The CRITHINKEDU European course on critical thinking education for university teachers: from conception to delivery

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Within the scope of the CRITHINKEDU project1 , this intellectual output (Output 3) reports the experience of conceiving and delivering a European training course on Critical Thinking (CT) education for university teachers. It draws on the proposal of the “European inventory of critical thinking skills and dispositions for the 21st century” and the “Preliminary guidelines for quality in critical thinking education” - both presented in the two previous intellectual outputs of the project (Dominguez, 2018a, 2018b). This report is targeted to each leading partner institution or to any Higher Education (HE) institution which desire to later replicate this training course at the local level, to faculty staff interested in the implementation of CT teaching practices and learning activities in their classroom. Deployments within the CRITHINKEDU project will be carried-out as part of the fourth and following intellectual output (Output 4). The course herein described includes training sessions to promote and support quality teaching on CT. It provides educational resources and practical training activities within different key topics, such as learning design, teaching methods and CT assessment. By engaging teachers with effective instructional design principles, teaching strategies, and assessment criteria for CT, they were encouraged to integrate them in the daily teaching practice. The first CRITHINKEDU course was open to a limited number of participants: each partner contacted an average of 4 university teachers for a total number of 65 participants (counting also the coaches) from 9 different European countries (Belgium, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania and Spain). The course took place in Rome (Italy) from the 29th of January 2018 to the 4th of February 2018. Considered as a pilot experience, this course was more than a simple opportunity for group work and exchange of experiences among higher education teachers interested in CT education. Based on a post-course questionnaire, all the participants witnessed a high degree of satisfaction: 93% of the respondents appreciated the plenary sessions held during the course. The course proved useful to the professional practice of more than 80% of the participants. The participants evaluated the course as a useful way to significantly improve the following skills: Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking and, mainly, Instructional Design. More than 86% of respondents intend to use what they have learnt in the CRITHINKEDU course once back in their institution, and more than 74% of them would recommend this course to other colleagues. The CRITHINKEDU course mainly confirmed the importance and utility of the “Preliminary proposal of guidelines for quality in CT education” according to the key points already highlighted in previous outputs (namely Output 1 and Output 2), as reported in the results of the post-course questionnaire submitted to all the participants. Namely, the results obtained showed a strong need to provide more teaching resources and practical examples to support the integration of CT educational practices at the course level. Moreover, participants were particularly concerned with the way of assessing students’ CT in their curricular units, requesting more examples and practical tools to assess the level of students’ CT. Among future interventions, the CRITHINKEDU course is expected to be replicated in the participants' countries (adapted to local needs). Thus, it will be possible to analyse in more depth its impact on teachers’ professional development. Also, teachers will be invited to participate in different deployment scenarios, supporting the development of the “European guidelines for critical thinking education in Higher Education Institutions” (which will be delivered in Output 4).
Pensamento crítico , Competências , Formação pedagógica , Séc. 21