The Critical Thinking Initiative

The Critical Thinking Initiative

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.... Show More

Episodes

July 7, 2020

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.

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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.

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Steve and Dave delve into recent research on critical thinking growth throughout college. Learn the extent to which it is happening and why. Warning: this episode may contain some ranting.

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Steve and Dave tackle the complex issue of how to respond to student work effectively. Spoiler alert: It's somewhere between a pat on the back and psychiatric analysis.

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Mindfulness education is gaining popularity in academia, but does helping students get their Zen on also help them to think critically? Take some deep breaths, find your center, and start listening!

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.?  ...

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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.  

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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.

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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.

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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.  

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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.

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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.

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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 deve...

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