Presentation on theme: "Critical thinking skills Sara Steinke"— Presentation transcript:
1 Critical thinking skills Sara Steinke GET AHEAD UNDERGRADUATE SUMMER PROGRAMME 2012Critical thinking skills Sara Steinke
2 Aims of the sessionTo recognise the value of your everyday critical reasoning skills for academic studiesTo identify what is meant by analytical thinking at universityTo reflect on how you can translate your everyday critical reasoning skills into analytical thinking for your academic studies
3 Why consider everyday critical reasoning skills? Adult learners process a diverse range of knowledge, experiences and skills that involve critical reasoning, involving family and work; these qualities are of great value for university studiesEveryday decisions are rarely straightforward. Similarly, analytical thinking at university is ‘messy’, topics are not seen as ‘black or white’.
4 Think about the following Job opportunities /promotionDesire to return to learningFinancial concernsTime constraintsCourse subjectOther reasonsWhat factors wereinvolved in yourdecision to study aparticular course atBirkbeck?
5 What is critical thinking? Persistence – consider an issue carefully, and more than onceEvidence – evaluate the evidence put forward in support of the belief or viewpointImplications – what conclusions would follow; are these suitable and rational; if not, should the belief or viewpoint be reconsidered?Cottrell, S. The Study Skills Handbook page 275
6 The importance of analytical thinking at university Core of academic studyTakes place across a variety of study skills– reading, note-taking, writing essays /reports, exams, revision, presentationsInvolves thinking analytically about yours and other peoples work/ideasActively engage with these activities. You will be constantly updated your study skills.
7 What is analytical thinking? Stand back from the information givenExamine it in detail from many anglesCheck whether it is accurateCheck each statement follows logicallyLook for possible flaws in the reasoning/evidence/conclusionCompare the same issue from point of view of theorists /writersExplain why different people arrive at different conclusionsArgue why one opinion/result/conclusion is preferable to anotherBe on guard for devices that encourage the reader to take questionable statements at face valueCheck for hidden assumptionsCheck for attempts to lure the reader into agreementCottrell, S. The Study Skills Handbook page 275
8 Think about the following What is the main argument of the article?What are the reasons given to justify the argument?What evidence has been used?What do you know about the author?What audience is the author addressing?What sources has the author used?You have been asked to read an article in preparation for a lecture. What questions might you ask in order to undertake a critical reading of the article?
9 Definition of a ‘critical thinker’ Intellectually independentDistinguishes between theory, facts and opinionsRecognises and resists manipulationReads ‘between the lines’Distinguishes between emotive and neutral vocabularySees connections between subjects
10 What is wrong with this piece of analytical writing? Mount Pepe is going up – it’s going to take everything with it when it goes. And I mean everything – villages, farms, trees, the lot. It’s frightening to think of how powerful a volcano can be. Think of the damage they cause! Remember Pompeii and Mount Etna! Cottrell, S. The Study Skills Handbook page 209
11 What is right with this piece of analytical writing? In order to assess whether it is necessary to evacuate the villages on Mount Pepe, three main factors need to be taken into consideration. The first, and most important, of these is the element of safety. According to seismic experts currently working on the volcano, there is likely to be a major eruption within the next ten years (Achebe 2007) According to Achebe, the eruption is likely to destroy villages over a radius of 120 miles (Achebe 2008, p.7). Cottrell, S. The Study Skills Handbook page 209
12 Create a critical thinking action plan 1. Write down the three most importantcritical thinking skills that you have learnt /thought about in this session?Why are they important to you?Identify which of your current knowledge,skills, qualities and experiences can beturned into analytical skills.How are you going to make this happen?
13 Recap of the sessionWe have thought about your everyday critical reasoning skillsWe have started to consider how to turn your everyday critical reasoning skills into analytical thinking skills for your academic studiesWe have introduced what is meant analytical thinking at university
14 5 minute interactive tutorial supporting this Student ahead-stay-ahead/skills/critical-thinking5 minute interactive tutorialsupporting this StudentOrientation programmestudyskills/course_timetablestudy skills workshops which dealwith critical thinking skills – andother study skills – in greaterdetailstudyskills/thinking/index.asphelpful information on criticalthinking skills on the Skills4StudywebsiteCottrell, S. (2008) The Study Skills Handbook, 3rd Edition (London, Palgrave) chapter 12 ‘Critical analytical thinking’ ppCottrell, S. (2005) Critical Thinking Skills (London, Palgrave)mp3s.asp#Critical12 minute audio file based on Cottrell’s Critical Thinking Skills bookservices/facilities/support/critical-thinkingonline resources on criticalthinking skills available on theBirkbeck Library website