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Instructional Approaches and Strategies to Foster Critical Thinking

Mary Alice Wyatt, M.Ed. Patricia O’Malley, Ph.D. Maryland Assessment Group Conference Ocean City, MD November 17, 2011

Instructional Approaches and Strategies to Foster Critical Thinking
The Common Core State Standards will require more critical thinking from students. This session will provide concrete teaching strategies to help students acquire a deeper understanding of the content and the skills they need to apply their knowledge. Tools for analyzing instructional practices and developing lessons will be provided. Outline:  Overview of critical thinking
 Definition  Characteristics of a critical thinker  Connection to Maryland Common Core State Curriculum

 Four approaches to foster critical thinking  Tools to evaluate current instructional practices and design lessons

Part One
What is critical thinking?

What is Critical Thinking? Executive functioning Creativity Metacognition analytical disciplined thinking EVALUATION .

experience. or generated by. synthesizing. reasoning. (National Center for Excellence in Critical Thinking Instruction. applying. reflection.What is Critical Thinking? Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing. observation. as a guide to belief and action. and/or evaluating information gathered from. analyzing. 1991) . or communication.

• • • • • • • Understand the logical connections between ideas Identify. construct and evaluate arguments Detect inconsistencies and common mistakes in reasoning Solve problems systematically Identify the relevance and importance of ideas Reflect on the justification of one's own beliefs and values Others? ...Characteristics of a Critical Thinker Critical thinkers..

What are the words? See New Sense .Are You a Critical Thinker? Each of these sets of arrows represents a word.

analyzing others’ points of view Employers: Can you analyze situations? Can you solve problems? Can you communicate your position logically? Can you make good decisions? Can you be resourceful? Everyday Life: How should I prepare for a hurricane? Should I evacuate? What is the safest way to travel? What is the slant of a news story? .evaluating patients and making decisions in clinical settings • Communications .Critical Thinking: Who Needs It? College: • Science . persuasive writing • Criminal justice.analyzing results of experiments in light of existing theories • Math .selecting appropriate problem-solving strategy for word problems • Humanities .putting literature and art into historical context • Health Fields .reacting correctly to simulations • Political science/Sociology .debate.

..Can involve any person at any level in society ...Can be found every day .Critical Thinking Lapses .

Surface vs. Deep Level Processing Surface The tacit acceptance of information that leads to the superficial retention of material  Emphasis is external. unfamiliar contexts  Emphasis is internal  Involves active learning  Search for meaning  Relates new and prior knowledge  Critiques arguments and examines rationale  Generalizes material  Links content to real life . from demands of assessment  Relies on passive learning  Search for facts  Memorization and rote learning  Focus is on unrelated parts of the task  Views content as material to be learned for the test Deep The critical analysis of information that leads to problem solving in new.

Instructional Strategies that Promote Surface and Deep Learning Surface  Provide study guides  Rely on true/false and multiple choice tests  Use lecture as primary teaching style  Teach to the test  Have low expectations  Relate content to external reward  Assign a heavy workload Deep          Include open-ended assignments Provide alternative assessments State high expectations Make content relevant Have clear explanations to relate content to prior knowledge Provide reasonable workload Employ active learning strategies Use new media and technology in a realistic context Incorporate high interest topics and materials .

2003) Strategic Processing .Development of Expertise Acclimation Knowledge Competency More able to discern between relevant and irrelevant information Proficient/Expert Have broad. integrated knowledge Display limited and fragmented knowledge Interest Tend to rely on situational interest to maintain focus Tend to rely on surface processing strategies Individual interest in Display high content may begin individual interest to develop Will use a mix of learning strategies Effectively and efficiently select and use strategies aligned with goals and task demands (Alexander. deep.

Connection to the Maryland Common Core State Curriculum .

Connection to the Maryland Common Core State Curriculum .

Part Two Strategies to Foster Critical Thinking .

. 3. 4. Incorporate games into lessons.Four Approaches for Fostering Critical Thinking 1. Utilize higher order thinking questions during instruction and assessment. Adapt tasks and assessments. 2. Teach the process.

(Hemming. and evaluate information to solve problems and make decisions rather than merely to repeat information. and enhance self concept in their students and themselves. stimulate high level thinking. 1990) Instruction that promotes critical thinking uses questioning techniques that require students to analyze. encourage creativity. 2000) .Approach 1: Use Higher Order Thinking Questions “Teachers who are good questioners motivate their students.” (Johnson. synthesize.

