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Concurrent Session Descriptions

Thursday, July 19

Concurrent Sessions are presented by attendees who are attempting to foster critical thinking in teaching, learning, work, or any other aspect of life, or who wish to share research related to critical thinking. Choose one Concurrent Session to attend in each time slot.

Schedule Overview:

                        8:00 a.m.  –  8:50 a.m.                  Concurrent Sessions I

                        9:00 a.m.  –  9:50 a.m.                  Concurrent Sessions II

                        10:00 a.m. –  10:50 a.m.                Concurrent Sessions III

                        2:55 p.m.   –  3:45 p.m.                  Concurrent Sessions IV

                        3:55 p.m.     4:45 p.m.                  Concurrent Sessions V

Concurrent Sessions I

(8:00 a.m. – 8:50 a.m.)

Critical Thinking: Front & Center

Agnieszka Alboszta
Instructor, American English Institute
University of Oregon

Room: Salon III

The purpose of this session is to demonstrate a model of situating critical thinking at the center of instruction – in this case, in a writing course for international students – and to share this model’s successes and on-going challenges. The simple but powerful model focuses on developing students’ understanding of several key concepts: analytical, evaluative, and ethical thinking, while simultaneously growing their skills in writing substantively.

This session also encourages participants to consider whether (or to what extent) such a model might be transferrable and useful in other courses and disciplines. Finally, the session invites participants to share and propose still other models.

The Future of Critical Thinking Instruction: Developing Powerful, Practical, and Pedagogically Sound Technology-Based Learning Paradigms for the 21st Century

Brett A. Brosseit
Critical Thinking Author and Consultant;
Director of Advanced Critical Thinking
Ave Maria School of Law

Room: Salon II

Critical thinking instruction often appears at odds with emerging 21st-Century educational paradigms. Automated learning, massive online open enrollment courses, pre-recorded videos, and similar low-cost, high-enrollment approaches may seem ill-suited to facilitating the type of deep-level thought, rich dialog, self-reflection, and personalized feedback that typifies effective instruction for the development of critical thinking.

Last year, a high-profile international educational technology start-up venture operating pursuant to a United Nations mandate asked Dr. Brosseit to develop an internet-based critical thinking course appropriate for graduate students in any field of study. The challenge prompted Dr. Brosseit to research, contemplate, and confront head-on the tension between effective instruction for critical thinking and today’s most popular educational-technology delivery methods for cost effectiveness and large-scale impact.

In this interactive presentation, Dr. Brosseit will share the course he developed, discuss the process and challenges he faced, and solicit insights, ideas, and experiences from participants for developing powerful, practical, and pedagically sound critical thinking instruction for the 21st Century.

Critical Thinking for English Learners in Today’s Classrooms

Janna Heiligenstein
Assistant Professor, Education, ESL
Chair, Educational Leadership and Management Program
Fitchburg State University

Room: Santa Rosa

Development of critical thinking skills in our students is of utmost importance for the future of our democratic society. Yet in many school settings, these skills are not taught to students that are below grade level or identified as English learners. Our population of English learners in schools in the United States continues to grow, adding to the diversity which many schools and districts are underprepared to serve, and which may currently be struggling to implement successful supports and strategies that facilitate both the learning and language acquisition of these students.  This presentation will demonstrate how a variety of critical thinking strategies can be used with English learners, and can serve as highly effective ways of engaging them in content-area learning as well as facilitating their language development.

Having taught and been an administrator in every grade from Pre-K-12 in three different states for 23 years, along with having been a teacher educator for the last 17 of those years, I have witnessed firsthand the challenges that teachers, schools and districts face with the diversity found in today’s schools, but most especially with the challenges that English learners bring. Yet this very diversity is what makes our country great. I am a strong proponent of the importance of high-quality public education as the backbone of our democracy. Critical thinking skills are vital to that education if we want citizens that can ask questions, search for answers, evaluate those responses and then make informed decisions about their own futures as well as around issues that impact the larger community of which they are a part. Including English learners in this process and promoting their ability to use these skills is crucial as they continue to be a rapidly-growing part of our country’s overall population, and we need them to be just as able as any other citizen to participate in and contribute to our society.

