With more than 200 participants from around 33 countries of all the 6 continents of the globe, the First European Summit for Critical Thinking Education was hosted by our partners from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven) and UC Leuven-Limburg (UCLL) on the 3rd of June 2019 in Leuven, Belgium.
With different practical activities, the summit started with an official opening reflection on the need and importance of critical thinking for today’s societies and higher education institutions by the Head of the UCLL, Marc Vandewalle. The second session, led by Professors Caroline Dominguez (UTAD) and Jan Elen (KU Leuven), intended to briefly present the CRITHINKEDU project and the CRITHINKEDU educational protocol to the audience, the last one as a guiding tool to implement critical thinking educational practices within higher education institutions. Followed a keynote speech intitled “Critical Thinking: Avoiding the pitfalls and glimpsing the possibilities” was addressed by the Emeritus Professor of the University College London (UK), Ronald Barnett.
Thirteen workshops prepared by the CRITHINKEDU partners were distributed in two parallel sessions. Participants had the opportunity to carry-out different type of activities (debates, hands-on, presentations, etc.) on specific topics related to critical thinking education like: the use of case studies for critical thinking development, the design of effective learning environments, the relation between critical thinking and information literacy, among others. A final keynote speech entitled “Embracing Universal Principles of Critical Thinking Across Education to Advance Human Societies” was addressed by Dr. Linda Elder and Dr. Gerald Nosich the Critical Thinking Foundation (USA).
The summit ended by different representatives from labor market, universities, policy agencies and other associations (OECD, UNESCO, among others) taking a stance for the future of critical thinking in Higher Education in Europe. They were challenged to present the reasons behind their signature of the “Manifesto on Critical Thinking Education”, a practical and very short version of the CRITHINKEDU educational protocol. They were followed by the participants of the audience. You can read the manifesto and decide to join the many who have already signed it at https://www.petitions.net/manifesto_on_critical_thinking_education
The different presentations of the parallel sessions will be available soon in our website at http://crithinkedu.utad.pt/en/presentations/
You can see some photos of the summit in our Facebook page at http://bit.ly/2ERTKFI.
We want to thank all the cooperation and effort of the different participants, invited speakers, partners responsible for the parallel sessions and local organizers who turned this day into a successful event, gathering in Europe the community interested in the field of critical thinking education. A special thanks to the Foundation of Critical Thinking (USA) which joined us in the organization of this event and which moved its 39th International Conference to Leuven this year. This allowed many participants to spend a whole week (summit + conference) reflecting on “critical thinking” important matters.
Keep in touch and get updated on further initiatives around the CRITHINKEDU manifesto, educational protocol and network!
The CRITHINKEDU Team
How can we solve real world problems in a critical and creative manner?
It was the challenge that Portuguese team presented to around 150 students of different universities and schools, 30 teachers and 8 labor market representatives from different professional sectors, namely health, engineering, tourism, among others. The event consisted in a kind of “ideas contest” in which participants had to use critical and creative thinking skills for real-world problem-solving. This day was expected to raise the participants’ awareness on the importance of critical and creative thinking in current society, promote the practice of critical and creative thinking in a systematic and structured way, and support the solving of real-world problems and sustained decision making.
With different practical activities, more than 30 multidisciplinary groups worked on current problems/situations – like the isolation and desertification of the Portuguese interior, the inclusion of alternative therapies in the Portuguese national health service, the invasive advertising and its effects on online privacy, migration, among others – suggested by the labor market representatives that assumed the role of facilitators and consultants during the event. For each problem/situation, the different groups presented their solutions and/or decisions to a smaller audience and the best ones were awarded with the possibility of presenting a special speech/presentation for the whole audience.
We want to thank all the cooperation and effort of the different students, teachers, and labor market representatives for their active and enthusiastic engagement in the different activities of the event. Congratulations to the winners! 💡🏆🥇👏
You can see some photos of the event in our Facebook page at http://bit.ly/2YwTd3q, or a short interview to UTAD’s coordinator, Professor Caroline Dominguez, at http://bit.ly/2WInJv1 (only available in Portuguese; starts at minute 4:05).
The CRITHINKEDU Team
How to promote a critical use of technology and creativity within school and museum educational context?
It was the question that Italian team discussed with 19 participants from different backgrounds (primary and secondary school teachers, museum operators, educators and university students) in Rome, Italy. It emerged during the “Thinkering” workshop, organized by the University of Roma Tre team at Palazzo delle Esposizioni on the 29th of March 2019.
