Most of us have a wealth of information readily available to us. Thanks to the Internet and other media sources, we receive news and entertainment all day, every day, at a rapid pace. And if you don’t receive the information, it’s relatively easy to seek it out; enter a query into a search engine, and within seconds you’ll receive millions of results that provide you with links to articles that address your topic from differing perspectives—and varying levels of relevance, accuracy, and authority.
It is indeed fairly easy to get information that is somewhat related to the matters that concern us. But the questions remain: How do we identify the information that is credible, useful, and truthful, and how do we apply that information to our lives in a meaningful and beneficial way?
In order to answer these questions, we need to rely on critical-thinking skills. Unfortunately, these skills don’t come naturally to many people—and they aren’t always encouraged by those who are providing biased or incomplete information in an attempt to sway us to their perspective. We need to develop—and, of course, use—these skills. For this reason, Dr. Constance Staley believes that “regardless of which discipline we teach, developing critical minds may be our most important job.”
In the webinar “Critical Minds: Teaching Strategies to Help First-Year Students Become Critical Thinkers,” Dr. Staley emphasizes the important role that critical thinking skills play in laying a solid foundation for success in college, relationships, the workforce… and all aspects of our lives. She shares how these skills are related to their ability to focus on meaningful tasks, thoughtfully consider potential solutions to their problems and challenges, and also improve their awareness of the world around them. In addition, she shares strategies that will help you teach these skills to your students, and thus help prepare them for what they’ll face in the future.
How do you integrate instruction on critical thinking into your courses? Share your ideas below.