Lesson #2 Critical Thinking

Writer’s Prompt:
• Write your reactions to this picture. • What is happening? • Analyze the subjects, the action, the background.

Assignments
• Buy or download 1984 by George Orwell
– http:// www.george-orwell.org/1984/0.html – Read Chapter 1 and 2 – due by August 28, 2009

• Read, Reason, Write – – Chapter 1 – pages 1 - 9
• “The Gettysburg Address” • “In Praise of a Snail’s Pace”

– Answer questions on Page 9

A Quick Academic Refresher

Tips for improving your academic writing

Improve Your Writing
• Study the syllabus for each course
– This outline lays out the instructor’s expectations as well as the course topics, assignments, and deadlines.

• Do the assigned reading
– You’ll gain experience with the discipline’s terms and ideas, and you’ll become familiar with the kinds of writing expected from you. –
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Improve Your Writing
• Ask questions. – • Attend and participate in class. – • Understand the writing situation posed by each assignment. – Knowing your audience, purpose, options for subjects, and other elements of the situation will help you meet the assignment’s expectations.

Tips for taking class notes

Taking Notes
• Use your own words. • Leave space in your notes if you miss something. • Include any reading content mentioned by your instructor. • Review your notes shortly after class. • Use the Cornell Note Taking Method.

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Cornell Note Taking Method
How can I prepare for a lecture? What steps are involved in a survey? Taking Lecture Notes •Preparation •Attendance is critical •Read the assignments! •Titles, subtitles, labels •Statistics; calculations SUMMARY: It is important to prepare for lecture by reading or previewing the material.

How Teachers Grade Essays

Major Areas of Interest
• • • • • • Originality of Thought Style Thesis Statement and Development Organization Support Errors (grammar, format, etc.)

Originality of Thought
• Are you simply repeating someone else’s opinions without useful commentary of your own on their opinions? (If your paper is
supposed to analyze information instead of merely reporting facts.)

• Have you thought analytically about your topic and attempted to communicate your own formulated ideas in your paper? •

Style
• Can the average reader easily understand what you are saying? • Does your introduction catch your readers’ attention? • Are your thoughts clear and concise? • Does your paper “flow”? • Can your paper hold the interest of your audience?

Thesis Statement and Development
• Have you introduced your topic in an opening paragraph? • Does your paper include a thesis statement? • Have you expanded and supported your thesis statement in the body of the paper? • Have you tied up the loose ends in your conclusion?

Organization
 Is each paragraph internally organized; do the sentences flow logically?  Does your paper include smooth transitions into each paragraph?  Have you grouped like information together in the same paragraph or section?  Can you sum up each paragraph in one sentence?

Support
• Do you adequately explain and back up your main points? • Do you use your sources effectively, either through quotes and/or paraphrases, to support your ideas? (For a sourced essay, that
is.)

Common Errors
• Have you carefully read through your paper checking for correct capitalization, punctuation, and sentence structure? • Have you followed the guidelines of the format your professor has specified?

Errors—some tips for avoiding them
• Do not turn in a first draft; proofread your own work! (Reading aloud will make errors even
more obvious.)

• Have a friend look your paper over. • Be familiar with the format you are using.
(For example, MLA, APA, or Turabian.)

Becoming a Critical Thinker

What do we mean by critical?

Critical – Not Negatively
• Critical as we will use it means “skeptical,” “exacting,” “creative.” • When you operate critically, you question, test, and build on what others say and what you yourself think. •

Critical Thinking = Survival
• Teachers and employers will expect you to think critically
– Assess what you read – Make a good case for your own ideas

• Critical Thinking helps you understand and express yourself
– Gain insight into your actions – Persuasively articulate your reasoning

• Critical thinking is vital to a working democracy

Critical Thinking is Hard Work
• Besides channeling your curiosity, focusing and probing, you will often need to consult experts and evaluate their ideas • It requires you to challenge what you’ve been told – to not accept things on face value • It destroys rote learning with an emphasis on the new, the creative, the why

Critical Thinking – one definition

Critical Thinking is "the careful, deliberate determination of whether we should accept, reject, or suspend judgment about a claim, and the degree of confidence with which we accept or reject it." Moore and Parker, Critical Thinking

 

Traits of a Critical Thinker
• Focused on the facts
– Give me the facts and show me that they are relevant to the issue

• Analytic
– What strategies has the writer/speaker used to develop the argument?

• Open-minded
– Prepared to listen to different points of view, to learn from others

Time Magazine Airport Security Ad
• Handout – the Time Advertisement

Elements of Images
• Emphasis – Image “pulls” your eye to certain features – Creator emphasizes what he/she thinks important • Narration – Most images tell some kind of a story • Point of View – Is the image presented head on or from above? • Arrangement

Elements of Images
 Color – Color can suggest a mood, a cultural connection,  Context – Graph from a scholarly journal or a photo of a car on a beach – source of the image  Tension – Is there a problem presented, is something wrong? What tension is

Time Magazine Advertisement
• Red Time border positioned over boy’s chest and around scanning wand • Boy with blond hair and blue eyes, USA colors in clothes and Time border • Caption: “At what point do national security and common sense collide?”

Critical Thinking In Action
• • • • Analyzing Interpreting Synthesizing Evaluating

People Magazine – Group Work

Analyzing
• Does People challenge or perpetuate stereotypes? • Does it offer positive role models for its readers? • Does its content encourage people to consume products and services?

Interpreting
• What reasonable inference do the People publishers make about their readers?
– Readers are consumers interested in goods and entertainment

Synthesizing
 What connections or combinations can you make?
– People magazine appeals to its readers’ urge to consume by displaying, discussing, and glamorizing consumer goods

 Other questions involving sysnthesis:
– How does this work compare with others? – What cultural, economic or political forces influence the work? – What historical forces influence the work?

Evaluating
• How well does the publisher achieve their purpose? • What do color and graphics do to contribute to the magazine? • What is the quality of the magazine? • Do you like or not like the magazine?
– Why or why not?

In Class Exercise 8.3
Handout 8.3

• Thinking Critically • Respond critically to the three statements at the bottom of the handout
– Analysis – Interpretation – Synthesis – Evaluation

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