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Welcome to MAS 801! Critical Thinking and Writing in Social Sciences Course Instructors: Mark Baildon: Office: 3-03-149B; Phone: 6790- 3581 ;

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Presentation on theme: "Welcome to MAS 801! Critical Thinking and Writing in Social Sciences Course Instructors: Mark Baildon: Office: 3-03-149B; Phone: 6790- 3581 ;"— Presentation transcript:

1 Welcome to MAS 801! Critical Thinking and Writing in Social Sciences Course Instructors: Mark Baildon: Office: B; Phone: ; ; Wang Zhenping: ; Elisabeth N. Bui: 3-03—140;

2 Agenda for today’s class: Introductory activity: Who are we? Where do we come from? What are our views of critical thinking/writing? Introductory activity: Who are we? Where do we come from? What are our views of critical thinking/writing? Go over MAS 801 syllabus and assignments Go over MAS 801 syllabus and assignments Slide show and discussion Slide show and discussion Critical thinking activities Critical thinking activities Debrief and assignment for next class Debrief and assignment for next class

3 Introductions Name, school, teaching assignment Name, school, teaching assignment Respond to one of the following: Respond to one of the following: –What does thinking or writing critically mean to you? What does it look like in your classroom? –Describe your journey as a critical thinker or writer. How does critical thinking/writing fit into your story (your teaching, experience, etc.? What factors/experiences have shaped the ways you think/write critically? –In what ways have you or do you think/write critically?

4 MAS 801 Syllabus Course goals objectives: Course goals objectives: –Develop understandings of and practice critical thinking and writing in social sciences (history and geography) –Consider practical classroom applications (What would be most useful/helpful for you?) Assessment: Assessment: –Three essays –Assignments and discussion –Participation Resources: Recommended readings Resources: Recommended readings

5 Critical thinking and writing: A (practical) theoretical perspective (Theory matters – it shapes how and what we see, think, and do) Three essential questions (that will frame our study): Three essential questions (that will frame our study): –How do we and our students learn to think and write critically? –What is critical thinking and writing in social sciences (history and geography)? –What are its purposes? What vision do I have for my students as critical thinkers/writers?

6 How do we and our students learn to think and write critically?

7 Critical thinking and writing as PRACTICES A few key concepts to consider: A few key concepts to consider: –Socio-cultural practices –Communities of practice –Discourses –Modes of inquiry

8 Socio-cultural practices Higher order functions (i.e., critical thinking) develop out of social interactions and participation in cultural activities (Vygotsky, 1986). Higher order functions (i.e., critical thinking) develop out of social interactions and participation in cultural activities (Vygotsky, 1986). We learn by doing. Learning always involves participating in social or cultural practices. Learning is the process of engaging in the practices, norms, values, and understandings of the social and cultural communities to which we belong. We learn by doing. Learning always involves participating in social or cultural practices. Learning is the process of engaging in the practices, norms, values, and understandings of the social and cultural communities to which we belong.

9 What practices do you see? What are people learning by doing these things?

10 Communities of practice People learn with/from others. 3 dimensions of COP: 1.) People are involved in a joint enterprise, 2.) involving mutual engagement and negotiation, 3.) using/drawing on a shared repertoire of practices and resources (Lave & Wenger, 1998). People learn with/from others. 3 dimensions of COP: 1.) People are involved in a joint enterprise, 2.) involving mutual engagement and negotiation, 3.) using/drawing on a shared repertoire of practices and resources (Lave & Wenger, 1998). Examples? …becoming a member of a religious congregation, athletes training together, spectators at any public event, faculty and students in a university setting, new friends, the bricoleur who helps a person repair his porch, working as a historian or geographer… Examples? …becoming a member of a religious congregation, athletes training together, spectators at any public event, faculty and students in a university setting, new friends, the bricoleur who helps a person repair his porch, working as a historian or geographer…

