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Critical Thinking Course Introduction and Lesson 1

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1 Critical Thinking Course Introduction and Lesson 1
Course Objectives After successfully completing this course, you will be able to Identify the characteristics of critical thinking Apply critical thinking skills to the analysis of daily life, work, and academic issues Evaluate arguments in terms of truth, validity, and soundness Objectively analyze complex issues through multiple perspectives Synthesize data (e.g., testimony, arguments, written or visual presentations) into well-informed conclusions supported by sound reasons Apply rhetorical principles to present conclusions in written form

2 Why Is Critical Thinking Important?
Critical thinking is a foundation for effective decision making. The skills learned in critical thinking are useful in all areas of life. The ability to make decisions and to process and present ideas effectively plays a role in how successful you will be in your personal, educational, and work life. Understanding and being able to use metacognitive strategies can improve your thinking and decision-making processes.

3 Important Note about Saving Your Work
As you work through this course, make sure to keep copies of all your course work (including assignments and discussion posts). These materials will be necessary for a course-end reflective activity in Lesson 10.

4 Critical Thinking: Lesson 1
Lesson 1 Objectives Review the school catalog and course expectations Identify the characteristics of critical thinking Identify the basic components of any writing assignment and the qualities of thoughtful writing Apply metacognitive strategies to thinking, reading, and writing processes

5 Qualities of a Critical Thinker
Critical thinkers are able to Articulate their ideas clearly and persuasively in writing Understand and evaluate what they read Discuss ideas in an informed, productive fashion Based on your own experience, what do you think are the characteristics of a critical thinker? Do you know anyone who fits this description?

6 Qualities of a Thoughtful Writer
A thoughtful writer is Curious Open-minded Knowledgeable Creative Take a minute to think about the qualities of a thoughtful writer. What does it mean to be curious, for example, or open-minded?

7 The Thinking-Writing Model
In this course, you’ll practice working with a model for engaging in critical thinking and translating that model into a writing process (see Figure 1.1 in the text). The process begins with asking questions: What is the purpose of this communication? What is the subject? Who is the audience? Who is the writer? What is the writer’s perspective?

8 The Thinking-Writing Model
Once these questions have been answered, you can proceed to the writing process, which consists of these elements (see pp and for detailed explanations of each): Generating ideas Defining a focus Drafting Organizing Revising Proofreading Collaboration

9 Rhetoric and the Writing Situation
Writing always occurs in a situation that consists of The purpose for writing The writer’s intended audience The subject to be written about The writer him or herself

10 Rhetoric and the Writing Situation
These ideas come from the study of rhetoric, that is, the principles developed in ancient times for speaking and writing effectively. Rhetoric is the art of inventing or discovering your ideas, arranging them in the most persuasive way, and then expressing them in suitable language in order to have the desired effect on their audiences.

11 Active Reading Strategies
To read actively is to work at deciphering the many layers of a text. An active reader has a dictionary at hand, along with annotating tools, plenty of time, and the will to jot down questions and comments on the printed page.

12 Active Reading Strategies
Annotation is the process of making notes directly in a written work and is a crucial part of active reading. Methods for annotating include the following: Underline and number key points Circle key words and draw lines to show relationships—for example, between a main idea and facts that support that idea Use question marks to indicate parts that you do not understand Comment on the author’s ideas or language or writing techniques Note connections with your life or with other texts Summarizing is another key skill associated with active reading. When you summarize a text, you use your own words to briefly and succinctly restate the author’s main point.

13 Critical Reading Strategies
After reading actively in order to understand the content of a text, a thoughtful reader looks at it again, this time to read it critically. As a critical reader, you will analyze the text and evaluate its ideas and methods of presenting them.

14 Critical Reading Strategies
Asking questions is crucial to critical reading. One set of questions is based on the writing components we addressed earlier: What is the purpose of the selection, and how is the author trying to achieve it? Who is the intended audience, and what assumptions is the writer making about the audience? What is the subject of the selection? Who is the writer, and what perspective does he or she bring to the writing selection? Other categories of useful questions include: Questions of interpretation, in which you look for relationships among ideas Questions of analysis, in which you consider the reasoning behind a piece of writing and the relationship of the parts to the whole

15 Metacognitive Strategies
Metacognition refers to the act of thinking about the thinking process. Expert readers also engage in metacognition while they are reading. They are aware of their thinking process as they are reading, and they use this awareness to improve their thinking.

16 Metacognitive Strategies
Metacognition can be expressed as a variety of questions: Goals: What are my goals in reading? Comprehension: How well do I understand what I am reading? Anticipation: What events are going to take place after the ones I am reading about? Author’s purpose: What is the author’s point of view? How does it affect the information the author selected and how it is presented? Evaluation: Is this information accurate? What evidence and reasons does the author provide to support his or her perspective?

17 Types of Meaning Linguists believe that a person’s understanding of the meaning of a word depends on his or her interpretation of four different types of meaning: Semantic or denotative meaning Perceptual meaning Syntactic meaning Pragmatic meaning

18 Types of Meaning Semantic meaning (or denotation) expresses the relationship between a linguistic event (speaking or writing) and a nonlinguistic event (an object, idea, or feeling). Perceptual meaning (or connotation) refers to the relationship between a linguistic event and an individual’s consciousness, or personal thoughts and feelings based on previous experiences and past associations.

19 Types of Meaning Syntactic meaning is the relationship of a word to other words in a sentence. Pragmatic meaning (or situational meaning) is the relationship of a word to the situational context in which the word is presented to the reader.

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