Agenda What is critical reading/ thinking? Why is it important? Techniques
New thing? Not really. Easy ? Not really. Why not? Because you need to engage a part of your brain that is not normally used.
Our brains Humans only use 10% of their brains Albert Einstein: we could all be geniuses if we knew how to unleash the full potential of our brains
Our minds are capable of remarkable, incredible feats, yet we dont use them to their full capacity. In fact, most of us only use 10 per cent of our brains, if that. The other 90 per cent is full of untapped potential and undiscovered abilities, which means our minds are only operating in a very limited way instead of at a full stretch. I believe that we once had full power over our minds. We had to, in order to survive, but as our world has become more sophisticated and complex we have forgotten many of the abilities we once had. (Geller,1996)
Developing critical thinking lack of critical thinking can be explained from physiological perspective previous environment has not encouraged the brain to develop that particular part need to trigger the part of the brain that has been left unused
Where does this leave you? Glad -that it is not you but your environment? Intrigued - want to find out more and especially how to develop this part of the brain? Puzzled - dont quite believe that it is that simple?
Right to be sceptical ! -Theres no proof that we use only 10% of our brains (its a widespread myth!). -Theres no link between this myth and critical thinking.
Or have you been taken in by: Good standard of language (formal) Scientific perspective Use of widely accepted premise It is common knowledge Reference to experts (Albert Einstein) Quotation from well-known person (Uri Geller) Use of words that establish logical links (therefore, this explains, similarly )
Clues Use of emotional words famous, amazing, well-known Appeal to audiences vanity (all geniuses) Absence of scientific evidence Mentioning Einstein without giving the source Uri Geller is an entertainer not a brain expert Uri Geller has a vested interest (his livelihood) Flawed reasoning (link between psychic powers and critical thinking)
Being critical Being analytical evaluative questioning investigative sceptical challenging (synonyms)
Critical Reading & Critical Thinking Critical reading: technique for discovering information & ideas > careful, active, reflective, analytical reading Critical thinking: technique for evaluating information & ideas > reflecting on validity in light of prior reading and understanding of the world
Example: Parents are buying expensive cars for their children to destroy them. Critical reading: Who or what is them? (parents, cars or children?) What evidence is given to support this claim? Critical thinking: Is the chosen meaning (claim) true? Is it a good idea? Who will benefit / lose out from this practice? What will be the impact?
Reading Non-critical: text provides facts Reader memorises the facts and key remarks Critical : text provides portrayal facts of one individuals take on the subject matter Reader recognises what is said and how it is said
Critical reading techniques Deep or intensive reading techniques surveying the text reading more than once reading in chunks stopping to check comprehension (block- break- review) questioning the text taking notes making comments in the margins identifying a line of reasoning identifying evidence identifying assumptions identifying conclusion and evaluating these!
Tools of critical reading Analysis (to know what to look for) > You have to recognise the aspects of the discussion that control the meaning. Interpretation (what to make of it) > You have to interpret the data and facts, within the text and within the wider context.
Tools of critical reading (cont.) Analyse & interpret the authors portrayal of the topic >> to identify the authors purpose. Examine the choices the author made concerning: - content - structure - language Consider their effect on the meaning
Queen Elizabeth II by unknown 2007 in these fast-moving times Queen Elizabeth II by Annie Leibovitz 2007 Queen Elizabeth II by Lucian Freud, 2001 Portrayal of the same subject: But what are the intentions ?
Knowledge: starting point, includes both the acquisition of information and the ability to recall information when needed (define, label, list, memorize, order, relate ) Understanding: basic level of understanding, the ability to know what is being communicated in order to make use of the information (classify, describe, discuss, explain, identify, report, review) Application: the ability to use a learned skill in a new situation (apply, demonstrate, employ, illustrate, interpret, sketch, solve, use, write) Analysis: the ability to break content into components in order to identify parts, see relationships among them, and recognize organizational principles (analyse, appraise, calculate, categorize, compare, contrast, criticize, differentiate, distinguish, examine, question, test) Synthesis: the ability to combine existing elements in order to create something original (arrange, collect, compose, construct, design, develop, organize, plan, propose) Evaluation: the ability to make a judgement about the value of something by using a standard (appraise, argue, assess, attach, compare, defend, estimate, judge, predict, rate, select, support, evaluate) Blooms Taxonomy (1956)
For a strong argument Provide evidence Have a structured line of reasoning Clear and coherent language Make links between points Provide interim conclusions that lead to A well supported final conclusion
Possible barriers to critical thinking -Emotional involvement -Ignorance -Prejudice -Lack of focus or attention to detail -Focus of facts only -Understanding critical as purely negative -Awe of experts, reluctance to critique experts -Lack of practice
Summary: Critical thinking Recognising reasoning Drawing & recognising conclusion Identifying unstated assumption Appraising evidence Evaluating statements > Skill to be developed over time, with practice