Critical thinking is intertwined with content knowledge. We saw a sequence of four examples (If vowel then even number, if alcohol then 21, if gin, then haddock, if entering then cholera vaccine), for each example, there is a claim about a set of cards: If X then Y. Given four cards, verify the claim. If the problems were formulated based on permissions, then the success rate was high. Each problem is technically, P -> Q, but having just completed a semester of logic has no impact on results.
Scientific reasoning is taught in two pieces scientific concepts and scientific method. So consider designing a learning experiment. The group is split into intervention and control. How do you know that the random sample is valid? Background knowledge is required to determine the appropriateness of the split.
Critical thinking occurs from learning at the deep level. The surface story is say, "tumors and rays". The deep question is whether it is modus pones, Netwon's third law, etc? However, memory is focused on the surface facts. Recall is based on those components.
Why not teach the deep structure immediately? Abstractions are hard to understand. Instead, learners have to see lots of surface structures all overlaying the same deep structure.
Sometimes failures in critical thinking are actually failures in basic knowledge. Furthermore, there are also innate biases, such as words refer to objects and attributes, and the world is full of agents and purposes.
Takeaway 1: Most of critical thinking is domain-specific.
Takeaway 2: In each domain, faculty should identify what they consider the important critical thinking skills.
Takeaway 3: Select content with an eye toward teaching these skills. Teach the critical thinking in the context of the content.
Takeaway 4: Critical thinking is a curricular issue. These skills require more than 1 semester to acquire.
Takeaway 5: Certain foundational concepts may run counter to the mind's biases. Students have functional knowledge that has worked so far. For example, "equals sign means put answer here".
Q. Translating domain skills in interdisciplinary work?
A. Don't know. Probably needing to know enough of the skills in the home domain to be able explore the other domain.
Q. If critical thinking is domain specific, how specific are domains?
A. Domains are nested. Proper application requires domain knowledge. Moving from cognitive psychology to social leaves [the speaker] less skilled, but still better than average. Into clinical psychology, they have a common basis, but limited ability to apply.