The Critical Thinking Initiative podcast is a response to the low critical thinking outcomes among U.S. students across all levels of education. Episodes focus on all areas related to meaningful education, with a focus on cutting-edge, research-supported ways to improve critical thinking in any discipline.
Join us for an exciting announcement and an interview with John Eyler, Ph.D., author of How Humans Learn: The Science and Stories Behind Effective College Teaching.
Wishing everyone wellness, safety, and satisfying teaching (or a much needed break!) in this time of COVID.
Given the sudden mass migration to online learning because of COVID19, The Critical Thinking Initiative offers this brief, "emergency" podcast about simple measures every instructor, K-Ph.D.--can take to ensure that the online learning experience is a positive one for the students.
Please feel encouraged to share this one with everyone you know who has suddenly had to transition their teaching online.
Steve and Dave engage an article by Daniel Willingham about whether or not, and how, critical thinking can be taught. This podcast strikes deep into critical thinking education, taking on essential questions concerning transfer, deep structure, disciplinarity, and content knowledge. How should we fundamentally conceptualize critical thinking's presence in the educational process?
Steve & Dave respond to an article and, more broadly, to the "ungrading" movement, which assert that grades interfere with deeper learning. Listen in to find out why grades do, don't, and shouldn't hinder learning, and how we can use them constructively. Also, a little known fact about Zeus.
Several faculty members from the University of Wyoming share their perspectives on critical thinking after a three-day workshop with Dave and Steve. This is a rare opportunity to listen to other educators' perspectives on incorporating critical thinking into their teaching practice.
Dave and Steve engage the questions and critiques around whether or not the term "critical" is the best one for the kind of thinking we want students to do. Do its connotations outweigh its intention? Is there a term that's better?
Steve and Dave welcome Jackson Nickerson, Ph.D., who is the Frahm Family Professor of Organization and Strategy at the Olin School of Business, and who founded the Leading Thinking program through Brookings Executive Education. This is a powerful conversation that culminates in the many risks for our students if we fail to forge forward with thinking-driven learning.
Steve and Dave look at the recent article from The Chronicle of Higher Education about James Madison University's X-lab, and they examine rising contemporary calls for opportunities for students to innovate and problem solve. Are X-Labs the future of learning? Should your school have one? In related news, Steve drops a bomb about lucite.
Dave and Steve welcome Michael S. Roth, author of Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters. Michael offers wonderful perspectives on the relationship between critical thinking, the liberal arts, and interdisciplinary. He also raises critical perspectives about the importance of pushing students to step outside their own viewpoints about the world.
What's the relationship between certain video games and critical thinking skills? According to some recent assertions, select video games promote critical thinking by creating rich worlds in which players must make difficult choices. To what extent do those choices foster critical thinking? And to what success are video games being employed in classrooms? Also, why are Steve and Dave making obscure references to M.A.S.H.? Find out the answers to all those questions on this episode!
Is PowerPoint "the viagra of the spoken word and a wonderful pill for flabby lectures"? Steve and Dave tackle the research on one of the most widely used classroom tools. They not only offer specific tips for modifying PowerPoint to invite more critical thinking, but also make obligatory connections to John Carpenter's classic film, They Live.
Vipin Thekk of ChangemakerCommunities.org joins Dave and Steve to discuss the work he does in helping reshape schools and communities so that they prepare students for an unknown future. The discussion includes ways that critical thinking, empathy, and discourse will be vital to our students, as well as how to create change where needed.
Steve and Dave explore the relationship between grades and learning, including a brief look at the history of grades. Even though grading often fails to develop learning, they discuss how grading can actually play an important if not critical role in the cultivation of strong and authentic learning outcomes.
Special guest Anton Tolman, the lead editor of the book, Why Students Resist Learning: A Practical Model for Understanding and Helping Students, joins Steve and Dave in a discussion of how to convert the "signal" of student resistance into a force for educational growth. Tolman discusses why student resistance is natural, his research on its causes, and strategies for addressing it, including metacognition.
Dave and Steve tackle the controversial "Sokel Squared" hoax by academics who got fabricated articles published in academic journals. Join us for spirited commentary on what this hoax accomplishes, why it is dangerous, and how it possibly emerges from an erroneous conception of constructivism.
Steve and Dave offer some concrete, class-ready exercises for using writing to learn to improve learning outcomes and foster deeper critical engagement of subject matter. They explain why WTL doesn't require extensive time or effort in order to produce better outcomes. They also discuss the inherent power in writing, and in writing to learn, explain why it holds such power.
Dave and Steve welcome Alice Horning to the podcast to discuss the researching on reading and students' acquisition of literacy skills. Alice is the former editor for the Journal of the Council of Writing Program Administrators, and the author of texts such as "Reconnecting Reading and Writing." Alice brings a wealth of expertise concerning the research on the state of reading and literacy, and how to help students develop those important skills.
Steve and Dave welcome Dr. Marianne Fallon for a fascinating discussion about the power of a growth mindset for students' educational performance. Marianne speaks to research on growth vs. fixed mindsets, how even high-performing students can still suffer from a fixed mindset, common mistakes educators make in reinforcing fixed mindsets, and easy measures any educator can use in any class, such as short reflective assignments, to foster "growthy" students!
