The First European Summit for Critical Thinking Education in Leuven, Belgium

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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

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