Friday, 9 June 2017

#OEB_midsummit teaching critical thinking by Ben Nelson @MinervaSchools Ben Nelson takes the stage. What is critical thinking? Critical thinking in itself does not exist. There are many things that together make up critical thinking. Evaluating a claim is something else than critical thinking, which requires arguments and proof.
Famous study with air traffic controllers, a manual job and taking in enormous amounts of data at split seconds. Critical thinking was similar because of far transfer. Far transfer is the holy grail of wisdom, of learning.
Point of wisdom is when you encounter a novel topic, you are able to weave your previous together to come up with a logical response. But we are seldom able to do this.
Contexts are influencing learning and recall of learning, which is why people do not often far transfer.
At Minerva far transfer is practiced in complex systems, applicable to many different fields. There is a large set of rules that underpin what creative and critical thinking is. At Minerva we took each of these rules and broken it down into approx. 100 parts and we teach them in multiple contexts. This way the students learn to use far transfer more often.
Eg. Foundational concept: Bayesian formulas for choices. Learning the concept, and distribution, the hard part is to develop the instinct of when to apply what to which data set. The bulk of the time is to train responses to triggers that point towards one or the other concepts.
Once you understand these concepts you can continue to use them over time.
Technology is used for tracking data to see whether the students interact based on the data and results in critical thinking. To do this there are also highly immersive seminars with fully active learning: at least 75% of the time need to be active in these seminars. They can debate, then others moderate the debate, interact or fill in the next part of a thought… all of these techniques enable students to be fully engaged [Inge: wondering whether this is not simply Pavlov combined with engagement]. Also using Deep Processing (repeating for deep remembrance).
A bit like the Flow, as the learner learns more by being engaged, motivated, willing to learn and focus on something specific.