountable for their learning. Reading outside of class. Homework Honing thinking skills You must overtly teach the critical thinking skills and dispositions.

58 Creating a thinking environment Model the thinking you expect Hold them responsible for the thinking they do Engage students in the thinking you want

59 Fundamental and Powerful Concepts Select a course that you teach. Identify three - four fundamental and powerful concepts that are the underpinnings of the course. Do these match what is emphasized in your course syllabus? How can I teach my course to foster a deep understanding of these concepts?

60 Living content Content that is driven by questions or problems Content that is taught with a purpose Content that builds on prior learning Content that is based on sound criteria Content that engages students in thought Content that raises questions – leading to new content

61 Your course make-over Goal is to create opportunities to teach for critical thinking in your course. Please select at least TWO of the following to accomplish in the next 45 minutes. Revise your course description to communicate how critical thinking will be integrated in your course. Rewrite course objectives to reflect teaching for critical thinking. Create / modify assignments to teach for critical thinking. Develop critical thinking evaluation tools for your course. Develop / modify a specific lesson to teach for critical thinking.

62 Course philosophy Welcome to ______! I am pleased to have you as a student this semester and look forward to helping you develop as a __________ through the learning new knowledge and skills you will be exposed to in this course. I want to take this opportunity to share my teaching philosophy with you in hopes that you will be more successful in my course by knowing what is important to me. Class begins at the end of the assignment for the day. I will not play mother robin or waste your time repeating what you read and learn in your outside study time. We will learn critical thinking skills in the context of ______. My goal is to help you think like a _____. CT skills, assignments, participation, questions, class protocol…

63 Course Objectives Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Timely By week 13 of the semester, students will be able make recommendations to address nutrient deficiencies in lactating sows using the critical thinking skills of interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and inference. By week 15 of the semester, students will be able explain their thinking process used to arrive at recommendations to address nutrient deficiencies in lactating sows

64 Course make-over ideas Revise your course description to communicate how critical thinking will be integrated in your course. Rewrite course objectives to reflect teaching for critical thinking. Create / modify assignments to teach for critical thinking. Develop critical thinking evaluation tools for your course. Develop / modify a specific lesson to teach for critical thinking.

65 Resources Criticalthinking.ifas.ufl.edu Biotechcriticalthinking.ifas.ifl.edu

66 ©2007 The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska. All rights reserved. Thank You!


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