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October 2019 Critical Thinking Academy for Educators and Administrators


October 2019 Critical Thinking Academy  

for Educators and Administrators 

Placing Critical Thinking at the Heart of Teaching and Learning: 

Getting Beyond the Superficial     

  Plus: Advanced Seminar for Returning Delegates

A Two-Part Academy; Attend Two Days or All Four Days

October 10 - 13, 2019

Includes Optional Followup Online Study Groups

Compton Gardens and Conference Center

312 N. Main St.
Bentonville, AR 72712

Registration Closed

Includes Advanced Seminar for Returning Participants

First Workshop: October 10-11
Placing Critical Thinking at the Heart of Teaching and Learning:
Redesigning Instruction Through the Foundations of Critical Thinking

This workshop will focus on the fundamentals of critical thinking. This session will lay the foundation for teaching critical thinking through your subject(s). It will introduce you to the essential conceptual sets in critical thinking – namely, how to analyze thinking, how to assess it, and how to develop and foster intellectual virtues or dispositions.

One conceptual set that we will focus on is the elements of reasoning, or parts of thinking. The elements or parts of reasoning are those essential dimensions of reasoning that are present whenever and wherever reasoning occurs,
independent of whether we are reasoning well or poorly. Working together, these elements shape reasoning and provide a general logic to the use of thought. They are presupposed in every subject, discipline, and domain of human thought.

A second conceptual set we will focus on is universal intellectual standards. One of the fundamentals of critical thinking is the ability to assess reasoning. To be skilled at assessment requires that we consistently take apart thinking and examine the parts with respect to standards of quality. We do this using criteria based on clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, logicalness, and significance. Critical thinkers recognize that, whenever they are reasoning, they reason to some purpose (an element of reasoning). Implicit goals are built into their thought processes. But their reasoning is improved when they are clear (clarity being an intellectual standard) about that purpose or goal. Similarly, to reason well, they need to know that, consciously or unconsciously, they are using relevant (relevance being an intellectual standard) information (another element of reasoning) in their in thinking. Furthermore, their reasoning improves if and when they make sure that the information they are using is accurate (accuracy being another intellectual standard).

A third conceptual set in critical thinking is intellectual virtues or traits. Critical thinking does not entail merely intellectual skills; it is a way of orienting oneself in the world. It is a way of approaching problems that differs significantly from that which is typical in human life. People may have critical thinking skills and abilities, and yet still be unable to enter viewpoints with which they disagree. They may have critical thinking abilities, and yet still be unable to analyze the beliefs that guide their behavior. They may have critical thinking abilities, and yet be unable to distinguish between what they know and what they don’t know, to persevere through difficult problems and issues, to think fairmindedly, or to stand alone against the crowd. Thus, in developing as a thinker, and fostering critical thinking abilities in others, it is important to develop intellectual virtues – the virtues of fairmindedness, intellectual humility, intellectual perseverance, intellectual courage, intellectual empathy, intellectual autonomy, intellectual integrity, and confidence in reason.

A process will be modeled throughout this workshop that will exemplify the essential ingredients of teaching for ownership: modeling thinking, requiring thinking, and assessing thinking.

Second Workshop: October 12-13
Deep and Surface Learning: Why Students Get Trapped on the Surface, and
How to Facilitate Deeper Learning Through the Tools of Critical Thinking

In this session, we will focus on the differences between students whose approach to learning is “deep” and those whose approach is “on the surface.” We will emphasize ways in which we can help students see the difference between the two as they move increasingly toward “deep” learning of content. We will explore how the tools of critical thinking can be used to move students from a surface to a deep approach.
To study well and learn any subject is to learn how to think with discipline within that subject. It is to learn to think within its logic, or, to:

  • raise vital questions and problems within it, formulating them clearly and precisely;
  • gather and assess information, using ideas to interpret that information insightfully;
  • come to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;
  • adopt the point of view of the discipline, recognizing and assessing, as need be, its assumptions, implications, and practical consequences;
  • communicate effectively with others using the language of the discipline and that of educated public discourse;
  • relate what one is learning in the subject to other subjects and to what is significant in human life.

When we take a deep approach to teaching and learning, we understand the relationship between content and thinking; we realize that all subjects and disciplines have a fundamental logic defined by the structures of thought embedded in them. Therefore, to lay bare a subject’s most fundamental logic, we encourage students to ask, and reason through, these questions:

  • What is the main purpose or goal of studying this subject? What are people in this field trying to accomplish?
  • What kinds of questions do they ask? What kinds of problems do they try to solve?
  • What sorts of information or data do they gather?
  • What types of inferences or judgments do they typically make? (Judgments about…)
  • How do they go about gathering information in ways that are distinctive to this field?
  • What are the most basic ideas, concepts, or theories in this field?
  • What do professionals in this field take for granted or assume?
  • How should studying this field affect my view of the world?
  • What viewpoint is fostered in this field?
  • What implications follow from studying this discipline? How are the products of this field used in everyday life?

