Teaching Critical Thinking through Environmental Education.

WHY IS ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION AN IMPORTANT FOCUS FOR CRITICAL
THINKING AND AN EFFECTIVE MECHANISM TO ENHANCE CRITICAL THINKING?
Current and anticipated environmental problems are receiving increased attention in the media, by all levels of government, by citizen groups, and by individuals concerned with the potential implications for humans and other life on Earth. These problems are local, regional, national, and international in scope. Developing workable solutions to environmental problems will require choices and decisions based on a critical examination of information and opinions.
Environmental education provides a good mechanism for developing critical thinking skills by (1) providing topics and problems that cut across the school curriculum and can enhance the integration of knowledge, (2) providing real problems that can be studied or simulated, and (3) by providing topics and problems that can be adjusted to the developmental levels of students.. WHAT MATERIALS ARE AVAILABLE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION THAT
EMPHASIZE CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS?
While there are many environmental education materials available that include critical thinking skill development, there are several that provide for both a structure and a variety of activities and experiences. Examples of materials with many activities include Aquatic Project Wild, Project Wild, Project Learning Tree, Class, Science-Technology-Society: Preparing for Tomorrow’s World, and SuperSaver Investigators.
An activity manual produced by ERIC/SMEAC (Howe and Disinger, 1990) includes examples of these and other materials. The manual also includes examples of activities you can design related to various environmental topics and problems. The activities provide a variety of effective instructional procedures (debates, simulations, critical analyses of materials and presentations, case studies, etc.), and focus on specific or combinations of critical thinking skills. HOW CAN A TEACHER GET HELP TO MODIFY INSTRUCTION TO EMPHASIZE THINKING
SKILLS?
There are a variety of experiences and materials available to help teachers learn to teach critical thinking skills more effectively. PROJECT WILD offers workshops for teachers to help them use materials more effectively. The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) has produced some very useful materials to help teachers design a classroom structure and activities that are effective for teaching thinking skills. The book by Costa and others (1985) has been very helpful for many teachers and contains useful ideas for teaching thinking skills. ASCD also offers workshops that emphasize teaching thinking skills.
 

Add comment March 12, 2008 vt86

critical thinking skills

A. Affective Strategies

·        thinking independently

·         developing insight into egocentricity  

·        exercising fair-mindedness

·         exploring thoughts underlying feelings and feelings underlying thoughts

·         developing intellectual humility and suspending judgment

·        developing intellectual courage

·        developing intellectual good faith or integrity

·         developing intellectual perseverance

·        developing confidence in reason

B. Cognitive Strategies–Macro-Abilities

·        refining generalizations and avoiding oversimplifications

·         comparing analogous situations: transferring insights to new contexts

·         developing one’s perspective: creating or exploring beliefs, arguments, or theories

·         clarifying issues, conclusions, or beliefs

·        clarifying and analyzing the meanings of words or phrases

·        developing criteria for evaluation: clarifying values and standards

·        evaluating the credibility of sources of information

·         questioning deeply: raising and pursuing root or significant questions

·         analyzing or evaluating arguments, interpretations, beliefs, or theories

·        generating or assessing solutions

·        analyzing or evaluating actions or policies

·         reading critically: clarifying or critiquing texts

·         listening critically: the art of silent dialogue

·        making interdisciplinary connections

·         practicing Socratic discussion: clarifying and questioning beliefs, theories, or perspectives

·         reasoning dialogically: comparing perspectives, interpretations, or theories

·        reasoning dialectically: evaluating perspectives, interpretations, or theories

C. Cognitive Strategies–Micro-Skills

·        comparing and contrasting ideals with actual practice

·         thinking precisely about thinking: using critical vocabulary

·         noting significant similarities and differences

·         examining or evaluating assumptions

·         distinguishing relevant from irrelevant facts

·         making plausible inferences, predictions, or interpretations

·         evaluating evidence and alleged facts

·        recognizing contradictions

·         exploring implications and consequences

Add comment March 3, 2008 vt86

what we know already about thinking skills and problem-solving

we have gathered information and research evidence that confirm the significance of thinking and problem-solving skills as a central aspects of teaching and learning, and that :

  • improvement in the development of thinking and problem-solving skills will reflect positively in standard overall;
  • it is possible to support all students in developing their thinking and problem-solving skills, and improving the use of these skills;
  • such support depends upon the provision of stuructured and balanced oppurtunities to practise and develop skills  (including reflection and transfer skills), and upon a appropriate climate;
  • group work, role play and other collaborative experiences form important social and communicative aspects of the development of thinking and problem-solving skills; and 
  • TASCis an ideal vehicle for supporting the provision and uptake of this blend of cognitive and social learning oppurtunities  

Add comment February 29, 2008 vt86

Thinking skills decline with age!!!!

 Creative thinkers wither with age Sir Ken Robinson, chair of the UK Government’s report on creativityation and the economy, described research that showed that young people lost their ability to think in “divergent or non-linear ways”, a key component of creativity. Of 1,600 children aged three to five who were tested, 98% showed they could think in divergent ways. By the time they were aged eight to 10, 32% could think divergently. When the same test was applied to 13 to 15-year-olds, only 10% could think in this way. And when the test was used with 200,000 25-year-olds, only 2% could think divergently. Sir Ken commented, “The trouble is that nothing rewards people for thinking off-piste. Education is driven by the idea of one answer and this idea of divergent thinking becomes stifled.” He described creativity as the “genetic code” of education and said it was essential for the new economic circumstances of the 21st century. (TESS, 25 March 2005)

Research suggests ability to learn declines as children get older

Researchers at Bristol University have found that children lose some of their ability to learn as they go through school. The team assessed 2,000 people aged seven to 25 in skills such as creativity, curiosity and persistence. The study found older children and adults were less able learners than primary children.

The Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory project was funded by the Lifelong Learning Foundation. Dr Ruth Deakin-Crick, one of the co-directors of the study, said: “The mean score for key stage 3 pupils was statistically significantly lower than… for… KS2. There was no significant difference between KS3 and KS4, except for creativity which was lower.”

Dr Deakin-Crick said there was no single solution to helping pupils learn. Instead, the profile allowed teachers to think creatively and find ways of helping pupils. She added; “The most important thing across the board appeared to be the quality of the learning relationship with the teacher

Add comment February 26, 2008 vt86

todays explanation about the blog by Pn.Rosseni, really changed my view about creating blog. i thought that blog was really boring becouse there was nothing much to do but after todays lecture i got new ideas to make my blog look interesting and also in the same time useful for myself and friends too.  

Add comment February 25, 2008 vt86

Hello world!

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1 comment February 20, 2008 vt86

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