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Ideas to Action ( I 2A) Introduction to I 2A A session for UofL’s Library Faculty Patricia R. Payette, Ph.D. February 27, 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Ideas to Action ( I 2A) Introduction to I 2A A session for UofL’s Library Faculty Patricia R. Payette, Ph.D. February 27, 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ideas to Action ( I 2A) Introduction to I 2A A session for UofL’s Library Faculty Patricia R. Payette, Ph.D. February 27, 2008

2 Ideas to Action: Ideas to Action ( I 2A) is our Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), and we need to show measurable progress to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) by April 2012. Using Critical Thinking to Foster Student Learning and Community Engagement

3 I 2A and “Connecting the Dots” “Our extensive consultation with all University constituencies yielded a surprisingly strong and clear call for education focused on the skills and knowledge needed to deal with real-world issues and problems, an education in which students can see the importance of the parts (the courses) to the whole (their education as citizens and workers).” [QEP Report, 2007] skills and knowledge real-world issues & problems the parts to the whole

4 From student focus groups: “Reduce the amount of memorization required for tests, I feel I don’t learn as much by doing this.” “Decrease the memorization required, can’t remember it all.” “Too much memorization and no sufficient critical analysis.” “The subject testing is not challenging due to memorization.” “Regurgitated material (can just read chapters for tests).” One student even suggested that student learning could be improved by offering a course that would aid in memorization.

5 I 2A: The Learning Paradigm The (OLD) Instruction Paradigm Mission & Purposes Provide/deliver instruction Transfer knowledge from faculty to students Offer courses and programs Improve the quality of instruction Achieve access for diverse students The focus moves from what the instructor is doing or covering to what students are learning…. The (NEW) Learning Paradigm Mission and Purposes Produce learning Elicit students discovery and construction of knowledge Create powerful learning environments Improve the quality of learning Achieve success for diverse students From Teaching to Learning: A New Paradigm for Undergraduate Education Robert B. Barr and John Tagg, November/December 1995, Change Magazine

6 I 2A: What are the components? Sharpen our existing focus on building critical thinking skills in the general education program… …..continuing through undergraduate major courses with an emphasis on applying and refining those skills… …resulting in a culminating experience, such as a thesis, service learning project, internship or capstone project that fosters engagement

7 What is Critical Thinking? “Higher-Order Thinking” “Complex Thinking”

8 What is Critical Thinking? The words ‘critical’ and ‘criteria’ come from the same root word meaning judgment Critical Thinking is reasonable, reflective thinking that is focused on deciding what to believe or do. (Robert Ennis)

9 What Critical Thinking is NOT The problem of “egocentric” thinking (p. 21): LLeads to self-serving perspectives and evaluations LLeads to a false sense of objectivity LLeads to flawed thinking LLends itself to the unconscious substitution of subjective intuitions for intellectual standards in thinking

10 Critical Thinking definition adopted for I 2A (From: Scriven and Paul, 2003) a guide to belief and action. that results in the intellectually disciplined process Critical thinking is

11 A Well-Cultivated Critical Thinker (p. 2):  Raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely  Gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively  Comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards  Thinks open mindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as needs be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences  Communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems (Richard Paul and Linda Elder, the Foundation for Critical Thinking:

12 Which leads to deeper Paul-Elder Critical Thinking Model Intellectual Standards Elements of Reasoning Intellectual Traits Must be applied to to develop Clarity AccuracyPrecision SignificanceRelevance Sufficiency Logical Breadth Fairness Depth Questions PurposesInferences Points of view Information Concepts Assumptions Implications Humility Autonomy Fair- mindedness Courage Confidence in reasoning Integrity Empathy Perseverance

13 8 Elements Thought (p.3): Purpose Goals, objectives Question at issue Problem, issue Information Data, facts, observations, experiences Conclusions, solutions Interpretation and Inference Theories, definitions, laws, principles, models Concepts Assumptions Presuppositions, axioms, taking for granted Implications and consequences Point of View Frames of reference, perspectives, orientations

14 Using the Elements Social Work Before: (A prompt question) Identify an ethical issue or high risk incident and analyze how you responded to it this month.

15 Using the Elements Social Work After: (A prompt question) Briefly describe an ethical problem or high risk incident that you responded to this past month. Provide at least two examples of evidence or pieces of information that informed your response or reaction. What were possible solutions, what were the consequences, and what did you decide to do? Based on your reflection, how could you have responded differently? Are there other points of view or perspectives that did—or might have—influenced your decision?

