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These are some of the invited concurrent presenters for the 34th International Conference on Critical Thinking. This year we are planning a full day of concurrent sessions with many sessions from which to choose. Choose from among these and other concurrent sessions once you arrive at the conference. A concurrent session program will be in your conference packet.


"Philosophizing" the Zeitgeist - Using the Elements of Reasoning to Connect History and Philosophy Through the Common Core Standards .

J. Stephen Scanlan
Southwestern College
Sweetwater Union High School

The new Common Core Standards (CCS) require United States K-12 students to apply a rigorous set of skills to tie together cross-discipline content in ways they have never been expected to before.   However, while the CCS articulates what students are required to do, it does not provide a framework for how to achieve those goals.   This presentation considers the results of a study in which grouped students in four eleventh grade honors-level English Language Arts (ELA) classes were asked to analyze a set of texts in order to identify and explain the philosophical ‘zeitgeist’ that permeated pre-industrial revolution-era philosophy, literature, and politics to create a social world shift.   This presentation explains the basis of the CCS and how the Elements and Standards of Reasoning can be utilized to meet their demands, and presents the results of a study in which the products of classes that used the Elements and Standards are compared to those that did not.   As measured by CCS ELA rubrics, the students who utilized the Elements and Standards performed significantly better than those who did not.


Enhancing Student Critical Thinking Knowledge, Skills, Dispositions, Application and Transfer Abilities in a Higher Education Technology Course.

Jack Gordon Phelan
Professor of Media Arts and Technologies
California Polytechnic State University

This teacher action research study examined the effects of a critical thinking instructional intervention in a higher education technology course at an American undergraduate university with the purpose of determining the extent to which the intervention enhanced student critical thinking knowledge, skills, dispositions, application and transfer abilities. A mixed methods research design utilized the California Critical Thinking Skills Test, California Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory and Critical Thinking Knowledge Test in pretest/posttest fashion using within subject t-tests to determine the extent to which students’ critical thinking knowledge, skills, and dispositions were enhanced by the instructional intervention.   Qualitative methods utilized a pre/post student perception questionnaire and coded analysis of student course projects to examine changes in students’ perceptions regarding critical thinking virtues and their ability to apply and transfer these virtues in both their coursework and to their lives outside of the course. Result data revealed a favorable impact across all five critical thinking domains.   The implications of the study suggest that becoming a critical thinker is not an automatic process, but when made explicit and implemented intentionally, can result in significant gains in critical thinking knowledge, skills, disposition, application, and transfer abilities.


Creating Assignments that Engage Your Students in Critical Thinking and Analysis. 

Mel Manson
Professor of Sociology and Psychology
Endicott College

As teachers we are responsible for designing courses and assignments to engage our students in critical thinking.   In order to help the student discipline his or her thinking, the elements of reasoning and the intellectual standards need to become integrated into all assignments.   The ideal goal for students is not only to learn but also internalize critical thinking strategies so that in all of their reasoning intellectual engagement becomes a habit of the mind.   Practical examples of such assignments will be introduced in this session.   Participants will be able to share with others how they might be able to incorporate these and other strategies to help their students become more engaged in analyzing and assessing their own thinking.


Critical Thinking Skills for Individuals with Special Needs: A Key Component to a Fully Inclusive Society.

Arshdeep Shinh
Mathematics Instructor
Education Program for Gifted Youth
Stanford University

Rona Margaret Relova
Stanford University

Developing critical thinking skills of students with special needs is not an indulgence but rather a necessity if they are to become productive citizens of our society.  People with learning disabilities are vulnerable and therefore it is essential to teach them with coping mechanisms that will prepare them for real-world challenges. As educators, we need to ensure that their contributions to the community are not tokenistic but rather of real value to them and to those they serve.  My discussion will focus on Intellectual Independence, Intellectual Perseverance and Intellectual Empathy as cardinal building blocks in honing critical thinking among individuals with special needs. I will also discuss the measurable outcomes of this goal.


You're Dogmatic About Dogmatism! No! You're Dogmatic About Dogmatism!

Don Ambrose
Professor of Graduate Studies
College of Liberal Arts, Education, and Sciences
Rider University

Dogmatic thinking can lead to serious consequences--disastrous wars, economic collapse, genocide, and authoritarian rule, to name a few. Dogmatism is a powerful antihero in an ongoing conflict with critical thinking. This far-ranging, interdisciplinary exploration of dogmatism draws insights from recent collaborative projects involving eminent researchers and theorists from critical thinking, psychology, ethical philosophy, political science, history, legal studies, sociology, and creative studies. The following are some of the insights explored in the analysis: some forms of identity formation can make you more dogmatic than others; genocide arises from any combination of four causes; we often mistake our theoretical models for reality; dogmatic policymakers force millions of children to suffer from devastatingly shortsighted educational initiatives; smart academics certainly are not immune to dogmatism. In short, dogmatism pervades everything--academia, the newsroom, politics, and our personal lives. When we pull together as collaborators in interdisciplinary teams of critical thinkers we have a chance to defeat dogmatism on the intellectual battlefield.


