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  4. The Development of Scientific Thinking Skills: Volume V

Mathematical and scientific thinking.

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Cognitive and language development in children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 67, Conceptual change in the classroom: British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 18, Research in Science Education, 33, Conceptual change in biology: Group interaction and the understanding of inheritance.

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Search in the document preview. Microsoft PowerPoint - lec8sciconcepts. Voluntary vs reactionary movement Smith, — 4 yr olds: Essential Reading on Digital Resources: Young children's psychological, physical, and biological explanations. Development of intuitive theories of motion: Teaching young children to understand biological inheritance.


The Development of Scientific Thinking Skills by Deanna Kuhn

Access your Docsity account. Sign in via social Sign up with Facebook. Accurate appraisal of behavior is essential, yet few teachers invest time in helping students understand how vulnerable their own interpretations are to error. Encourage practice in accurate description and interpretation of behavior by presenting students with ambiguous behavior samples.

Ask them to distinguish what they observe What is the behavior? Students quickly recognize that crisp behavioral descriptions are typically consistent from observer to observer, but inferences vary wildly. They recognize that their interpretations are highly personal and sometimes biased by their own values and preferences. As a result of experiencing such strong individual differences in interpretation, students may learn to be appropriately less confident of their immediate conclusions, more tolerant of ambiguity, and more likely to propose alternative explanations. As they acquire a good understanding of scientific procedures, effective control techniques, and legitimate forms of evidence, they may be less likely to fall victim to the multitude of off-base claims about behavior that confront us all.

How many Elvis sightings can be valid in one year? Theoretical critical thinking involves helping the student develop an appreciation for scientific explanations of behavior.

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This means learning not just the content of psychology but how and why psychology is organized into concepts, principles, laws, and theories. Developing theoretical skills begins in the introductory course where the primary critical thinking objective is understanding and applying concepts appropriately. For example, when you introduce students to the principles of reinforcement, you can ask them to find examples of the principles in the news or to make up stories that illustrate the principles.

Mid-level courses in the major require more sophistication, moving students beyond application of concepts and principles to learning and applying theories.

The Development of Scientific Thinking Skills: Volume V

For instance, you can provide a rich case study in abnormal psychology and ask students to make sense of the case from different perspectives, emphasizing theoretical flexibility or accurate use of existing and accepted frameworks in psychology to explain patterns of behavior. In advanced courses we can justifiably ask students to evaluate theory, selecting the most useful or rejecting the least helpful. For example, students can contrast different models to explain drug addiction in physiological psychology.

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By examining the strengths and weaknesses of existing frameworks, they can select which theories serve best as they learn to justify their criticisms based on evidence and reason. Capstone, honors, and graduate courses go beyond theory evaluation to encourage students to create theory. Students select a complex question about behavior for example, identifying mechanisms that underlie autism or language acquisition and develop their own theory-based explanations for the behavior.

This challenge requires them to synthesize and integrate existing theory as well as devise new insights into the behavior. Most departments offer many opportunities for students to develop their methodological critical thinking abilities by applying different research methods in psychology.

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  • Beginning students must first learn what the scientific method entails. The next step is to apply their understanding of scientific method by identifying design elements in existing research. For example, any detailed description of an experimental design can help students practice distinguishing the independent from the dependent variable and identifying how researchers controlled for alternative explanations.

    The next methodological critical thinking goals include evaluating the quality of existing research design and challenging the conclusions of research findings. Students may need to feel empowered by the teacher to overcome the reverence they sometimes demonstrate for anything in print, including their textbooks. Asking students to do a critical analysis on a fairly sophisticated design may simply be too big a leap for them to make.

    They are likely to fare better if given examples of bad design so they can build their critical abilities and confidence in order to tackle more sophisticated designs. Examples of bad design can be found in The Critical Thinking Companion for Introductory Psychology or they can be easily constructed with a little time and imagination. Students will develop and execute their own research designs in their capstone methodology courses.

    In evaluating their work I have found it helpful to ask students to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their own work- as an additional opportunity to think critically-before giving them my feedback. Adopting explicit critical thinking objectives, regardless of the domain of critical thinking, may entail some strategy changes on the part of the teacher.

    Students often think that their entry into the discipline represents an end-point where everything good and true has already been discovered.

    Child Psychology : How to Develop Critical Thinking Skills in Children

    That conclusion encourages passivity rather than criticality. Each new discovery in psychology represents a potentially elegant act of critical thinking. A lot of room for discovery remains. New ideas will be developed and old conceptions discarded. Group work, essays, debates, themes, letters to famous psychologists, journals, current event examples- all of these and more can be used as a means of developing the higher skills involved in critical thinking in psychology.

    Find faulty cause-effect conclusions in the tabloids e. Ask students to identify what kinds of evidence would warrant belief in commercial claims.