When we refer to someone as ‘well educated’ we are often focusing on their display of relevant content knowledge. Yet owning content knowledge is a trivial pursuit if one cannot retrieve appropriate knowledge in the context of well analyzed problems or use it to draw critical inferences in emergency situations. For this reason, “Education is nothing more, nor less, than learning to think.” Peter Facione
Everyone can learn to think better. Training someone to attend to their own thinking process, and teaching them about how they evaluate information, draw inferences, and avoid thinking errors, is a lifelong gift.
On this page we have included a number of resources for those engaged in teaching for and about thinking. Many of the strategies that have proven valuable for training excellence in reasoning and judgment can be applied across disciplines and settings, in teaching and training people of all ages, in all nations around the world. The external expression of thought differs culturally, as governments and families determine who can speak aloud. But the human reasoning process is universal.
Critical Thinking: What It Is And Why It Counts
Critical Thinking: What It is and Why It Counts: an essay written by Dr. Peter Facione, a leading authority in critical thinking. This essay is periodically updated to capture new findings and discussion points to help trainees explore the domain of critical thinking in all aspects of life and work. Author and the publisher hold copyright, ISBN 13: 978-1-891557-07-1. Permission is granted for paper, electronic, or digital copies to be made in unlimited amounts for purposes of advancing education and improving critical thinking, provided that distribution of copies is free of charge and properly cited when extracted in whole or in part. More on this essayDownload PDF
The Reflective Log
The Reflective Log – Critical thinking is vital to your success in life and work. It’s worth developing strong thinking skills. This critical thinking tool is intended to give structure and focus to journaling by students or trainees to integrate their insights about their thinking and decision making. Metacognition is trained through reflective writing. This version of the exercise, aimed at the undergraduate or novice professional, is easily adapted for use in other populations. Use the Reflective Log to coach trainee’ self-monitoring and self-correction skillsDownload PDF
Techniques for Trainers of Reasoning Skills and Decision Making
Techniques for Trainers of Reasoning Skills and Decision Making – Use these techniques to strengthen the training strategies you currently use to improve thinking skills and mindset in your trainee and student groups. Apply these strategies to all training exercises where the goal is to improve thoughtful problem identification and reflective decision making. Reflecting periodically on these three directives will offer you insights about your current best training practices and help you to focus your training efforts on critical thinking across content domains and educational contexts.Download PDF
Training Session Feedback Form
Training Session Feedback Form – This tool is intended to function as both a self-evaluation tool for the trainee and as an evaluation of the training program itself for its ability to engage the learner as intended. Completing the feedback form guides trainees to reflect specifically on their thinking experience related to the learning opportunity. Responses for each of the individual items are informative, and as a collection they serve as a subjective report of the trainee’s engagement in the embedded training exercises aimed at improving thinking skills and mindset. This is not a direct measure of the objective quality of strength or weakness of the trainee’s actual critical thinking ability.Download PDF
Strong Critical Thinking in GroupsStrong Critical Thinking in Groups
Question Asking Skills: A Leadership Tool
The Culture of Thinking in Your Organization
The Culture of Thinking in your Organization – Use this tool to assess the culture of thinking and decision-making that is characteristic of your organization. Consider how prevalent these manifestations of strength in thinking and decision making can be found in various working groups and in overall expectations. These characteristics can be difficult to achieve, but they are the hallmark of strong thinking organizations both in the leadership and in the membership. These ideas apply to all types of organizations: business, health sciences, education, defense, security, commerce.Download PDF
Perspectives that Influence Thinking and Knowing
Perspectives that Influence Thinking and Knowing – This tool describes seven different ways that individuals see the world. These varying perspectives have a profound effect on how a person interprets new information, identifies problems (or fails to), and determines how or whether the problems can be solved. Effective training programs aimed at reasoning and decision making skills and mindset account for the variation of knowledge perspectives present in the training group.Download PDF
Designing A Study of Workplace Productivity
Designing A Study of Workplace Productivity – Use this tool to infuse strong reasoning and decision making into studies of workplace conditions or as an example of how strong thinking and decision skills are embedded in each step of an a well- designed investigation. Well-designed studies provide trustable information, poorly designed studies do not. This example examines factors that are believed to impact productivity. The same process could be used to study the variables that influence innovation.Download PDF
Snap Judgments – Risks and Benefits of Heuristic Thinking
“Snap Judgments – Risks and Benefits of Heuristic Thinking” There are two important systems at work in human thinking and decision making. One is a highly reflective judgment process (referred to often as ‘System Two’) and the other (‘System One’) is an heuristic process that relies on previous learning and sensory input. Both systems are at work all the time. Both systems are valuable to survival, and they check and balance each other when humans think well. Both need to be monitored for error to prevent poor decision making and lost opportunity. This material describes System One and cautions against common errors that occur in System One thinking. These pages are extracted from THINK Critically, Facione & Gittens, Pearson Education (3rd. edition) and offered here with the author’s permission.Download PDF
Course Evaluation Design Discussion Questions
A student course evaluation form, if well-conceived and designed, can reinforce educational goals, shape student expectations, and assist faculty to improve their courses and their teaching in many ways. The assessment research team at Insight Assessment offers this set of guiding questions to faculty and academic leaders seeking an effective and integrated approach to student course evaluations.Download PDF
Participant Course Evaluation Form
The “Participant Course Evaluation Form” is a five-factor tool that can be used either for formative evaluation to assist with mid-course corrections, or as a summative instrument after the course is completed. Students are able to complete the evaluation in just a few minutes. The results can quickly be summed and reviewed because the form conveniently divides information into separate areas of concern.Download PDF
Insight Assessment Resources
Insight Assessment Resources includes discussions of what critical thinking is, lists of research about critical thinking, and practical strategies that have proven valuable for training excellence in reasoning and judgment. These resources can be applied across disciplines and settings, in teaching and training people of all ages, in all nations around the world.
In the end, nothing substitutes for reflective practice:
- Improve Thinking by Reflecting on Actual Examples of Successful and Unsuccessful Decision-Making and Problem-Solving!
- Teach groups and individuals to reflect upon and critically analyze their problem solving and decision-making processes by asking themselves systematic and tough questions about their own assumptions, methodologies, standards, and theoretical frames of references.
- “Step-Back” and be sure that you understand the problem before you try to solve it.
- Be sure you know what success would really look like before you set about making things right. Too often we, and our students, do things just to be doing something, without knowing what the problem really is, why we are doing it, or how we will know when to declare victory.