Critical Thinking Skills Toolbox
Dental education has a longstanding history of telling and showing students what they need to know. Today's students may not receive the type of instruction that allows them to transform learning and make it their own.
Learning how to teach students to use critical thinking skills requires fundamental shifts in beliefs about and planning for teaching. Some dental educators ask, "What does critical thinking look like in the clinic? In the classroom? How do I successfully teach students to use critical thinking skills when they don't read before class or attend class regularly" This toolkit is designed to begin answering those questions.
The Critical Thinking Skills Toolbox was developed and written by Linda S. Behar-Horenstein, Ph.D., Distinguished Teaching Scholar and Professor at the University of Florida. The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Checklist for Teaching Basic Critical Thinking Skills
- What percentage of the time do I encourage students to explain or demonstrate what they know?
- What percentage of the time do I dominate teaching in the classroom or clinic with teacher-talk?
- What percentage of the time do I include teacher-student discussion in the classroom or clinic?
- What percentage of the time do I devote teaching time in the classroom or clinic to having students provide rationale for “what” they think and to explain “how” and “why” they know?
- What percentage of the time do I use questions to check for student understanding?
- What percentage of the time do I ask students to identify the cues that indicate or contraindicate treatment and to explain why these cues are relevant to prospective treatment outcomes?
- What percentage of the time do I ask students to describe how their understanding of body systems, like the cardiovascular system and related diseases, impact oral health?
- What percentage of the time do I ask students to rephrase what I have just told them?
- What percentage of the time do I ask students questions in order to identify why a patient is not responding to treatment as he or she should?
- What percentage of the time do I explicitly explain to students how they will be evaluated on their clinical skills?
- What percentage of the time do I ask students to explain to me the differences between a poor and an excellent tooth preparation?
If you find that you are talking for 50% or more of your instructional time, then you are likely to benefit from this toolkit.
Table of Contents
- Overview of Critical Thinking Skills
- Teaching Observations
- Avenues for Research
- CTS Tools for Faculty and Student Assessment
- Critical Thinking and Assessment
- Helpful Links
- Appendix A. Author's Impressions of Vignettes