Implementation of Integrated Multi-Faceted Support Units to Overcome Despairing Evidence that First-Year Students Are Not Coping

Lea Koenig
Lecturer, Office of the Dean, Natural Sciences
Faculty, Natural and Agricultural Sciences
University of the Free State

South Africa

Room: Sonoma

A rigid focus on the curriculum of the Preparatory Skills Development module for first-year students revealed that students needed more time to practice and more scaffolding interventions to master specific skills such as critical thinking. This presentation shares the evidence of scaffolding efforts and how the researcher involved other academic units to support students.

The first generic skill which was addressed was the critical reading efficiency of first-year students. A three-year intervention program revealed significant improvements, but it was realized that reading is not the only academic challenge they are facing. The next logical step was to address critical writing skills. The WriteSite  provided students with a format on paragraph writing, the outline structure of an essay and organization of their assignments. Another crucial matter is the fact that students encounter problems with applying theoretical knowledge to written work. The WriteSite consultants noted that students were incapable of citing references in the proper contexts.

To see if the students were able to transfer the knowledge they gained through the WriteSite to a Natural Sciences context, they had to complete a research assignment. Some students showed noticeable improvement in the structure and referencing of the assignments, but more scaffolding was needed.

By incorporating open-minded inquiry, studying critical thinking terms and focusing on the important role of well-defined questions and critical reflection in teaching and learning, students developed their own framework for critical thinking. The knowledge the students gained through this long and tedious process will be transferable to many aspects of their lives, not just academic work.

Centre for Critical Thinking, Teaching and Learning in the Nigerian Defence Academy: Successes, Challenges and Prospects

Nafisatu Muhammad
Head of Centre
Centre for Critical Thinking, Teaching and Learning
Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna

Caroline Obiageli
Faculty, Department of Languages
Arts & Social Sciences
Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna

Room: Bodega

Every human establishment needs critical thinking for optimal performance and output. In recognition of this, the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) inaugurated the Centre for Critical Thinking Teaching and Learning (CCTTL) on the 19th of February, 2015, as an educational center that would promote teaching excellence and enhance learning outcomes in the Academy through critical thinking. The Centre’s mandate is to promote the professional competence of academic staff and military instructors at the Academy, as well as teachers in the NDA subsidiary primary and secondary schools, through the provision of quality workshops, seminars, and conferences. Over the years, the actualization of this mandate has remained an uphill task with grounds clearly gained in some areas and unfortunately lost in others. This presentation is therefore aimed at sharing the successes, challenges, and prospects of a center for critical thinking in a Nigerian military institution. 

Critical Thinking to Enhance Academic Writing in Higher Education

Imani Akin
Academic Curriculum Director, Leadership and Administration
American College of Education

Crystal Neumann
Chair, Leadership and Administration and Doctoral Program
American College of Education

Room: Cotati

Academic writing is different from other forms of writing. Fluency, logic, reasoning, and sequence of thoughts are key elements for writing in higher education. Developing a dissertation is a major piece of work as students labor to maintain the interest of the reader and demonstrate aforementioned key elements. Alignment of the research elements for consistency and reasoning is another challenge of academic writing as students progress throughout the doctoral program. Supporting the student in the development of the research project begins with critical thinking that transfers to the writing process. An exploration of strategies and best practices in aligning critical thinking to the writing process can increase student skills and success in dissertation development.


Concurrent Sessions II
(9:00 a.m. – 9:50 a.m.)

Using Critical Thinking for Deliberative Grading: A Training Workshop for Faculty

Kathleen M. Hogan
Vice Dean, Graduate Learning Initiatives
University of Maryland University College

Room: Salon III

Teaching faculty members to interpret competencies and the underlying learning objectives to grade student projects is daunting. Explanations of the competencies and descriptions of the difference between A, B, and F work have been some help, but the range of grades over 60 sections indicates a lack of norming and consistency in our assessment of student projects. Our university’s faculty development does a good job of teaching best practices and specific skills, but there is a gap in support for grading and feedback.

A review of the wealth of ideas on the Foundation’s website and in its publications sparked an idea for faculty development. Why not use the tenets of critical thinking and writing as the basis for a workshop? We would first review the principles of close reading and substantive writing, analysis, and evaluation. We would next review the competencies in the rubric to arrive at shared understandings of the different skill components we are assessing. We would then apply the reading and writing principles to a student paper and assess the strength of the paper based on the student’s mastery of communication and critical-thinking/information-literacy competencies. There would be opportunity for faculty to discuss their new grading rationales and share ideas.

