Embedding critical thinking skills in the scientific curricula : how good are we?

Arrigoni, Francesca, Micallef, Ricarda and Wason, Hilary (2019) Embedding critical thinking skills in the scientific curricula : how good are we? In: Horizons in STEM Higher Education Conference : Making Connections and Sharing Pedagogy; 03 -04 Jul 2019, Kingston upon Thames, U.K.. (Unpublished)


Abstract Critical thinking (CT) is crucial for the successful functioning of the contemporary university promoting new ideas and knowledge (Barnett, 1997). However, many students do not have the necessary critical thinking abilities enabling them to succeed academically and in the workplace (Nicholas and Roth, 2016). Following meta-analysis of a range of CT studies, Abrami et al. (2015) argue that CT should be explicitly taught within existing disciplinary contexts, however, educators often construct their own meaning concerning CT, based on their disciplinary contexts and teaching experiences (Danczak, Thompson and Overston, 2017). This interactive workshop aims to discuss how staff in the Department of Pharmacy have embedded CT skills development into curriculum design and teaching practice, using a Critical Thinking Skills Toolkit (Wason, 2016). Based on the work of Facione (1990), this toolkit explicitly deconstructs Kingston’s Institutional Framework of CT skills and applies it to a variety of disciplines. The toolkit was edited within the department of Pharmacy to include disciplinary and statistical content. One chapter was introduced to either level 4 pharmaceutical sciences students who had previously undertaken a module of statistics, philosophy and scientific process, or to pharmacy students (n=370, levels 4-6). An online formative test was then undertaken assessing inference, assumption, deduction, logic and comprehension. Levels of engagement in pharmacy were good or poor (Level 4: 73%; Level 5: 5%; Level 6: 20%). In the pharmaceutical science cohort (n=104) engagement was high (81%). Both level 4 cohorts had similar scores in inference, assumption and deduction, but the pharmaceutical science cohort scored better in the logic and comprehension sections of the test. The lowest scorers overall were the level 5 students while the best scorers were level 6 pharmacy students. Practical group activities during the workshop will enable delegates from diverse disciplines to engage with each of the teaching tools within the toolkit and immerse themselves in tasks designed to develop students’ deductive reasoning, analysis, interpretation, and evaluation. By engaging delegates in the CT process and providing resources to support them, delegates can learn how to adapt the tools already available within their teaching and apply CT processes to them. References Abrami, P.C. Bernard, R.M., Borokhovski, E., Waddington, D. I., Wade, C. A. and Persson, T. (2015) 'Strategies for Teaching Students to Think Critically: A Meta-Analysis', Review of Educational Research, 85(2), pp. 275-314. Barnett, R. (1997) Higher Education: A Critical Business. Buckingham, England: Open University Press. Danczak, S. Thompson, D and Overton, L. (2017) ‘What does the term Critical Thinking mean to you?’ A qualitative analysis of chemistry undergraduate, teaching staff and employers views of critical thinking’, Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 18, 420- 434 Facione, P.A. (1990) Critical Thinking A statement of expert consensus for purposes of educational attainment and instruction. American Philosophical Association Nicholas, M.C. and Raider-Roth, M. (2016) 'A Hopeful Pedagogy to Critical Thinking', International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 10(2), pp. 1-10 Wason, H. (2016) ‘Embedding a Critical Thinking Framework for Undergraduate Business Students’, in Remenyi, D. (Ed.) 2016 Innovation in the Teaching of Research Methodology Excellence Awards: An Anthology of Case Histories, Reading: Academic Conferences and Publishing International

Actions (Repository Editors)

Item Control Page Item Control Page