Sunday, June 14, 2015

Why Critical Thinking is Important in a Growth Mindset Class Culture

Mindsets in the Classroom - Chapter 4


Chapter 4 explains the relationship between critical thinking and growth mindset.  There are three types of critical thinking:  reasoning, making judgments/decisions, and problem-solving.  We do these to some extent every day, but they do not always require critical thought.  Critical thinking is a process embedded in content rather than a set of skills.  Critical thinking becomes more sophisticated over time and is always evolving.  Critical thinking, along with practice and persistence, help to create and foster a growth mindset culture.

In chapter 4, Mary Cay Ricci describes her Critical Thinking Growth Mindset Project, with these three important components:
1.  Teachers and students in the participating schools building a growth mindset culture, developing a conceptual understanding of basic brain function.
2.  Teachers using instructional strategies that nurtured and developed critical thinking processes, specifically reasoning.
3.  Access to nonverbal reasoning games (from www.thinkfun.com) that would be used as math anchor activities or warm-ups.

Ricci found that adding these nonverbal games did more than just build reasoning abilities, but also contributed to a mindset shift in the teachers and students.  They increased motivation and persistence for students.  this powerful combination of a growth mindset and the increased opportunities for critical thinking raised mean scores on analogical and quantitative reasoning tests.


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