Understanding critical thinking - essays on citizenship









understanding critical thinking

understanding critical thinkingUnderstanding critical thinking -Students may need to feel empowered by the teacher to overcome the reverence they sometimes demonstrate for anything in print, including their textbooks.As a result of experiencing such strong individual differences in interpretation, students may learn to be appropriately less confident of their immediate conclusions, more tolerant of ambiguity, and more likely to propose alternative explanations.Additional Suggestions Adopting explicit critical thinking objectives, regardless of the domain of critical thinking, may entail some strategy changes on the part of the teacher.Collaboration in my department and with other colleagues over the years has persuaded me that we need to approach critical thinking skills in a purposeful, systematic, and developmental manner from the introductory course through the capstone experience, propose that we need to teach critical thinking skills in three domains of psychology: practical (the “jerk avoidance” function), theoretical (developing scientific explanations for behavior), and methodological (testing scientific ideas).By contrast, passive, non-critical thinkers take a simplistic view of the world.They recognize that their interpretations are highly personal and sometimes biased by their own values and preferences. It is "only human" to wish to validate our prior knowledge, to vindicate our prior decisions, or to sustain our earlier beliefs.Although it is difficult, even well designed objective test items can capture critical thinking skills so that students are challenged beyond mere repetition and recall.Students often think that their entry into the discipline represents an end-point where everything good and true has already been discovered.The next methodological critical thinking goals include evaluating the quality of existing research design and challenging the conclusions of research findings.We may not always want to apply critical thinking skills, but we should have those skills available to be employed when needed.For example, when pouring a glass of water we usually think only in terms of turning on the faucet until the glass is full, and then turning it off.Developing theoretical skills begins in the introductory course where the primary critical thinking objective is appropriately.For example, any detailed description of an experimental design can help students practice distinguishing the independent from the dependent variable and identifying how researchers controlled for alternative explanations.By examining the strengths and weaknesses of existing frameworks, they can select which theories serve best as they learn to justify their criticisms based on evidence and reason.Facts may be facts, but how we interpret them may vary.The desired water level minus the current water level equals the perceived gap.He said, “You can divide everyone in the United States into two groups.Students may not recognize when they are thinking critically.A fellow of APA's Division 2 (Teaching), she has been active on the Committee of Undergraduate Education, helped design the 1991 APA Conference on Undergraduate Educational Quality, and currently serves as a committee member to develop standards for the teaching of high school psychology.understanding critical thinking”) and have students design studies to confirm or discredit the headline’s claims.Practical Domain Practical critical thinking is often expressed as a long-term, implicit goal of teachers of psychology, even though they may not spend much academic time teaching how to transfer critical thinking skills to make students wise consumers, more careful judges of character, or more cautious interpreters of behavior.Encourage practice in accurate description and interpretation of behavior by presenting students with ambiguous behavior samples.As the water level rises, the gap closes, which affects the faucet position, which affects the water flow, which causes the water level to gracefully rise to the desired water level, and not overshoot.Thank students who ask concept-related questions and describe why you think their questions are good. Your own excitement about critical thinking can be a great incentive for students to seek that excitement. When you include more opportunity for student critical thinking in class, there is much more opportunity for the class to go astray.When you identify examples of good thinking or exploit examples that could be improved, it enhances students’ ability to understand.However, I believe it captures only a fraction of the real value of teaching students to think critically about behavior. Although there is little agreement about what it means to think critically in psychology, I like the following broad definition: Students often arrive at their first introductory course with what they believe is a thorough grasp of how life works.Among the main characteristics are the following: We are thinking critically when we Critical thinking enables us to recognize a wide range of subjective analyses of otherwise objective data, and to evaluate how well each analysis might meet our needs.• Clarify your expectations about performance with explicit, public criteria.) Theoretical Domain Theoretical critical thinking involves helping the student develop an appreciation for scientific explanations of behavior.Find faulty cause-effect conclusions in the tabloids (e.g., “Eating broccoli increases your IQ!Stepping away from the podium and engaging the students to perform what they know necessitates some loss of control, or at least some enhanced risk. I have been talking psychology to friends, or helping them to solve problems. back then, but now I realize I really love helping people.After all, they have been alive for at least 18 years, have witnessed their fair shares of crisis, joy, and tragedy, and have successfully navigated their way in to your classroom.Once you graduate to true systems thinking, you see system behavior as the result of its feedback loops. In the example the simple act of pouring a glass of water can be understood at a much deeper level by drawing a simple diagram representing the major feedback loop involved.Jane Halonen received her Ph D from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1980.For example, when you introduce students to the principles of reinforcement, you can ask them to find examples of the principles in the news or to make up stories that illustrate the principles.Students often complain that they don’t understand “what you want” when you assign work.These