Developing critical thinking capacities: A practical perspective
This paper was originally presented at the Critical Thinking Forum, sponsored by the United States Army Intelligence Center, Ft. Huachuca AZ in May 2009 and describes the experiences involved in developing critical thinking capacities in online courses. The paper was revised and submitted to the 2013 INTED conference in Valencia Spain and published in the conference proceedings.
This paper surveys literature on critical thinking and examines various opinions to increase understanding of the development of critical thinking capacities, including Critical Thinking Dispositions (CTD) and Critical Thinking Skills (CTS) in online educational programs. The challenge for teachers and instructors in leadership courses is to engender critical thinking capacities within their students that go far beyond training for effective skills. A key precept for helping learners think in new patterns beyond effective skill acquisition is to ensure that teachers and instructors are adequately prepared to support the development of critical thinking within their learner populations. Educational institutions, as a whole, have crucial roles to play in identifying and developing the resources to foster programs that incorporate critical thinking capacities and support instructors as they implement these programs. Additionally, institutions must also define and deploy appropriate entry and exit assessments of the student populations to evaluate the efficacy of critical thinking within these programs.
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