Tip #909:  How to Promote Critical Thinking

Critical thinking requires us to use our imagination, seeing things from perspectives other than our own and envisioning the likely consequences of our position.” Bell Hooks

In a recent article, August Welch and Richard Fleming write that the key to effective learning program design is an understanding of intrinsic motivation. They cite three core needs that self-determination theory identifies as being critical to intrinsic motivation: autonomy, relatedness, and competence.

They then suggest that we can meet these core needs in our curriculum if we use learning activities that challenge the learners, spark their curiosity, and follow an inductive learning process.

We know that adults like to solve problems. The inductive learning process builds on that by giving the learners examples and asking them to identify the underlying rule or principle. It offers a critical thinking challenge that automatically stimulates their curiosity. The learners are expected to keep generating answers until they discover the correct one.

Let’s consider an example of inductive learning. An underlying principle of accelerated learning is whole-body learning, so the learners could be given the following story:

“Jerry came into the classroom early, so he could eat his lunch. The class was required for his major, but he was tired and expected to be bored out of his mind.

The professor trundled in with a cart. While Jerry watched in amazement, she set up an iPod and played some upbeat music. (She continued to play soft music throughout the class). She put colored kites and an agenda map up on the walls. She laid out Koosh balls, pipe cleaners, colorful index cards, and small tops on the tables. She even placed a bowl of candy at each table.

Jerry had never seen anything like that before in any of his classes. He was curious about what she would do during the class.

Once the other students were seated, the professor started the class by having them get up. They walked around the room putting stickers on their preferred learning objectives, which were written on colorful flipcharts.

She gave a brief lecture and then assigned a case study for small group discussion. The groups were asked to use fragrant markers to post their answers to the case study questions on flipcharts. Group representatives later stood to report the groups’ answers.

Jerry was astonished at how fast the time went by. He was even more astonished that he now had lots of energy. His tiredness was entirely gone.”

Question: How long do you think it would take the learners to discover the underlying principle?

May your learning be sweet- and safe.


#acceleratedlearning #inductivelearning #intrinsicmotivation

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