The purpose of this activity is to discuss the cognitive development stages of critical thinking. You will review the stages and determine your own place within it.
In Chapter 1 of your textbook, as presented in Highlights, carefully review the three stages of cognitive development in college students. Examine the levels that Sheese and Radovanovic say represent our cognitive development. Take notes on how these stages might be applied to developing your own critical thinking strategies. This assignment will be an integral component of your 4-part project for this course. This activity aligns with module outcome 1. These questions are adapted from Stop & Assess Activities.
Answer one of the following discussion questions:
1. College professor Stephen Satris maintains that the relativism of the second stage of development is not a genuine philosophical position, but a means of avoiding one’s ideas challenged. Student relativism, he writes, is primarily a method of protection, a suit of armor, which can be applied to one’s own opinions, whatever they may bebut not necessarily to the opinion of others. It is an expression of the idea that no one step forward and judge (and possibly criticize) one’s own opinion. What is your suit of armor? Discuss strategies you might take to break out of this suit of armor. Consider your own stage of cognitive development, and share in your response, as you feel comfortable.
2. Most college students do not make the transition to the third, or commitment, stage of cognitive development. Why do you think this is so? Discuss ways in which the college curriculum in general might be restructured to encourage cognitive growth in students.
3. The first three questions of the Self-Evaluation in the Think Tank feature represent the three stages of cognitive development. Which stage, or transition between stages, best describes your approach to understanding the world? What are the shortcomings and strengths of your current stage of cognitive development? Develop a plan to improve your skills as a critical thinker. Put the plan into action. Report on the results of your action plan.
4. Adopt the stance of the Buddhist beginner’s mind. Be attentive only to what is happening in the now. After one minute, write down everything you observed going on around you as well as inside of you (your feelings, body language, and the like). Did you notice more than you might have otherwise? Share your observations with the class. Can you think of any ways that this activity could lead to higher levels of cognition? Could this activity be a practical pathway to higher level thinking? Discuss ways in which this practice of being more attentive to your present moment experiences might enhance your effectiveness as a critical thinker.