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Critical Thinking Skills

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					Critical Thinking Skills

Part of the 21st Century Skills
Generational Differences
• When you think of someone who is
  “creative”, who comes to mind?
• When you think of someone who is a
  “problem solver or critical thinker”, who
  comes to mind?
                          Big Ideas
Part one

Why do we have to teach this stuff?
What makes problem solve/think
critically/be creative so difficult?
How do you cultivate these skills?

Part two
What does teaching critical thinking look
like? Tools, Strategies
How do teachers teach problem solving
skills? Tools, Strategies

Part three
How do you know if you have students
have problem solving skills, creativity and
critical thinking skills? Assessment.
Why do have to teach this
   Memorization vs. Thinking

Industrial Age and the Information Age

Multiplication tables and mass media

Global citizenship

Achievement                 (we are so screwed video)
Dewey on Schools….

As early as 1916, Dewey
pointed out that, all which the
school can and need do for
pupils, so far as their minds are
concerned….. is to develop
their ability to think

~ (Dewey, 1916 as cited in Fisher,2003)
   A Vision for the 21st Century
Schools will nurture skills of creative problem-solving in the
face of novel situations, and students will learn to exercise
courage in making decisions and assuming responsibility for

Students will learn to process and manipulate information.
They will be trained to think critically and to reflect on what
they have learned, as well as to transfer and apply
knowledge from one discipline to another and to daily Life.

~ Nagendralingan Ratnavadivel
       (Malaysian Educational Research Association)
              Problem Solving and
                Decision Making
  “What students should know and be able to
   do to learn effectively and live productively
        in an increasingly digital world ...”
Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage
projects, solve problems and make informed decisions using appropriate
digital tools and resources.

Students identify and define authentic problems and significant questions
for investigation. Plan and manage activities to develop a solution or
complete a project. Collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or
make informed decisions. Use multiple processes and diverse
perspectives to explore alternative solutions.
                                                  ISTE: NETS-S:
      What makes critical
         thinking and
      creativity difficult?
     •Self perception “I am not
     •Definition of creativity/problem solving
                is obscure
•Background knowledge
     •Cultural barriers
     •Value of education
•Cultivation is weak – lots of tools, but
seems difficult to use…
•It’s HARD! - not a click away!
How do you cultivate
   creativity and
  problem solving
 skills in students?
Creating Classroom Culture
  • Practice, practice, practice
    – preparation
  • Safety
    – Respectful, community, clear
  • Open minded
  • It takes SHIFT
    – Its like my diet!
Teacher behaviors that enable
         • Questioning
• Structuring the classroom
  • Responding to students
     • Modeling behaviors
– To challenge students’ intellect.
– To help students collect and recollect
  information, process that information
  into meaningful relationships, and apply
  those relationships in different/novel
– Can focus students on their own
  emotions, motivations, and
  metacognitive processes
(add Seinfeld video)
           Powerful Questions
• Invitational/Plural
   – “What characteristics do you have in common with the main
   – “What hunches do you have to explain the solution?”
• Engage specific cognitive operations at various
  levels of complexity
   – Completing, identifying, listing, reciting, naming, selecting
   – Three story Intellect Model
• Address external or internal content that is
  relevant to the learner
   – External = found around the learner….playground, classroom,
   – Internal = in the learners mind…emotion…metacognition
 Prompting Critical Thinking
Questions and questioning
 – How do you know that it is true..?
 – What is the main assumption..?
 – What is the evidence in support of that…?
 – How credible is the source…?
 – Are there other possible explanations….
 – Are there similarities and differences
   between X and Y…?
• Verification questions
• Closed questions
• Rhetorical questions with the
  answer included
• Defensive questions
• Agreement questions
The Three Story Intellect

There are one-story
intellects, two-story
intellects and three-story
intellects with skylights.

All fact collectors, who have
no aim beyond their facts
are one-story men.

Two-story men compare,
reason, generalize, using the
labors of the fact collectors
as well as their own.

Three story men idealize,
imagine, predict……their
best illumination comes
from above, through the

~ Oliver Wendell Holmes
Making Sense of
 Developing Thinking Questions
• Skinny vs. Fat
  – Simple yes/no vs. elaborate response
  – You can “fatten up” skinny - “explain” or “defend”
• High Consensus vs. Low Consensus
  – High = most would agree; low no right or wrong
• Review vs. True
  – Regurgitate learned info vs. open investigation (we
    may not know the perfect answer) bound by personal
               Consensus          FAT

  Plural                           Learner


 Teacher Behaviors that Enable
• Questioning
• Structuring the classroom
• Responding to students
• Modeling behaviors
Structuring the Classroom
–Remember…you create the culture
–Arranging for small group and
 large-group interactions
–Manage the resources of time,
 energy, space and materials to
 facilitate thinking
–Legitimizing thinking as a valid goal
 for students
SPACE- responding to students

• Silence
• Providing Data
• Accepting without Judgment
• Clarifying
• Empathizing
     Modeling Behaviors
Practice what you preach
 –Problem solving
 –Value differences
 –Enthusiasm for thinking
    We need to move towards a
knowledge generating society. The
ability to think critically & creatively
 and to reason logically constitute
the template for building a society
  that will be able to not just adopt
 or adapt borrowed knowledge but
 that which will be able to create &
     market its own knowledge.

               (Ratnavadivel, 2001)
• If you’re on a dead horse, get

• Even dead fish go with the flow
  What does teaching
critical thinking actually
         look like?
 Introduce Thinking Skills
– Students don’t come by this naturally
– It is a SKILL that can be developed
– They need to be taught explicitly
– There are loads of tools that help them
  learn how to develop these skills
  • Start with lower level skills (Bloom’s)and
    scaffold up
     – Classifying is a good start point
     – Work up to Evaluation and Analysis
    Introducing Thinking Skills
•   Preview thinking skill
•   Explain and model skill steps
•   Enable student review of steps
•   Have students use skill
•   Reflect and share
•   Conclude lesson
Movie clip????

 • Preview
• Rehearse
 • Execute
  • Ponder
              Characteristics of
              Critical Thinkers
•   CT’ers   look at self honestly/aware of prejudices
•   CT’ers   know their attitudes/values influence
•   CT’ers   are fair/respectful
•   CT’ers   are willing to change thinking
•   CT’ers   are not easily manipulated
•   CT’ers   are question askers
•   CT’ers   are independent thinkers
•   CT’ers   look for connections
•   CT’ers   based decisions on evidence
 How do we TEACH
problem solving and
  critical thinking
  5 Ways To Help Kids Think
1. Provide a thoughtful classroom
2. Make the invisible – visible
3. Scaffold and cue (use tools)
4. Provide continuing direct instruction
5. Integrate thinking instruction with
   content …move it around
• Very effective tool
• Ideas are respected but must be supported
–Students don’t come by this
–SKILLS can be developed
–Focus on one thinking skill at a time
–They need to be taught explicitly
–There are loads of tools that help
 them learn how to develop these
How do you KNOW if they get it?

   There are some issues in
assessing creativity and problem
   •Process and product assessment
   •Formative feedback
   •Paradigm shift or augmentation in
   the way most assessment occurs
   inside and outside the classroom.
  Formal Assessment

   • Drill and Practice
       • Rehearsal
• Authentic Performance
      Authentic Performance

• Encore teachers get this!
• Skills assessed individually =
  “Champions of Trivial Pursuit”
• Skills assessed in conjunction =
  knowledge based
• Foundational knowledge is
Assessing the Project

    • Triangulation
      • Checklist
       • Rubrics
      • Portfolios
   • Performances

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