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A Critical Thinker

A critical thinker has the ability to introduce new information and raise valuable questions and concerns, while formulating and articulating clear and precise concepts of innovation. A critical thinker extracts and analyzes relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively into well-reasoned conclusions and solutions. The analytical vise tests each component and minute factor against relevant criteria and standards in an effort to produce progressive ideas. A critical thinker is openminded, embracing alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences, while communicating effectively with others to determine solutions to complex problems.


Often times adult learners are motivated to learn based on internal rewards. What exercises can we do to learn about these rewards? Then how can we use this knowledge to make us better instructors.

Critical Thinking

Does critical thinking play a role in emotional intelligence?

Very interesting course

Thanks for the curse, it provides very useful and interesting information. I am planning to implement some of this tools.

Increasing student engagement with passionate delivery of content

I have been an instructor for only 5 years at a vocational educational institution for future mechanics. We have 5 hour long classes 5 days a week. I have found that keeping students engaged during the lecture portions of a lesson is not only the most difficult part but also a critical component to successful labs later on. This is especially true in of classes with high student counts and night classes where many of the students have already worked for 8 hours plus travel time. In my limited experience I have found the greatest successes when I deliver the material with great passion, a bit of humor, and repetition of material. I try to reach different learner styles and spice up the repetitive nature of my delivery by varying presentation formats between power-point, discussion, and demonstrations. I try to give value to the material citing practical applications and relating real world experiences from my years as a mechanic. It seems to work well although it would be nice to learn other instructional styles to add to my repertoire. I have found that attending other instructors lectures when possible most helpful even if it is another class. I have also found myself wishing I could tape my delivery, although I think it would be hard for me to watch as I tend to be self critical.

Adult Students Learning from Younger Instructors

I am a new instructor. A challenge I face is some students that are a bit older than me tend to look down to me. In other words, I get looks like "How would you know. Your young enough to be my son". This usually happens when I make a suggestion in improving some hands-on skills. If I see they are doing something wrong or could be improved, I step in to help them without them asking for help. I feel they would rather struggle than to take instructions from someone younger then them.

An Information Retention Example

At my 4-year university, I often muse on how I could access the building plans for the classrooms, because I am sure each classroom door has a special field built into it that causes the students' minds to be wiped of all their classroom experience when they exit the room. Here is a classic example. At one time, I was teaching a series of 3 x 10-week information security classes, one right after the other, and had the same small cohort of students in each. The students were at the 300-level of instruction, so presumably they had mastered study and listening techniques, and I would consider those students as generally average quality. Now one of the key concepts of networking [and one relevant to security] is that of a *socket*: a location in system RAM containing the IP address and TCP port of the current network session. This would have been a concept to which the students were introduced in their basic networking class, which I taught, and which the students in these security classes should/would have learned. In my Day 1 review of fundamentals, I was quite surprised that none of the students knew what a socket was, so I recapitulated that portion of the lecture, and told the students that there would be a question on the mid-term exam relating to sockets. As part of the mid-term review, I went over the concept of sockets again. Almost all the students got the question on sockets wrong on the exam, so I made a point of going over it in the hot washup after the exam, and mentioned that it would be on the final exam. When I did the final exam review, I mentioned that there would be a question on sockets, and reviewed the concept. And almost to a man, the students failed to answer the sockets question correctly. In the subsequent two classes, I stressed the importance of the concept, pointed out it would be on the exam, reviewed it before the exam, and went over it in the hot washup. At the end of the third class, when the students would have been exposed to the concept of topics a minimum of 18 times in 33 weeks, over 70% of the students still got the question wrong!! Now I submit that resistance to learning on this scale is almost heroic, and I cannot imagine how the students actually did it. If you repeated something to me 18 times over the course of 33 weeks, even if I did not care about it, I could not help but remember it, but these students managed such a feat. Moreover, the exams were open-book, open-computer, and the students were allowed to use notes and search the InterNet. I still shake my head over this....

Common Sense

The two statements made here about some students coming in with a sense of entitlement and the one about using common sense really struck a nerve with me. I teach at a for-profit technical education school located in a city with a high population of lower-income students, many of whom see this as a way up out of poverty. I'm glad they're trying to improve their lives and make a better living for themselves and their children, but so many of our students come to us expecting our education philosophy to be the same as in the large public city high schools from which they graduated. As the author said, they feel they should pass all classes because they are paying a tuition for them, so students listen to music or check their Facebook pages, and get mad at me when I expect them to answer a question based on the material they ignored. With the introduction of state-wide standardized testing, teachers concentrate on teaching to pass a test, and students not only don't KNOW how to think, they don't see a reason for it. One of my favorite mantras in class is that students, when they get to their jobs, will have to make decisions that will affect their patients. They will have to decide if the number answer they see on the calculator is a sensible thing to say, such as "He needs to buy two and a half bottles of bleach." I'll always add a note questioning this, asking the student if a person CAN buy half a bottle of a product, and some of our liveliest discussions in class address this type of reasoning. Of course, those students who didn't bother participating and instead listened to music or checked their online status missed out on the whole point of the discussion, and so they don't understand why I didn't give them full credit when the calculator clearly gave the correct answer. And then they tell me "You're not helping me. You gave me a bad grade." Sigh

Trying to get students to think independently

It is a challenge to get students involved in classroom discussions;maybe because students feel intimidated or because they don't want to be embarassed in front of their peers. However, if you ask interesting and probing questions you will be able to break through the barriers that keep students from actively engaging in the learning process. Also, I like to assign group work in the classroom. This encourages both team work and students feel more open to trying their ideas out with one peer. Are there others way to get apathetic students to "own" their education, instead of relying on the teacher for all the answers?