This forum appeals as a way to refresh faculty members’ knowledge of critical thinking and communicating, and to progress toward a shared understanding of how to evaluate student work and provide substantive, useful feedback.  

Cultivating Critical Thinking Across Professions ‘By Stealth’

Richard King
Thinking in Organisations

Room: Salon II

Professions are frequently criticized as being inward-looking and largely immune to thinking critically within and beyond their intellectual boundaries. People who question the ‘thinking paradigms’ in their professions are often labeled as radicals and heretics. Some people within professions become frustrated at the difficulties inherent in promoting critical thinking: the harder they push for change, the more the profession supports ‘traditional wisdom.’ This session will explore some of the key barriers to cultivating critical thinking in a profession, and will suggest adopting a ‘stealthy approach’ to grow the habits of critical thinking. The session uses the eight parts of thinking as a framework for cultivating critical thinking in professions.

TiPOC for Oral Presentation Skills: The Application of the Paulian Model of Critical Thinking

Xin Liu
Senior Teacher, Chinese Language
Saint Margaret’s Secondary School

Kwang Wan Yi
Subject Head and Teacher
Saint Margaret’s Secondary School

Room: Santa Rosa

This session presents St. Margaret’s Secondary School’s experience in applying the Paulian model of critical thinking to develop a cognitive framework for oral presentation skills. With the aim of improving students’ oral skills, a 5-stage thinking model (TiPOC) was designed that incorporates the dynamic application of the Intellectual Standards on the Elements of Thoughts to enhance students’ quality of thinking and articulation. Empirical research was conducted, and findings reveal the efficacy of said model. TiPOC is applicable in any subject area that involves oral presentation and is independent of the medium of instruction.

Critical Thinking Through Individualized Learning

Susannah Johnson
Assets High School

Room: Sonoma

Critical thinking is the foundation of dynamic learning learning that lives, breathes and adapts with purpose and functionality. Educators extol the virtues of strong critical thinking skills as part of 21st-century learning, and business leaders require these skills of graduates entering the workforce. Individualized instruction is one strategy whereby students can begin with a variety of study topics, and critical thinking practices can then be employed to deepen learning in a manner that resonates and strengthens connections. 

After conducting graduate work on ‘Student-Defined Critical Thinking Performance Outcomes via Individualized Learning,’ I developed a new program that is 100% individualized instruction for various course credits with the core content of critical thinking. Having ten or more curricula in one room can happen, does not require huge chunks of extra time, and can have meaningful impact on student learning. Focused on asking critical questions, individualized instruction can reveal great brilliance through the chaos.

In this active-participation session, walk through the logistics of managing it all, and see how you can build individualization into any classroom.

Improving Student Critical Thinking Through Direct Instruction in Rhetorical Analysis

Lauren McGuire
Professor, English
Victor Valley Community College

Room: Bodega

Cultivating critical thinking, intellectual growth, and lifelong learning opportunities that provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary for success in life is a fundamental goal of all educational institutions. In an effort to encourage students’ higher order thinking skills and abilities, educators are beginning to include critical thinking curriculum into a variety of academic disciplines. Instructional strategies that advance critical thinking pedagogy on a consistent basis could positively impact the range and quality of student critical thinking skills’ performance. 

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 express 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.  Consistent application of Paul and Elder’s Intellectual Standards provides students 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.

The Use of Structured Thinking Techniques to Strengthen the Practice of Critical Thinking

James A. Plotts
Adjunct Faculty
Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey;
Instructor, Analytic Tradecraft
Department of Energy;
CIA, U.S. Foreign Service, and U.S. Army Intelligence (Retired)

Room: Cotati

‘The use of structured thinking techniques to strengthen the practice of critical thinking.’ This interest, incidentally, is what first brought me to a Foundation for Critical Thinking conference some year ago: I attended to learn the Foundation model for critical thinking as a structured thinking technique.

