Critical Thinking

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					Critical Thinking
   Dr. John Eigenauer
       Taft College
  Questions to be Answered
• Why should CT be taught?
• What will be accomplished by teaching CT
  as a separate discipline?
• How should CT be taught?
• How will gains be measured?
   Why teach critical thinking?
• Strong correlation between trained critical
  thinking skills and GPA.
• Critical thinking improves with correct
  training.
• Strong correlation between trained critical
  thinking and reading skills.
• One critical thinking course is roughly
  equivalent to four years of undergraduate
  education.
CT improves with training.
 What will be
accomplished?
    The Parts of Critical Thinking
•   Interpretation
•   Analysis
•   Evaluation
•   Inference
•   Explanation
•   Self-regulation
The Parts of Critical Thinking
1. Interpretation: Correctly extracting the intended and essential
meaning from information.
2. Analysis: To assess the parts and relationships of
communication.
3. Evaluation: To use intellectual standards to judge the truth,
credibility, or logical strength of a statement.
4. Inference: To draw reasonable meaning, conclusions, or
consequences from information, knowledge, or evidence.
5. Explanation: To “attempt to show why or how something
happens” (William Hughes).
6. Self-regulation: To consistently apply rules of intellectual
expertise to one's own arguments.

http://www.eigenauer.com/criticalthinking
         Research on the State of
           Student CT Abilities
•   “Unfortunately, the results of any number of national and international
    studies indicate that few high school graduates (or entering college
    students) are able to apply higher-order thinking skills to problems faced
    in everyday life (see e.g. NSF, 1996). Controlled studies in psychology and
    education confirm this finding. They indicate that most students have
    difficulty in (a) identifying and defining problems from multiple
    perspectives; (b) detecting gaps in knowledge and information; (c)
    establishing cause-effect relationships; (d) distinguishing facts from
    opinions or personal values; (e) accepting unfavorable information; and
    (f) evaluating costs and benefits of risky decisions (Arons, 1979; Baron,
    1988; Fiske & Taylor, 1991; Gigerenzer, 1996; Kahneman & Tversky,
    1996; Leshowitz, 1989; Leshowitz & Yoshikawa, 1996; Nisbett & Ross,
    1980; Stanovich & West, 1998; Whimbey & Lockhead, 1986). In an
    exhaustive study evaluating the thinking of students in high school,
    college, and graduate school and comparison groups of nonstudents,
    Perkins (1985) has reached similar conclusions. Post-primary education
    appears to have little impact on students' reasoning about
    everyday events, and number of years of education is only a
    borderline significant predictor of reasoning ability.” (Current Issues in
    Education: http://cie.asu.edu/volume2/number5/)
                Summary
• Identifying and defining problems from
  multiple perspectives.
• Detecting gaps in knowledge and
  information.
• Establishing cause-effect relationships.
• Distinguishing facts from opinions or
  personal values.
• Accepting unfavorable information.
• Evaluating costs and benefits of risky
  decisions.
           From Dartmouth
• Confuse arguments with opinions.
• Do not address complexities of an issue.
• Use first legitimate source for their
  "opinion."
• Complex issues incapacitate their ability to
  take a stand.
• Will defend personal opinion despite
  evidence.
            What is the state
    of critical thinking in colleges?
• 89% of college instructors said that critical
  thinking was “a primary object of their
  instruction”.
• 19% “could give a clear explanation of what
  critical thinking is.”
• 8% “could enumerate ANY intellectual criteria or
  standards they required of students or could
  give an intelligible explanation of what those
  criteria and standards were.”
        Who teaches critical
        thinking in colleges?
• 9% of college instructors teach critical
  thinking “on a typical class day”.
• 77% “had little or no conception of how to
  reconcile content coverage with the
  fostering of critical thinking.”
• 9% claimed that there is a growing need to
  teach critical thinking.
    “Faculty Emphasis on Critical
       Thinking in Instruction”
• inadvertently confuse the active involvement of
  students in classroom activities with critical
  thinking in those activities.
• are unable to articulate their concept of critical
  thinking.
• cannot provide plausible examples of how they
  foster critical thinking in the classroom.
    “Faculty Emphasis on Critical
       Thinking in Instruction”
• are not able to plausibly explain how to
  reconcile covering content with fostering
  critical thinking.
• do not consider reasoning as a significant
  focus of critical thinking.
• do not think of reasoning within disciplines
  as a major focus of instruction.
                Summary
• People do not learn to think critically
  without targeted instruction.
• There are strong reasons to teach Critical
  Thinking.
• College and university instructors
  generally do not know what CT is.
• College and university instructors
  generally do not know how to do so.
How should Critical
Thinking be taught?
 “I’ve been skeptical about claims for various
approaches to critical thinking, including those
for argument maps coming from the University of
Melbourne. Indeed, confident in our skepticism,
we at Monash Philosophy accepted a challenge
to compare our methods with theirs on pre- and
post-test gains on the California Critical Thinking
Skills Test developed by Peter Facione (1990,
1992). The Monash students did a bit better than
theirs on the pre-test, raising our hopes. But
when Melbourne University’s post-test results
showed far higher performance gains, I thought
their method worth a closer look.”
              Charles Twardy, Monash University
                Published in Teaching Philosophy
                                       What Works?
                                                           Effect

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      Faccione 1   Faccione 2   Faccione 3   McMaster   Hatcher     Melbourne     Monash       Monash       Reason! 1   Reason! 2
                                                                                (Philosophy) (Philosophy)
                                                                                                  + CT
                                      What Works?
                                           Effect

0.9                                                                 0.85

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                  0.23
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      CT Instruction (Logic Course)      4 Years Undergrad   One semester Reason!
                                           What Works?
                                                    Test Results Histogram

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Frequency




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            6
                                                                                                                  Post-2000

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                 2-4   5-6   7-8   9-10 11-12 13-14 15-16 17-18 19-20 21-22 23-24 25-26 27-28 29-30 31-32 33-34
                                                         CCTST Score

				
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posted:8/31/2012
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