Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!

Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!
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Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. ~ Author Unknown

My goal is to reveal one teacher's humble journey of self-reflection, critical analysis, and endless questioning about my craft of teaching and learning alongside my middle school students.

"The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called 'truth'." ~ Dan Rather

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Traits of Critical Thinkers

I have been talking a lot about critical thinking recently, and with good reason. We simply do NOT devote enough time to it in our classrooms. And we NEED to.

What are the true traits of a critical thinker, then?

Professor Gini-Newman cites the following characteristics of critical thinkers:
* uses multiple perspectives in new ways
* sees the bigger picture
* thinks outside the box
* likes to ask questions
* addresses different learning styles
* possesses good listening skills
* has perseverance in completing and sticking to tasks
* makes connections
* creative
* evaluative
* flexible
* reflective
* makes claims
* attentive
* non-judgmental

How many of these traits do YOU possess? How about your students?? Have they even had the chance to begin showing you what they are capable of??

As educators, we need to balance direct instruction with a genuine invitation for students to join us in learning, discovery, and development of their all-important critical thinking skills. Critical thinking is, after all, a complex activity, not a simple set of generic skills for students to acquire. Concerned with judging or assessing what is reasonable or sensible in a situation, critical thinkers are focused on the quality of reasoning. Thus, kids need to know HOW to arrive at their answers, not just be told what the right answer is. As it stands, kids are more interested in using information to solve a problem and not necessarily knowing WHY they are doing what they are doing or WHY it matters.

This all depends on how students learn to develop and possess relevant knowledge. What will they DO with what they learn each day? And how do we engage students in thoughtful learning in a critically thoughtful and valuable way?? The answer remains to be seen.

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