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Ironically, and fortuitously, these results indicate that students are more likely to respond to questions that require deeper-level thought (critical thinking) than rote memory.
Considerable research evidence indicates that such generic question stems can serve as effective prompts for promoting student use of specific thinking skills in different contexts (King, 1990, 1995).
Research indicates that college instructors spend little class time posing questions to students, and when questions are posed, the vast majority of them are memory-level questions that ask for factual recall rather than critical thinking (Gardiner, 1994).
(Examples: Connecting related ideas discussed in separate sections or units of a course into a single, unified product, such as a concept map.
Integrating ethical concepts learned in a course and philosophy with marketing concepts learned in a business course to produce a set of ethical guidelines for business marketing and advertising practices.)5.
For instance, following a 25-year review of the critical thinking literature, Mc Millan concluded that, “What is lacking in the research is a common definition of critical thinking and a clear definition of the nature of an experience that should enhance critical thinking” (1987, p. Scholarly definitions of critical thinking have ranged from the very narrow—a well-reasoned evaluative judgment (King & Kitchener, 1994), to the very broad—all thinking that involves more than the mere acquisition and recall of factual information (Greeno, 1989).
In this article, I adopt a more inclusive definition of critical thinking that embraces all thought processes that are “deeper” than memorization and recall of factual information.
National surveys of college faculty reveal that their number-one instructional goal is to promote critical thinking (Milton, 1982; Stark et al., 1990), and national reports on the status of American higher education have consistently called for greater emphasis on the development of college students’ critical thinking skills (Association of American Colleges, 1985; National Institute of Education, 1984).
While the call for critical thinking has remained consistent since the early 1980s, there has been much less consistency in how critical thinking is defined or described by those who endorse it (Fisher & Scriven, 1997).
This is an important distinction, not only for the purpose of definitional clarity, but also for the practical purpose of combating the prevalent student misconception that critical thinking means being “being critical.” Because of this common student misconception, I prefer to use the term “Deep Thinking” Skills (DTs) in my classes.
In an attempt to describe more clearly for students (and for myself) what critical thinking actually is, and how it can be identified and demonstrated, I developed a classification system to organize the variety of cognitive skills that would be embraced by an inclusive definition of critical thinking.