Promoting Critical Thinking

Promoting Critical Thinking-83
Students need a bigger structure, a sort of scaffolding, within which they can organize smaller items of knowledge and establish the relationship between what they know and the new information they acquire.

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But research into how people learn demonstrates that those new to a field don’t necessarily see these connections.

Therefore, part of the instructor’s role is to make the organization visible to the students.

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Every student within a discipline needs to learn facts and acquire basic knowledge in introductory classes.Students make flashcards, memorize terms, and gain a basic understanding of the subject.Sometimes, students may be able to apply the knowledge they’ve learned in order to solve basic problems.The challenge for you as a teacher is helping your students learn the two higher-level types of knowledge used in critical thinking: procedural (knowing how to reason, inquire, and present knowledge in a discipline) and metacognition (using cognitive control strategies, such as setting goals, critiquing one’s own thinking, determining when additional knowledge is needed, and assessing whether a line of inquiry has been fruitful) (Kurfiss, iv).So how do you help students move through the process of gathering all available information, weighing possible solutions, and coming to a logical hypothesis or conclusion?Students in this course served as home visitors or support-group facilitators to vulnerable families and reflected on their experiences in class assignments.Qualitative evidence from class discussions and journal entries, and quantitative data from the analysis of student essays, suggest that the majority of students engaged in critical thinking skills across the semester, particularly in using a broader locus for understanding and addressing issues experienced by their client families.As students learn these terms, they also learn what their limits are and how they can be either misused or expanded.Mathematics Students should move away from trying to plug in numbers to arrive at an answer and instead focus on the metacognitive skills necessary for approaching a problem.As stated in APA Learning Outcomes 2 and 3, two central goals of higher education instruction are promoting students' critical thinking skills and connecting student learning to real-life applications.To meet these goals, a community-based service-learning experience was designed using task value, interpersonal accountability, cognitive dissonance, and guided reflection, and was implemented to motivate and promote students' critical thinking skills in a human development psychology course.

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