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jhalter
Community Participant

Critical Thinking for Student Engagement

I decided to branch Student Engagement in an Online Course to a new discussion called Critical Thinking for Student Engagement. My previous branch had some unintended consequences of "clutter" from the previous discussion. Sorry for those who contributed before and the added confusion.

I will begin with a dialogue on the use of critical thinking in courses we teach, traditional or online.

Many educators use critical thinking in the courses they instruct. I would like to hear from you on what you are doing in your classes using critical thinking. Please provide your ideas, examples, rubrics, standards, activities, assignments, projects, etc on how you use critical thinking in your classroom. Tell us what is working and what is not working. Humility is a great trait to have using critical thinking in the classroom.

Below is my take on using critical thinking and an example.

 

I have been involved in critical thinking for the past 10 years and I am a strong advocate.  I have been using the Paulian modelfor critical thinking. The Center for Critical Thinking has a 37 year history in research, assessment and testing, library and resources, professional development and conferences/events. I would encourage each of you to explore their great web site to learn more about their efforts.   

 

Many definitions are given for critical thinking, a few are shared in this link. 

 

To start: An example I use in the classroom for both online and traditional is stated below:

 

1. Students choose one key concept from the learning plan or module from a list in the Discussion. 

2. Students will review and research the key concept, define it and cite it. It should be from the course textbook as the first source.

3. Students then will put into their own words what the definition means to them, paraphrase.

4. Students will either draw a picture or find and illustration (mostly done) of the concept and place it in the Discussion. 

5. Students will then use the concept and provide a real world example on how they can use it in their lives.

6. Students then will develop an idea on how they would teach it to other students.

7. Each student will then review another student post and use the standards for critical thinking to assess the post. 

 

The Discussion is essentially flipping the classroom where the student is the teacher/player of one key concept in the learning plan. The instructor is the coach. I have found this Discussion a great way to have student engagement using critical thinking in the classroom using elements and standards to foster the intellectual traits of the students. 

 

Orientation is provided on critical thinking, elements, standards and traits prior to the Discussion.

 

Below is an image of the Discussion.

Key Concepts for Critical Thinking

11 Replies
laurakgibbs
Community Champion

I really like how you build student choice into this process so that the end result will have lots of variety with everybody being able to learn from everybody else, jhalter‌!  I'm not a card-carrying member of the critical thinking movement (I've always thought the word "thinking" should be good enough on its own... and just getting students to slow down, stop and THINK is a goal in and of itself, at least for me), but regardless of the label I can really appreciate how this activity builds on the contributions of all the students individually while also offering the students the chance to learn from each other and interact. Very nice!

My students post and comment at blogs, but it sounds like you are using the discussion board to create the same interactive space. One thing I like about the blogs is that each student gets to see their work accumulate over the course of the semester instead of disappearing into the discussion board; by the end of the semester, they can look back in their blogs and have lots to be pleased with in their effort and progress.

There are some terms on the list that are familiar, but a lot that are not! The Golden Rule is a special favorite of mine since that is a term that belongs to the world of philosophy and to the world of folklore and proverbs (which is what I study and teach). Here's a little Latin poem about the Golden Rule :

The things which are unwelcome to you (quae sunt ingrata tibi) you should not ever do (ne umquam feceris) to others (aliis): rather (contra) do unto others (fac aliis) the things which would be welcome to you (quae forent grata tibi).

Golden Rule

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

Joseph, here are some examples of how I use discussions in my statistics class to foster critical thinking - Discussion Questions for Statistics

laurakgibbs
Community Champion

I am glad you shared that again here,  @kona ‌! Just like with Joseph's example here, my first thought was: This looks like fun; I want to do these myself! 🙂

jhalter
Community Participant

Good morning laurakgibbs, I truly appreciate your feedback and insights. The true intent of the Canvas Community becomes reality with the sharing of ideas and practices. 

As I continue to study the intellectuals standards (clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, significance, depth, breadth, logic, fair mindedness) for critical thinking, I realize that the quality of our thinking can be improved if we reflect on each of the standards to assess our thinking. I do this with my own writing, speaking, listening, and reading. And...I also expect and hope my students will see it in their own communications skills as we practice and reflect.

It is a challenge since their are many barriers to critical thinking. I have included a mind map of my Ethics course that I use to explore the problems, questions, information, concepts, assumptions, interpretations/inferences, implications /consequences, and points of views (elements or parts of our thinking). The whole process provides us the skills to figure out things and enhance ethical traits. 

I like your idea of having your students to slow down, stop and think is a good way to describe critical thinking. 

Thanks for sharing the Golden Rule and the rich history behind it. The definition is a nice match to the Purpose in the picture below. 

234100_Ethical Reasoning.gif

jhalter
Community Participant

 @kona ‌ thank you for sharing Questions for Statistics. You have many great ideas for Discussions and how students use Questions (an element of critical thinking) to foster their understanding and other students.  I am planning to modify some of my Discussions in my courses and plan to use a few of your ideas. Thanks!

Questions for an online course are difficult to do but your examples are priceless. Questions can help us (instructors and students) greatly with the standards and elements of critical thinking.

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

Thanks! It's definitely been a labor of love, but discussions are so critical to online courses that overall I've enjoyed working on them!

laurakgibbs
Community Champion

This is great! Now you've got me pondering a writing unit I could create on "applying critical skills to your own creative fiction" or something like that. If I can make something like that work, I'll come back here and share! 🙂

jhalter
Community Participant

Hi laurakgibbs, I truly believe if your students use the Elements and Standards of CT to analyze and assess their writing, their creative thinking will be enhanced substantially. Smiley Happy

laurakgibbs
Community Champion

Yes, exactly: what I need to do is adapt them somewhat to NARRATIVE, removing some items which are less pertinent and replacing those with items that are more about the formal elements that constitute narrative. What's exciting about this is that I can present this as an optional exercise for my students, most of whom are not majoring in humanities: if I present the critical thinking vocabulary to them (which they are surely familiar with from their major courses) and then show how much of that can be applied to narrative writing, I can maybe prompt them to see their writing for the class in a new way, while also soliciting their feedback to see what they think of this whole project of adapting critical thinking models to creative fiction.

The link for the standards did not work but I am pretty sure this is the page you mean, right?

Universal Intellectual Standards 

Although it is actually the elements page which is the more relevant I think, so I will probably focus on that first and see how it goes! For example, I like the idea of presenting them with the idea that there needs to be "data, information, and evidence," even though that data, information, and evidence might be coming from the writer's imagination!