Approach 1: Use Questions Bloom’s Taxonomy Categorizes the types of thinking students do into six cognitive domains. Knowledge and comprehension questions and thinking are the most basic types. Level 2 (the middle level) requires one to process the information. Level 3 (the highest level) requires one to apply the information. . Evaluation and synthesis are the most complex types of thinking and questioning. Level 1 (the lowest level) requires one to gather information. Costa’s Levels of Questioning Categorizes the type of thinking and questioning into three levels.

..? Do you agree with the outcome...Approach 1: Using Bloom’s Questions Higher Order Thinking Skills For example.? • • • • • • • • • ..? How could you prove. criticism and assessment. Evaluating requires in-depth reflection.? What are the pros and cons of.......? How would you prioritize.? What are the consequences if.? How effective are.......? What information would you use to support your view? • What are the limitations of... Creating Evaluating Analyzing Applying Understanding Remembering Sample questions include: Which would be better..? What is most important..

...? How would you prioritize….? When did….? How would you categorize/classify….? What is the function of….? What is the definition of…? How many..? Why was ____ better than ____? How could you prove or disprove____? What evidence supports ____? .? What would you predict if…...? Which one…? How would you show? Who was…? What facts…? What did _________ say when.? What conclusions can you draw? Why do you think…? How would you summarize…? What judgment could be made about….Approach 1: Using Costa’s Questions What is….? How is ___ similar /related to ___? What might we infer from…..

Comprehension/Understanding: Why did the Queen dislike Snow White? Application/Applying: What elements of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs do you see in other fairy tales? Analysis/Analyzing: What is the theme of the story? How do you know? Evaluation/Evaluating: Do you think the Queen was an evil character? Explain why or why not.Approach 2: Teach the Process Using a Story: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Knowledge/Remembering: List the names of the Seven Dwarfs. Synthesis/Creating: What other options would you offer the Queen? .

. Where did Cinderella first meet the Prince? Knowledge/Remembering (recall facts) Was Cinderella right to deceive the Prince about her true identity? Support your answer.Now You Try.. Evaluation/Evaluating (make judgments about the value of ideas) What would have happened to Cinderella if the Prince had not returned to her home with the missing glass slipper? Synthesis/Creating (generate or create something different) . identify the level of question. Cinderella Using Bloom’s Taxonomy..

Level 1 Gathering Information Level 2 Processing Information Level 3 Applying Information What are the names of Compare and contrast Justify the reasons why the three stepsisters? Cinderella to one of Cinderella’s stepsisters her stepsisters. Cinderella Using Costa’s Level of Questioning..Now You Try. and 3 questions that correspond to Cinderella. ... write Level 1. are so undesirable to the prince. 2.

Which had the better plot? Evaluation/Level 3 (justifying a view) .It’s not the words in the question but the required process or skill. What differences exist between Snow White and Cinderella? Comprehension/Level 1 (interpreting facts) How would you categorize the similarities between Snow White and Cinderella? Analysis/Level 2 (seeing patterns) Compare the plots of Snow White and Cinderella....

• • • Examples Can you tell us the name of .? How many times did you . usually one or two words. resistance. . factual answer.Questions to Avoid Type Closed questions Verification questions Description Requires a very short.? Can you state the formula for . ? What is the name of .? The answers to which are • already known • Rhetorical questions Defensive questions Agreement questions The answer is given within the question or just statements phrased in question form. Promote reactions like justification. and leaves. .? Do you remember . and self-protection. right? • . The intent is to invite others to agree with an opinion or answer. . . shouldn’t we? Who can name the three basic parts of a plant? Root. . okay? We really should get started now. stems. . . . . . • • • • • • • • Who is buried in Grant’s tomb? How long did the Seven Year War last? Isn’t Shakespeare the best writer? Why didn’t you finish your work? Why would you do that? Are you not following directions? Let’s do it this way.

Relevant Information. Prioritize Alternatives & Communicate Conclusions Step 2: Frame the Low Foundation: Knowledge and Skills Repeat or paraphrase information Goal to get “correct” answer . & Huber. Integrate. 2001) www.Approach 2: Teach the Process Steps to Problem Solving Complex Step 4: Re-Address the Problem. and Uncertainties (Lynch. Explore Interpretations and Connections Step 1: Identify the Problem. Wolcott. Monitor.wolcottlynch. and Refine Strategies Step 3: Resolve the Problem.