The gist of my session topic is that much of the critical thinking literature does a thorough job of discussing critical thinking, but is less helpful at providing practical methods of integrating it into day-to-day life. Reinforcement of an intellectually understood skill with practical methods speeds translation of that skill into habitual use. I will discuss this learning/teaching challenge and teach the audience some basic structured thinking techniques that can be used to stimulate critical thinking use, both in the classroom and on the job. In particular, I will touch on divergent thinking (to help overcome anchor and similar biases), alternative competing hypotheses (to check our tendency to create affirmative solutions from the available data), bow-tie analysis (to think about opportunities for personal/group action in a structured way), and, time permitting, other techniques to be suggested by specific areas of interest that come up during the session.


Concurrent Sessions III
(10:00 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.)

Contextualizing the Intellectual Virtues for Technical Professionals

Robert Niewoehner
David F Rogers Distinguished Professor of Aeronautics
United States Naval Academy

Room: Salon III

Paul and Elder’s intellectual virtues intentionally echo what scholars through the ages have asserted as necessary dispositions for thriving intellectual development and life. Excellence in thinking is grounded by personal attributes, which we’ll struggle to mature through our lives. These attributes are appearing more frequently in the broad business literature as indispensable to professional excellence and growth.

This session will focus on exemplifying stories from the aerospace industry, connecting Paul and Elder’s formulation with the contemporary business literature of Goleman, Collins, Drucker, Sinek and others.

Weaving the Paul/Elder Model of Critical Thinking with Mindfulness to Blanket the World in Fairminded Thinkers

Susan Crooks
Language Arts Instructor, Middle School
South Carolina Connections Academy
South Carolina

Walter Crooks
Advisory Teacher, Middle School
South Carolina Connections Academy
South Carolina

Room: Salon II

What if we, as global citizens, blanketed the world with the intellectual virtues of fairmindedness, intellectual empathy, intellectual perseverance, intellectual courage, intellectual integrity, and confidence in reason? Already there are those who have begun the weaving, but considering the magnitude of the blanket needed, we need many hands. We also need the tools, the materials, and the directions. In this search, we can reflect on the writings of great thinkers such as Socrates, Thomas Paine, and John Henry Newman, but for practicality, it would be useful to have a universally-accepted set of instructions to follow, a set of standards to apply and also a way to keep the weaver present in the practice. With many hands weaving together the Paul-Elder Model of Critical Thinking with mindfulness, we may move humanity towards global citizenship.

During this workshop, we will provide you with the tools, the materials, and the directions to help you develop a daily practice of mindfulness and also of critical thinking. We will be working with the Paul-Elder Model of Critical Thinking and also the mindfulness techniques of open-monitoring and focused-attention. Join us in weaving a blanket of intellectual virtues that will warm the hearts and minds of humanity.

Critical Thinking and the Professional Development of Graduate Students

Michael Matthews
Professor, Chemical Engineering
Senior Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies
Vice Dean, College of Engineering & Computing
University of South Carolina
South Carolina

Room: Santa Rosa

It is commonly assumed that advanced-degree candidates matriculate with a high level of critical thinking skills, or learn these skills from the major professor during their research apprenticeship (Lee, 2008). Considerable investigations at both the undergraduate (Arum & Roksa, 2011) and graduate (Walker & Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 2008) levels call this assumption (and the traditional “apprenticeship” model of graduate education) into serious question. For this session, it is hypothesized that common faculty concerns about their graduate students (e.g. poor writing and speaking skills; inability to comprehend and act on the literature; inability to develop independence of thought; etc.) are broadly related to lack of understanding of critical thinking, and inability to make application in the particular realm of advanced graduate research (Goodwin, 2014; Parker, 2012).

This session is aimed at exploring practical approaches to instill life-long practices of critical thinking in graduate students as integral to their overall professional development, and to do so as a consistent, sustainable effort within their programs of graduate study. Professor Matthews will present his approach and experience with courses designed for STEM graduate students. Participants will offer their own experiences. The outcome of the session will be shared understanding of perspectives and approaches to critical thinking and its role in the professional development of graduate students. Participation from non-STEM disciplines is desired.

