Shaun Young
Encouraging Critical Thinking through Student Driven Content and Discussions

In this session, I will be sharing my insights on how practical methods of student driven participation in classroom discussion can better enable students to apply critical thinking skills in their studies. Using Bloom’s taxonomy as a jumping off point, we’ll consider ways to increase the frequency of more in depth questions that encourage students to go beyond the surface of basic facts and recollection in response.

We’ll look at the (old) problem of how to create an environment where students direct their inquiry in a critical and curious way, and the limitations of the standard approach that has been typified by an almost exclusive focus on top down content and input.

Then we’ll conclude the session with a couple of ideas that any EAP teacher can incorporate into their classes by exploring possible developments that can happen when educators shift to a greater emphasis on activities that foster student guided content selection and student led group discussion.

If you find yourself asking the following questions:

* How can I facilitate use of analysis, evaluation and synthesis skills in classroom discussion?
* How can I exploit course materials to encourage students to ask questions that go beyond the surface of understanding basic facts and recollection?
* How can I help students see the value in using effective thinking frameworks like cost, benefit, SWOT, and KWHL? And, what is SWOT and KWHL?
* How can I help my learners to select thinking frameworks to analyse and/or evaluate appropriately?

Shaun Young is a teacher at Monash College, delivering the Academic English Bridging for Diploma Course. He holds a Masters in Applied Linguistics, and has a background in Law and International Relations. Since 2008 Shaun has taught English in Melbourne, The Middle East, and South East Asia, as well as taking on teacher training, program development and managerial roles. More recently Shaun has been drawing on experience from working in community preparedness and emergency response to build resilient learning communities and develop proactive and situationally aware learners capable of negotiating life successfully in Australia.