By popular demand, Steve and Dave respond to some of the backlog of listener questions. One listener asks about whether or not critical thinking based on evidence undervalues creativity. A second listener asks about how to maintain standards for critical thinking while also ensuring a cultural diverse classroom in which all perspectives are valued. Can we be creative and critical at the same time? Can we value diverse opinions yet hold students to logical standards of evidence? Tune in to find out
Some high stakes assessments of student writing are currently being done by computers. Steve and Dave tackle the question of whether or not cutting-edge artificial "intelligence" successfully evaluates papers for critical thinking, or anything else. Will your job as an educator soon be replaced by a computer? Tune in to find out.
Many educators are frustrated by student writing, frustrated by the time they devote to responding to student writing, and frustrated by the lack of revision, if not improvement, between drafts. In this episode, Dave and Steve not only dispel myths about what constitutes an effective response to a student paper, they also offer a step-by-step process for responding in a way that produces meaningful growth.
What does that mean? Dave and Steve explore a highfalutin idea called Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) and its implications for teaching and critical thinking. Want to know why students procrastinate? Why they revert to their old ways? How to get them to advanced their thinking? Then you'll want to understand CLT and all its immediate implications for how you teach.
What happens when someone creates a dialogue between west coast liberals and southern Trump supporters? Find out in this episode! Steve and Dave are joined by Spaceship Media founders and journalism activists, Eve Pearlman and Jeremy Hay. Spaceship Media's "dialogue journalism" is fostering constructive discourse between people who hold conflicting viewpoints, and striving to restore the populace's faith in journalists. This reinforces the pressing need for education to create thinking citizens.
Dave and Steve tackle one of the more over- and misused terms in education, Problem-Based Learning (PBL). Learn the research behind PBL, what it is, for what it works well and for what it doesn't work well. In news of the week: How Artificial Intelligence is going to force educational change, and how critical thinking might just offer hope for the world in terms of climate change. Maybe. (This episode contains minor technical difficulties that were out of our control. Apologies in advance.)
Having blamed all the world's problems on the 5-paragraph essay in the previous episode, Steve and Dave offer three alternatives to the 5-paragraph form. These are tested, easily implemented essay structures that emphasize critical thinking and foster stronger content acquisition. News of the week explains why critical thinking can't be taught (but it can) and covers a letter to educators from subject matter itself!
Warning: This episode may provoke strong reactions from 5-paragraph-essay devotees. Not for the faint of heart! Listen in as Steve and Dave unfairly blame all of the world's problems on the 5-paragraph essay format frequently used in secondary and higher education. Also news of the week: Why even young children possess strong critical thinking skills, and how the Air Force explores "forecasting" as a critical thinking goal.
Critical thinking pioneer and guru Dan Willingham joins Dave and Steve in discussing the relationship between critical thinking, reading, and teaching. They delve into the role that existing bodies of knowledge play in decoding thinking. News of the week examines whether or not reading to evaluate produces stronger outcomes than reading to comprehend. Also, to get "meta," Dave talks about the role attention plays in thinking, such as when listening to a podcast ... or not.
In response to requests from their listeners, Dave and Steve try to distill seven years of research into 45 minutes! The result? An initial walk-through of how they help faculty and students across disciplines and grade levels conceptualize critical thinking. Want to know how to define critical thinking in a way that works in any classroom? A way that can be assessed? A way that can improve learning outcomes? Then tune in! Plus, news of the week and obligatory Bigfoot references.
TCTI welcomes Peter Arthur, Ph.D. Peter is a frequent keynote speaker and sought-after workshop facilitator on “Enhancing Metacognition, Growth Mindset and Grit for Student Success.” He speaks with Steve and Dave about the intersects between his work and critical thinking.
Plus, Steve has some depressing news of the week, and we learn why critical thinking isn't the same thing as being smart.
In this episode, Steve and Dave take a walk into some of the science around how the brain functions relative to learning. Beware! Discussions of "amygdalas" and "basal ganglia" may emerge. But if you want to tap into your students brain power, here is some of the research on how to do it.
Struggling to find ways to integrate direct critical thinking instruction into your courses? In this week's episode, Steve and Dave offer some modified versions of three exercises straight from The Critical Thinking Initiative handbook, exercises you can easily adapt into your coursework regardless of subject, discipline, or even grade level. Also, learn about a mysterious "mental gremlin"!
In this episode, Dave and Steve tackle the controversial topic of assessment in education, examining the research about the relationship between critical thinking education and critical thinking assessment. Learn about the powerful roles assessment plays in education as a whole, the value of including critical thinking in assessment, the need for assessment to be more than just a grade, and the importance interdisciplinary considerations.
In this first episode of The Critical Thinking Initiative, Steve and Dave take you beyond the popular misconceptions of why critical thinking is so hard to teach. Learn the five research-supported factors that undermine critical thinking outcomes. Steve and Dave will help you start to understand how to build a critical thinking ecosystem in your class or at your institution.