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NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF A DEFINITION APPRENTICING CT READING THROUGH READING CIRCLES CRITICAL THINKING.

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Presentation on theme: "NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF A DEFINITION APPRENTICING CT READING THROUGH READING CIRCLES CRITICAL THINKING."— Presentation transcript:

1 NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF A DEFINITION APPRENTICING CT READING THROUGH READING CIRCLES CRITICAL THINKING

2 DEFINITIONS AND GEN ED LEARNING General Education courses are at their hearts vocabulary courses, that is introductions to the basic vocabulary – concepts-- of each discipline.

3 DEFINITIONS What students begin to see is that Definitions include terms and propositions about that term. That meaning of a term can differ from one discipline to another. That what we say about that term is itself packed with information and implications.

4 FOR EXAMPLE Science is a process of discovery that increases our body of knowledge. (p. 7, The Good Earth, An Introduction to Earth Science)

5 Science is a Process – suggests there are steps or stages to knowing suggests that scientists must learn these steps suggests that the steps must be followed steps to knowing suggests that the author is going to identify and explain those steps of discovery – suggests we will learn something that we didn’t know before changes what we previously thought that increases our body of knowledge. –suggests that science is accumulates over time – Suggests that some discoveries will be more inclusive or better predictors than previous discoveries; that they will provide better explanations for phenomena we see.

6 THE 3 FUNCTIONS OF DEFINITIONS 1.They are abstractions – they allow us to generalize about the world. to separate the essential from the accidental. For example, We see houses of various shapes, sizes, designs, colors, materials But from the many we can see that they are all share one concept: the concept of house.

7 2.They let us define clear, unambiguous terms – in academic disciplines, all scholars in that discipline know EXACTLY what a term means when they see it. Ambiguous terms could be taken in two or more different senses, e.g., pro-life, pro-choice, anti-choice, anti’-life, legitimate rape. Ambiguous terms prevent scholars from clearly communicating and increasing knowledge. Technical terms (sometimes called terms of art) may use the same word(s) but have different meanings depending on the discipline: “cell” means something quite different to a biologist than it does to a monk. Controversial terms, (e.g., pro-life, pro-choice, anti-choice, legitimate rape) have lots of connotations and little denotation. These controversial terms are generally NOT part of the academic vocabulary simple because not everyone defines them in the same, clear, unambigous way.

8 3.They also allow us to recognize when there are contradictions and how those contradictions cause trouble, e.g., why are corporations considered “persons” and treated as “persons” under the law? Synonyms for corporation include company, concern, establishment. Synonyms for person include being, soul, somebody, creature How many of you have seen the “corporations are not people” bumper stickers? What is a person? How can a corporation be a person?

9 FOR EXAMPLE A frequently mentioned nostrum (medicine or health aid) for the debt crisis: “The government should be run like a business.” What is the essence/purpose of business? To make a profit from buying and selling things What is the essence/purpose of government? To create and maintain laws to protect the rights and safety of the people Does the nostrum make sense? Hmmm?

10 How could the 1857 Supreme Court so erroneously decide that Dred Scott, a human being, was not protected the constitution of the U.S.? Links to a clip from the Star Trek episode The Measure of a Man, which examines the question of “what is a sentient being” in order to determine who and who is not protected by the laws of Star Fleet?

11 How did the Supreme Court decide that a professional golfer had to be allowed to ride in a golf cart in the Master’s Tournament? Michael Sandel, Harvard Professor, at Ted Talks, uses the case to show how the essential nature of something, in this case the game of golf, is critical to making decisions.

12 WAYS TO HELP STUDENTS ATTEND TO DEFINITIONS Use the CT Wheel Use SEE-I Writing

13 PARTIAL CT WHEEL: WHAT IS SCIENCE? Science is a process of discovery that increases our body of knowledge The purpose of science is to figure out how the physical world operates by observation and experimentation What can be figured out about the physical world? How can we figure it out? Facts can be systematically gathered about the physical world Judgments based on observation and experimentation that lead to systematized knowledge of nature and the physical world

14 SEE-I FOR DEFINITIONS: RESTATE, ELABORATE, EXEMPLIFY, AND ILLUSTRATE Responding to a definition: Directions: Read the following definition. Then follow the SEE-I. Science is a process of discovery that increases our body of knowledge. I State in your own words (i.e. interpret) what you think the writer is saying, especially as the idea relates to the definition of science: II Elaborate on the author’s idea by answering the following questions: What are the underlying assumptions in this definition? Are the assumptions valid or invalid? Why or why not? IIII Exemplify : What are some implications of this definition? IV: Illustrate: What can I compare this idea(s) in this definition to ?

15 SEE-I EXAMPLES OF WAYS TO USE SEE-I TO PROBE AND TO DEVELOP UNDERSTANDING

16 SEE-I FOR VISUAL ART: RESTATE, ELABORATE, EXEMPLIFY, AND ILLUSTRATE Responding to a definition: Directions: Look at the following painting. Then follow the SEE-I. I State in your own words (i.e. interpret) what you think the purpose of this painting is: The artist’s purpose is to show/to communicate II Elaborate on the artist’s idea by answering the following questions: What does the painter assume the viewer will see and understand when s/he is looking at the painting? Are these assumptions valid or invalid for viewers today? Why or why not? How does the viewer’s being able to recognize and/or understand the elements of the painting contribute to comprehending the artist’s idea? IIII Exemplify : What can the viewer infer about the images and their meanings in this painting? IV: Illustrate: What other paintings can I compare this painting to? How are they similar? Different?

