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- Critical Thinking Resources for Middle School Teachers?
While there are many different approaches to, and definitions of, critical thinking, Paul's view of critical thinking is that it is the development of disciplined organized thinking that monitors itself and is guided by certain intellectual standards. Further, he holds that the heart of good teaching is reasoning. It is his philosophical approach to critical thinking that, I believe, puts his ideas and concepts head and shoulders above others. It is not a "cookie cutter," "fact or opinion worksheet," "use these words when asking questions" approach. One of the aspects of Richard Paul's work that I find so appealing, and important, is his belief that reasoning must be the center of our teaching—that we must use intellectual standards in our teaching.
Write a random critical-thinking question on the board, e. Explain your thinking. Give students a specified amount of time to provide a written response and put it in the response box.
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Pull out entries one by one and read them aloud to the class. Alternatively, you can give a prize—like a homework pass or free time—to the student with the first appropriate response whose name is drawn from the box or to everyone who submitted appropriate answers. First, read a statement that has two opposing views e. Ask kids who agree to stand on one side of the room and those who disagree to stand on the other side.
Then have kids talk about why they chose each side. They can switch sides if they change their minds during the discussion. When you encounter a problem in class, you can help the class come up with a solution by using the Why? Five Times strategy. Ask the first why question e. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort.
In a growth mindset , people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities. Make Your Case to Change the System. We know there is an urgent need to change education so all of our children are prepared for their future.
Consider these three ideas:. What did you come up with after watching this video?
Go ahead and make your case on what you see needs to be changed by adding a comment below. Or use this video to start your own discussions around change. All I can say is that it was a whirlwind. The talk always goes back to technology. Technology supports personalizing learning but should not be the focus.
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I remember the early days of technology in schools. As a technology consultant during those times, I was asked to help build those labs. They would string together extension cords from other classrooms and hold them in place with duct tape. In some rooms, we had to step over the cord that was 2 feet high. There were some rooms where they moved the computers next to the heaters. One lab with 50 computers and the software took all the technology budget.
There was no money left for training. Only enough to train a paraprofessional who managed the lab. There was no integration with any curriculum in the classrooms. I observed these labs.
Kids loved them in the beginning because it was new, interactive, and included games. They loved the idea of playing in school. The paraprofessionals collected the data and shared with the administration. Scores were going up. The kids rotated through the lab once or twice a week.
But after about six months, kids started talking about how boring it was. Scores were at a plateau then dropping. Dropping all over. All the labs.
Critical Challenges Across the Curriculum: Middle - The Critical Thinking Consortium
Few years later, the labs were changed. They took off the headphones and brought in technology teachers. Teachers with credentials. Only issue I saw was that they were prep teachers. This meant that there tended to be very little integration of what was happening in the classroom to what was happening in the labs. I know so many of these fantastic computer teachers who did amazing projects.
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When I was asked to come in, work with the computer teachers, and help integrate technology into the classrooms. So once again, the work in the labs stood alone and was mostly focused on building isolated technology skills. But there were some amazing computer teachers and librarians who found ways to integrate the skills with projects happening in the classroom. So now fast forward to today and learning labs to support blended learning rotations.
The labs look similar to the CAI of the past and, yes, the scores are improving. But the real learning that is needed seems to be lost. Based on algorithms and data, teachers keep track of performance and work with individual students to respond to intervention — to increase scores based on standardized tests.
This may sound good to some people, however, to prepare our children for the global workforce, they need different skills then they acquire sitting in front of computers like this. It just cannot be about the scores. Computer labs like the ones some schools are building to blend learning are fitting learning into strict schedules: 20 minutes at one station then move to another station. Now we have mobile technology and learning can happen anytime anywhere.
Personalizing learning needs to be social. It starts with the learner not the technology. Real learning encourages play, creativity, experimenting, taking risks. Learners have a stake in their learning if they have a voice in their learning and are motivated and engaged in the learning. Learners just cannot own and drive their learning when they sit in front of a computer with headphones on clicking through adaptive activities that keep track of their keystrokes.
Pat is inspired by a passion to create engaging environments for learning. What is Studio-Based Learning? Today, SBL is experiencing a revival. He explains:. In the architecture studio, for example, all work in progress is made public. How did you build this passion for experiential learning approaches?
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