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Using the Habits of Mind to Promote Critical Thinking

A teacher-inquiry workshop

Spencer Atkinson

on 23 April 2013

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Transcript of Using the Habits of Mind to Promote Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking “Teaching [children] habits of mental passivity* and docility is mistaking the function of the school and doing the children real harm” Using the Habits of Mind How do you define “critical thinking”?
What do you do currently to promote critical thinking skills with your students?
What challenges does this present? Writing Prompt (pick one): Habits
of Mind Spencer Atkinson || spenceratkinso@gmail.com Relevance Connections Evidence Viewpoint Supposition Essential Questions: How can students play a more active role?
How can I empower students to be questioning and critical in ways that don't undermine their values?
How can I work within a traditional curriculum to engage students in higher-level critical thinking? A community that values
tradition and respect. McFarland, WI: in the classroom Relevance Why this topic? My Classes: Freshman English
Composition (11/12)
Creative Writing (11/12)
College Literature (11/12)
Average 18 students per class MHS: Approx. 650 students
Mix of suburban and rural
Majority upper-middle class
Majority white (~90%)
10-15% "open enrolled" from nearby Madison PASSIVITY Connections Where else have we seen these ideas? “We refuse to let our work be judged on the basis of a student’s capacity to collect trivia. We want it to be judged instead on the intellectual habits of mind it engenders. […] They are at the heart of each curriculum as well as being the basis for judging student performance. We never quite write them out the exact same way, and over the years we’ve realized they are constantly evolving in their meaning”
(Meier, 1995, pp. 49-50). “A habit also marks an intellectual disposition. […] There are habits of judging and reasoning as truly as of handling a tool, painting a picture, or conducting an experiment. The involved in habits of the eye and hand supply the latter with their significance. Above all, the intellectual element in a habit fixes the relation of the habit to varied and elastic use, and hence to continued growth”
(Dewey, 1916, p. 57). habits of mind Arthur L. Costa Persisting
Managing impulsivity
Gathering data through all senses
Listening with understanding and empathy
Creating, imagining, innovating
Thinking flexibly
Responding with wonderment and awe
Thinking about your thinking (metacognition)
Taking responsible risks
Striving for accuracy and precision
Finding humor
Questioning and problem posing
Thinking interdependently
Applying past knowledge to new situations
Remaining open to continuous learning From www.instituteforhabitsofmind.com WPA, NCTE, NWP “Habits of mind—ways of approaching learning that are both intellectual and practical—are crucial for all college-level learners. [...] Students who develop these habits of mind approach learning from an active stance. [...] Teachers can do much to foster the kind of thinking that lies behind these habits” (p. 4). Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing (2011) Theodore Sizer "Habits of mind are a set of thinking dispositions that help people develop their They are the characteristics of what intelligent people do about problems whose resolution is not immediately apparent. That is, these are the mental habits individuals can develop to render their thinking and learning more self-regulated." Coalition of
Essential Schools From www.essentialschools.org/benchmarks/5 "A wise school's goal is to get its students into good intellectual habits. Just which habits can be grist for properly endless debate" (Sizer, 1992, p. 73). Origin of the term : Deborah Meier s Version: Evidence Viewpoint or "How do we know what we know?" in all its multiplicity, or "Who's speaking?" and patterns, or "What causes what?" or "How might things have been different?" or "So what? Who cares?" Connections Supposition Relevance Where did this term
come from, anyway? critical and creative thinking skills. HABITS OF MIND: The Power of Their Ideas (1995) Scriven and Paul (1987) defined critical thinking as A definition: What is it, and how can it be taught? CRITICAL THINKING: "the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.

