Thursday, September 9, 2010

Teaching Critical Thinking

The other day I came across the most amazing critical thinking resource from microsoft. It is packed full of ideas and sites to teach critical thinking to any level of student. In the introduction the authors cite a quote from Sir Francis Bacon, the father of scientific thinking, where he outlined the habits of minds skilled in research (1605). They are "paraphrased":

  • Nimble and versatile enough to see relationships among things, in addition to
    subtle distinctions between them.

  • Inquisitive.

  • Patient enough to doubt and ask questions.

  • Fond of reflecting.

  • Slow to assert and ready to consider multiple points of view.

  • Careful to support their points of view and to formulate an argument with reasons
    and evidence.

  • A slave neither to passing trends nor to established traditions but capable of judging
    the credibility of sources and making independent judgments about information.

  • Alert to all deception

Of course the site has more recent information such as this video by "Qualia Soup". The video is an excellent summary of critical thinking useful for middle years and older.

As you continue through the critical thinking resource from microsoft, I found this video by Greenpeace (which a parody of the original Dove video) which would be an excellent critical thinking resource. It would provide a catalyst for rich discussion on perspective and the rest of Sir Francis' "habits of mind".

Dove Onslaught(er) from Greenpeace on Vimeo.

The site includes great links like argument mapping skills , love is a fallacy and many more sites for all grades.

There are so many resources on the critical thinking resource from microsoft that you will just have to go there to see what you can use in your classroom. Remember, critical thinking is one of the foundations of a 21st century classroom! Not to mention in 1605 as well!

Lastly, for fun, I thought I'd include this old and memorable video of critical thinking in action.

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