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CRITICAL THINKING

and
PROBLEM SOLVING
SKILLS
Study: 1,500 classrooms visited, 85% of them had engaged
less than 50% of the students. In other words, only 15% of
the classrooms had more than half of the class at least paying
attention to the lesson.

 So, how do they know if a student is engaged?


 What do "engaged" students look like?
Teacher-Directed Learning
You will see students...
 Paying attention (alert)
 Taking notes
 Listening (as opposed to chatting, or sleeping)
 Asking questions
 Responding to questions
 Following requests (participating)
 Reacting (laughing, crying, shouting, etc.)
Student-Directed Learning
You see students individually or in small groups...
 Reading critically (with pen in hand)
 Writing to learn, creating, planning, problem solving,
discussing, debating, and asking questions
 Performing/presenting, inquiring, exploring,
explaining, evaluating, and experimenting
 Interacting with other students, gesturing and moving
“Tell me and I forget.
Teach me and I may remember
Involve me and I learn.”

Benjamin Franklin
The solution is simple:
If a teacher wants to increase student
engagement, then the teacher needs to increase
student activity -- ask the students to do
something with the knowledge and skills they
have learned. Break up the lecture with learning
activities. Let them practice. Get them moving.
Get them talking. Make it so engaging that it will
be difficult for students not to participate.
How to promote critical thinking?

“Effective teaching involves aligning the three


major components of instruction: learning
objectives, assessments, and instructional
activities”.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING
TEACHING STRATEGIES
 Learners
 Desired Learning Outcomes
 Learning and Working Environment
 Teaching Styles
TEACHING STRATEGIES TO PROMOTE
CRITICAL THINKING:
CATS (Classroom Assessment Techniques)
 set of specific activities that instructors can use to quickly gauge students'
comprehension
 "Minute Paper" responding to questions such as "What was the most
important thing you learned in today's class? What question related to this
session remains uppermost in your mind?" The teacher selects some of the
papers and prepares responses for the next class meeting.
Name Description What to do with the data
 Students pass around an envelope Go through the student responses
Chain Notes on which the teacher has written and determine the best criteria for
one question about the class. categorizing the data with the goal of
 When the envelope reaches a detecting response patterns.
student he/she spends a moment
to respond to the question and Discussing the patterns of responses
then places the response in the with students can lead to better
envelope. teaching and learning.
Directed Ask students to write a layman’s Categorize student responses
paraphrasing "translation" of something they have according to characteristics you feel
just learned -- geared to a specified are important. Analyze the responses
individual or audience -- to assess their both within and across categories,
ability to comprehend and transfer noting ways you could address student
concepts. needs.

One-sentence Students summarize knowledge of a Evaluate the quality of each summary


summary topic by constructing a single sentence quickly and holistically. Note whether
that answers the questions "Who does students have identified the essential
what to whom, when, where, how, and concepts of the class topic and their
why?" The purpose is to require interrelationships. Share your
students to select only the defining observations with your students.
features of an idea.

Exam Select a type of test that you are likely Try to distinguish student comments
Evaluations to give more than once or that has a that address the fairness of your
significant impact on student grading from those that address the
performance. Create a few questions fairness of the test as an assessment
that evaluate the quality of the test. instrument. Respond to the general
Add these questions to the exam or ideas represented by student
administer a separate, follow-up comments.
evaluation.
Application After teaching about an important Quickly read once through the
cards theory, principle, or procedure, ask applications and categorize them
students to write down at least one according to their quality. Pick out a
real-world application for what they broad range of examples and present
have just learned to determine how them to the class.
well they can transfer their learning.

Student- Allow students to write test questions Make a rough tally of the questions
generated test and model answers for specified your students propose and the topics
questions topics, in a format consistent with that they cover. Evaluate the
course exams. This will give students questions and use the goods ones as
the opportunity to evaluate the prompts for discussion. You may also
course topics, reflect on what they want to revise the questions and use
understand, and what are good test them on the upcoming exam.
items.
Cooperative Learning Strategies

 Collaborative Learning
 Putting students in group learning
situations is the best way to foster
critical thinking.
 "In properly structured cooperative
learning environments, students
perform more of the active, critical
thinking with continuous support and
feedback from other students and
the teacher"
Case Study /Discussion Method

 McDade (1995) describes this method


as the teacher presenting a case (or
story) to the class without a
conclusion.
 Using prepared questions, the teacher
then leads students through a
discussion, allowing students to
construct a conclusion for the case.
Conference Style Learning
 The teacher does not "teach" the class in the
sense of lecturing. The teacher is a facilitator
of a conference.
 Students must thoroughly read all required
material before class. Assigned readings
should be in the zone of proximal
development. That is, readings should be
able to be understood by students, but also
challenging.
 The class consists of the students asking
questions of each other and discussing these
questions. The teacher does not remain
passive, but rather, helps "direct and mold
discussions by posing strategic questions and
helping students build on each others'
ideas".
 Using Questions: Ways of using questions in the
classroom:

 Reciprocal Peer Questioning: Following lecture, the


teacher displays a list of question stems (such as,
"What are the strengths and weaknesses of...).
Students must write questions about the lecture
material. In small groups, the students ask each
other the questions. Then, the whole class discusses
some of the questions from each small group.

 Reader's Questions: Require students to write


questions on assigned reading and turn them in at
the beginning of class. Select a few of the questions
as the impetus for class discussion.
Use Writing Assignments

 Use of writing as fundamental to


developing critical thinking skills.
 "With written assignments, an
instructor can encourage the
development of dialectic reasoning
(Discourse) by requiring students to
argue both [or more] sides of an
issue".
Ambiguity

 Educators advocate
producing much ambiguity
in the classroom. Don't
give students clear cut
material. Give them
conflicting information
that they must think their
way through.
Ways to Foster Creativity in the Classroom

1. Embrace creativity as part of learning.


2. Use the most effective strategies.
3. Think of creativity as a skill.
4. See creativity in a positive light.
5. Establish expressive freedom.
6. Allow space for creativity.
7. Give students time to ask questions.
8. Creativity builds confidence.
9. Encourage curiosity.
10. Tapping into multiple intelligences is key.
11. Understand that creativity is important to
students’ future in the job market.
12. Teach creative skills explicitly.
"The man who can make hard things easy
is the educator."

RALPH WALDO EMERSON


American writer and philosopher