Glocalization of Critical Thinking 

Mohammad Bagher Bagheri
University Lecturer
Ph.D in TEFL

Islamic Azad University
Science and Research Branch
Tehran, Iran

The idea behind glocalization is thinking globally but acting locally . In fact it is about a situation in which universalizing and particularizing tendencies co-exist. In the world of business and commerce glocalization means a case in which a global product is transformed into another shape in order to meet the needs of local consumers. Adapting farming techniques to local conditions or encouraging people to make websites in their native languages are other examples of glocalization. Glocalization has also appeared in academic dialogue concerned with the response of education to a rapidly evolving global environment. Jeffrey Brooks and Anthony Normore argue a need for incorporating a glocal perspective within the technique of academic leaders. They propose that this occur as “meaningful integration of local and global forces,” or glocalization.

Promoting critical thinking in different parts of the world can be successful provided the local exigencies are taken into consideration. Asking for reasons and being open to alternatives, for example, are in conflict with the practices and principles of some cultures. According to Ennis (1998) the Inuit in Canada find it offensive to be asked for their reasons and are reluctant to reveal their mental states such as desires or beliefs. Some cultures do not hold that the worth and dignity of every person should be cared about, rather only a select group, perhaps the members of the culture. Nazi and slave-owning cultures, and religious fundamentalism are examples. In this way I believe sudden introduction and widespread promotion of critical thinking for all situations should be avoided. In this session we discuss how critical thinking promotion can be pursued with great discretion and with no apparent challenge to authorities.

Critical Thinking Practices in the Classroom

Hari Prasad Nepal
Ph.D Candidate
Kathmandu University, Nepal

The practice of dogmatic approach of instruction makes students monotonous.   In thinking and sharing value of curriculum; project based learning, thinking curriculum, lifelong learning, the process-guided instruction and alternative assessment system are emphasized.

While doing this, critical thinking, ability to analyze, evaluate the information and the problem solving is critical thinking is more practical than other. When I realized that it is necessary to explore the view on critical thinking practices in Nepalese classrooms and find the possible ways to enhance this practice among students, the overarching research question for this purpose was how do the teachers perceive and practice critical thinking. To answer this question I have selected three secondary school teachers and six students from Kathmandu districts as research participants. I have used qualitative research approach to pursue the study in which I used critical-constructive research paradigm.   I used pre-observation interview, classroom observation, interview with the teachers (mostly after observation) and interview with the students to collect the data. I observed that teachers perceive critical thinking as an alternative thinking, a strategy, and deep thinking.   Critical thinking is mostly used in proving facts, figures and theories in classroom practices where a teacher’s role is very noteworthy.   When teachers need to explain everything, a teacher perceives that critical thinking is a process of error detection with reasons.   It is done by students and that develops confidence in students ultimately. There are three types of teachers found in this study. The teachers mainly neglected to include most of the students; and internalize the matters.   I have found critical thinking practices in the classroom useful when the teachers seem to be novice in using questioning, reasoning, providing thinking times, etc.

Improving Student Critical Thinking Through Direct Instruction in Rhetorical Analysis

Lauren Mcguire 
English Professor
Victor Valley College

Purposeful implementation of Dr. Richard Paul and Dr. Linda Elder’s Elements of Thought, Intellectual Standards, and Socratic Questioning could strengthen students’ perceptions of critical thinking and of their own critical thinking abilities.   Educators can cultivate these intellectual traits by encouraging students to develop those skills necessary for clearly and logically evaluating the credibility and the reliability of rhetoric. Assuming that an argument can be any text - written, spoken, aural, or visual – that expresses a point of view,   it is vitally important for educators to challenge students to consider new perspectives on topics they may feel they already understand and to provide practice for analyzing the sorts of arguments they will be assigned in their various courses.   Implementing Paul and Elder’s Elements of Thought, Intellectual Standards, and Socratic Questioning through direct instruction in rhetorical analysis could encourage students to detect and evaluate the assumptions, ego-centrism, and socio-centrism in the rhetoric they are exposed to in literature, in the media, and in their own writing.   Furthermore, students are provided with the tools necessary for the acquisition of intellectual humility as they approach the complexities of life with clarity, accuracy, and precision; explore multiple perspectives of difficult problems; and learn to sympathetically acknowledge the viewpoints of others with breadth and clarity.

This session will focus primarily on designing instruction which integrates direct instruction in rhetorical analysis. Emphasis will be placed on incorporating Paul and Elder’s Intellectual Standards and the Elements of Thought. Participants will work in small groups and will be offered instructional methodologies which encourage the evaluation of expository and argumentative discourse and which develop students’ critical thinking, reading, and writing skills.


Fostering Critical Leadership in Teens: Cultivating ethical Identity Formation and Emerging Social Conscience in Dialogue with Today's Leaders and Tomorrow's Challenges

Joseph Heyer
Executive Director
The Larger Context, Inc.

Our nation is desperate for a generation of inspiring leaders for national and international government and business positions, and for our communities. Often, our education system does not nurture independent decision-making and action in students who may aspire to leadership.