Creating Interdisciplinary Teams for Engaged Critical Thinkers in the College Classroom

Ellen Vincent
Lecturer, Horticulture
Plant and Environmental Sciences Department
Clemson University
South Carolina

Room: Sonoma

Many college students dread group work and projects, not knowing if their teammates will come through and fearing a low score despite their efforts. By introducing concepts of engagement as found in Coming to Critical Engagement by Frank Fear (2006); and dialogue, defined in The Magic of Dialogue by Daniel Yankelovich (1999); and identifying the term ‘interdisciplinary’ and its potential outcomes; the entire group-work experience can be refreshed and invigorated for students learning to engage in the critical thinking process. These processes set the stage for accelerated exploration of intellectual standards and intellectual traits by students working in small groups of mixed majors. The skills acquired also prepare students for successful teamwork in the workplace. Examples of teaching methods used to introduce these concepts in a critical thinking class (HORT 3080: Sustainable Landscape Garden Design Installation and Maintenance) will be visually presented, and student survey responses to the experiences will be shared.

Music, a Primer Codifying Critical Thinking

Henry Henderson
Scholar and Musician

Room: Bodega

Music is an untapped pedagogical resource in the effort to cultivate critical thinking. Were it utilized to abstract empiricism and in the formation of models, students could derive a most unequivocal and lucid codification of the scientific method while concomitantly honing tools for their lifelong discovery as well as their comprehension of art and reality.

Writ from its elegant, elemental design manifests a fine work’s foundational coherence. Its determinism and closure exemplify that of the more complex natural world, and it offers a refinable isomorphic archetype for evaluating belief systems and cultivating efficient learning. The most basic musical modules may be devised to exhibit deliberately immediate educational attributes.

And – though the simple variables of relative space (interval) and speed (tempo) we may contrivedly ascribe to all the artforms – in no medium are they more explicitly abstract, or their ramifying complexities more usefully accessible, than in music. The directions of notes, their speeds, shapes and patterns, tendencies and aberrations –all the happenings of music can be readily observed. And the general methods for evaluating a piece’s coherence can serve to elicit the discovery of critical inquiry. I aim to address the exigency for evidence-based reason, by means of such musical paradigms.

Matter2Me: Using Mathematics to Teach the Applications of Critical Thinking

Tonya Clarke
Coordinator of K-12 Mathematics
Clayton County Public Schools
Georgia (U.S.)

Room: Cotati

Matters2Me uses mathematics to simulate a problem, topic, or question for the purpose of allowing students to analyze its components critically.
The students apply the standards of critical thinking to social issues, political issues, personal issues, or any issue that matters to them.

In consultation with peers, students identify and investigate an issue. The simulation allows students to recognize and relate the critical components of the issue and to separate fact from opinion. The students then use critical thinking question-stems to engage in a conversation. During this conversation, they apply the elements of thought with consideration for the standards of critical thinking to outline the facts and address the opinions. At this point, students determine whether to take further action on the facts or file the issue away for future consideration.

Matters2Me navigates students through the process of critically and logically thinking through significant issues that impact our community. Students engage in insightful and courageous conversations that can lead to a plan for the next revolution.


Concurrent Sessions IV
(2:55 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.)

CaT Skills: Using Critical Thinking in Basic Skills Classes to Increase Retention and Success

Herschel Greenberg
Instructor, English
Mt. San Antonio College

Room: Salon III

In general, basic skills classes (classes that are deemed prerequisites, but non-transferable units) contain students that lack the critical thinking skills needed for college-level reading and writing, two essentials of academic discourse. In addition, the course English 1C: Critical Thinking (course name will vary from college to college) is taught as the last course in the English sequence. I introduced a program, funded through the Basic Skills Initiative at Mt. San Antonio College, which implemented a ‘backwards design’ philosophy; that is, Dr. Richard Paul’s system of critical thinking is now integrated into basic skills classes instead of just the last English class. The program is called CaT Skills in the Classroom (C= Critical and T= Thinking, with an “a” thrown to make it catchy), and the results have been phenomenal – it is the ideal way to increase class retention and sustained success. The goal of this Concurrent Session is to explain how Dr. Paul’s critical thinking can be integrated into any basic skills class, and how my program achieved its results.

