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Teaching Methods: Teaching Critical Thinking

Critical thinking in the college classroom actively engages students in higher order thinking about course material: questioning, applying, analyzing, synthesizing and/or evaluating it using reasoning, logic, and problem-solving abilities. It moves beyond the mere acquisition and retention of information. The resources below provide research, bibliographies, methods, articles, and handouts for developing students' critical thinking abilities.

A Working Definition of Critical Thinking, Michael Scriven and Richard Paul (cthink, Palo Alto College Critical Thinking Resource).
An in-depth definition of critical thinking.

Critical Thinking Source (University of Minnesota Center for Teaching and Learning Services).
Has 3 components: 1) An essential points page with an overview of main research on critical thinking, 2) an annotated bibliography, 3) a resource page with links to critical thinking sites at other universities.

Critical Thinking Across the Curriculum Project (Longview Community College, Lee's Summit, MO).
Core resources and discipline-specific resources for teaching critical thinking compiled by Longview instructors.

Reasoning Across the Curriculum Program at Prince George's Community College.
This site contains a PDF file of the Handbook of Resources compiled by faculty across the disciplines for Prince George's Year of Critical Thinking. Also has numerous links to websites and materials on teaching reasoning and critical thinking.

Reflective Judgment, Patricia M. King (University of Michigan).
A website dedicated to the Reflective Judgment Model that describes the “development of reasoning from adolescence to adulthood.” Contains a description of the model, instruments for assessing RJ, research, methods for improving students’ RJ skills, and references.

Helping Your Students Develop Critical Thinking Skills,” Cindy L. Lynch and Susan K. Wolcott. (IDEA Paper #37, October 2001).
Presents a model for developing students’ critical thinking/problem-solving skills based on reflective judgment. Describes educational experiences that will foster growth in these skills.

Creating Steps for Better Thinkers” (WolcottLynch Associates).
This site, by the authors of IDEA Paper #37 above, contains a web-based tutorial for anyone wishing to improve their critical thinking and problem solving skills or faculty members who want to enhance their students’ skills in this area. The site also contains handouts, resources for educators, working papers, and other materials.

The Critical Thinking Community (The Foundation and Center for Critical Thinking at Sonoma State University).
A comprehensive site that contains online resources for teaching critical thinking at any level, including links to numerous articles and handouts for faculty and students about all aspects of critical thinking.

Mission: Critical (San Jose State University).
Intended primarily to provide students with a self-paced interactive tutorial on the basic foundations of informal logic. Also contains links to other critical thinking Web sites and a list of critical thinking textbooks.

Perry Network and Center for the Study of Intellectual Development, William S. Moore, Coordinator.
This is a website dedicated to Perry's Model of intellectual development, its assessment and research support. Click on "Overview of Perry Scheme" for a complete description of Perry's model of cognitive and affective growth during the college years.

“A Nudge Is Best: Helping Students through the Perry Scheme of Intellectual Development,” Robert J. Kloss, William Paterson College.
The author present examples from his classes of student thinking at each level of Perry’s model, and then presents multiple methods for guiding students from a dualistic to a multiplistic mode of knowing. Includes activities, questioning techniques, and teacher feedback strategies.

Summary of Women's Ways of Knowing, Belenky et al., BasicBooks, 1986 (Ferris State University, Center for Teaching, Learning, and Faculty Development).
A concise summary of the five stages of knowing from Belenky et al.'s book.

See also Cognitive, Moral, and Emotional Development of Students on this site.