Why should we teach critical thinking in our Freshman Seminar / First Year Program?

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Knowing that the transition to college life often entails a steep learning curve, many colleges and universities teach a Freshman Studies course in ‘college survival skills.’  Topics often cover communication skills, learning strategies, and critical thinking skills.

Your Freshman Seminars should include critical thinking because:

  1. Strong critical thinking skills and positive critical thinking habits of mind are vital to academic success in every academic discipline and major field of study.
  2. Critical thinking may just be the most important college level student learning outcome. Regional accreditation organizations are looking to First Year Success and Freshman Seminar programs as vehicles through which institutions can deliver and assess their core learning outcomes.

College success is the result of well made decisions that lead to the accomplishment of degree requirements, while staying healthy and managing outside responsibilities. For a further discussion of introducing critical thinking skills to freshman, we recommend Think Critically by Dr. Peter, published by Pearson Education. Dr. Facione is the developer and author of the California Critical Thinking Skills Test family of measurement tools and a senior researcher and with Insight Assessment

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