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Critical Thinking in Every Classroom Vocabulary Across the Curriculum.

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Presentation on theme: "Critical Thinking in Every Classroom Vocabulary Across the Curriculum."— Presentation transcript:

1 Critical Thinking in Every Classroom Vocabulary Across the Curriculum

2 LFCC / Background: The QEP Enhance critical thinking skills in all courses and programs ___________________________________________________

3 LFCC / Why? In 2005, LFCC benchmark scores were lower than those of VCCS counterparts for questions on the CCSSE related to critical thinking. In addition, in 2006, LFCC students scored below VCCS peers for critical thinking on the CCTST. ___________________________________________________

4 LFCC / A Closer Look at the CCSSE Analyzing the basic elements of an idea, experience, or theory Synthesizing and organizing ideas, information, or experiences in new ways Making judgments about the value of soundness of information, arguments, or methods Applying theories or concepts to practical problems or in new situations Using information you have read or heard to perform a new skill ___________________________________________________

5 LFCC / Student Responses Students responding “Some” or “Very little” 1.Analyzing40% 2.Synthesizing/organizing47% 3.Making judgments53% 4.Applying theories53% 5.Using information to perform a new skill 47% ___________________________________________________

6 LFCC / A Conundrum Nearly 50% of our students report that they are NOT doing critical thinking activities much in their classes. Faculty, however, report that they are indeed doing these sorts of critical thinking exercises! ___________________________________________________

7 LFCC / What’s Going On? This was a sampling issue… These students weren’t paying attention to the question These students just don’t get it These students didn’t understand the questions These students didn’t match what was asked in the question with what they have experienced in the classroom because they didn’t know the vocabulary in the questions ___________________________________________________

8 LFCC / CT Talk: Vocabulary of CT Take a look at the key words derived from the CCSSE questions, the LFCC definition of CT, and the VCCS critical thinking learning outcomes. 1.How would you describe this vocabulary set? 2.Do your students regularly use this vocabulary or part of it? Explain. 3.Are there words on this list which your students probably don’t know or don’t use? Which ones? ___________________________________________________

9 LFCC / A Proposal ___________________________________________________ Vocabulary Across the Curriculum What would happen if… a. Teachers in all disciplines used CT vocabulary in their course outcomes and syllabi? b. Teachers in all disciplines regularly connected content, discussion, and activities to CT vocabulary? c. Teachers created a context for students to use CT vocabulary as part of their courses? d. Students were given feedback explicitly related to their use of academic vocabulary?

10 LFCC / Possible Answers? CCSSE scores might improve? Overall language ability might improve? –Why? (The Academic Word List: s.shtml) s.shtml Critical thinking itself might improve?

11 LFCC / Sample Activity Analytical Summaries –Require SAYING statement (i.e., say + that + a complete sentence which captures the thesis or main ideas of a text) –Require DOING statements (CT words such as evaluate, justify, analyze, compare, apply, etc.)

12 LFCC / Example In the essay “Why I Stopped Being a Vegetarian,” by Laura Fraser, she discusses how she was a vegetarian and animal rights activists for fifteen years, until the one day that she decided to try a roasted chicken with a friend. Fraser discussed how she looked at being a vegetarian meant that she was going to be skinner and have better cholesterol, but it didn’t work out that way for her. Another flaw that she ran into was the animal rights part and the fact that she didn’t exactly agree with a good portion of it, she would talk her way around eating something that was an animal by product or even eating fish. After trying to follow this for fifteen years, she decided to try some chicken with a friend making her realize all that she had been missing out on with eating meat and also how rude she was to people when they tried to serve her meat at a party or gathering; Fraser saw what a huge incontinence she was to so many people particularly her friends ___________________________________________________

13 LFCC / Successful summary In her essay, “Why I Stopped Being a Vegetarian,” Laura Fraser explains why she abandoned vegetarianism after 15 years. Fraser says that her initial reasons for adopting a meat-free diet were cost and the need for a recognizable social identity, and she implies that neither reason was sufficient for maintaining the diet. Fraser next summarizes three key arguments for vegetarianism (health, animal rights, and the environment), and she evaluates each one in light of her own experience to determine that none is valid for her. Finally, Fraser argues that humans are designed for meat, that meat tastes good, and that a vegetarian lifestyle may lead to anti-social behavior. ___________________________________________________

14 LFCC / Extending the Vocabulary ___________________________________________________ In peer review, students summarize essays written by their peers. In follow-up exercises, students summarize their own essays. Students list what must be done to answer a test question successfully. Students explain why some papers were successful and others weren’t, using CT vocabulary.

15 LFCC / Other Suggestions? ___________________________________________________ How do you use learning outcome statements in your classes, beyond including them in the syllabus? What are ways you model CT vocabulary for your students? What are ways you provide a context for students to use CT vocabulary?

16 LFCC / Key Thoughts “So critical thinking is valuable, rare, and hard to teach” (Van Gelder, 2001). “How can I know what I think till I see what I say?” (E. M Forster). “But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought” (Orwell). ___________________________________________________

17 LFCC / Acquiring CT Vocabulary ___________________________________________________

18 LFCC / So what? “When we think, whatever else we’re doing, we’re constructing a future.” (IBM Website) Miriam Moore Associate Professor of English/ESL Middletown 126G ___________________________________________________

19 LFCC / Lord Fairfax Community College Your Future. Our Focus.


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