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Deliver Narrative Lectures That Model the Thinking Process

Excerpt from Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom, 2nd Edition by John C. Bean

 

Another way to promote critical thinking is to model it. Occasionally give a lecture that takes students through your own thinking process in addressing a problem or that summarizes the history of scholarship on a classic disciplinary problem. At the beginning of the lecture, pose the problem that puzzled you or your disciplinary community. Then, in detective story fashion, re-create for students the process of your thinking (or your discipline’s collective thinking), complete with false starts, hunches that did not work out, frustrations, and excitement. (In effect, this is your own “lecture version” of the exploratory essay explained in Chapter Six, pages 116-117.) Because students are used to regarding their professors as repositories of received knowledge, they enjoy seeing a professor actively engaged as a critical thinker wrestling with a problem. For another view on how to make lectures model critical thinking, see Bookfield and Preskill (2005, pp. 44-48).



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