In this workshop, participants will be introduced to a highly interactive leadership development program designed for high school students who learn to see where there is need and how to take the lead. Workshop attendees will understand how students cultivate Critical Thinking elements, standards, and virtues throughout this four-pronged program that offers coursework (in etiquette, Appreciative Inquiry, ethics, communication skills, team building, leadership styles, social and economic issues, and global perspectives), leadership seminars (deep conversations with local government and business leaders examining challenges they face and approaches they find effective), weekly mentor meetings (in the workplace with an adult who has leadership responsibilities in their career), and community service (assisting needy organizations as well as creating and delivering a student-designed event).

Each facet of this program will be clarified along with underlying themes of diversity & inclusion, identity development, social-emotional learning, and maturing social conscience. The blueprint for this program can be replicated in any community or workplace of committed citizens.


When "Content" Resists: Challenges to Faculty Development on Best Practices for CT

Steven J. Pearlman
Director Interdisciplinary Writing and Reasoning
University of Saint Joseph

David Carillo
Writing Portfolio Program Administrator
University of Saint Joseph

Charged with faculty development around best pedagogical practices for critical thinking, the USJ IWR department runs a year-long course for select faculty in which faculty are first introduced to readings around the research on teaching critical thinking, and in which they later redesign courses around pedagogies for the same.  One frequent obstacle that emerges for faculty is their perceived conflict between the need to teach content vs. the need to develop critical thinking skills.  While acknowledging that some disciplines require “content push” in order to have their students meet a variety of needs and educational mandates, such circumstances fuel the question regarding how content functions in the classroom.  Mandates aside, often, the conflict arises from the notion that students must acquire a certain amount of foundational knowledge before gaining the ability to think critically in their chosen discipline.  Such perspectives not only challenge the notion of critical thinking but equally challenge the notion of literacy. This presentation will discuss the nature of this debate as it unfolds in faculty development, as well as the challenges and successes in helping faculty members understand that all “content” is a construction of thinking, i.e., that thinking creates “truths.

Enhancing Critical Thinking Across the Curriculum: Insights into the Long-Term Nature of Substantive Educational Reform

Trish Parish
Assistant Vice President Regional Accreditation Officer
Academic Affairs
Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University is focused on helping students make better decisions using critical thinking and the institution's core values. To achieve this goal, the university has revised its general education program and infused several courses with the Foundation’s approach to critical thinking. This presentation will share my personal experiences as a university professor and as the administrator of our critical thinking initiative. I have really transformed the way I teach based on what I have learned from attending the Foundation's events and hope share how it is working (with traditional and non-traditional college students, both online and in face-to-face courses). Participants in this session would learn how to: 1.) integrate critical thinking across the college curriculum in a meaningful way, including administrative processes and instructional strategies; 2.) use student learning data to improve the process; and 3.) explore lessons learned in Saint Leo’s first year of full implementation. I believe this session would be of interest to college level faculty and administrators who are interested in teaching for improved critical thinking and participants would be actively engaged with some of the tools we are using (including SEE-I, critical reading, and a rubric for writing samples). 

Critical Thinking and Interculurality: The Cultural Shock as a Means of Promoting Cultural Awareness

Maria Del Mar Calero Guerrer
Mahidol University International College
Nakhon Pathon, Thailand 

Teaching and learning a Foreign Language is a privileged ground to develop this kind of thinking because the students are facing a different culture, a new way of thinking and living.   This factor can make them reassess their own way of thinking. As a result, they can discover some assumptions that they have taken for granted because they are part of their cultural background.   This is especially relevant if we take into consideration the importance cultural shock. In my presentation, I will work on the results of a research project based on   some interviews conducted during 2013. I have interviewed people from Spain who live in Thailand and I have used their stories reporting a cultural shock experience. Afterwards I have used these stories in order to create activities based on real experience. The idea of reading these stories is to provoke the reflection and awareness of some assumptions we make because of our culture.

In my presentation, I am planning to explain   some of these real anecdotes. It will be also asked to the audience to reflect about personal experiences regarding cultural shock abroad or within their own country with people who represent a different culture, maybe even their own students. These personal experiences regarding cultural shock stories and the conflict behind can be analyzed in a more profound manner through disciplined use of the Elements of Thought and the Intellectual Standards. 


Educational Tranformation for the Classroom Teacher

Carmen Polka
Elementary Teacher and Independent Educational Consultant
Thompson School District

If there is one question we need to be asking about classrooms today, it is what level do students truly think through content in a critical way? Asking this initial question begins the fundamental shift in educators thinking from a typical classroom to a classroom that fosters the work from Paul and Elder at the heart of curriculum, instruction and assessment design. When working through this necessary shift, educators must ask what is worthy of my time with students? What is worthy of the student’s time? And how will the students exhibit a level of criticality in assessment? Using the Paul and Elder framework, specifically the: Elements of Thought, Intellectual Standards, and the Intellectual Virtues one can begin to rethink how students are asked to learn, what students are asked to learn, and how students can share their thinking. Additionally, close reading, Socratic dialogue, diads and other instructional strategies will bring critical thinking to life, even in the youngest of students.   “The important thing is to not stop questioning,” Albert Einstein stated, and this is the preface for my work as an educator in a primary classroom, utilizing the Paul and Elder framework as my primary source for restructuring the educated classroom, and in result, the educated mind.


