Critical Thinking

Florida Atlantic University
Center for Teaching and Learning
Faculty Learning Community 2009-2010
Critical Thinking
Jari I. Niemi
Assistant Professor
Department of Philosophy
The main aim of this workshop is to introduce its participants to the whys and ways of
teaching their subject critically, a subject in which logical, evidence-based inquiry is
essential. Many of us begin our careers with the aim of simply imparting knowledge to
our students only to discover that their interest in the subject fast deteriorates. Students
are often left with the impression that there is nothing further to add to the subject, except
to show the instructor that the course content has been remembered sufficiently well to
pass a final exam. However, subject areas are never static. Professors know this, but are
often unsure sure how to convey it. To teach critically it is crucial to model the practice
of thinking, speaking, and writing critically to students. In turn, students will learn to
inquire into their subject, confronting the questions and solutions that confront us as
scholars and teachers. Crucially, students are guided towards thinking rationally about
their subject, learning when and how to form reasonable beliefs and reject the irrational.
The goal of this community is to discuss the issues involved in teaching critical thinking.
Discussion and collaboration are the keys to the success of the workshop. We expect a
lively and evolving debate about strategies essential to conveying the critical spirit to
students in the classroom. But we must all be in agreement that students need to grasp the
benefits of clear, logical thought in the pursuit of truth and rational belief; they need to
grasp the benefits of avoiding fallacious arguments and mere rhetoric. Junior faculty,
including instructors, are particularly encouraged to participate.
Andrew M. Dobson
Department of Philosophy
EXPECTATIONS (specific to this community’s participants):
 Active participation in meetings
 Discuss the fundamentals of critical thinking (concepts and practices) and what
undergraduate students can reasonably be expected to learn
 Explore various ways of implementing critical thinking into a given syllabus and then
provide a model syllabus
 Collaborate on their ongoing experiences with fellow FLC members and other members
of the FAU community
POTENTIAL MEETING TIMES: Fall and Spring Semester - Fridays: 1-3 pm.
You will receive a $1,000 stipend for your active participation in the FLC and upon
fulfilling all FLC expectations.