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Thinking hard on a Friday? You betcha!


The Fall Critical Thinking Institute for Teaching and Learning, held on Fri. Oct 5th, kicked off with a call to action from inspirational rapper Li-Lee Tunceren, followed by a report from the International Conference on Critical Thinking held last July. As Jennifer Haber pointed out,  we’d all love to include critical thinking in all of our classes. But the reality is we need to continually work to promote critical thinking and explore methods for including opportunities in the classroom.

A rousing game of Wheel of Thinking highlighted dimensions of the Paul & Elder critical thinking model. Here, Tina March explains that a main concept for Reading is the main idea or thesis.

Selected breakout sessions included:

How to Improve Critical Thinking in Your Online Classes: Introducing the SEEI model, Eric Carver shared how he uses it in his Healthcare Ethics classes. The group discussed how the problem of explaining in-text citations can go beyond the usual warnings about plagiarism and become instead an opportunity to discuss different definitions of stealing and examine multiple perspectives.

The SPC Critical Thinking Model for Ethical Decision-Making: With a case study of a pregnant basketball player who has to make a decision to reveal her pregnancy and risk losing her basketball scholarship entitled “Critical Thinking and Application (CTAP),” David Monroe uses the Socratic method of questioning, always asking why and drilling deep down through the critical thinking processes.  One caveat he provided was emotional argument versus logical argument in one’s critical thinking.

Critical Thinking about Affective Issues as it Relates to Student Motivation: In critical thinking, the affective domain leads to the cognitive domain. To demonstrate this, Dr. Andrea Kelly listed on the board various disciplines.  The participants were asked to write under their disciplines the affective (emotional) issues and the difficulties that students can bring to the classroom that hinder their learning. One example are these YouTube videos. By asking students to guess where people are from, we’re also asking them for their first impressions that are formed based on the audio only. Do we change our answers our answers when we see faces or stay with the original ones?

Critical Thinking as It Applies to Law Enforcement Recruits: Police use SARA guidelines to make quick assessments of situations, particularly when on patrol. As Joe Smith pointed out, police training requires on-the-spot problem solving and critical thinking encourages students to “dig deeper” for a solution. Working with the Critical Thinking Resources Initiative, the SE Public Safety Institute’s goal is to create a five question rubric to help police trainees incorporate rational, reasonable, and empathetic thinking into the existing model. The rubric will be presented in detail at All College Day on Tues. Oct 23 from 8 am – 4 pm at Clearwater (save the date!) and the results will be available by year-end.

There’s more to come on the Fall Critical Thinking Institute so stay tuned AND to weigh in with your experience. A special thank you to Roberta Newman for her contribution to this blog!

Critical Thinking in Action:

New Faculty Cohort Fall 2012
New Faculty Cohort Fall 2012

CETL supports new fulltime faculty through an ANGEL course and face-to-face meetings the last Friday of each month. On Friday, September 28th, Dr. Phil Nicotera welcomed the cohort and discussed programs at HEC.

Touring the morgue at HEC
Touring the morgue at HEC

The group then enjoyed a tour of the Funeral Services, Dental Hygiene, and Nursing Programs before sharing their critical thinking assignments in campus-based learning groups.


  1. What a great day. I am so glad to see that so many people are invested in Critical Thinking.

  2. I agree Jennifer. We need to continue the momentum and have this as an integral part of SPC’s professional development strategy for adjuncts and full time faculty.

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