Promoting Critical Thinking in the Public Speaking Course

Myra H. Walters
Chair, Speech Communication and Foreign Languages Department 
Florida SouthWestern State

In this workshop, I will share how I transformed my class and rekindled my love affair with teaching the basic public speaking course by designing a series of activities to get students to “think through” the steps to develop their ethical public speaking skills emphasizing intellectual traits. Key assignments include a topic approval assignment to get students to think through the process of identifying topics and speech purposes that are ethical, relevant and significant for their audience;   a web based speech preparation outline tool designed to lead students through the   process of developing their   speech by applying critical thinking standards that more accurately reflect the way students should think through the speech preparation process; and journal reflection assignments   which prompt students to analyze presentations and apply critical thinking standards to evaluate their speech video and the speeches of their peers, and to reflect upon how well they “thought through” each step   to develop their speeches. In the final reflection, students are asked to reflect upon the development of their intellectual traits during the public speaking course.   Some of the journal entries produced by students will be shared as proof that this course transformation is working to promote critical thinking skills in my public speaking classes.

Observation: The Earliest Critical Thinking Skill

Steve Coxon
Assistant Professor of Education and Director of Programs in Gifted Education
Maryville University

Careful observation is fundamental to a fair-minded understanding of the world and is important to continue to develop in elementary students through increasingly challenging learning activities. In her book, Emergent Science, Johnston (2014, p. 8) refers to observation as the “first and most important scientific skill” and suggests it begins to develop in the womb as the fetus learns to recognize familiar voices. While preschool curricula often focus on improving observational skills in early childhood, researchers Eberback and Crowley (2009) note that elementary classrooms neglect further development in middle and late childhood. This is unfortunate as it takes increasingly challenging experiences to improve any skill and careful observation is needed for well-developed habits of mind including clarity, accuracy, precision, depth, and breadth. Moreover, strong observational skills underlie such critical thinking concepts as comparing and contrasting viewpoints, evaluating evidence, and noting the sometimes subtle differences between fact and opinion. This discussion will provide a background on the development of observational skills in early childhood, connections between observation and critical thinking, and challenging activities to improve observational skills in elementary school students.


Critical Thinking in Chile: Present Status and Suggested Improvements

Nicole Hansen
Head of the Critical Thinking and Debate Center

Bello University, Chile

Programs of Critical Thinking in Chile and other Latin-American countries are insufficient, since they are only developed by a few institutions and are not mandatory for all students. With the purpose of evidencing the lack of these skills, the critical thinking abilities in freshman students at Andrés Bello University was studied, and the need to create and improve programs that promote and develop these skills from school through university was established. Also, two programs were created, one for college students in all levels, and one of Critical Thinking across the curriculum at the bilingual school Lincoln International Academy (from 5 th to 11 th grade)"

Intellectual Courage, Whistleblowing, and the Public Citizen: A Well-Founded Fear of Persecution

Caroline Hunt-Matthes
Adjunct Professor
Webster Univeristy
Geneva, Switzerland

Nowhere is the issue of dissent more evident as a check to today’s society than in the experience of the whistleblower who exposes misconduct, dishonesty, illegal or unethical practice. Whistleblowers confront unique critical-thinking challenges in particular the conflict between following orders and obeying their conscience. Moreover, the whistleblower must contend with "an uneven playing field" against wrongdoers in authority who use unfair fear-mongering   tactics such as the cover up of evidence, visceral attacks on the whistleblower's person and performance, the reinterpretation of facts and the intimidation of witnesses. The final hurdle is all too frequently costly and lengthy litigation in the knowledge that the whistleblower will be "defeated" due to limited financial resources. Contemporaneously, the whistleblower must manage his or her   own increasing isolation and marginalization from the world of work, community and family.

This paper will elaborate the intellectual and moral virtues embodied by whistleblowers in making critical thinking decisions about whether and when to blow the whistle, namely, intellectual humility, courage, integrity, perseverance empathy and fair-mindedness.   The seminal decision of a whistleblower must rest on the assessment and synthesis of available legal protection. This dichotomy will be illustrated by evidence from two institutions in which whistle blower protection is less than adequate: USA and UK national intelligence agencies   and the United Nations. When the whistleblower is no longer protected under law, or is subject to criminal prosecution in retaliation for speaking out about wrongdoing, serious implications exist for a truly free society.

Can educational reform address this important issue given that our hierarchical education systems are structured to reward the status quo and sanction dissent? Although the teaching of critical thinking skills is an imperative for future generations- perhaps their real world application unfairly exposes dissenters to vested interests with potentially brutal consequences. Perhaps the optimal critical thinker would envisage comprehensive whistleblower protection laws and their proper implementation ad interim.


Bringing Data into the Classroom to Foster Quantitative Reasoning and Critical Thinking Development

Frederique Laubepin 
Instructional Learning Senior
Inter-Univeristy Consortium for Political and Social Research
University of Michigan

More than the minimal capacity to read, write, and calculate, quantitative literacy connotes the defining characteristics of an educated (literate) person: it suggests, of course, a level of comfort/ease with numbers, but more importantly, it involves the ability to assess the strength and implications of information presented in numerical terms.  Acquiring these skills determines an individual’s capacity to control her quality of life and to make important personal and professional decisions.  Beyond that, quantitative literacy is also critical for a democratic society, in that it empowers people by giving them the tools to think for themselves, to ask intelligent questions of experts, and to confront authority confidently.