For example. a question that asks students to identify the example that best applies a specific concept requires more critical thinking and analysis than a question that asks students to identify the correct term for a given definition.g. essay).. fill in the blank. short answer. .Approach 3: Adapt Tasks and Assessments Modify true/false items so that students have to explain how to make false items correct. Create multiple-choice items that require critical thinking. Have students assess each other’s work. Frequently use constructed response items (e.

or using stamps to imprint pictures for counting.g. and symbols to represent the number of circles or groups of circles. fraction bars. Abstract Stage The “symbolic” stage.Approach 3: Adapt Tasks and Assessments Concrete-Representational-Abstract Instructional Approach Concrete Stage The “doing” . base-ten blocks. dots. pattern blocks. Representational Stage The “seeing” stage. –. and geometric figures). notations. ) to indicate addition. and tallies. Models the concept at a symbolic level. Uses representations of the objects to model problems to transform the concrete into a representational (semiconcrete) level. Uses concrete objects to model problems or concepts (e. using only numbers. cubes.k8accesscenter. or division. From: http://www. For example: uses operation symbols (+. using circles.. which may involve drawing pictures. multiplication. red and yellow chips.

Do not limit cards to simple "word" and "definition" usage. characteristic or category and then discuss with a partner why the cards should be grouped a specific way.  Do a Card Sort where students “sort” the cards based on their own system. important men or women.  Word Shuffle .  Use to help plan a writing activity. Require students to manipulate the information:  Organize the cards into categories of dates. places.  Create a Concept Map with string and cards.Approach 3: Adapt Tasks and Assessments Example: Have students generate flash cards.  Create a large-scale timeline and place the cards in the correct order.

For example. 6.. 2*5*8 and Totally 10 Each is based on Bloom's taxonomy and allows students to choose tasks to complete. or 8 points for Totally 10.g. 4. and 2. Tasks are worth 2.. multiple intelligences). Tasks vary in difficulty and students must choose any assignments that total ten points. Think-Tac-Toe This is an adaptation of the familiar game. he or she should be addressing the same objectives as his/her classmates.. or 8 points for the 2*5*8 option. Students are given alternatives for exploring and expressing key ideas and using key skills. Regardless of the activities a student chooses. 5. VAK..Approach 3: Adapt Tasks and Assessments Provide choice activities.. It often integrates Bloom’s Taxonomy and students’ learning modalities (e. .

2003) .Sample Tic Tac Toe: Three Little Pigs (Grade 2) (Chatterjee.

Sample 2*5*8 Menu: Gary Paulsen Novels (Grade 6) From: .wikispaces.

...Approach 4: Incorporate Games Examples of games to play using flashcards. Memory Lying Game Around the World Basketball Tic Tac Toe Tic Tac Toe Bean Bag Toss Bingo ...

edu/ertzbergerj/ppt_games.Approach 4: Incorporate Games Other games ideas for review: I Have-Who Has Jigsaw Crossword puzzles PowerPoint Games: Jeopardy Wheel of Fortune Who Wants to be a Millionaire Hollywood Squares Password Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? For fun or reward: Connect Four Checkers Battleship See: http://jc-schools.html Sudoku Othello Logic Puzzles .net/tutorials/ppt-games/ http://people.uncw.

Part Three Tips And Tools to Enhance Instruction .

com/ • • Use active engagement (centers. think alouds) • Allow sufficient time for students to reflect. . • http://www.g. • Teach for transfer – provide opportunities for students to see how a skill can apply to other situations and to the student's own experience. cooperative learning..Other Tips for Fostering Critical Thinking • Explicitly model the thinking process (e. • Use brainteasers as warm up or anchor • http://www.mathplayground. stations.

.Tools for Evaluating Current Practices Use this tool to analyze the question level you typically use during instruction and assessment.

Tools for Evaluating Current Practices .


” .“When One Teaches. Two Learn.

Available: https://www. (1998). Questioning makes the Difference. Lynch. G. (2003). Paper presented at AAHE conference.). A taxonomy for learning. (Eds. P. 173.what does that mean?" Journal of Education. . W. Educational Researcher. 32. teaching and assessing: A revision of Bloom's Taxonomy of educational objectives: Complete edition. Available: http://www. Chatterjee.. & Krathwohl. C. The development of expertise: The journey from acclimation to Anderson.pdf Enwistle. K.htm Johnson. Wolcott. D.msu. (2001).com. OH. New York : Longman. 10-14. Promoting deep learning through teaching and assessment. Halpern. & Teaching critical thinking for transfer across domains. Beavercreek. (2003).. 2000. 53(9). Critical Thinking: An Overview. E. Encouraging critical thinking: "But. 449–455. June 14-18. (2000). Methods of Instruction in Inclusive Classrooms: Fairy Tales – The Three Little Pigs for Second Grade [On-line]. A. E. N. W. (2001). R. . Hemming. L.. 2005 from http://chiron. (1998). H. Pieces of Learning. L. Steps for Better Thinking: A Developmental Problem Solving Process [On-line]. S.References Alexander. F.valdosta. Retrieved on March 30. 35(2).. D. M. N. American Psychologist. Huitt. L.WolcottLynch. (1990).