11 Is this a community of practice?

12 Socio-cultural practices in a community of practice require that people learn the discourse(s) of the community… Discourses: “characteristic (socially and culturally formed, but historically changing) ways of talking and writing about, as well as acting with and toward, people and things. These ways are circulated and sustained within various texts, artifacts, images, social practices, and institutions, as well as in moment-to- moment social interactions. In turn, they cause certain perspectives and states of affairs to come to seem or be taken as ‘normal’ or ‘natural’ and others to seem or be taken as ‘deviant’ or ‘marginal’” (Gee, 2000). Discourses: “characteristic (socially and culturally formed, but historically changing) ways of talking and writing about, as well as acting with and toward, people and things. These ways are circulated and sustained within various texts, artifacts, images, social practices, and institutions, as well as in moment-to- moment social interactions. In turn, they cause certain perspectives and states of affairs to come to seem or be taken as ‘normal’ or ‘natural’ and others to seem or be taken as ‘deviant’ or ‘marginal’” (Gee, 2000).

13 What discourses are represented in this photo?

14 Students can learn the discourses of critical thinking and writing, history, geography, social science, etc. in social studies classrooms. Identifying and evaluating claims and evidence in texts. Identifying and evaluating claims and evidence in texts. Analyzing primary sources. Analyzing primary sources. Interpreting artifacts, artwork, maps, etc. Interpreting artifacts, artwork, maps, etc. Asking good questions. Asking good questions. Engaging in disciplined inquiry. Engaging in disciplined inquiry. Understanding what it means to “do” history, geography, social science. Understanding what it means to “do” history, geography, social science.

15 Inquiry Knowledge is constructed/developed in the context of significant problems requiring “the negotiation of meaning (largely through talk) by members of a community engaged in doing something” (Adger, Hoyle, Dickinson, 2004). Knowledge is constructed/developed in the context of significant problems requiring “the negotiation of meaning (largely through talk) by members of a community engaged in doing something” (Adger, Hoyle, Dickinson, 2004). Levstik & Barton (2001) define inquiry as the purposeful act of seeking information or knowledge, activating prior knowledge, investigating significant questions, and constructing knowledge “within a community that establishes the goals, standards, and procedures of study” (p. 13). Levstik & Barton (2001) define inquiry as the purposeful act of seeking information or knowledge, activating prior knowledge, investigating significant questions, and constructing knowledge “within a community that establishes the goals, standards, and procedures of study” (p. 13).

16 “The perspective of viewing criticality as a practice helps us see that criticality is a way of being as well as a way of thinking, a relation to others as well as an intellectual capacity… Because criticality is a function of collective questioning, criticism, and creativity, it is always social in character…” (Burbules & Berk, 1999, pp ). “The perspective of viewing criticality as a practice helps us see that criticality is a way of being as well as a way of thinking, a relation to others as well as an intellectual capacity… Because criticality is a function of collective questioning, criticism, and creativity, it is always social in character…” (Burbules & Berk, 1999, pp ).

17 So, what are the implications of these concepts for classroom practice? What are the implications for your teaching? What are the implications for your teaching? What are the implications for student learning? What are the implications for student learning?

18 What is critical thinking and writing in social sciences? 3 Strands: 3 Strands: –Generic: abilities or dispositions to: analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information; discern certain kinds of distortions, inaccuracies, falsehoods; detect faulty arguments & overgeneralizations; identify and evaluate assertions/claims and evidence. –Disciplined: abilities/dispositions to: understand and use disciplinary methods, generate good investigative questions; conduct research; reach conclusions about which accounts are better interpretations based on evidence and disciplinary criteria; share findings. –Critical theory: abilities/dispositions to: use lens of power to analyze social conditions; investigate injustice; explore knowledge and knowing as always positioned and positioning; show how various accounts are implicated in and serve larger political and social purposes; know about the discipline and how it works.

19 Critical Web Reader Activity


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