The workshop was composed by theoretical moments, practical activities, individual and group teaching and learning experiences. The Thinkering method consists in a new way of teaching science through play, making and creating objects. The everyday materials become precious tools to understand the world of science, mathematics and technology, a way to learn to “think with your own hands”.
How do we understand the world around us?
It was the question that Greek team discussed with 96 student teachers of the University of Western Macedonia (UOWM), 8 administrative staff members of Educational Organizations and 12 teachers from local schools in Florina, Greece. It emerged during the bootcamp “Critical Understanding in Science”, organized by the UOWM team and one group of student teachers from the 2nd level, on the 26th of February 2019.
The student teachers invited their peers of the 1st level to attend the event aiming at promoting their critical and scientific understanding of physical phenomena through hands-on activities. Different activities were carried-out, as: lecture on CT given by university teachers; short-film screening and discussion; and science fair/exhibition. The last activity consisted of the demonstration and experimentation of twenty exhibits of natural phenomena that were constructued by the 2nd-level student teachers during the autumn semester for the ‘Teaching Science’ module. They explained to their peers how the experiments work and then the visitors filled in a form to reflect on their critical understanding.
It was a great moment of learning among different students, teachers and labour market staff!
A UNIQUE INTERNATIONAL WEEK ON CRITICAL THINKING
Save the dates: from 3rd to 7th June 2019
The Erasmus+ project CRITHINKEDU – ‘Critical Thinking Across the European Higher Education Curricula‘ and the Foundation for Critical Thinking (USA) invite you for a unique week on Critical Thinking.
June 3rd: European Summit for Critical Thinking Education
The summit will unite researchers and lecturers from Higher Education Institutions, deans, student support agencies, policymakers and employers eager to invest in critical thinking education. This one-day meeting will challenge participants to take a stance for the future of critical thinking education in Europe. Registration is free of charge but mandatary. You can find more information here.
June 4th to 7th: The 39th Annual International Conference on Critical Thinking
For 38 years, the Foundation for Critical Thinking has been working toward the advancement of critical societies. The Foundation is a non-profit organization that seeks to promote essential change in education and society throughout human societies, by cultivating explicit, systematic, fair-minded critical thinking – thinking which embodies intellectual empathy, intellectual humility, intellectual perseverance, intellectual integrity and intellectual responsibility. The Annual International Conference on Critical Thinking is the longest running conference on critical thinking in the world. You can find more information here.
Place to be: Leuven, Belgium
The KU Leuven and UCLL host this unique week on CT.
KU Leuven is the oldest university in Flanders. KU Leuven is dedicated to education and research in nearly all fields. Its fifteen faculties offer education, while research activities are organized by the departments and research groups. These faculties and departments, in turn, are clustered into three groups: Humanities and Social Sciences, Science, Engineering and Technology (SET), and Biomedical Sciences. Each of these groups has a doctoral school for its doctoral training programmes.
UCLL is one of the largest universities of applied sciences in Flanders, Belgium, with campuses in Leuven, Hasselt and Diest. It is a quality-minded institution which offers higher education, research and community service. UCLL organises 18 bachelor programmes and 13 advanced bachelors. It is home for more than 14 500 students. Moving Minds is our philosophy, our way of being. Moving Minds: motivating people and turning ideas into action. Our scope reaches beyond boarders, our mind is open toward what lies ahead, we encourage innovation and the challenging of fossilised systems/systems reluctant to change.
More information regarding the European Summit can be found here.
More information on the Annual International Conference is available at the website of the Foundation for Critical Thinking here.
The UCLL team (Belgium) organised a workshop on the 30th August 2018 for educational developers, with a short introduction on critical thinking, what is it and how it is included in many policy documents, such as the educational vision of UCLL. They brainstormed about ways education developers could stimulate critical thinking in students and how we could support each other.
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 TEI of Thessaly partners from Greece, in the person of Professors Ioanna V. Papathanasiou and Evangelos C. Fradelos, have organized a workshop on “Critical Thinking and Nursing Practice – Challenges and Perspectives”, on the 9th of November 2017, at Larissa, Greece, during the 18th PanHellenic Nursing Conference of PASYNO. This workshop were targeted for Health Professionals, Health Educators and Health Administrators. You can see the workshop materials here: http://bit.ly/2mi3wHo (only available in Greek).
Our KUL partners from Belgium have organized a workshop on “Develop Critical Thinking via teaching and learning: an introduction”, last 24th January 2017, at the Hasselt University, Hasselt, Belgium. The KU Leuven and more specifically the Center for Instructional Psychology and Technology has for several years done research on critical thinking. In various studies the relationship was explored between research integration into teaching and development of critical thinking. Differences on the impact of academic bachelor programs and professional bachelor programs have been shown.