3/1/11

Critical Thinking Skills

| NETS*T for Critical Thinking Skills | Critical Thinking Skills Reflection


NETS*T for Critical Thinking Skills



1. Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity

Teachers use their knowledge of subject matter, teaching and learning, and technology to facilitate experiences that advance student learning, creativity, and innovation in both face-to-face and virtual environments. Teachers...
.....a. promote, support, and model creative and innovative thinking and inventiveness

2. Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments

Teachers design, develop, and evaluate authentic learning experiences and assessments incorporating contemporary tools and resources to maximize content learning in context and to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes identified in the NETS•S. Teachers...
.....a. design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity

3. Model Digital-Age Work and Learning

Teachers exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society. Teachers...
.....a. demonstrate fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies and situations
.....c. communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital-age media and formats
.....d. model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning

4. Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility

Teachers understand local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in their professional practices. Teachers...
....a. advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology, including respect for copyright,
intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources

5. Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership


Teachers continuously improve their professional practice, model lifelong learning, and exhibit leadership in their school and professional community by promoting and demonstrating the effective use of digital tools and resources. Teachers...
....a. participate in local and global learning communities to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning
....b. exhibit leadership by demonstrating a vision of technology infusion, participating in shared decision making and community
building, and developing the leadership and technology skills of others
....c. evaluate and reflect on current research and professional practice on a regular basis to make effective use of existing and emerging digital tools and resources in support of student learning
....d. contribute to the effectiveness, vitality, and self-renewal of the teaching profession and of their school and community



Critical Thinking Skills Reflection


.....Wow - could Tony Wagner be any more correct?! I know just in my own building we always have conversation about everything our kids are losing because we are forced to "teach to the test". Even dinosaurs have been cut out because they are not on the tests. Why should making AYP mean that we should give up our responsibilities to prepare these kids for their futures? The traits mentioned in the beginning of his article "Rigor Redefined" name the importance of being able to ask good questions, engage in good discussions, work well with others, and engage [customers]. Those may be what is needed, but that is not what is on the tests - so it can't be important, right? Of the seven survival skills, only a couple are tested, and therefore taught with "rigor".
.....The most sad part of his article is the classroom examples he presented. Sad because I know they are accurate. In Chemistry, the teacher should have first gone through the steps on the board to check for understanding. The students who goofed were unable to process what happened; they were not able to troubleshoot or decide what they should do next. Instead, they were waiting for the teacher to come bail them out. Rather than the mistake being a learning experience, it turned into a failure. In the Government class there were a few things I have issues with. A test made up entirely of multiple choice - and it was a "sample" test?! The projector fan blotted out the only hint of a response from a student. There was no checking for understanding, no connections made to prior knowledge. The teacher could have been using a PowerPoint with images or videos embedded or linked which would better explain the concepts. Better yet, the students could have created a Glogster or some other one page item displaying their own research on the government. The English example is pretty pathetic, even by non-21st century standards. The students were slouching which clearly shows that they were not being engaged, or remotely interested. No wonder - everything was written: paper notes and board. The teacher did not make sure the students understood the material and nothing held any relevance for them. It is interesting that the "Rare Class" was not anything super innovative or even technology-based. It was simply a meaningful, engaging activity in which all students participated collaboratively, no lecturing, was built on prior knowledge, and held everyone accountable. The Math class had everyone's attention and definitely worked on problem-solving skills. These were all AP courses. That doesn't mean make it boring; it should mean "take advantage of a gift".
.....Probably the most valuable thing we can do with our students is to get used to incorporating more participatory activities, and, of course, as many technology-based tools, as possible. Wagner cited fewer than 5% of the study classrooms used activities promoting thinking skills. This is kind of scary considering the other 95% will be our future leaders. Critical thinking, communication skills, and collaboration are listed as key skills to focus on for the 21st century. In my own situation there are a few tools I have used (or plan to use) which I feel help promote these with our students:
We need to get our kids used to using technology responsibly and teach them how to respectfully collaborate with those they may never meet. That is a future they can not escape and we need to prepare them now. Why not do it in the fun ways they are used to? Personally, if I can have fun working with the kids on things that excite them...YEEHAA!!