Encouraging Critical Thinking
Tip Sheet No. 33
Barry Brunson, Math, & Daniel Roenker, Psychology
from the CTL Workshop on Feb 18, 1997
1. No rules for critical thinking will work for everyone. All fields require and benefit from critical thinking by instructors and students.
2. Incongruity challenges students. “Tease” the class into thinking. For example, encourage math students to think critically by using examples that have more than one correct answer.
3. Perhaps critical thinking is knowing what questions to ask? The answer to a question will depend on how the question is phrased.
4. Perhaps critical thinking is questioning assumptions and asking “Why?”
5. Give the students permission to be wrong during their progress toward understanding. Be aware of the students’ frame of reference.
6. Ask students for specific examples and details that support their ideas, assumptions, and preconceptions.
7. The biggest challenge of critical thinking is how to measure or evaluate it.
8. Talking isn’t teaching.
For more information about this workshop, contact the CTL staff or any of the following individuals who attended: Bridgett Augustino, Kevin Autry, Eric Bronson, Angela Gonzalez, Ted Hovet, Timothy Miller, Shelby Scruggs, Kelly Schindler, or Michelle Randolph.
The Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching
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