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Background Information
• Summary of Workshop in April 2008
• Stephen Brookfield
• Teachers College, Columbia
University
• Supported by CETL
How to engage students
so that critical thinking
can occur &
relationships can build
•Don’t underestimate
the classroom set up.
•How will you teach
this material best?
•Do you let students
know what to expect?
• Who are you?
•Do you like questions?
•What are their
expectations for this
class?
•Give them a work
autobiography
•It helps to connect
you with the students
in a variety of ways
that could be
unforeseen
• Don’t you want to see
hands flying up?
More on pre-class
set-up
•Have the best
interest of the
learner at heart
•Relationships
help you learn
•Model developing
relationships if
you want student
to do the same
Definition of Critical Thinking
• Reflections requires that participants
intentionally examine or evaluate their
actions or experience to uncover factor
or assumptions regarding a particular
problem or project.
• Critical refection- takes reflection to a
deeper level by “peeling the onion” on
faulty assumptions that have been
socially, culturally, and uncritically
assimilated over time.
Critical Thinking Process
• What assumptions do
learners walk into the
classroom with?
• Help them identify
their assumptions
and then ask if they
are accurate and
valid
• Take alternative
perspectives
• Take informed action
Example : those that can’t teach
Types of assumptions
• Paradigmatic (Framing and
Structuring) the dominant culture
• Prescriptive (What should happen?)
environmental accepted norms i.e.
this college will give me a good
education.
• Causal (What does happen) i.e. if I
cheat then I will get caught.
• Explicit- what we know already
• Implicit- assumptions we are not
aware of.
How are assumptions
developed
•
•
•
•
•
Our life experience
From those we come in contact with
Our peers experiences
Collogues perceptions
Theory
Examples of questions to engage
students in critical thinking:
• What information (or
evidence) do you have
to support that
statement (or fact or
assumption…)?
• What does the problem
mean to you
• It sounds what you are
saying…
• Would it make any
difference if it were a
different time, person or
place?
• What could you do
differently?
• What is stopping you
from…?
• Do you think that?
• What can you do to
make the problem
different?
• What have you
learned that is
different than what
you know?
• How do you react to
that?
Purpose of Critical Thinking
• Using reason and analysis to take
informed action to:
• Challenge Dominant ideology
• Uncover power
• Recognize and counter power
• Learn and practice democracy
• Practice liberating tolerance
• Overcome alienation and privatization
Phases of critical thinking
• Discover the assumptions that guide
our decisions, actions and choices
• Checking the accuracy of these
assumptions by exploring as many
different perspectives, viewpoints
and sources as possible
• Making informed decisions that are
based on these researched
assumptions
Example of use of critical
thinking
• Critical conversation-A focused
conversation to which one person’s
experiences examined sympathetically
but critically by colleagues. An umpire
watches for judgmental comments. As
questions are asked, assumptions
reported, and alterative interpretations
proposed; learners focus on giving
descriptive feedback and on exploring
unacknowledged power dynamics.
Examples of questions
• Student telling me in Intro to Social
Work class that all people in poverty
are lazy and addicted to drugs
• Have class write questions down like:
– Asking her where did she get that
information?
– What evidence did she have from her
personal life that had her “know” this
fact?
End of class
questions/exercises
What was the most confusing idea
The most poorly explained idea
The least clear idea
What do you think you know now
that you didn’t know last week?
• The most important idea insight was
• The question that most needs
addressing?
•
•
•
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Resources
• Brookfield’s website:
http://www.stephenbrookfield.com/
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