Unfortunately, many students (and even adults) remain functionally innumerate because the increase in quantitative data and numbers has not been accompanied by an increase in competency with quantitative data and numbers.  Consequently, they struggle with tasks ranging from reading and interpreting tables or graphs, analyzing evidence, reasoning carefully, understanding arguments, questioning assumptions, detecting fallacies, understanding and critically evaluating numbers presented in everyday life, to working within a scientific model and knowing what kinds of data might be useful in answering particular questions. 

This session will explore practical strategies for improving quantitative literacy and fostering critical quantitative reasoning through the use of research data and related tools in the undergraduate social science classroom.


Cultivating Critical Thinking for College Completion

Scott Demsky
Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Broward College

Joshua Kimber
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Critical Thinking QEP Mentor; Gen. Ed. Outcomes & Assessment Team Member
Broward College

Broward College has embraced critical thinking as an essential skill for its students to possess; therefore, it has selected critical thinking as the topic for its first Quality Enhancement Plan for accreditation through SACSCOC.  A student’s ability to think critically is at the core of teaching academic survival and success because if an institution can assist students in thinking more critically then students will be empowered to make informed decisions about their academic success. This session will discuss strategies that Broward College has developed to assist students enrolled in associate degree programs. Through Broward College’s conceptual framework of teaching and learning strategies and outcomes-based assessments, workshop participants will be exposed to practical ideas and strategies using the Paul-Elder model to cultivate students’ critical thinking skills with the goal of student success and completion.


Wiki-Ethics: The Implications of the Mass Behavior of the Internet and Social Media for Critical Thinking and Ethics

Shawn Thompson
Professor Thompson Rivers University
Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada

The application of critical thinking and ethics is changed radically by the behaviour that the Internet and the social media allow for impulsive, unmediated, unfiltered publishing of information. From models like Wikipedia, Wikileaks and #OccupyWallStreet, thinking and ethics in communication have become a process of revision while the event is happening with no dominant authority in control. That means a shift of power to the public citizen both as an individual and as a group acting in an unknown dynamic, with a transformation of the challenge of cultivating critical thinking and ethics. A good or a bad result may depend on the unpredictability of the circumstances and the unpredictability of the particular group dynamics. In that way, the result may be a more reflection of human nature, rather than the direct mediation of those with power and authority. Wiki-ethics would be a collaborative, citizen-based effort working from inside the changes to boost and channel the potential for ethical action in the Internet era and to investigate ways to make goodness go viral.


Teaching Critical Thinking to Students from Different Cultures: Pitfalls and Remedies

Nancy Burkhalter
Adjunct, Language and Culture Bridge Program
Seattle University

Teaching critical thinking is challenging for any instructor. However, the task is made exponentially more difficult if learners come from a culture whose sociopolitical and educational background never included critical thinking or may have even discouraged it. Because of this lack of exposure to these concepts and practices, there can often be profound and unexpected differences in these students’ learning styles and cognitive abilities that make it difficult to handle critical thinking concepts. This session details 1) problems you might encounter when teaching students from different cultures, such as resistance to open-ended questions, collaboration, and student-centered activities, 2) possible causes for this reluctance, e.g., authoritarian policies that inform many pedagogies, and 3) strategies to circumvent this resistance. Participants will come away with a keener appreciation of how these students’ background has shaped their thinking and how you can best tailor instruction.


Intellectual Virtues and Critical Thinking in a First-Year College Program

Heather Barrack
Writing Department
Bergen Community College

In this workshop, I will share my experience incorporating the Paul/Elder framework of the 'Intellectual Virtues,' 'Elements of Thought,' and 'Intellectual Standards' into my own classroom practice and, with colleagues, across the student experience. I will emphasize using the tools of critical thinking to move between the whole of an idea and its component parts. 32 Support Strategies for first-year students will be explored.

The session will move from the specific to the general, in this order:
• Introducing a substantive conception of critical thinking in one class, in one department, for one semester.
• Developing fairminded critical thinking pilot projects for classes in one department.
• Encouraging Socratic critical thinking in classes across the philosophy department.
• Engaging with colleagues to incorporate strong-sense critical thinking into all first-year seminar classes.
• Working to create a culture of critical thinking awareness for better close reading and oral assignments across the curriculum.

Handouts for the different levels of development will be available.


The Lesson: "I Think, Therefore, Who Am I?"

Janice Conti Taraborelli
Associate Professor
Johnson & Wales University

The fifty minute session embodies a critical thinking activity that will engage participants as both “student” and “educator.”   The exercise will use a current and relevant social issue and apply the elements of thought along with the intellectual standards and a form of Socratic questioning to arrive at a greater understanding of a complex problem. This exercise can be used in the classroom or applied to the “global” classroom as well.