16 Standards for Thinking (p. 8-10) Central six Standards CLARITY Could you elaborate? Could you illustrate what you mean? Could you give me an example? ACCURACY How could we check on that? How could we find out if that is true? How could we verify or test that? PRECISION Could you be more specific? Could you give me more details? Could you be more exact? RELEVANCE How does that relate to the problem? How does that bear on the question? How does that help us with the issue? DEPTH What factors make this difficult? What are some of the complexities of this question? What are some of the difficulties we need to deal with? BREADTH Do we need to look at this from another perspective? Do we need to consider another point of view? Do we need to look at this in other ways? LOGIC Does all of this make sense together? Does your first paragraph fit in with your last one? Does what you say follow from the evidence? SIGNIFICANCE Is this the most important problem to consider? Is this the central idea to focus on? Which of these facts are most important? FAIRNESS Is my thinking justifiable in context? Am I taking into account the thinking of others? Is my purpose fair given the situation? Am I using my concepts in keeping with educated usage, or am I distorting them to get what I want? COMPLETENESS How complete are the facts related to the issue? How complete is the description? Is the description of each perspective complete?

17 Using the Standards Humanities Before: Create a sophisticated argument that includes a thesis and supporting evidence from the text.

18 Using the Elements Humanities After: (Example) Accuracy : does your thesis hold if you consider the whole range of texts? Does it hold if you consider the internal contradictions within texts? Precision : Does your thesis require qualification in order to be completely accurate? (For example, does what you say about the sonneteers hold for all the sonneteers or only for some of them?) Depth : Is your thesis complex enough to deal with the complexity of the texts? Breadth : Is your thesis complex enough to deal with the range of evidence? Logic : Look at the transitions between paragraphs: do these “signpost” the way your argument is put together? If you are comparing, have you used the same criteria on both sides of the comparison? If you are classifying, are the categories distinct and not overlapping?

19 Improve Thinking: The Intellectual Traits (p.13-15) Intellectual Humility Intellectual Courage Intellectual Empathy Intellectual Autonomy Intellectual Integrity Intellectual Perseverance Confidence in Reason Fairmindedness

20 Using the Intellectual Traits Communication Before: (Goals for Students) 1. To understand the communication goals of their particular career path. 2. How web standards aid in communicating effectively online.

21 Using the Intellectual Traits Communication After: (Goals) The first goal is that the students will develop intellectual autonomy as they work on the semester-long project. Periodically, I will check on the student’s progress but I will expect them to conduct the research and build the demonstration website on their own. This will also build intellectual perseverance as the students learn to plan the project and work consistently on it for the semester. The third goal is to build confidence in reason as students learn how their critical thinking skills can be applied in their career success.

22 Pulling it All Together Communication Capstone Assignment The written assignment will use the Paul Elder language During an internship orientation that has already occurred, I used the Paul Elder language and sensitized students to the notion of critical thinking and problem-solution documentation as criteria for evaluation of their internship Students keep a daily work diary during the internship and have been asked to be cognizant throughout and to document problem-solution situations, their use of relevant Communication theory/concepts, and their efforts to use those concepts/theories to make inferences and interpretations that will ultimately assist in problem-solving.

23 What you can do: 1.Become aware and discuss with your colleagues how and why critical thinking is important to your work. 2. Model for students —in a very explicit way—how you “think things through.” Give the gift of your time, your mentorship in issues large and small. 3. Remember that students are on a developmental path. Meet them where they are in terms of their readiness for complex decision making. Sometimes the comfort zone is for absolute “rights and wrongs.” 4. Never forget that at the heart of critical thinking is learning to ask relevant, important questions. To re-evaluate, to reconsider and reflect on the answers –and then ask the next set of questions—are the intellectual habits of mind we wish to cultivate in our students.

24 Library Faculty & I 2A…the next steps! FFamiliarity with shared goals and missions SShared vocabulary around critical thinking (Paul-Elder Model) OOpportunities for culminating experiences outside the traditional format TTask Group Library Liaison WWorkshops and training

25 Additional Resources More resources available on I2A & Critical Thinking

26 I2A Team Dr. Patty Payette, I2A Executive Director:, 852-5171 Dr. Cathy Bays, Delphi Specialist for Assessment:, 852-5138 Dr. Edna Ross, Delphi Specialist for Critical Thinking:, Hannah Anthony, I2A Program Assistant Senior:, 852-7611

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