Critical Thinking Critical Reading And Critical Writing

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Explain how you expect students to challenge the reading. Explicitly share your discipline’s approach to critical reading. Keep in mind that students may have deeply held misconceptions about what it means to read a document critically.

For example, some students see their goal in reading as merely getting the "gist" of an article, and hence they skim all the paragraphs equally rather than analyzing different sections according to their role in the text.

However, because of your expertise, you may do this automatically and not even notice that you are varying your approach (e.g., for original research articles versus literature reviews, for academic articles versus popular pieces, or for historical documents versus. So, sharing with students some key aspects of your disciplinary approach to reading can help them learn the ropes.

Remember that reading an article is a task usually done alone, so find ways to reveal and share your process of critical reading with students.

For example, if students take the readings at face value, they will not be prepared to challenge the author's perspective.

If students can't analyze an argument’s structure or evaluate evidence as they are reading, they will not be able to identify weaknesses in the argument or critique it.

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Both critical writing and critical reading require the use of synthesis.

Even going through a portion of a reading and "thinking aloud" as you read – i.e., articulating the questions or issues that come to your mind as you read – can give students a window onto what it means to read critically in your discipline.

Finally, you can give students guidelines for how long they should take for each reading, how much they should write down as they read, and what they should be prepared to say next class.


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