Critical Thinking Course Design and Daily Strategies

Ben Reeves
Head of Theory and Knowledge
Teacher of Philosophy and Knowledge
Wesley College
Melbourne, Australia 

How can we create activities for students where genuine opportunities for critical and creative thinking emerge?  This session offers a variety of practical strategies around two key areas of critical thinking:  Part 1 considers how we can engage students and help them to generate ‘fundamental and powerful’ concepts that meaningfully shape their learning of content. Drawing on ideas from Paul & Elder’s ‘Elements of Thought,’ Gerald Nosich’s ‘Fundamental and Powerful Concepts,’ and Meyer & Land’s ‘Threshold concepts’: participants will play a ‘prisoners dilemma’ game and through their experience, help to generate the ‘Fundamental and Powerful’ concepts that could drive the learning of an (imaginary) course in politics or political philosophy. From the example, insights into the theory of concept learning will be discussed. Part 2 will focus on Working with the Elements of Reasoning through cognitive dissonance: by creating situations where students experience, playfully, states of uncertainty, ambiguity or even mystery,  a space of more open possibility emerges where there is no ‘right answer,’ where ideas can be genuinely tested collaboratively, and attention is drawn to the nature of thinking itself. To illustrate this, participants will choose one of  three simple activities to experience: Inside the Black Box – an activity that draws attention to the nature of inference-making and its relationship to other elements of thought – information, assumption, interpretation. Odd One Out  captures an aspect of creative thinking as the generation of possibility and openness to various viewpoints, while calling on the need to justify these possibilities, and have them questioned, in relation to the elements of thought. Rank and justify is focused on participants questioning and probing each other’s assumptions and the basis of their reasoning, using the ‘elements of thought.’  Participants will be invited to consider how they may use these kinds of activities in their own teaching.

Making Critical Thinking Visible: Critical Thinking in the Literature Classroom

Amanda L. Hiner
Assistant P rofessor of English
Coordinator, Critical Reading, Thinking, and Writing
Winthrop University

John C. Bird
Professor of English
Director, Winthrop Teaching and Learning Center
Winthrop University

Literary analysis offers English teachers an ideal vehicle for modeling, practicing, and teaching critical thinking skills. Though the study literature has traditionally emphasized the application of literary elements such as setting, characterization, form, meter, and theme, we believe that an explicit, deliberate, and careful application of the Elements of   Reasoning and the Intellectual Standards of Critical Thinking, along with a focused emphasis on metacognitive inquiry, produces deeper textual analysis and leads to more significant conclusions about literary texts. Drawing on our years of teaching both literature and critical thinking at the college level, we will share practical teaching tips and strategies to incorporate critical thinking explicitly into the literature classroom. In this session, we will discuss the theory and practice of our own integration of critical thinking strategies into our literature classrooms and will share helpful handouts, discussion questions, and application exercises suitable for integration into the literature classrooms ranging from middle school to graduate school. Our session will also include an integrative workshop experience in which participants can practice applying critical thinking skills and analysis to selected, short works of literature.


A Project Demonstration of Good Critical Thinking in Analyzing Students' Career Paths

Barbara Burke
Senior Professor, Liberal Arts and Sciences Department
DeVry University

Barbara Goldberg
Senior Professor, Liberal Arts and Sciences Department
Devry University

Our interactive workshop will emphasize the relationship between critical thinking and our students' field of study, showing how they worked in teams to develop relevant, engaging team projects.

First, we will showcase outstanding examples of our students' career projects. Then, we will lead the workshop participants in applying Richard Paul's theory of critical thinking, using his established elements and standards to emphasize the thinking behind these projects.  The participants will re-create the framework of team thinking by constructing the three-prong critical thinking foundation of our students' projects.  This task includes the analysis and assessment of the students' career paths, outstanding leaders and their contributions, and trends in their field. For added engagement, the participants will analyze their own fields of study for a real hands-on demonstration. 

The session will end with each group sharing highlights of their team's findings, more examples of our students' work, and a question/discussion segment.


Critical Thinking and Teacher Education

Zena Scholtz
Cape Peninsula University of Technology
Cape Town, South Africa

Since the establishment of a unified educational system underpinned by the transformative goals of the new constitution, following the ending of the apartheid era, the South African school curriculum has undergone a series of changes.   One aspect that was emphasized in all the policy documents was the requirement for the development of critical thinking. Qualities such as the ability to think critically in order to make informed decisions and to solve problems in social, scientific and economic contexts were highlighted. Despite the rhetoric, there were no clear guidelines which showed teachers how to develop critical thinking in their learners. In response to this, the Critical Thinking Group (CTG) was formed in 2003 comprising; teachers, teacher educators at a university in Cape Town, curriculum advisors from the provincial education department and researchers from overseas universities (York, England, and later, Wisconsin-Maddison, USA). This core group of educators have been working consistently to introduce science teachers to methodologies that would develop critical thinking in their learners. The first three years of the CTG project focused on in-service teachers while subsequent years focused on pre-service student teachers . Some of the outcomes of research and development in critical thinking have been several journal articles, teaching and learning materials as well as the development of a module on critical thinking in a teacher education programme.

In my session I will
report on the work of this professional learning community, formed to help teachers and student teachers develop pedagogies that would stimulate critical thinking, particularly argumentation, in school science and technology. During the session I will also engage participants in activities that will give them some insights into the approach we used when working with the teachers.

