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Learning to Think Things Through: A Guide to Critical Thinking Across the Curriculum
Synopses & Reviews
Do your students really understand a chapter after they have read it? Can they accurately tell its purpose, the main questions it raises, and the conclusions it draws? For teachers who want their students to learn to think more critically, one question dominates: How can I teach critical thinking within my subject matter? Learning to Think Things Through: A Guide to Critical Thinking Across the Curriculum provides the answers to these and many more questions.
The main goal of the text is to show how critical thinking can help students comprehend any subject so they can see the parts in terms of the whole, to become active learners rather than passive recipients of information. Learning to Think Things Through gives students a written guide to critical thinking that is clear, short, inexpensive, accessible, and shows readers how to think through any problem or question.
"This text stacks up very well against its competition because it is concise. The difficulty in choosing texts on critical thinking is that they are either too complicated, do not offer enough coverage, or use a particular discipline to explicate critical thinking. What makes this text effective is that it is easy to work with and applicable to any and all disciplines."
--Susan Quarrell, Lehman College
Additional Support — in and out of the classroom. . .
Visit the Student Success Supersite (www.prenhall.com/success), where students and faculty will find an array of resources.
How important is critical thinking in all areas of the curriculum? This short, inexpensive guide is designed to help students learn to think critically in any subject-matter course. A combination of instruction and exercises shows them how to use critical thinking to more fully appreciate the power of the discipline they are studying, to see its connections to other fields and to their day-to-day lives, to maintain an overview of the field so they can see the parts in terms of the whole, and to become active learners rather than passive recipients of information. The model of critical thinking (used throughout the book) is in terms of the elements of reasoning, standards, and critical thinking processes. This model is well-suited to thinking through any problem or question.
This short, inexpensive guide is designed to help readers learn to think critically about "any" subject-matter. A combination of instruction and exercises shows how to use critical thinking to more fully to appreciate what they read, to see the connections of what they read to their day-to-day lives, and to become "active readers" rather than passive recipients of information. Using a fresh, lively approach, this book covers the definition of critical thinking; critical thinking within fields of study such as philosophy, biology, and sociology; the elements of reasoning; standards of critical thinking; and thinking through important critical-thinking questions. An excellent guide for those who want to improve their learning skills.
About the Author
Dr. Gerald Nosich has been working in Critical Thinking since 1977. He is a Professor of Philosophy and in the Intellectual Foundations Program at Buffalo State College.
Since the mid-1980s he has become committed to teaching for Critical Thinking across the curriculum. He believes that, in the final analysis, the only way for students to master content, in any course, is by learning to think their way through it. And the only way for students to take effective control of their own lives and choices is by learning to think more critically about them.
Dr Nosich has given more than 200 workshops on all aspects of teaching for critical thinking. These have been given for instructors at all levels of education, in the U.S., in Canada, Thailand, Lithuania, Austria, and Germany. Virtually all of these have been on teaching for critical thinking across the curriculum. They include workshops on methods, infusing, strategies, assessment, skills, using the elements and standards, research, and questioning techniques.
He has been an evaluator for SACS. He has helped create critical-thinking programs across the curriculum at Buffalo State, at South University, at Missouri Western State University. He has been instrumental as a professional developer at institutions that have developed exemplary programs of Critical Thinking across the curriculum, such as Surry Community College, Wilkes Community College, Northwest Vista College, and Western Kentucky University.
On a content level, he has given many general workshops in teaching for Critical Thinking in any subject matter course. But he has also given workshops on teaching for critical thinking in a wide range of more specialized subject matters, including:
The emphasis in his workshops, as in Learning to Think Things Through, is on helping students learn both to think through the subject matter and to internalize the power that the discipline can have in their experience of education and in their own lives.
Dr. Nosich has worked with the U.S. Department of Education on a project for a National Assessment of Higher Order Thinking Skills. He has given highly-acclaimed teleconferences sponsored by PBS and Starlink on teaching for critical thinking within subject-matter courses. He has served as a consultant for ACT in Critical Thinking and Language Arts assessment. He has served as an NEH Evaluator for Critical Thinking programs, and as a docent at the New Orleans Museum of Art. He has been Assistant Director at the Center for Critical Thinking at Sonoma State University. He is the author of numerous articles, audio- and videotapes on critical thinking.
On a more personal note, he has at times exercised and not exercised good judgment: he has ridden a motorcycle alone to Baghdad (and to Ur of the Chaldees, the birthplace of Abraham); he has worked as an immigrant ditch-digger in Switzerland, been imprisoned by Communist authorities in Czechoslovakia, stowed away on a Sicilian ship to Algeria, sailed up the Nile with his family in a felucca, and lived with Maasai warriors in central Africa and in a yurt in Mongolia. He is a Hurricane Katrina refugee and lives, reasonably far from future hurricanes, in Buffalo, New York.
Table of Contents
To the Instructor
To the Student
(NOTE: Each chapter concludes with a Some Outcomes section and Exercises.)
1. What Is Critical Thinking?
Some Definitions of Critical Thinking. Some Prominent Features of Critical Thinking. Three Parts of Critical Thinking. What Critical Thinking Is Not. Impediments to Critical Thinking. Deeper, More Pervasive Impediments to Critical Thinking. How Deep Is Our Need for Critical Thinking? The Experience of Learning to Think Things Through. An Overview of the Book That Lies Ahead.
2. The Elements of Reasoning.
The Nuts and Bolts of Critical Thinking. The Elements of Reasoning. Three Additional Elements of Reasoning. How to Analyze a Piece of Reasoning Using the Elements. Example: Thinking Through the Logic of Getting Married. Trusting the Process.
3. What Is Critical Thinking Within a Field or Discipline?
The Parts of Critical Thinking Within a Field. Thinking Biologically, Thinking Sociologically, Thinking Philosophically, Thinking Musically … The Logic of the Field or Discipline. Learning the Vocabulary of the Discipline. Fundamental and Powerful Concepts. The Central Question of the Course as a Whole. The Point of View of the Discipline. Impediments to Thinking Critically Within a Discipline. Trusting the Discipline.
4. Standards of Critical Thinking.
Clearness. Accuracy. Importance, Relevance. Sufficiency. Depth and Breadth. Precision. Understanding and Internalizing Critical-Thinking Standards. Additional Critical-Thinking Standards. Non-Critical-Thinking Standards. Evaluating Around the Circle. A Note on Reading as a Critical-Thinking Process.
5. Putting It All Together: Answering Critical-Thinking Questions.
The Core Process of Critical Thinking. How Do You Fit into the Picture: Becoming a Critical Thinker. Thinking Through Important Critical-Thinking Questions.
Responses to Starred Exercises.
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