Watt says now students solve problems on their own or ask a friend to help them make their ladders. He feels the integrative thinking tools have naturally encouraged his students to build a growth mindset about all aspects of life because multiple viewpoints or ways to solve a problem are a core part of why integrative thinking works. Difference is the strength of the model. Rather than deciding between two choices, this tool helps students identify the positive traits of different viewpoints, and then create a third option by merging the good qualities of both. Watt asked his students to brainstorm ideas for the worst restaurant of all time.
When they had a good list of terrible ideas, Watt then asked groups of students to each take one idea and explain why it was the best restaurant of all time. One group had initially proposed a restaurant with no seating would be the worst; they reframed that to say if everyone was standing up they would move through the restaurant faster and turn more of a profit.
A second group had said a restaurant in the woods would be terrible; they reframed that as dining under the stars. Students came up with hilarious slogans and designs for their restaurants and what started as a silly, fun activity became a rich interdisciplinary project with written and oral communication, presentation skills, media literacy, and of course, the process skills that enable them.
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She wanted to be sure she was provoking the same response from her high school English students at Dundas Valley Secondary School in Hamilton. So when her board of education decided to fund the I-Think training she signed up. The integrative thinking tools gave Warren a solution to a problem she and many other teachers have struggled with for a long time: how to deepen student thinking.
Until then, Warren had tried to do this by modeling what deep thinking looks like. She was confident she could help any student become a strong writer. But the integrative thinking training forced her to ask some hard questions about her instruction and prompted her realization that her students were recreating her example, not creating it on their own. She used to be mostly concerned with the product. That metacognitive piece is more interesting to me now. Warren starts the first semester by asking students to do a causal model -- another core integrative thinking tool -- of their values. She asks them to pick three to five things they value, anything from profound qualities like independence or kindness, to passions like music or hockey.
They then have to dive deeply into why they value those qualities, what caused that? Often this requires them to have conversations with family about values taught to them from a young age. She then asks them to make visual representations of their causal models and present them to one another. Those causal models go up on the wall as a reminder that everyone in the class is different and that the diversity of values, perspectives and opinions makes them better problem solvers. Warren teaches a course for students who failed the Ontario literacy exam, a graduation requirement.
Key Features of this Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Training:
The ladder of inference has been an incredible tool to help Warren walk students through their thinking, modeling the tool step by step, climbing up or down the ladder as students offer insights from the text. She thinks the visual of a ladder helped these struggling students pin their thoughts to different steps and make connections. It gives her a voice to express her disappointment to students in a way that is transparent and uses the shared language of their critical thinking tools.
Before learning about integrative thinking, Slinger would have said she has been doing collaboration in the classroom for the past ten years. Slinger remembers one boy who came from a Montessori background. He was used to a small school and small classes and was overwhelmed when he joined her class of 20 and the broader school of close to students.
The workplace is changing fast, and school needs to adapt to it. How do you train an entire generation to be prepared to an unknown job market? Critical thinking and problem solving are considered key skills for this uncertain future , especially considering how remote work seems to become more and more popular as the years go by. In the future, workers will be likely selected based on their ability to be independent from micro-managing and able to work with less supervision and even away from the office. Landon E.
If students learn to think critically, then they can use good thinking as the guide by which they live their lives. Politics affects our lives no matter how involved in it we are, and critical thinking will allow students to ensure their decisions are based on facts and logic.
When asked how she would assess the extent to which another faculty member was or was not fostering critical thinking in their classes, she equates critical thinking with active learning, saying: "Critical thinking is built into an active learning model. How are we supporting students in becoming active, autonomous learners.
Active participation, reflection, a personal experience and the ability to make connection between their own views and others. Lively dialogue. There is no finite set of standards to achieve but the learner engages in active dialogue with self and others with increasingly insightful learning He identifies his concept of critical thinking as explicit and a product of one or more theories of critical thinking to which he explicitly subscribes.
He claims to distinguish critical thinking skills, traits, and values. According to him, his students do not come to class with well-developed intellectual standards, but graduate with a good level of critical thinking ability and good ability to foster critical thinking in their future students. His responses to the open-ended questions, however, are quite vague in general and suggest that he assumes that critical thinking is an automatic by-product of the use of discipline-based procedures.