Intellectual Perserverance: Life inside the Element Wheel

Fred May
Safety Security & Emergency Management
Eastern Kentucky University

Students at Eastern Kentucky University are taught to solve life’s problems inside the element wheel, surrounded reassuringly by the eight elements of thought and the additional 27+- synonyms, plus the intellectual standards and traits. Students are taught to enter the Element Wheel at the position of “Problem”, remaining inside the wheel until the problem is solved, developing and analyzing alternative solutions, and finding preferred solutions by applying all elements. Students exit the element wheel at the position of “Solution”, or remain inside to solve additional problems. Student success in life and career requires problem-solving perseverance reassuringly from inside the Element Wheel.


Uncritically Organized: Improving Critical Thinking Development in Organizations

Richard King
Thinking in Organisations

The thinking environment in organizations is both complicated and complex.   This is due to the interaction between individuals thinking for themselves, teams thinking cooperatively and organizational structure, culture and processes.   This session will explore the barriers to critical thinking development in organizations and suggest strategies to overcome them.   The session uses the 8 Parts of Thinking as a framework to analyze issues with thinking in organizations.

Empathy's Contribution to Critical Thinking

Kevin R. Cutright
U.S. Army 

Empathy improves critical thinking. It helps avoid logical fallacies, such as naïve realism, false consensus effect, mirror-imaging, confirmation bias, and the straw man fallacy. (Admittedly, it may encourage some others, like over-identification, over-rapport, naïve fallibility, and hasty generalization.) Empathy also helps identify hidden assumptions in one’s reasoning.

This paper stems from a monograph written at a U.S. Army school. The monograph was a larger project focused on empathy’s contribution to military planning. Thus, some examples refer to military circumstances.

Fledgling Programmes in Critical Thinking - The Challenges and the Triumphs

Justin Skea 
Head Preparatory School 
St. Cyprian's School 
Cape Town, South Africa

Through this interactive session, I discuss the challenges, surprises and rewards of introducing a school-based programme of critical thinking within the context of a Newly Industrialised Country (in this case South Africa). Though the notion and idea of teaching thinking has gained momentum over the past decade or two, and even appears in official curricula around the world, for many countries, particularly developing and newly industrialised countries, schools and education systems are only now beginning to fully grapple with the need to develop critical thinking skills and the cultivation of core intellectual virtues. The session takes the case study of a South African Preparatory/Primary school’s introduction of an integrated programme of Philosophy for Children and Mindfulness exercises and explores, through visual media, anecdotal observations and empirical data, the practical benefits, unforeseen challenges, cautionary tales and inspiring journey that this school and others in South Africa have embarked on. This session is meant for those who share in the trepidation and fear of introducing a programme that seeks to develop critical and creative thinking skills in a country, education system or school that  embraces the concept but is unable to take it to a level beyond the realm of theory. 

Critical Thinking in the Elementary Classroom 

Lindsey Wilkes 
Grade Six Teacher 
Rundle College Elementary School 

Adrea Friesen 
Assistant Principal 
Rundle College Elementary School

21st century learners require skills that will allow them to interpret, analyze, synthesize and extend information. Embedding critical thinking activities into everyday practice makes this second nature to our students. Upper elementary is the exciting age where students begin to discover the world around them and start to explore diverse ways of thinking. We will share different projects and activities our students in fourth to sixth grade have participated in to help stimulate critical thinking. All of our core subjects endeavor to help our students become life long critical thinkers. This will be a practical look at how you can embed critical thinking into your elementary classroom.


Using Social Media as an Access Point to Analyze Our Thinking (For Teachers and Elementary School Students) 

Shira M. Cohen-Goldberg 

Lead Facilitator 

Hill for Literacy

The Common Core State Standards establish that teaching practices and related tasks that help students cultivate their thinking are to be prioritized in classroom instruction. This presentation is designed to help participants explore novel ways to bring the core concepts of critical thinking to elementary and middle school students. By nature, digital information (including social networking sites and youtube), is continuously accessible, abundant, and often requires careful analysis. Social media is a timely and appropriate means to help young students analyze new information and is an engaging point of access for all students. Presenter will use digital media to help participants explore the concepts of information/inferences/assumptions, touch on Paraphrasing and Explication, and deeply engage in the analysis level by exploring the logic of an internet persona’s thinking. Presenter will offer methods and tools to help students move their thinking beyond digital media and into textual analysis.


Running Toward the Confusion: Making Intellectual Traits Central and Accessing them Meaningfully 

Kurt Weiler 

English Teacher / ESL Coordinator 

New Trier High School

Intellectual traits (intellectual humility, intellectual courage, intellectual empathy, etc.) are fundamentally important to all of us who seek to cultivate critical thinking in our classrooms, but  they can seem too abstract to be used in assessment. Using examples from a high school English class, this session will examine how teachers can fundamentally reorganize their classrooms to make the development of intellectual traits the central feature of student learning. The session will address the crucial role of student reflection in helping students to understand the intellectual traits, relate them to their own academic experiences, and create meaningful academic goals in a given subject area. It will also explore ways to cultivate critical thinking through the use of critical reading journals, which ask students to “run toward the confusion” instead of seeking the shelter of safe answers. In addition, the session will explore how student-teacher conferences can be used for assessment  by requiring students to present evidence from their journals that demonstrates their growth in the intellectual traits. Finally, the session will examine how the shift to making intellectual virtues central in a classroom can result in creating a more personalized and meaningful learning experience for each student.


