Our coordinators from UTAD (Portugal) participated in an Erasmus+ Mobility in Greece, between the 18th and the 20th of June 2018, where they were received in Florina by the UOWM partners. In a very welcoming atmosphere, Professors Rita Payan-Carreira and Caroline Dominguez moderated an eight-hour seminar on “Reflections and Practices around promoting Critical Thinking in Higher Education”.
Around 20 postdoctoral students and teachers actively participated in the seminar. The exchange of ideas was very fruitful and UTAD came back impressed with all the interesting and dynamic projects that UOWM is developing around critical thinking education.
What does critical thinking have to do with real life?
It was the question that Lithuanian team discussed with students of social security studies at Mykolas Romeris University (further- MRU) in Kaunas. It emerged during the bootcamp “Critical thinking, labour market and media”, organized by Modern Didactics Centre in cooperation with MRU on the 24th of May, 2018.
MDC trainers and project participants introduced research findings, that encouraged to look for evidence of critical thinking (further- CT) manifestation in daily life. Students analysed their own CT perceptions and shared their learning experience. They argued about the importance of CT in their respective fields as well as in their personal life. Many good examples were presented and discussed in connection with realities of a modern life – confronting and misleading information in mass media; changing professional requirements; resistance to outside pressure and need for confidence; necessity to recognize manipulations and false messages in different contexts of our life.
The question, what does CT have to do with real life, did not convey any doubt about CT reliability or visibility, but focused on its applicability, scope and recognition at overall levels of society. Students wondered, why CT is so much valued “on paper” and so little in practice; why employers express demand for critically minded persons publically, but then there is a gap in practice, and so on.
Overall conclusion of the discussion – CT is a necessary ingredient of today’s life. Without CT we have less profound knowledge, are less mature and ready to live and contribute to common welfare.
Modern Didactics Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania
Our MDC partners from Lithuania, in cooperation with the Educational Debate Centre, have organized a seminar about “Critical Thinking in Education and Job Market”, last 26th January 2017, at the Open Society Fund Lithuania, Vilnius, Lithuania. The MDC team presented the research carried-out within the focus groups interviews with Lithuanian’ labor market representatives for the development of our first intellectual output. You can see the presentation with preliminary results at https://goo.gl/rpXkLg (only available in Lithuanian).
Our UCLL and KUL partners from Belgium have organized a seminar about “The development of domain-specific Critical Thinking tests”, last 12nd January 2017, at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium. Critical Thinking is one of the research lines of the UC Leuven team, in close cooperation with the KU Leuven. A first aspect of their work is the development of instruments to measure critical thinking and critical thinking development. They developed and validated a Dutch version of the Halpern Critical Thinking Appraisal and also a domain-specific test on critical thinking in physics.