Critical Thinking

The emphasis in this class is on critical thinking (higher-order thinking skills—HOTS), along with active learning strategies. For this week’s assignment, we will focus on using discussion as an active learning strategy (vs. a passive lecture) to stimulate thought. Note the language that is used in Svinicki & McKeachie Chapter 5 which is replete with an emphasis on deeper thought—“examine, argue, defend, application, analysis, disagreement, uncertainty, constructive controversy, evidence” etc. While the Svinicki & McKeachie chapter on discussion presents a number of techniques for discussions, we want to go below the surface and dig out some principles or concepts that make discussion such a good active learning strategy for higher-order thinking.

  1. First, read the Svinicki & McKeachie chapter 5 thoroughly and search for underlying principles for teaching thought using discussion.
  2. Make a list of critical thinking components that can be utilized in a good discussion. For instance, you could say:
    1. Discussion can explore concepts that don’t have obvious answers
    2. Discussion can focus on relationships—between ideas, cause/effect, etc.
    3. Discussion can focus on “best” vs. “better”—“what is the best solution?”—note that this is an example of evaluation from Bloom’s taxonomy
    4. Discussion can examine underlying beliefs
    5. Etc.

Add 4-5 general concepts to this list that you have drawn from the Svinicki & McKeachie chapter. Explain each of these concepts and the depth that discussion can take student exploration.

  1. Review the techniques of discussion reviewed in Svinicki & McKeachie (starting with a controversy, starting with questions, examining cases, etc.) and explain how several of these techniques can drive thought deeper.
  2. Project to your own teaching demonstration that you will present in Module 7: Week 7. For your particular topic, how do you think a well-developed discussion can implement HOTS related to your topic? Draw from Svinicki & McKeachie and cite appropriately.
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