Fostering Institutional Discourse About Critical Thinking

Patricia E. Ackerman
Professor, Language Arts Curriculum and Instruction
Kansas State University, Polytechnic Campus

Room: Salon II

During the 2017 ICCC Conference, Dr. Patricia Ackerman reviewed diverse pedagogical definitions employed to define the term ‘critical thinking.’ Framed through the research lenses of Paul and Elder, Nilson, Brookfield, Halpern, Facione, Wolcott, Perry, and Bloom, Ackerman continues to explore language used to define critical thinking in academic settings. Through her year-long experience as the Coffman Chair for University Distinguished Teaching Scholars, Ackerman facilitated discourse about how faculty define, teach, and assess critical thinking at Kansas State University. Initial discussions resulted in 2017 being declared The Year of Critical Thinking at KSU. Collaborative partnerships between KSU’s Teaching & Learning Center, Office of Assessment, and Faculty Exchange for Teaching Excellence led to one full year of professional development opportunities, designed to foster intentional discourse about critical thinking. This session will share the strategies and lessons learned during this year-long conversation.

Fostering Critical Thinking as a Habit of the Mind in Every Course and Assignment

Mel Manson
Professor, Sociology and Psychology
Endicott College

Room: Santa Rosa

Students learn best in an environment where classroom instructional pedagogy guides them to better ways of thinking and reasoning. As faculty, we are responsible for designing courses and assignments that motivate and engage students in thinking and questioning within the logic of our disciplines. The ideal is for students to learn and internalize strategies that will help them become critical and fairminded thinkers. By using the elements of reasoning and intellectual standards, an instructor is able to create meaningful class content and assignments that allow students to develop and continuously apply critical thinking, so that these skills become a habit of the mind both in and out of the classroom. Practical examples of such assignments from the discipline of sociology will be introduced in this session. Participants will then be able to discuss with each other how they might incorporate some of these ideas in new class assignments and strategies in order to help guide their students in the ways of critical thinking. Teachers in any discipline at any level should find these suggestions helpful.

Proposing a Design for Teaching Critical Thinking 

Mohammad B. Bagheri
Science and Research Branch
Islamic Azad University, Tehran

Room: Sonoma

The curriculum question of how critical thinking should be taught has always been a major issue in critical thinking circles. Lack of consensus among scholars on how critical thinking should be incorporated into a total curriculum has made this question a widely debated topic.

In the first part of this session, four possible approaches to teaching critical thinking across the curriculum namely General, Infusion, Immersion and Mixed-Model will be briefly discussed, and the efforts made by different critical thinking scholars in material development will be reviewed. Then, a new design for material development and teaching of critical thinking at the university level will be proposed.

Two decades of teaching experience in the field of foreign-language instruction has encouraged Mr. Bagheri to propose a mixed model of critical thinking instruction, in which he draws heavily on Second Language Instruction principles. The participants will be provided with a handout containing 40 critical thinking strategies that can be used in the classroom.

Applying Critical Thinking Skills in University Business Education Programs

Louise K. Fitzgerald
Education Advisor, UNSW Business School
University of New South Wales

Room: Bodega

Over the past three years, I have been working collaboratively with colleagues from various disciplines including management, actuarial studies, economics and, most recently, information systems technology and management within a Business School to develop students’ critical thinking skills. We have drawn on expert sources including Toulmin’s model of argumentation (1969), Elder and Paul’s (2008) concepts and tools, as well as a broad range of discipline-specific sources on developing critical thinking in, e.g., economics and information systems. These sources have informed a range of approaches to practicing critical thinking in reading and writing activities, argument mapping (see e.g., Van Gelder, in Davies & Barnett, 2015), in debates and discussions, and in online self-paced learning activities.

While critical thinking is generally recognised as an essential outcome of tertiary education and one that is regularly assessed, it remains elusive in the day-to-day practice of university classes and learning activities. Drawing from the experience of working on this learning goal, I have come to appreciate that critical thinking is inherently connected to ethics and sustainability, and is realized through written and spoken communication. The practice of developing critical thinking necessarily occurs in the context of a discipline, and requires and demonstrates knowledge of the discipline.

In this Concurrent Session I propose to illustrate the approaches that I, in collaboration with colleagues from different schools within the Business School, have used to enhance students' learning experiences and develop their critical thinking skills. Firstly, I will present how critical thinking elements have been integrated with debates in an ‘Economic Growth and Development’ undergraduate course. Secondly, I will report on recent work in an information systems post-graduate research training course, in which the course is using critical reading strategies to develop students’ capacity to critically analyze the literature. 

