Critical Thinking and Reflection
The following resources are designed to help you assess and develop your students’ critical thinking and reflection skills.
All our resources are available for free educational use under a Creative Commons licence. You are welcome to link to them, use them and adapt them if necessary for your students, but please acknowledge LearnHigher as authors.
This material introduces students to basic strategies for reading in digital and print formats. It encourages them to consider the advantages and challenges of each one, and the different learning contexts for which they may be most appropriate.
There are 6 strategies:
• Copy and paste function
• Digital annotation tools
• Split screen and working with multiple documents
• Support reading with online tools
• Using a mixture of mediums
• Word search function
Each document is designed as a flip-card of a strategy. One side outlines what the strategy is, and then poses questions for the student/s to think about. The second side outlines the advantages and challenges in relation to shallow and deep learning. We hope this will encourage students to reflect upon the choices they make when reading, and make purposeful and informed choices.
Following this, there are 2 scenarios provided as a separate document. Students are asked to select from 3 given responses to the scenario and then reflect upon the advantages and limitations of the response/s. This should allow students to situate the strategies within a real-world scenario.
These materials could be used within a number of learning settings, including a workshop or a one-to-one appointment.
These resources were developed from an ALDinHE funded research project into how students read for their studies, focusing on digital and print mediums. The selection of strategies and guidance given is based upon focus groups conducted with students at Lancaster University.
Types of media:
Creative Learning Activity Cards are an interactive teaching and learning resource for students of creative subjects at Foundation, BA or MA level to help scaffold student academic skills. This evidence-based resource consists of 50 activity cards divided into five sections of ten cards on: • Planning• Research• Thinking• Writing• Wild Card (includes tips for overcoming writer’s block, anxiety and procrastination, and building motivation) The cards can be used as materials in both online and face-to-face facilitated seminars or workshops, as the basis for teaching in lectures or as an independent study resource for students.To print you can use PowerPoint option of choosing number of slides per page, e.g. 4 slides per A4 and cut them out. You could also choose single page and print the desired ones to full A4 so they can be used as A4 handouts. Another option could be using photo paper, e.g. 10x15cm and print them individually (select 'fill whole page' option via printer setting).
Types of media: Worksheet, Slides, PowerPoint File, Interactive Learning Object
The material covers the basics of what critical thinking is, and how this abstract concept is realised in actual academic reading and writing. It was originally used for a generic 30-minute webinar on the topic, but it is recommended for a session of 45+ minutes to allow sufficient for students to engage in the interactive activities (e.g. analysing a text).
Types of media: PowerPoint File, Word Document
The aim of this activity is to clarify the difference between descriptive and analytical writing and emphasise the importance of research-based argument. Participants engage in an interactive 3-stage exercise that interrogates a (visual) text in order to generate a piece of academic writing.
Activity time: 1 hour
Types of media: Handout/s, Slides, PowerPoint File
To acknowledge the skill employers are looking for in new employees in the workplace. Learners will identify their personal employability skill level and critically reflect upon how they can provide evidence that they have gained employability skills from their life and learning experiences.
Activity time: 30 Minutes
Types of media: Worksheet
• Identify what critical thinking is • Apply critical thinking • Recall questions to ask of source material to aid critical thinking, reading and writing • Interpret and analyse subject information
Activity time: 10 Minutes
Types of media: Handout/s, Interactive Learning Object
Question, discuss, and critique Assertive Discipline theory - Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the theory, and the contexts in which the strengths and weaknesses occur - Come to a reasoned conclusion about Assertive Discipline based on their evaluation
Activity time: 30-45 minutes
Types of media: Helpsheet, Slides, PowerPoint File
The animations are all based around the themes of productivity, curation, discovery, collaboration, impact and transferable skills. It is to highlight the many ways students can engage with technology to improve their learning experience.
Activity time: 3 minutes
Types of media: Video
A classroom activity, designed to help students recognise the broad functions of academic writing
Activity time: 20 minutes
Types of media: Webpage
What's the difference between description and critical analysis?
Activity time: 5 Minutes
Types of media: Handout/s, Webpage, Helpsheet
A brief introduction to staff and students interpretations of critical thinking
Activity time: 10 minutes
Types of media: Webpage
A presentation outlining a whole new approach to successful study. The six steps are:
S = Study Techniques and practices
O = Overview
C = Creativity
C = Communicate effectively
E = Emotions
R = Review, review, review
Also includes a booklet for students' reference, and some suggested activities to follow the presentation.
Activity time: 40 minutes
Types of media: Handout/s, Slides, PowerPoint File, Word Document