From A Practical Guide to Critical Thinking,
1. Open ended questioning strategies:
  • Why do you think that … . ”“ What do you mean by … ”“ What reasons are there for thinking that … ” What do you think about this? Why do you think that? What is your knowledge based upon? What does it imply and presuppose? What explains it, connects to it, leads from it? How are you viewing it? Should it be viewed differently?

2. The Four - Step Method:
In constructing a definition of a concept,belief, proposal, or problem, it is helpful to formulate it as a slogan,to expand on it by saying more about the key concepts, to offer an example or two, and to provide some contrasting concepts, beliefs, proposals, or problems. The goal of providing a definition is to prevent or remedy misunderstanding. This method can also be used to evaluate definitions. Manifest destiny, Connestoga, Oregon Trail, Native American(prejudice- connotations of the word Indian) ‘49ers= prospectors, , claim-jumper, homesteaders,
Think Twice; Decide Once
People are reluctant to change their minds. Once our opinions are set, it seems totake a lot of doing to revise them. For one thing, people tend to privilege evidence that confirms their already existing beliefs over evidence that conflicts with it. They assume that evidence that conflicts with what they already believe is probably not reliable prefer the evidence they have to have to do something to get. To protect against these built – in obstacles to critical thinking, it is better to make sure that one has enough of the right kind of evidence before one makes a decision. It m,c is better to think twice and decide once, than to have to go back and revise one's decisionsThe Rule of Threes
Find three to five alternative courses of action when trying to decide what to do.
Look for three objections to a view you are defending.
Think about a problem from three different perspectives before trying to solve it. Look for three examples when trying to define a concept. Looking for three — or, even better, five! — will help you become more reflective in your thinking by forcing you to think “ outside the box. ” Usually, finding one or two of the things you are looking for is relatively easy; trying to find more may force you to think harder, which is almost always good. What items would you take on the Trail with you. Design your wagon and decide what to include. Give reasons to support your choices. What would be the consequences of say arriving without tools or a yoke of oxen. Don ’ t Personalize Reasons Reasons are objectiveTo avoid personalizing reasons, replace the following:
a. What evidence do you have?
b. What are your reasons?
c. Why do you believe that?
with the following impersonal ones:
1 What evidence is there?
2. What reasons are there to believe that?
3. Why should we believe that?
Reasons and evidence do not belong to anyone; they are universal.
Keep Emotional DistanceTHink Twice, Decide Once
Withhold Disagreement and Agreement
We all know what it feels like to explain our opinions and views to people we know disagree with us.
Your goal as a critical thinker in a discussion is to help the other people make a case for their views that is as clear, as strong and as complete as possible.


Trust, but (Be Prepared to) Verify





Teaching Strategies to Help Promote Critical Thinking

The 1995, Volume 22, issue 1, of the journal, Teaching of Psychology , is devoted to the teaching critical thinking. Most of the strategies included in this section come from the various articles that compose this issue.

  • CATS (Classroom Assessment Techniques Angelo stresses the use of ongoing classroom assessment as a way to monitor and facilitate students' critical thinking. An example of a CAT is to ask students to write a "Minute Paper" responding to questions such as "What was the most important thing you learned in today's class? What question related to this session remains uppermost in your mind?" The teacher selects some of the papers and prepares responses for the next class meeting.
  • Cooperative Learning Strategies: Cooper (1995) argues that putting students in group learning situations is the best way to foster critical thinking. "In properly structured cooperative learning environments, students perform more of the active, critical thinking with continuous support and feedback from other students and the teacher" (p. 8).
  • Case Study /Discussion Method: McDade (1995) describes this method as the teacher presenting a case (or story) to the class without a conclusion. Using prepared questions, the teacher then leads students through a discussion, allowing students to construct a conclusion for the case.
  • Using Questions: King (1995) identifies ways of using questions in the classroom:
    • Reciprocal Peer Questioning: Following lecture, the teacher displays a list of question stems (such as, "What are the strengths and weaknesses of...). Students must write questions about the lecture material. In small groups, the students ask each other the questions. Then, the whole class discusses some of the questions from each small group.
    • Reader's Questions: Require students to write questions on assigned reading and turn them in at the beginning of class. Select a few of the questions as the impetus for class discussion.
  • Conference Style Learning: The teacher does not "teach" the class in the sense of lecturing. The teacher is a facilitator of a conference. Students must thoroughly read all required material before class. Assigned readings should be in the zone of proximal development. That is, readings should be able to be understood by students, but also challenging. The class consists of the students asking questions of each other and discussing these questions. The teacher does not remain passive, but rather, helps "direct and mold discussions by posing strategic questions and helping students build on each others' ideas" (Underwood & Wald, 1995, p. 18 ).
  • Use Writing Assignments: Wade sees the use of writing as fundamental to developing critical thinking skills. "With written assignments, an instructor can encourage the development of dialectic reasoning by requiring students to argue both [or more] sides of an issue" (p. 24).
  • Dialogues: Robertson and Rane-Szostak (1996) identify two methods of stimulating useful discussions in the classroom:
    • Written dialogues: Give students written dialogues to analyze. In small groups, students must identify the different viewpoints of each participant in the dialogue. Must look for biases, presence or exclusion of important evidence, alternative interpretations, misstatement of facts, and errors in reasoning. Each group must decide which view is the most reasonable. After coming to a conclusion, each group acts out their dialogue and explains their analysis of it.
    • Spontaneous Group Dialogue: One group of students are assigned roles to play in a discussion (such as leader, information giver, opinion seeker, and disagreer). Four observer groups are formed with the functions of determining what roles are being played by whom, identifying biases and errors in thinking, evaluating reasoning skills, and examining ethical implications of the content.



Ambiguity:Strohm & Baukus advocate producing much ambiguity in the classroom. Don't give students clear cut material. Give them conflicting information that they must think their way through.