Using Controversy to Teach Critical Thinking

Sarita Cargas
Assistant Professor, Honors College
University of New Mexico
New Mexico

Room: Cotati

This session will present a method for teaching critical thinking in almost any disciplinary context – using controversial topics. Every field has them: there are debates among the scholars themselves, and many have current controversial issues that are related to the field and appropriate to bring into the classroom. Studying debates requires that students consider multiple sides of an issue as fairly as possible, and thus achieves several objectives of critical thinking. They practice analyzing arguments for their strengths and weaknesses. Along the way, students learn that there are often reasonable arguments on positions they do not agree with, thus encouraging open-mindedness. It also nurtures the virtues of intellectual empathy, humility, and integrity.

In this session, I will share a systematic teaching technique I have developed for using controversy to teach critical thinking.  It includes exposing students to various genres of writing – everything from screeds to peer-reviewed journals. I will provide examples as well as present the research that the method is based on, including the fact that critical thinking must be approached explicitly.   


Concurrent Sessions V
(3:55 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.)

Integrating Critical Thinking in Teaching Content Knowledge in Various Disciplines

Rosarito Tatel-Suatengco
Associate Dean for Special Projects
Far Eastern University, Manila
The Philippines

Room: Salon III

This session will discuss a study that focuses on the application of critical-thinking teaching constructs to make overt the students’ learning of content knowledge in various disciplines taught in a comprehensive higher-education institution in the Philippines. Through a university-wide critical thinking engagement program, the faculty-participants of the University learn how to apply critical thinking in the study of content knowledge. The faculty-participants in the program are exposed to the processes involved in integrating critical thinking constructs with content knowledge of the disciplines in arts, social sciences, mathematics, and pure sciences, among others. The critical thinking engagement program also gives the faculty the means and ways to weave critical thinking with content knowledge.

Results of the program show that the faculty become more conscientious in applying critical thinking in their daily academic conduct in the classroom, giving deep thinking a higher priority in teaching, learning, and assessment. Through the program, the faculty-participants realize that critical thinking provides both tangible and nontangible positive outcomes in their teaching, learning, and assessment processes as applied in the classroom.

Critical Thinking in Nonprofit Management Education: Does an Explicit Emphasis Lead to Greater Skill Development?

Jennifer A. Jones
Assistant Professor, Nonprofit Management and Leadership
Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences
University of Florida

Room: Salon II

Much nonprofit management education has, thus far, been centered on the skills-based competencies required to manage an organization (e.g., fundraising, advocacy, marketing, finances, and human resources). To be effective in the sector, however, nonprofit leaders must also exercise critical thinking skills by, for example, integrating the perspectives of various stakeholders, analyzing the assumptions behind prosocial missions, and evaluating the effectiveness of programmatic interventions. Thus far, the nonprofit-management education literature has not addressed how, when, and where to include critical thinking skills in the curriculum. 

In this quasi-experimental study, we developed and tested a strategy to integrate critical thinking into the nonprofit-management education curriculum. The research questions were as follows: What is the critical thinking disposition of undergraduate nonprofit-management education students? Does an explicit pedagogical focus on critical thinking lead to increased capacity to exercise critical thinking skills? The study included two classes with identical coursework designed to improve students’ critical thinking. One class – the experimental condition – received additional explicit instruction in critical thinking. Pre-and post-tests measured skill proficiency, drawing from Faccione’s definition of key critical thinking skills. Preliminary findings suggest an explicit focus on critical thinking was related to improved skill performance and, conversely, a lack of explicit focus was related to decreased skill performance.

In this session we will a) describe and present the findings of the study, b) describe and provide handouts of the assessment materials used, c) present student responses to this study, d) discuss the integration of critical thinking into nonprofit management education specifically, and e) engage the audience to identify challenges of integrating critical thinking into the classroom more generally (e.g., match between instructor and class disposition, interweaving critical thinking into course objectives, etc.) Audience members will leave with concrete ideas about how, when, and where to integrate this sort of approach in their classrooms.

Critical and Creative Thinking and Business Schools: Where Do We Go from Here?

Peter Cardon
Academic Director of the MBA.PM Program
University of Southern California

Room: Santa Rosa

The purpose of this presentation is to explain approaches business schools have taken to develop critical thinking skills among student. The presentation will link these efforts to what recruiters and business school alumni suggest are the most pressing needs as far as critical thinking.