Developing a Sustainable Model for Faculty Development in the Pedagogy of Critical Thinking

William Reynolds 
Associate Professor of Social Work 
The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

Mark Berg 
Associate Professor of Psychology 
The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

The goal of our workshop is to use our experiences implementing a professional development program to help conference participants generate institution-specific strategies for increasing and improving critical thinking pedagogy. As indicated by Cosgrove (2013), “the most positive contributing pedagogical element [for improving teaching and learning] was the ‘learning community’ model” (p. 231), and this emphasis on a supportive group of faculty who share a commitment to a values-based (e.g., intellectual humility, courage, fair-mindedness, etc.) approach to teaching and learning, which was built into our model from project conception, will be emphasized in our workshop. The session will be interactive, with participants engaging in brief small-group activities in which they use the Framework to help them think deeply and broadly about aspects of the culture of their own institutions that might either facilitate or inhibit the development of an institution-wide effort to improve students’ critical thinking disposition and skills.  Participants should leave the session with a beginning plan for improving critical thinking pedagogy at their institutions. 


The Effect of Reflective Writing Interventions on Critical Thinking Skills and Dispositions and Baccalaureate Nursing Students

Jessica Naber 
Assistant Professor, School of Nursing 
Murray State University

This study was performed to test the effectiveness of a reflective writing intervention, based on Paul’s model of critical thinking, for improving critical thinking skills and dispositions in baccalaureate nursing students during an eight-week clinical rotation. An experimental, pretest-posttest design was used. The sample was a randomly assigned convenience sample of 70 baccalaureate nursing students in their fourth semester of nursing school at two state-supported universities. All participants were enrolled in an adult-health nursing course and were completing clinical learning experiences in acute care facilities. Both groups completed two critical thinking instruments, the California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST) and the California Critical Thinking Dispositions Inventory (CCTDI), and then the experimental group completed a reflective writing intervention consisting of six specific critical-thinking oriented writing assignments. Both groups then completed the two tests again. Results showed a significant increase (p=0.03) on the truthseeking subscale on the CCTDI for the experimental group when compared to the control group. Although none of the CCTST subscale scores changed significantly, the experimental group’s scores increased on four of the five subscales. In addition the experimental group’s scores were higher than the control group’s scores on three of the five subscales. There were also some other slight differences on subscale scores that could be accounted for by the institution, age, ethnicity, and health care experience differences between the control and experimental groups.

Are we Really Teaching Critical Thinking by Adopting Programmes that Delineate Critical Thinking as a Goal and a Learning Outcome?

Yara Hilal-Jurdi 
Diploma Programme Chief Examiner 
Educational Consultant and Trainer 
Vice President of the Lebanese Center for Human Rights. 

Critical thinking continues to gain an increased interest in educational circles as long as lifelong learning continues to be an inevitable aim of modern education, making critical thinking a goal and a student learning outcome of a number of educational programmes.  Among others, the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB-DP) and Lebanese Baccalaureate (LB) are academic programmes that claim to teach critical thinking. The study examines the shortages and the contributions of the IB-DP and LB in facilitating the teaching of critical thinking. The research discusses obstacles that face the teaching of critical thinking in IB-DP and LB classes using two case study schools located in the southern suburb of Beirut-Lebanon and describes a number of “critical thinking friendly” teaching methods. The study also identifies a number of factors that play a role in the frequency of adopting critical thinking friendly teaching methods and activities and these include; programme’s assessment requirements, administration support, planning time and class time, and a school unified conception of critical thinking.  The research uses “Justified Indoctrination”[1] to propose a model for the teaching of critical thinking without compromising the content delivery of disciplines.  Finally, the study proposes a definition for critical thinking that addresses the controversial issue of subject-specificity and subject-neutrality and explains the impact of this in the adoption of a model for the teaching of critical thinking.

Historiography: The Application and Dissemination of Critical Thinking Within History

Mickey Del Castillo 
Social Science Department 
Gulliver Prepatory School

I have been teaching the application critical thinking within history for over 13 years as a Social Studies teacher. My definition for critical thinking is the continual process of engaging authentically, through actions and words, process and product, with the world around us in a substantive manner. Having taught in both the challenging setting of inner city schools to the affluent prep school environment, I find there is this continual neglect to think critically in teaching and learning history within the realm of critical thinking. I tend to believe this neglect stems from simple ignorance on the topic, fear of the skepticism and perceived subversion critical thinking is seen to represent, and a general misapplication of criticality; an example being the ability to score well on a AP (Advanced Placement) exam and assuming because one was able to pass, they were actually applying critical thinking in history, when in reality, they memorized information but their retention and actual understanding of the history is superficial at best.

In my presentation I seek to discuss and disseminate how the focus on historiography (the act of thinking critically in history) has to be the main component when teaching any sort of course in the realm of history. I will also cover different historical perspectives that have been developed within a framework of critical thinking (i.e. historical forces, material dialectic, orthodox vs. revisionist mindsets) and see how aspects of Student Guide to Historical Thinking compliments these said methods. In closing the presentation I hope to have a dialogue as to what obstacles stand in the way of providing students from developing a historical/critical perspective and how to go about finding solutions when faced with these obstacles.