These questions can be contextualized for any given class day, chapter in the textbook, and dimension of study. For example, on any given day, students should be encouraged to ask one or more of the following questions: 

  • What is our main purpose or goal today? What are we trying to accomplish?
  • What kinds of questions are we asking? What kinds of problems are we trying to solve? How does this problem relate to everyday life?
  • What sort of information or data do we need? How can we get that information?
  • What is the most basic idea, concept, or theory we need to understand to solve the problem we are most immediately posing?
  • From what point of view should we look at this problem?
  • What can we safely assume as we reason through this problem?
  • Should we call into question any of the inferences that have been made?
  • What are the implications of what we are studying?

To become a skilled learner is to become a self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinker who has given assent to rigorous standards of thought and mindful command of their use. Skilled learning of a discipline requires that one respect the power of it, as well as its, and one’s own, historical and human limitations. This workshop will offer strategies for helping students begin to take learning seriously – using reading, writing, discussions, and feedback as primary vehicles. It focuses on the idea that substantive teaching and learning can occur only when students take ownership of the most basic principles and concepts of the subject.

Advanced Seminar for Returning Participants

Participants who have attended our conferences or academies in the past may sign up for one or both sessions of the Advanced Seminar (these options are available during online registration process), which will be based upon the Oxford Tutorial Approach ( click here for our description and modification of this approach). Participants seeking Certification in the Paul-Elder Approach to Critical Thinking , and who have met the prerequisites, are able to complete the certification process during this Advanced Seminar.

If you require a partial scholarship to attend and would like to apply for one, please visit this page for the application form and instruction.

In this Seminar, we will focus on the following topics:

1. Going Beyond Critical Thinking Skills: How Can You Help Students Develop Intellectual Character? (Days 1-2)

2. Why are the Barriers to Critical Thinking – Namely, Egocentric and Sociocentric Thought – So Important to a Rich Conception of Critical Thinking? (Days 1-2)

3. On the Instructional Design of Richard Paul and Linda Elder (Days 3-4)

4. Working Through Classic Readings which Illuminate Critical Thinking (Days 3-4)

5. Exploring Your Deeper Questions (All Days, 1-4) 

Our advanced group will join the newer participants for a few sessions and activities throughout the four days. This helps everyone develop at a higher level during the time we are together and makes for more varied discussions.

The Paul-Elder Framework for Critical Thinking is Used in Education Institutions Throughout the United States and Abroad

For almost 40 years, The Foundation for Critical Thinking has taken the lead in advancing a robust, integrated, comprehensive conception of critical thinking throughout education and society. Consequently, the Paul-Elder Framework for Critical Thinking™ has been implemented by  educators at all levels and in all fields of study in the U.S. and abroad.

We invite all educators, administrators, professionals, and government officials to join us at the October 2019 Critical Thinking Educators and Administrators Academy. This event will be led by two leading international authorities on critical thinking: Dr. Linda Elder, Senior Fellow and educational psychologist, and Dr. Gerald Nosich, Senior Fellow and professor emeritus.

Academy Description and Purposes

The Academy will entail four days of interactive workshops which will enhance your understanding of critical thinking and how to best foster it in your courses and at your institutions. The academy will be followed a few weeks later by two voluntary, one-hour online study groups (with dates and times to be announced). The follow-up study groups are designed to help you continue advancing in critical thinking by developing your instructional design plans and processes under our direction. Certificates of Completion will be available at the end of the process.  

The Academy will be held in a retreat setting in beautiful Northwest Arkansas, near the internationally-renowned Crystal Bridges Museum and world-class biking trails. Participants will stay in local hotels and rentals of their choosing.

This Academy is designed for teachers, faculty, and administrators as well as trainers in business, government, and the military working to bring substantive critical thinking across their respective institutions or into specific departments and divisions.

The Advanced Seminar will be for those who have been studying in the Paul-Elder Approach to Critical Thinking, and who want to advance their understandings of the theory and application of critical thinking for use in their teaching, their training, or their work in administration. Those who have met the Foundation for Critical Thinking prerequisites for certification in the Paul-Elder Approach can achieve certification at this academy, should they meet the requirements and apply for certification according to our certification guidelines.

Don’t miss this opportunity to work with world-class authorities on critical thinking in a small retreat setting.

Those who will benefit from this Academy include:

  • Teachers, faculty and administrators who seek to understand the core concepts and principles in critical thinking essential to reasoning with skill through problems and issues in every field of study and within all domains of human thought.
  • Teachers, faculty and administrators who seek to understand the proper role of intellectual standards in teaching and learning, as well as how to foster understanding of critical thinking standards in student thinking.
  • Colleges and Universities committed to bringing critical thinking into the foundations of instruction across their respective institutions or within particular departments or divisions.
  • Colleges and Universities seeking accreditation or re-accreditation with emphasis on critical thinking (including critical reading and critical writing) through any accreditation body.
  • K-12 school districts and schools committed to infusing critical thinking within their curricula.
  • Those in government, business and the military who seek to use and teach the Paul-Elder Approach in their work as trainers or consultants.
  • Instructors who seek to more deeply command the concepts and principles found in a rich conception of critical thinking.
Recreational Group Activities at the Academy
We are organizing a group bicycle ride as well as a dinner and museum tour. Participants who wish to join for either or both of these activities are asked to notify us in advance, see details here .
Why Do We Need Critical Thinking?

