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1 Rebecca Walz EDUC 555: Advanced Field Seminar Rashmi Kumar Annotated Bibliography February 1, 2012 Overview of my inquiry

question I revised my inquiry question to narrow its focus. I am now asking, How can I support my students as critical thinkers during class discussion? Class discussions are particularly interesting and potentially rich spaces, and learning to facilitate deep and generative thinking through conversation is something Id like to figure out how to do. One thing that has become especially interesting an urgent this month is my need to know my students, to make space for them to show me who they are, what they know, and what they can do. My second take-over has made clear how much work this is, and how much a trust- and community-building exercise this is. I think this is relevant to my inquiry, especially if I consider the distinction between capacity and performance: how will I know what my students can do if Im not creating conditions for them to show me? So as I move into my inquiry, I am keeping this need for relevancy and connection in mind. In fact, this need has overshadowed my interest in delving into the psycho-cognitive specifics of critical thinking. Im not sure ultimately where this will lead, and I am certainly confused right now. This bibliography is an already-dated snapshot of how Ive been looking for ways to push my own thinking and help me clarify my question. Article #1 Hesse, D. (1998). Canon and critical thinking: an inductive teaching strategy. The English Journal, 78 (7), 16-22. Main points: One of the most important critical skills a reader might develop is the ability to discern the values and assumption, wishes and desires that underlie the championing of some texts over others (21.) The study of literature should be part of the broader study of how and why texts produce meaning (22.) Arguments: The traditional way of reading literature (analyzing literary conventions, such as plot, theme, etc.) invites students to think narrowly. The big questions, What counts as literature? What does the choice of certain works as literary say about those who do the choosing? and What values would be implied if we chose other works as literary? ask students to think critically about the concept of literature.

2 When students read both canonical literature and non-canonical literature and then identify frameworks that support these categories, they are engaging in rhetorical criticism/social criticism. (Hesse provides five lessons that accomplish this.) Hesse provides a brief and useful overview of theoretical frameworks for approaching the study of literature: o New Criticism assumes that the meaning of a text is hidden in the text itself; meaning is a product of its [the texts] elements (20.) o Reader response theory assumes that meaning resides not purely in the text but also in what the reader brings to the text (20.) o Social criticism lays bareunstated major premises and assumes that meaning and significance are socially constructed, residingin the culture in which the texts are produced and read (20.) Connections This article supports my own conception of social criticism of literature as being a particularly valuable manifestation of critical thinking. This article provides useful lesson plans that I could adapt for my own classroom. The articles main point, that sussing out the values, biases, and assumptions of authorities/decision makers/ideologies/cultures is one of the most valuable skills a critical reader of literature can develop deeply resonates with me. This is what I most valued from my own study of literature, and the belief in the value of this skill/way of thinking inspired my inquiry project. Article #2 Wang, Q., Woo, H. L. and Zhao, J. (2007). Investigating critical thinking and knowledge construction in an interactive learning environment. Interactive Learning Environments, 17 (1), 95-104. Main point: This article discusses an analysis of students critical thinking in a class that involves online discussion. Ultimately, the authors conclude, Writing online reflections has the potential to promote students critical thinking. Arguments: Topics selected fordiscussion should be meaningful and relevant to participants, rather than to others like the instructor. Also, the topics should be challenging and controversial enough to trigger different opinions (102.) Critical thinking can be defined as reasonable and reflective thinking skillsfocused on deciding what to believe or do and can be transferred from one domain to another (97.) Connections This article provided was great at providing definitions and describing a more scientific research design. It described how tedious the coding of critical thinking was, and I think I will steer clear of this type of analysis, given the time constraints of my own research.

3 The bibliography referenced several authors whose work I will consult when defining critical thinking. o Ennis R.H. (1987). A taxonomy of critical thinking dispositions and abilities. o Mason, M. (2007). Critical thinking and learning. Educational philosophy and Theory, 39(4), 339-349. o Petress, K. (2004). Critical thinking: An extended definition. Education, 124(3), 461-466. o Scriven, M., & Paul, R. (2003). Defining critical thinking. Retrieved January 10, 2005 from http://www.criticalthinking.org/aboutCT/definingCT.shtml

Article #3 Cone, J. (1992.) Untracking Advanced Placement English: creating opportunity is not enough. Phi Delta Kappan, 712-717. Main points: Whatever we expect students to do, we must be prepared to teach. Building community and structuring collaboration is especially important when students have mixed backgrounds, experiences, or abilities. Arguments: Class discussions are spaces where students make meaning from texts. Having students take ownership of class discussions leads to deeper thinking and more learning. Modeling tasks is very important if students are not already familiar with the type of thinking or writing we are asking of them. Active participation depends on a students view of his or her persona in the class and on the students perception of the purpose of literary discussion. o For some students, literary talk is not about making meaning collaboratively, its about demonstrating you know the right answer. Let students collaborate with the teacher and make real choices about what and how they learn The author made several adjustments to help students be successful in a class with higher standards: o Setting strict deadlines (completion points and graded points) o Teaching grammar with style sheets (mixed-level pointers) Connections This article has several good ideas for how to structure a classroom so that class discussion becomes meaningful and useful for every student. I can refer to this article for ideas when planning my own lessons. I appreciate this authors explicit linking of classroom discussion with meaningmaking. Although she does not label this meaning-making critical thinking, per se, we share similar goals. Both this author and I want our students to have access to a rigorous curriculum that will help students develop new, transferable skills and a sense of academic confidence.

Article #4 Christenbury, L., & Kelly, P. (1983). Questioning: a path to critical thinking. NCTE, 1-40. Main points: Questioning is a path to critical thinking. Critical thinking encourages students to take into account more than just content, more than just their own experience, and more than just the wisdom of the world and the experiences of others (7). Arguments: Questioning reinforces, rather than teaches, reading skills. Questions: o Provide students an opportunity to find out what they think by hearing what they say o Allow students to explore topics and argue points of view o Allow students to function as experts o Give students opportunity to interact among themselves (if well facilitated) o Give the teacher immediate information about students comprehension and learning Questioning hierarchies are descriptive, not prescriptive. And effective questioning in an English classroom is very fluid, flexible, and context-specific. Nevertheless, questioning hierarchies are still useful. Questioning hierarchies imply a linear theory of learning, a theory we reject (11.) Wait time is important and healthy for good discussions. (8) Questioning circle: their schema for questioning o Look for dense questions where the matter of classroom content, Personal reality of students and external reality of other people and cultures intersect (p 13) Connections: Provides overviews of several models of questioning hierarchies (Bloom, Sanders, Taba, Herber, Kaiser, Smith, and Hyman) (p 10) The Questioning Circle is a useful tool for linking students own experiences with critical thinking. It seems like an adaptation of Rosenblatts reader response theory, and this addresses my concern both with critical thinking and with making space for my students to be fully present in our discussions. This article is dated, however, and will not be one of my strongest sources. Article #5 Tsui, L. (2002). Fostering critical thinking though effective pedagogy: evidence from four institutional case studies. The Journal of Higher Education, 73(6). Main points: Certain pedagogical practices encourage critical thinking development: an emphasis on writing and re-writing and a focus on students participation in class discussion. (This research was done at four colleges.)

Arguments: Critical thinking is here defined as: identifying assumptions, recognizing important relationships, making correct inferences, evaluating evidence or authority, and deducing conclusions. Writing should focus on synthesis, analysis, and refinement of ideas. Ample opportunity to assess others work and revise ones own work are important. Building classroom community and a space where students feel comfortable sharing their ideas matters. Self-evaluation and reflection are important. Effective facilitation of discussion involves: knowing when to interject and when not to; how to pose thought-provoking questions, and what to do when students too readily reach consensus. Teachers must raise students confidence in their ability to participate in class discussion. Connections: Even though this article studied college classrooms, the research is very relevant to my own thoughts. Many of the major findings resonated with other things Ive read, and I feel like Im getting a constellated image of what practices are involved in the development of critical thinking, according to the research. They are: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Write. This gives students time to think. Ask students to analyze, synthesize, and Assess one anothers work. Have instructor give feedback on writing. Re-write and incorporate suggestions from reviewers (peers, instructors). Reflection and self-assessment. Use class discussion. Choose questions/topics that are relevant and meaningful. Court the controversy. Build community and create a collaborative culture. Discussion should feel like we are making meaning together, not fishing for the right answer. 8. Avoid tidy consensus. 9. Have students respond to one another. This means students will need to have taken ownership over the discussion. (Involving student choice helps students take ownership.) 10. Anything that involves students processing information rather than recording it. Create circumstances for students to grapple with ideas.