students have had a lot of time to develop their own personal theories about how the world works and most are quite satisfied with the results.Here is a definition from Peter Senge's highly influential [is] a way of thinking about, and a language for describing and understanding, the forces and interrelationships that shape the behavior of systems.Group work, essays, debates, themes, letters to famous psychologists, journals, current event examples- all of these and more can be used as a means of developing the higher skills involved in critical thinking in psychology. understanding critical thinking They often pride themselves on how good they are with people as well as how astute they are in understanding and explaining the motives of others. Many are surprised- and sometimes disappointed- to discover that psychology is a science, and the rigor of psychological research is a shock. Regardless of their sophistication in the discipline, students often are armed with a single strategy to survive the experience: Memorize the book and hope it works out on the exam. Unfortunately, student exposure to critical thinking skill development may be more accidental than planful on the part of most teachers.After some heated discussion, the last word was had by a colleague from North Carolina.Those who watch television and those who don’t.” He went on to explain that those who watched TV tended to think like the herd and those who didn't watch much TV were original thinkers leading far more interesting and fulfilling lives.Model critical thinking from some insights you have had about behavior or from some research you have conducted in the past.The next step is to apply their understanding of scientific method by identifying design elements in existing research.This means learning not just the content of psychology but how and why psychology is organized into concepts, principles, laws, and theories.One of my students made this vivid for me when she commented on the good connection she had made between a course concept and an insight from her literature class, is what you mean by critical thinking?However, the advantage is that no class will ever feel completely predictable, and this can be a source of stimulation for students and the professor as well. How can I become a critical thinker without condemning people?Having discussions early in the course about the role of good questions in enhancing the quality of the subject and expanding the sharpness of the mind may set a more critical stage on which students can play.Then he confirmed his decisions by observing how frequently they referred to TV shows and characters as they chatted, as well as asking some how much television they watched.In evaluating their work I have found it helpful to ask students to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their own work- as an additional opportunity to think critically-before giving them my feedback.Starting at the top, the faucet position affects the water flow, which affects the current water level.Students quickly recognize that crisp behavioral descriptions are typically consistent from observer to observer, but inferences vary wildly.While this simple example does not lead to any powerful insights, the application of systems thinking to more complex problems can often turn a problem from impossible to solve into one so easy to solve that you may forget that moments ago, or years ago, it was impossible.Congratulate students who offer good examples of the principles under study.” There after I have been careful to label a good critical thinking insight. Students often assume that if they have questions about their reading, then they are somehow being dishonorable, rude, or stupid.• Label good examples of critical thinking when these occur spontaneously.Beginning students must first learn what the scientific method entails.(How many Elvis sightings can be valid in one year?That conclusion encourages passivity rather than criticality. understanding critical thinking Methodological Domain Most departments offer many opportunities for students to develop their methodological critical thinking abilities by applying different research methods in psychology.Devising clear performance criteria for psychology projects will enhance student success.• Require student performance that goes beyond memorization.Nor is it realizing that when a butterfly flaps its wings in one place, that could cause a hurricane far away.No one always acts purely objectively and rationally. In the process of satisfying our ego, however, we can often deny ourselves intellectual growth and opportunity.Performance criteria specify the standards that you will use to evaluate their work.(Examples of bad design can be found in or they can be easily constructed with a little time and imagination).This tends to give a shallow understanding of the way a system works.Several years ago some teaching colleagues were talking about the real value of teaching psychology students to think critically.“The real value of being a good critical thinker in psychology is so you won’t be a jerk,” he said with a smile.Asking students to do a critical analysis on a fairly sophisticated design may simply be too big a leap for them to make.This challenge requires them to synthesize and integrate existing theory as well as devise new insights into the behavior.For example, students can contrast different models to explain drug addiction in physiological psychology.They are likely to fare better if given examples of bad design so they can build their critical abilities and confidence in order to tackle more sophisticated designs.Ask them to distinguish what they observe (What is the can be a good resource for refining observation skills.In advanced courses we can justifiably ask students to selecting the most useful or rejecting the least helpful.Students will develop and execute their own research designs in their capstone methodology courses.I will explore each of these areas and then offer some general suggestions about how psychology teachers can improve their purposeful pursuit of critical thinking objectives.Each new discovery in psychology represents a potentially elegant act of critical thinking. New ideas will be developed and old conceptions discarded.Halonen is past president of the Council for Teachers of Undergraduate Psychology. understanding critical thinking Additional Suggestions Adopting explicit critical thinking objectives, regardless of the domain of critical thinking, may entail some strategy changes on the part of the teacher. understanding critical thinking

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