17 The Arnolfini Wedding By Jan van Eycke

18 SEE-I FOR PHILOSOPHY: STATE, ELABORATE, EXEMPLIFY, AND ILLUSTRATE QUOTATIONS Responding to Aristotle’s “on the Soul” excerpt and Lucretius’s “On the Nature of Things“ excerpt Directions: Choose one of the following quotes. Then follow the SEE-I “Now matter is potentiality; form actuality; of the latter there are two grades related to one another as e.g. knowledge to the exercise of knowledge” Aristotle “From all this it follows that soul is an actuality or formulable essence of something that possesses a potentiality of being besouled” Aristotle “Thus, the entire soul must consist of seeds.. disappears in air, or the flavour leaves/from any matter.” Lucretius “Therefore, to state the issue once again,...because when it departs it takes no weight/away with it.” Lucretius I State in your own words (i.e. interpret) what you think the writer is saying, especially as the idea relates to the soul: II Elaborate on the author’s idea by answering the following questions: What are the underlying assumptions in this quote, especially those that relate to soul? Are the assumptions valid or invalid? Why or why not? IIII Exemplify : What are some implications of this of the idea(s) in this quote, especially as they relate to soul? IV: Illustrate: What can I compare this idea(s) in this passage to, especially as the idea(s) relate to soul?

19 SEE-I FOR POEMS: STATE, ELABORATE, EXEMPLIFY, AND ILLUSTRATE QUOTATIONS Responding to Emily Dickinson’s “The Brain” I State in your own words (i.e. interpret) what point(s) you think the poet is making in this poem. II Elaborate on the author’s idea by answering the following questions: What are the underlying assumptions in this quote? Are the assumptions valid or invalid? Why or why not? IIII Exemplify : What are some implications of this of the idea(s) in this poem, especially as the ideas relate to the relationship between man and God and nature? IV: Illustrate: What can I compare this idea(s) in this poem to?

20 THE BRAIN is wider than the sky, For, put them side by side, The one the other will include With ease, and you beside. The brain is deeper than the sea, For, hold them, blue to blue, The one the other will absorb, As sponges, buckets do. The brain is just the weight of God, For, lift them, pound for pound, And they will differ, if they do, As syllable from sound.

21 SEE-I FOR CHARTS: STATE, ELABORATE, EXEMPLIFY, AND ILLUSTRATE QUOTATIONS Responding to the chart “History of Life on Earth” I State in your own words (i.e. interpret) what point the chart is making, especially as it relates to life on earth? II Elaborate on the information in the chart: What are the underlying assumptions? Are the assumptions valid or invalid? Why or why not? IIII Exemplify : What are some implications of the information in this chart? IV: Illustrate: What can I compare this graphic to?

22 HISTORY OF LIFE ON EARTH

23 SEE-I FOR STUDENT SUCCESS TOPICS

24 WHAT IS A READING CIRCLE? A reading circle (also called a literature circle) is a group of students who are reading the same text. When they meet, they discuss the parts of the book they have read and plan for the next session. “The [reading] circle is a student-centered cooperative learning reading activity for a group of four or more students.

25 WHAT IS A READING CIRCLE? Each member of a circle is assigned a specific aspect of critical reading. Reading circles “provide a way for students to engage in critical thinking and reflection as they read, discuss, and respond to [texts]. Students reshape and add onto their understanding as they construct meaning with other readers in their group.”

26 HOW CT READING CIRCLE TASKS DIFFER FROM TRADITIONAL READING CIRCLES TraditionalCT Reading Circles SummarizeSummarize : SEE-I Identify Unknown Vocabulary Identify Important Terms/Concepts Identify Interesting Points -- usually used as discussion points Identify Points Needing Clarification Illustrate – find/create picturesParaphrase Organize DiscussionIdentify Assumptions Connect text to outside ideasIdentify Implications Evaluate the Reasoning

27 READING CIRCLES BENEFIT Students by breaking down a very complex task (reading critically) into manageable parts, giving students the chance to discuss the reading tasks for peer feedback, allowing students to negotiate meaning developing confidence in their own interpretations giving opportunities for apprenticing critical thinking in the context of academic discussion.

28 READING CIRCLES BENEFIT Teachers by allowing teachers to spend class time with smaller groups of students, making students more responsible for their own work, reducing students’ complaints, reducing time spent grading.

29 WHY APPRENTICING? It takes years for a student to be able to read critically and write substantively. Research shows that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master something (Outliers, Gladwell, M.) Every chance to hone these essential intellectual skills is contributing to those 10,000 hours.

30 APPRENTICING FOR L2 STUDENTS The language requirements of CT are very challenging – especially for non-native speakers of English. Paraphrasing  particularly difficult Terminology  L2 students often lacking vocabulary depth

31 DO THE CT READING CIRCLES WORK FOR TECHNOLOGY AND SCIENCE READING? Yes, especially for professional critiques/reviews, for example


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