Carts And Horses

The overlying assumption in this sort of topic, which is something familiar to me over long standing, is that somehow the material needs to be adapted to the students, so their intelligence types and learning styles are maximized. Of course, in a lot of cases, this is exactly what should happen. Not in all, however. It seems to me incredible that someone who is not verbal/linguistic could be successful in the practice of law, since that is the core of the profession. Which in turn means that trying to 'juice' law studies up by appealing to other intellectual styles is a gin, snare, and delusion. I think IT is another one of those fields in which success will only be granted to the verbal/linguistic group; and the same argument could be made _mutatis mutandis_ about the suitability of intellectual bents to other fields of application, with their consequent teaching and learning styles. Jacques Barzun, in _The House of Intellect_, had a lot to say about this which is worth hoisting inboard. Yet one of the wonderful things about generalizations is the degree to which they are not true. One of the definitions of genius is 'looking at the same thing everyone else looks at, and seeing what nobody else sees'. I think there are good examples [a recent presentation on the use of musical cues to help demonstrate trends in big data analysis comes to mind] when the application of an 'incommensurate' intellectual style to a specific are of knowledge can yield spectacular results simply because 'nobody thought of it that way before'. Amongst other things, this has a lot of application in scientific data visualization.

Guided notes

I like the idea of guided notes. Students seem to retain information that they figured out on there own. Rather then just telling them what to right down.


In my Critical Thinking class, I have students use the questioning method to explore their given topic. They create and answer the reporter's questions. They find that this gets them curious about the possible answers and leads to even more questions.

Critical Thinking

Something I find very interesting is that we teach the four aspects of a critical thinker to be: Knowledgeable, open-minded, creative and curious. I'm wondering if these qualities will come up in the remainder of this course.

Problem Solving Skill Enhances Employment Desirability

In the contemporary social and work environments, "change" is the plan-of-the-day. Having the skill to identify problems or areas for improvement for effectiveness, efficiency, and/or profitability is invaluable. Students who have honed a critical thinking-problem solving skill will find their employment opportunities expanded. No longer will degree completion or a 2-year competency certificate suffice. Thinkers, planners, creaters, evaluaters, and progressives will rule the day.

Case Studies and Scenarios develop reasoning and discipline.

In Management and Leadership courses students are best challenged to "observe and reflect" situations requiring a solution. I have found that students can learn to be disciplined, questioning, and make reasoned judgments when allowed time to think, interact, research, and then form conclusions associated with these "life-reflecting" teaching tools.No feedback from employers has ever suggested that the graduates are asked to define terms or conclude a "true-false" fact.

Critical Thinking as a Soft Skill

Developing varying degrees of skill to think critically is imperative for searching,analyzing, communicating, and implementing problem-solving judgments in all areas of endeavor: personal, social, business, education, family.etc. Learning to be a lifelong learner is essential for pursuing one's career passions, family responsibilities, and social interactions. Perhaps an academic requirement for all undergrads should be an exposure to a course in Critical Thinking.

Taking a break

Taking a break gives the problem solver time to have the information and possible solutions to sink in. Problem thinker can weigh all the evidences that have been gathered and observe what others have done and see what else he/she has to do.This is important whether one is writing a research paper , working on an art project, or even preparing for a presentation or an exam.

Multiple Styles of Learning at once

As a culinary instructor, I find it challenging to keep all of my students engaged in the subject matter at the same time. During Demo/lecture days, I find it hard to keep all of the students entertained with what we are trying to demo. I understand that not everyone learns the same way, so I try to go over the lesson 2-4 different ways. I have noticed that when I take that approach, it's a more effective way of teaching the entire class. Especially with having such a broad age range in students. -Gabriel Alvarez Le Cordon Bleu Chicago

Reading for research papers

Students are exposed both to printed and electronic sources. They are overwhelmed by information from databases. This is when critical thinking comes to play. Which info is accurate? Which is valid? Instructors can help students discern the academic and scholarly sources.

Engaging Students Through Teamwork

One technique that works well with adult learning is group work. For example, I have students get into groups of 2 to 3. Then students ask each questions from a handout; goal is to get to know the students. Then team members introduce someone other than themselves in the group. This way students establish a "common ground" and there is a sense of camaraderie. This is a positive way to get student participation going in a Communications Class. Any other suggestions?