TEACHER TRAINING MODULE
your students with principles and techniques that foster critical
thinking will create an atmosphere of excitement about learning
in the classroom. With this approach, the emphasis in the classroom
becomes one of fostering a deep connection with the course material
as well as with the world around us. It is a powerful way to teach
because it validates the native intelligence that we all possess.
students will enter your classroom
with many preconceived negative notions that could interfere with
their learning. These myths of learning must be acknowledged and
your lesson plans must be crafted with activities that will replace
these notions with positive impressions of the learning process
that could last a lifetime.
See this page in a PDF
20th Century woodcut (from NASA's Astronomy
Picture of the Day)
go through each one of these to discuss why you must overcome
#1: learning is boring
students that learning is exciting, fun, and never-ending will establish
them as lifelong learners.
#2: learning takes place only in a classroom
is an important myth to dispell, or else your students will not
associate learning with a lifelong process. Field experiences and
carefully constructed assignments will contribute to dispelling
#3: teaching must be systematic, logical and planned in order to
should work like the human mind and be more dynamic, spontanious,
and relevent. Pursuing tangents and taking advantage of unexpected
interests in students and exploring unplanned current events are
vital. You don't always have to start at the beginning!
#4: to learn you must put yourself under a teacher
student must be the center of their learning experience. They must
be empowered to control their learning experience by being taught
to question the world around them, how to research any problem,
and how to work towards a solution to any issue.
#5: we must be passive and receptive in order to learn
actually learn the worst when our bodies are stiff, ridgid, and
tired from sitting for hours. Learning is a dynamic process. It
begins with questions, continues with observations and data gathering,
and then culminates with exploring other points of views and potential
answers. The more active we are, the more engaged we are in the
process, the more we will learn.
#6: learning must be thorough or it's not worth doing
a teacher or student won't begin a topic because "there isn't
enough time to cover it." This is actually rarely true. It
is always possible to create a series of questions about a subject
and craft exercises and activities to explore it. The goal of teaching
is not to answer all your students questions. Rather, it is to give
students the intellectual and physical tools to answer any question
for the rest of their lives.
of your students will also have a number of fears associated with
learning that must also be acknowledged if your teaching is to be
won't understand what I am learning
am not a (math, science, etc.) kind of person
don't know how to learn this
won't remember what I am learning
feel ashamed when I don't know something
CONCEPT OF CRITICAL THINKING
lessons into ones that have less of a focus on facts and figures and
more emphasis on building a conceptual framework for your students'
learning is surprisingly straightforward. It starts with a willingness
to cast off your own myths and fears of learning and a desire to try
something new. Studies clearly show that students prepared in this
way perform just as well if not better on standardized tests as well
as being much better prepared for future studies.
teachers find the process quite familiar once they begin.
critical thinking means that students must be taught:
that there is something to figure out.
to notice their world and become skilled observers and listeners.
ask questions and wonder about the world.
challenge assumptions and biases.
consider multiple points of view.
take responsibility for their actions.
think at a deep rather than a superficial level and not oversimplify
critically access their own work.
accomplish this, teachers must:
less so that students learn more.
Learning cannot be measured by the quantity of information presented.
After an exam, students taught in this way will often say "whew,
I'm glad I don't have to know that anymore."
an environment for learning where students make discoveries for
facilitators rather than lecturers, gently leading students towards
their lesson plans, turning their lectures into interactive, creative
activities in these modules have been constructed to foster critical
thinking in you and in your students.
Process of Remodeling Your Lesson Plans
with one of your lesson plans.
this plan for ways critical thinking could be fostered.
the two or three fundamental and powerful objectives you would like
to see accomplished by this lesson plan.
critical thinking strategies derived from critical thinking principles.
Socratic questioning and role playing features.
meaningful activities and assignments that will encourage the student
to discover the answers to the questions.
a meaningful assessment strategy.
one of your lesson plans to include principles of critical thinking.