In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness." The WPA, NCTE, and NWP (2011) defined critical thinking as A definition: “the ability to analyze a situation or text and make thoughtful decisions based on that analysis.” What it
is NOT: (Dewey, 1915, pp. 141-142). “In teaching, [the students] should not be seen merely as an audience but as a part of a community of common concern in which one hopes to participate constructively. We should be speaking not TO but WITH. A good teacher knows that the best way to help students learn is to allow them to find the truth by themselves. True learning comes about through the discovery of truth, not through the imposition of an official truth. That never leads to the development of independent and critical thought" (Chomsky, 2000, p. 21). “The goal is not to amass facts or lists of data, but to develop the skills required to find out, to explore, to communicate, and to understand. The usual critique of such approaches is that they are without content. It is assumed that students must first be filled up with information before they are allowed to work with it. […] The point is not developing habits of the mind at the expense of learning content. The goal is to do and to reclaim the process of to as a curricular ‘basic’” (Wood, 1992, p. 173). both learning how An example of
at work in a classroom at CPESS: “Ricky and his students are dealing with the news media's influence on political events, using the Boston Massacre to discuss propaganda. […] So when Ricky asks if Paul Revere’s etching and poem about the Boston Massacre are accurate, it makes sense that these twelve- and thirteen-year-olds ask fairly sophisticated questions in response. For instance, what news accounts of the event are available, what did British papers report, and what would be a credible source for information about the actual events?” (Wood, 1992, p. 48-49). Habits of Mind * *remember that word for later... * there's that word again! "habit of mind" Evidence What makes it
credible to us? Part I: Part II: How do we know
what we think we know? Student Work: Creative Writing TO BE CONTINUED... How does this
compare to
your definition
from earlier? { ' Reflections on instructor feedback
Socratic seminar (prepared notes & oral participation)
Reading reflections Reading reflections
Research reflections
Peer critique process Student Work:
Composition Viewpoint How might this look if we
stepped into other shoes? How would you go about introducing this language and concept to your students? What would that look like? Relevance: I didn't understand the relevance of Chris coming forward and saying, "I shot Emily." I thought he wanted to be free, so why did he confess? (The Pact)

Viewpoint: With Ron running off, I can see it being hard for Hermione to welcome him back. While Ron had his own troubles, Hermione and Harry's were far more dangerous. (HP and the Deathly Hollows)

Supposition: Should we allow such horrible treatments to happen if it means it will keep the streets safe? I think this is the philosophical question of the book. (A Clockwork Orange)

Evidence: In this section of the book, there was a lot of evidence that the two were better friends: Owen asked her out for breakfast one morning, and they hung out at his house one afternoon. (Just Listen)

Connections: Amir gives his father love but doesn't receive it...I connected this to A Thousand Splendid Suns because Mariam gets treated this way by her father, too. (The Kite Runner) Reading Reflections a.k.a. let's try it ourselves! Form groups of 3
Read the text
Develop discussion questions based in the Habits of Mind Questioning the Author Supposition What if...? Reflection Prompt: Reflect on what you've done and heard.

Consider these questions:
How do the Habits of Mind work as a structure for developing critical thinking?
Suppose that they were applied in your classroom?
What other guiding questions can you think of, specific to your subject area / grade level?
What ideas of lessons or activities that utilize the Habits of Mind could you take back to your classroom? Thanks for your time! Reflection Prompts: to Promote Barth, R. S. (1990). Improving schools from within: Teachers, parents, and principals can make the difference. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Barth, R. S. (2001). Learning by heart. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Chomsky, N. (2000). Chomsky on miseducation. New York: Rowman & Littlefield.
Council of Writing Program Administrators, National Council of Teachers of English, & National Writing Project. (2011). Framework for success in postsecondary writing. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Dewey, J. & Dewey, E. (1915). Schools of tomorrow. New York: E.O. Dutton & Company.
Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and education: An introduction to the philosophy of education. New York: The MacMillan Company.
Hess, D. E. (2009). Controversy in the classroom: The democratic power of discussion. New York: Routledge.
Kohn, A. (1999). The schools our children deserve: Moving beyond traditional classrooms and “tougher standards.” Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Meier, D. (1995a). The power of their ideas. Boston: Beacon Press.
Meier, D. (1995b). How our schools could be. Phi Delta Kappan, 76(5), 369-73. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Scriven, M., & Paul, R. (1987, July 16). Critical Thinking as Defined by the National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking Instruction, 1987. Retrieved from www.criticalthinking.org/aboutCT/definingCT.cfm
Sizer, T. R. (1992). Horace’s school: Redesigning the American high school. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Sizer, T. R. (1996). Horace’s hope: What works for the American high school. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Williams, R. L., & Stockdale, S. L. (2003). High-performing students with low critical thinking skills. Journal of General Education, 52(3), 199-225. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Wood, G. H. (1992). Schools that work: America’s most innovative public education programs. New York: Plume. Resources for Further Reading First step:
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