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University of Guelph
Environmental Design and Rural Development
EDRD 3120

SEPTEMBER 13 thREADINGS (WEEK 2) - Critical thinking is often discussed as essential for success in higher education and in employment. - Most important in the current literature on critical thinking (concerning its meaning), is that it is generally accepted to include both skills and dispositions or attitudes. - One way of encouraging students to develop and effectively use critical thinking in the classroom and in everyday life is to ask the right questions. Such questions include identifying the issue and identifying the conclusions, identifying/ discussing reasons for the conclusion, identifying ambiguous words or phrases, describing the writer’s or speaker’s values and identifying value conflicts and assumptions, identifying fallacies in reasoning, examining evidence used to support the claim/argument, identifying significant information that is omitted, and determining whether reasonable conclusions are presented and supported. - Characteristics of environments and teaching/learning strategies that prompt and support reflective thinking include:  provide time for students to reflect when responding to inquiries;  create emotionally supportive learning environments in that they encourage reevaluation of conclusions;  prompt reviews of the learning situation, what is known, what is not yet known, and what has been learned;  provide authentic tasks involving ill-structured data to encourage reflective thinking during learning activities;  prompt student reflection by asking questions that seek reasons and evidence;  provide less-structured learning environments that prompt exploration of ideas and reflection;  use cooperative and small group strategies to allow students to see other points of view;  use reflective journals that focus on stating positions, giving reasons to support positions, and acknowledging opposing positions. - Aspects of Critical Thinking & Examples for Teachers  Table 8.
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