As the social science instructors, we have been discussing on the value of critical thinking. In my classroom, I am using the resources from the website http://www.criticalthinking.org in order to describe what critical thinking is and how it helps and how it can be improved.
There are various methods to improve critical thinking, and to my experience of teaching for more than 2 years, providing an anti-thesis for a given thesis is not the most difficult part of the “effective thinking skills” . What I would like my students to work more on is the synthesizing thinking skills, which I define as combining the theses and anti-theses, and coming up with a synthesized understanding, which is open to the anti-theses and thus, to further development.
Although synthesis is considered as a part of the critical thinking skills, I am not sure they refer to the same constructs. In a lot of the cases, while asking for critical thinking capacities, we are asking the students to come up well-grounded counter-arguments, and we value counter-arguments, and the conversation usually end up there. I believe, it is better to encourage syntesis approach in education. Asking the students to come up with new questions, new definitions, and new understandings of the phenomenons..
Strategies for Critical Thinking and Synthesizing (con't)
- Reading Skills (Glencoe/McGraw-Hill ) Weekly tips, how to, and student resource handouts to teach the following: Active Reading in the Classroom; Analytic Reading; Graphic Organizers; Three-step Approach to Reading; Reading Success with Expository Texts
- Review, Write, Rate and Revise - elementary research process tutorial from the Oregon State Library System
- Review Your Notes ... elemetary research process tutorial from the Oregon State Library System
- Revise! - secondary research process tutorial from the Oregon State Library System
- Secondary Literacy: Classroom Literacy Strategies/Resources (Ministry of Education, Wellington, New Zealand ) Great bibliography of web resources to teach literacy.
- ( Arizona State University West ) ...a very practical guide using Post-It notes and a clustering process. See benefits of this model.
- 7 Critical Reading Strategies Previewing, contextualizing, questioning to understand and remember, reflecting, and others.
- The Reading Lady.com - Mosaic Reading Tools - This source includes a WEALTH of resource for all kinds of ideas and strategies to increase student reading comprehension competencies. Resources include lesson plans, assessments, worksheets, and even PowerPoint presentation.
- SQ3R(Learning Object -© 2005 Wisc-Online) This activity explains the SQ3R technique which learners can apply immediately in their reading of text assignments. It explains independent and cooperative learning strategies to support retention of the material.
- Strategies for Effective Use of Science Reading Materials ( Salt Lake City School District) Includes before, during, and after strategies for K-6, 7-8, and 9-12.
- Summary Writing (Learning Object -© 2005 Wisc-Online) Students demonstrate an understanding of summary writing by reading step-by-step instructions and then summarizing short paragraphs. Examples of summaries that are poorly written, as well as those that are written well, are included.
- Technology Integration Resources for [Reading Comprehension] Strategies That Work (Harvey and Goudvis) Outstanding resource that provides web and print resources to teach the following reading strategies to primary, intermediate, and upper level students: Making Connections, Questioning, Visualizing; Inferring, Determining Importance, Synthesizing. Includes links to examples, handouts, articles, and lessons.
- Time to Create! ... elementary research process tutorial from the Oregon State Library Information System
- Twenty Best-Practices to Teach Reading Strategies (Journey North) Activate Prior Knowledge | Adjust Reading Rate/Rereading | Ask Questions: Before, During, and After Reading | Classify or Categorize Information | Compare and Contrast Ideas | Distinguish Facts from Opinions | Identify and Analyze Text Structure | Identify Author’s Purpose: Why Did the Author Write the Selection? | Identify Author’s Viewpoint: What Does the Author Think? | Identify Main Ideas and Supporting Details | Make Inferences and Draw Conclusions | Make Generalizations | Make and Refine Predictions | Paraphrase/Retell | Recognize Cause and Effect Relationships | Sequence Events | Summarize Information | Synthesize New Information
- Introduction to Syntheses Michigan State University
- Write What You've Learned - elementary research process tutoiral from the Oregon State Library System
- Writer's Toolbox For Building Arguments (Allyn & Bacon) A great source that prompts students to think critically about what they read. Checklists are provided to assist with preparing arguments in preparation for writing. Some are Analyzing Sources of Disagreement | Determining the Core of an Argument | Determining Claim Types.
- Writing a Topic Outline(Learning Object -© 2001 Wisc-Online) Students will read a mini-lesson and apply information from the mini-lesson to an activity using the outline template provided. As a result, the learner will develop and submit a word-processed outline for a speech.
Reading Research and Articles