It is evident, however, that he has not thought through what the differences are between, say, the "scientific method" and "Bloom's taxonomy. His explanation of critical thinking is: "Critical thinking is investigative inquiry, to observe, interpret, and predict. Have them do a self-assessment after they did an inquiry unit. To some extent, he appears to equate intellectual standards with intellectual autonomy forgetting that I can think for myself and yet do a poor job of it. For example, when asked for his personal conception of intellectual standards, he says: "All thoughts should be tentative.
Are we using the processes and holding thoughts tentatively. In all cases, we should let the students develop their own level of understanding. When asked to explain the difference between an assumption and an inference, and says, "Assumptions don't have data behind them. Inferences do.
Three Tools for Teaching Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills
Nowhere in the interview does Professor C mention any of the basic skills of thought such as clarifying the question; gathering relevant data, reasoning to logical or valid conclusions; identifying key assumptions; tracing significant implications, or entering without distortion into alternative points of view, neither does he mention important intellectual traits of mind, such as intellectual humility, intellectual perseverance, intellectual responsibility, etc Profile D 15 Professor D illustrates a person who seems torn between negating critical thinking and its importance while simultaneously claiming to permeate her teaching with it as something vitally important.
On the one hand, she says that critical thinking is of primary importance in her instructional objectives, but on the other hand, says that "it is not so much critical thinking that students need but information. Profile E Professor E 16 illustrates a person who seems torn between a view in which critical thinking is based on objective standards and skills, on the one hand, and a subjective view, on the other in which whatever satisfies the individual as an autonomous thinker is the only ultimate basis for critical thought.
This tension is suggested in Professor E's explanation of his concept of critical thinking: "Information must be processed.
To analyze and synthesize a viewpoint that is your own is critical thinking. Values come into it. We should have the capacity to look at things objectively. He says that " What is the truth at that moment? But be available to find that one is not accurate and that the truth is not comfortable," At the same time Professor E is one of the rare individuals who ranks program graduates as low both in critical thinking abilities and in knowledge of how to teach for critical thinking.
Profile F 19 Professor F thinks of critical thinking as of primary importance in her instructional objectives. She says her concept of critical thinking is explicit and a product of one or more theories to which she explicitly subscribes though unable to cite any theory when asked. She says she does distinguish critical thinking skills, traits, and values. According to her, students come to class without well-developed intellectual standards but graduate with a good level of critical thinking ability and in fostering critical thinking in their future students.
Her responses to the open-ended questions, however, are peppered with a diversity of responses and it is not quite clear whether they add up to a coherent notion or represent confusion of thought. When asked to explain her concept of critical thinking, she says: "Everyone has a different view of critical thinking.
I think of it as thinking skills. I think of words like analytical, evaluative, judgmental and I think of my field and activities I would do with my students. Logic and patterns. For example, classifying skills. Looking at a set of buttons--which one is different. I'm thinking of open-endedness, unifying ideas, and problem-solving.
Center for Critical Thinking
Profile G 76 Professor G is a good example of one who equates critical thinking with thinking for oneself and, beyond that, applies no discernible intellectual standards. She says critical thinking is of primary importance in her instructional objectives, that her concept of critical thinking is explicit and a product of her own thinking. On the other hand, she says that knowledge, truth, and sound judgment are not fundamentally a matter of one's personal preference or subjective taste. She says that it is of primary importance for students to acquire sound intellectual criteria or standards and to learn how to assess their own work.
According to her, students come to class without well-developed intellectual standards but graduate with a good level of critical thinking ability and a high level of ability to foster critical thinking in their future students. When asked to explain her concept of critical thinking she says: "Critical thinking is being able to look at a situation and analyze what is going on and ask questions that enable you to get at alternatives. To be able to make up your mind by getting beyond the rhetoric. Nowhere does she mention that students can actively construct prejudice as well as knowledge, poor thinking as well as sound thinking.
When asked to describe a typical day in class that fosters critical thinking she says: "I use a holistic, constructivist basis. Students construct their own meaning, working together, dynamic, in living and breathing class discussions and debates. She says, "Being able to assess validity, to look at and assess their own work, what the next step ought to be, to be able to choose issues that are important. Look for originality. Going beyond the task.