Our primary focus is on situations involving ambiguity and complexity. Business schools have traditionally been known for graduating highly analytical business professionals. However, many recent evaluations of business programs suggest that business schools often fail to produce graduates who are effective and creative thinkers in highly unstructured situations.

Given the contemporary business environment – where exponentially growing amounts of unstructured information is readily available, where product cycles are shorter, where innovation is expected faster, and where technologies such as AI are rapidly changing the nature of work – the ability to think critically is more important than ever.

Our presentation focuses briefly on the context, with most of the time devoted to describing innovative approaches business schools are taking to enhance the critical and creative thinking skills of their students. We also describe what we view as key considerations in how business schools develop curriculum, train instructors, and partner with industry to improve critical thinking. Our presentation is relevant for educators at all levels.

Engaging Students in Civic-Minded Writing

Courtney Brogno
Lecturer, English
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Room: Sonoma

In my critical thinking and persuasion writing courses, none of the students’ essays stay within the four walls of the classroom. For one essay, students must pick a political topic and write an essay to the audience of President Trump, Vice President Pence, or someone within the cabinet. One of the goals is that the students pick the correct audience that matches their topic, narrow their subject down to a workable topic, and elevate their language. When they finish their essay, they turn it into a letter and actually send it to their audience.

For another essay, students investigate anything they want, and then turn their investigation into a persuasive essay with a targeted audience they chose. The students then must turn their essay into a letter/short essay for a blog/etc. and send it out as well. Most students receive letters back and/or get published.

Embedding Critical Thinking into College Composition (Argumentation): Engaging All Students

Patti Parsons
Professor, English
Palm Beach State College

Room: Bodega

Every student has the capacity to learn, practice, and demonstrate critical thinking. This session shares how to hook, engage, and motivate students to think, read, and write critically. The aim is for students to embody critical thinking elements, standards, and traits, so that their future contributions will have an intellectual impact for global improvement in whatever areas they pursue. Integrating critical thinking into college-level reading and writing for a deeper understanding and production of content, as well as strategies to overcome challenges or resistance to intellectual exercise and perseverance, are candidly presented in this session.

Socratic discussion in the classroom (where students learn to articulate the concepts of critical thinking) bring the elements, standards, and traits full circle, from reading and writing critically to listening and speaking. Giving students confidence as thinkers brings academic success, and is one of the most certain ways we have to secure problem-solving for the complex issues facing the world as well as true global advancement for everyone. I tell my classes, ‘You are our future thinkers; your thinking will determine many events and outcomes. Therefore, your assimilation of critical thinking is of urgent, and paramount importance.’ I tell them that they are the future world leaders; if not them, then who will that be?

The Effect of Reflection Practice on the Critical Thinking Dispositions and Emotional Intelligence among Newborn Intensive Care Nursing Students

Marzieh Hasanpour
Associate Professor, Nursing
NIDCAP Professional
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Tehran University of Medical Sciences

Room: Cotati

Newborn Intensive Care Nursing is a profession focused on serving the healthcare needs of individuals, families, and society. In order for nurses to provide such services, they should be aware of their own emotions and thoughts as well as those of the patients and their families to make correct decisions. This requires nurses to have critical thinking and emotional intelligence.

To improve patients' care, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) emphasizes the importance of getting graduating nurses to think critically when they provide nursing care in placement. The AACN also has identified critical thinking as vital training in nursing education programs.

Some studies suggested that reflective practice can be effective for developing and promoting critical thinking and emotional intelligence. Reflection provides nurses with a chance to think about their behavior, analyze their actions, take up alternatives, and implement new ideas. Therefore, if nurses use reflection effectively, it would be a very useful way to improve their dispositions toward critical thinking and emotional intelligence.

During the process of self-learning and accumulating experience in the clinic, constant reflection by nursing students becomes a key factor promoting the life-long learning of nursing professionals. In this regard, a professional portfolio, as a type of record, becomes proof of the reflection process and an instrument for professional-ability evaluation. So, the term ‘portfolio’ describes a goal-driven and organized collection of items, the records in which can be used to evaluate a learner's expansion of knowledge and skills over time. Here, the meanings of ‘reflection’ include reflection of learning in the clinic and self-assessment of work performance.