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Teaching for Critical Thinking

Год выпуска: 2011
Автор: Stephen D Brookfield

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments

While notions of what constitutes critical thinking vary, educators, politicians, and employers all agree that critical thinking skills are necessary for well-educated citizens and a key capacity for successful employees. In Teaching for Critical Thinking, Stephen Brookfield explores how students learn to think critically and what methods teachers can use to help.

In his engaging, conversational style, Brookfield establishes a basic protocol of critical thinking that focuses on students uncovering and checking assumptions, exploring alternative perspectives, and taking informed actions. The book fosters a shared understanding of critical thinking and helps all faculty adapt general principles to specific disciplinary contexts.

Drawing on thousands of student testimonies, the book identifies the teaching methods and approaches that are most successful when teaching students to think, read, and write critically. Brookfield explains when to make critical thinking the classroom focus, how to encourage critical discussions, and ways to reach skeptical students. He outlines the basic components required when reviewing a text critically and shows how to give highly specific feedback.

The book also addresses how to foster critical thinking across an institution, beginning with how it can be explained in syllabi and even integrated into strategic plans and institu-tional missions. Brookfield stresses the importance of teachers modeling critical thinking and demonstrates himself how to do this.

Crammed with activities and techniques, this how-to guide is applicable in face-to-face, online, and hybrid classrooms of all sizes. Each exercise includes detailed instructions, examples from different academic disciplines, and guidance for when and how to best use each activity. Any reader will come away with a pedagogic tool kit of new ideas for classroom exercises, new approaches to designing course assignments, and new ways to assess students' ability to practice critical analysis.


According to AAC&Us 2013 employer survey, 93% of employers agree thata candidates demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than their undergraduate major. Likewise, more than three in four employers say they want colleges to place more emphasis on helping students develop critical thinking skills.

In Teaching for Critical Thinking, Stephen Brookfield builds on his last three decades of experience running workshops and teaching courses on critical thinking to explore how student learn to think this way, and what teachers can doto help students develop this capacity. He outlines a basic protocol of critical thinking as a learning process that focuses on uncovering and checking assumptions, exploring alternative perspectives, and taking informed actions as a result. Written to address the broad range of disciplines, this book fosters a shared understanding of critical thinking and helps to various constituencies adapt general principles to specific disciplinary contexts.


praise for previous books by stephen d. brookfield

"Award-winning author Stephen Brookfield offers insight, inspiration, and down-to-earth advice to all teachers in settings as diverse as college, adult education, and secondary schoolson how to thrive on the unpredictability of classroom life."Better Teaching

"The author [relates] some of his own personal experiences as an educator in encouraging critical thinking. His insight and honesty in relating these experiences is valuable and interesting."CBE Report

"Brookfield's book will serve as an effective focus that can facilitate faculty in thinking critically about their work, their community, their relationships, not only individually but collaboratively."Teaching Sociology

"He offers clear, jargon-free, and unpretentious guidance." Reference & Research Book News

"The author is so darned good at finding and highlighting the key research." Training

"Brookfield illustrates practically his major scholarly interest in this readable, innovative, and perceptive book on college teaching."Choice

About the Author

Stephen D. Brookfield is Distinguished University Professor at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For forty years he has taught in the United States and abroad. A four-time winner of the Cyril O. Houle Award for Outstanding Literature in Adult Education, he is the author of numerous books on teaching, including The Skillful Teacher and Developing Critical Thinkers.

Table of Contents

Preface vii

About the Author xvii

1 What Is Critical Thinking? 1

2 Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines 27

3 How Critical Thinking Is Learned 53

4 Introducing Basic Protocols of Critical Thinking 77

5 Developing Critical Complexity: Intermediate and Advanced Protocols 105

6 Reading and Writing Critically 129

7 Integrating Critical Thinking Across the Curriculum 155

8 Making Discussions Critical 179

9 Misunderstandings, Challenges, and Risks 205

10 Modeling Critical Thinking 233

References 261

Index 269

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