Indeed, in many ways, critical thinking has become synonymous with higher education. Yet we have not found evidence that colleges or universities teach critical-thinking skills with any success.
For academic discussions to be intellectually beneficial, it is imperative that they are structured and facilitated in a manner that effectively encourages critical thinking. For a discussion to foster critical thinking, it is essential that threaded discussions are based upon discussable questions, problems, debates or situations i.
To encourage on-going thought and in-depth analysis of an issue, it is recommended that instructors facilitate threaded discussions utilizing a range of convergent, divergent and evaluative questions. As recommended by Collision, Elbaum, Havvind and Tinkereffective threaded discussions integrate full-spectrum questions that encourage critical thinking by: To maximize student engagement and participation in the discussion, discussion questions should be student-centered and relevant to the lives and interests of the students, but also directly tied to the content of the course.
Speaks to a genuine dilemma in the text. In other words, the question should focus on a real confusion, ambiguity or gray area of the text. Yields an answer that is not obvious. The question should allow room for exploration and not be too specific or answered too easily. Suggests an answer complex enough to sustain a vibrant discussion.
Can be answered by the text rather than by just generalizations or emotional feelings. Good analytical questions can highlight patterns and connections OR contradictions, dilemmas and problems.
Good analytical questions can also ask about some implication or consequences of the analysis. Once effective discussion questions are identified, instructors must strive to facilitate discussions in a manner that encourages on-going thought and in-depth analysis of an issue.
To ensure an effective discussion, instructors should strive to be open, free-ranging and non-judgmental. For specific guidance on effective Socratic responses to encourage critical thinking, read the article Move Over Socrates: Online Discussion is Here.
MacKnight highlights that online instructors should contribute to ongoing discussions via the use of scaffolding to maintain the focus of the discussion and guide interactions toward a more critical analysis of course concepts. Recognizing that there are a number of ways to achieve active discussions that promote a critical analysis of ideas in a threaded discussion format, MacKnight offers suggestions for a variety of approaches: Creation of specific learning communities or workgroups based on interests or experiences Introduce guest "speakers" who have invited access to a specific discussion topic Utilize role playing by assigning specific positions or roles to defend within the discussion Incorporate audio or video as the "spark" for a discussion Small group activities led by student discussion leader Buzz groups who focus on a specific topic for a designated, short period of time In-depth analysis of a case study or simulation Debate teams assigned to formulate ideas, defend assigned positions and refute opposing viewpoints Jigsaw groups to divide learning tasks then re-engage to develop a comprehensive understanding of a given topic Mock trials to investigate and debate assigned issues Final Thoughts The educational value of a threaded discussion depends upon the thoughtful interaction of both students and instructor.
As such, it is important that instructors teach students how to participate in an online discussion i. An online instructor fulfills a number of roles within the threaded discussion: As such, you will want to continually monitor your own interactions as they will provide a guide for the students as to how they should be thinking about the situation and responding.
There is no single strategy for promoting critical thinking within asynchronous discussion threads. Rather, instructors should strive to creatively identify teaching and learning strategies that take advantage of the unique opportunities available in an asynchronous discussion environment.
Instead of borrowing from classroom teaching, online education should be revolutionizing it.
Summary To utilize the asynchronous discussions to foster critical thinking, instructors should: Pose DISCUSSABLE questions, problems, or situations Teach students HOW to participate in an online discussion Foster specific learning communities or workgroups Contribute to ongoing discussions Utilize discussion scaffolding Incorporate audio, video, case studies, simulations, guest "speakers", role playing, or exploratory prompts in the discussions Utilize a range of convergent, divergent and evaluative questions Applied Understanding Faculty at Grand Canyon University who elect to receive faculty development credit for completion of this module must complete the following activity: Analyze the three different responses and categorize them as "good", "better," and "best" in terms of their ability to foster critical thinking and ongoing discussion in your course.A benefit of critical thinking strategies is that they quickly develop independent thinking.
This is preferable since busy teachers and administrators want to make their jobs more effective in a shorter time span. We also want our learners to think critically and create great solutions. It’s not productive, and worse yet, can be dangerous.
Strong critical thinking skills can benefit young people immensely, improving reading comprehension and furthering their educational development.
This will help them throughout their school years and beyond. Savvy Cyber Kids educates and empowers digital citizens, from parents and. Critical thinking citizens make good decisions on important social, political and economic issues. and others, and to miss many opportunities to make our own lives, and the lives of others, fuller, happier, and more productive.
On this view, critical thinking is an eminently practical goal and value.
In Islam Ijtihad or independent. A Discussion on the Importance of Critical Thinking for Productive and Independent Citizens ( words, 2 pages) Critical thinking is a must have trait for individuals to . A Society with Poor Critical Thinking Skills: The Case for 'Argument' in Education The goal of an argument curriculum is to enhance the development of .
He established the importance of asking deep questions that probe profoundly into thinking before we accept ideas as worthy of belief. and could help young people to develop capacities for independent judgement, critical thinking and ethical Researchers assessing critical thinking in online discussion forums often employ a technique.