  • The world is swiftly changing, and with each day, the pace quickens. The pressure to respond intensifies. New global realities are rapidly working their way into the deepest structures of our lives: economic, social, cultural, political, and environmental realities with profound implications for thinking, teaching, learning, business, politics, human rights, and human relationships. These realities are becoming increasingly complex, and they all turn on the powerful dynamic of accelerating change.
  • Can we deal with incessant, accelerating change and complexity without revolutionizing our thinking? Traditionally, human thinking has been designed for routine, habit, automation, and fixed procedure. But the challenges that educators and students now face, and will increasingly face, require a radically different form of thinking – thinking that is more complex, adaptable, and rationally sensitive to divergent points of view. The world that students will inhabit in the 21st century demands that they are able to routinely rethink their decisions and reevaluate the ways in which they work and live. In short, there is a new reality facing us in which the power of the mind to command itself, and to regularly engage in self-analysis, will increasingly determine the quality of our learning, our teaching, and our lives.   
  • It is clear that, at present, most students are perilously unprepared to deal with the intricacies of the world they will be entering. The question of how to survive and succeed in this new reality is a question continually being transformed. Accelerating change and increasing complexity have sounded the death knell for traditional methods of thinking and instruction. How do we adapt to reality when reality seemingly won’t give us time to master it before it changes itself, again and again, in ways we can but partially anticipate? The only answer is to revolutionize our thinking.

The registration fee for this event covers tuition, learning materials, and the follow-up webinars. Limited scholarships are available - click here to learn more.

Registration Options
Cost Per Person
EVENT OPTIONS:  If Paid by July 15, 2019 1 person 3 or more people
Standard Academy: Oct . 10-11 (First 2 Days)
$649 $549
Standard Academy: Oct . 12-13 (Last 2 Days) $649 $549
Standard Academy:  Oct. 10-13 (All 4 Days) $1,190 $949
Advanced Seminar: Oct . 10-11 (First 2 Days) $649 $549
Advanced Seminar: Oct . 12-13 (Last 2 Days) $649 $549
Advanced Seminar: Oct. 10-13 (All 4 Days) $1,190 $949
EVENT OPTIONS:  If Paid AFTER July 15, 2019 1 person 3 or more people
Standard Academy: Oct . 10-11 (First 2 Days) $769 $669
Standard Academy: Oct . 12-13 (Last 2 Days) $769 $669
Standard Academy:  Oct. 10-13 (All 4 Days) $1,380 $1,129
Advanced Seminar: Oct . 10-11 (First 2 Days) $769 $669
Advanced Seminar: Oct . 12-13 (Last 2 Days) $769 $669
Advanced Seminar: Oct. 10-13 (All 4 Days) $1,380 $1,129

Registration Closed

About Our Presenters

Dr. Gerald Nosich

Dr. Gerald Nosich is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Critical Thinking and a prominent authority on critical thinking. He has given more than 150 national and international workshops on critical thinking, has worked with the U.S. Department of Education on a project for the National Assessment of Higher Order Thinking skills, has served as the Assistant Director of the Center for Critical Thinking, and has been featured as a Noted Scholar at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Nosich is Professor Emeritus at SUNY Buffalo State and the University of New Orleans, and is the author of two books including Learning to Think Things Through: A Guide to Critical Thinking Across the Curriculum .

Dr. Linda Elder

Dr. Linda Elder is an educational psychologist and a prominent authority on critical thinking. She is President and Senior Fellow of the Foundation for Critical Thinking, has taught psychology and critical thinking at the college level, and has given presentations to more than 50,000 educators. She has coauthored four books and 24 Thinker's Guides on critical thinking. Concerned with understanding and illuminating the relationship between thinking and affect, and the barriers to critical thinking, Dr. Elder has placed these issues at the center of her thinking.

About The Foundation for Critical Thinking
  • At the Foundation for Critical Thinking, we strive to contribute to a more reasonable, rational, productive, and just world. We help people develop the skills of mind they need to function better in their work and in every part of their lives. 
  • The human mind is our most powerful resource, and yet it is largely undeveloped, unskilled, and prejudiced. It distorts, engages in delusions and illusions, and is narrow in its reasoning. Deficiencies in thinking lie at the root of the most significant problems facing us today, and within the seeds of those we will face in the coming future. At the Foundation for Critical Thinking, we therefore seek to promote essential change in education and society through the cultivation of fairminded critical thinking thinking that is predisposed toward intellectual empathy, intellectual humility, intellectual perseverance, intellectual integrity, and intellectual responsibility. A rich intellectual environment is possible only with critical thinking at the foundation of society. Moreover, in a world of accelerating change, intensifying complexity, and increasing interdependence, critical thinking is now a requirement for economic and social survival.

Additional Information: