Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Arthur Millman

Second Advisor

Delores Gallo


The aim of this synthesis is to argue that students cannot become effective thinkers simply by being taught the analytical skills of critical reading, writing, and thinking. Without learning the necessary dispositions of critical thinking students will not develop into well-rounded, effective thinkers. The study is focused on an already existing course at Mass Bay Community College. The present curriculum is based on the fundamental skills of determining the soundness and validity of an argument. Assisting and encouraging the obtainment of critical thinking dispositions will inspire students to become more aware of the role their listening and communicating skills and behaviors have on their ability to think effectively. As Kirby and Goodpaster assert, "We have become what we have thought about and who we will become is limited by how and what we think" (5). Dispositions are "inclinations and habits of mind that benefit productive thinking" (Tishman, Perkins, and Jay 1995, 37). Being open-minded, deferring judgment, listening to multiple perspectives, and having intellectual humility and intellectual curiosity are a few thinking dispositions that are presented in the discussion as well as in the proposed curriculum. Ennis, Paul, Tishman et al, all support the incorporation of thinking dispositions into critical thinking course curriculums. The curriculum presented in this synthesis is designed to engage students in thoughtful exploratory activities to help foster and cultivate dispositions required for effective thinking. The lesson plans are created with the intention of reinforcing students' tendencies to transfer knowledge, utilize metacognitive strategies, and practice applying thinking dispositions in various scenarios and exercises. The curriculum utilizes critical thinking dispositions and incorporates the enhancement of listening, communicating, and behavioral skills. Each lesson includes a description of dispositions to be explored; an activity to encourage the fostering of those dispositions; goals and objectives; and attention to mental management and transfer of skills. The objective of incorporating nineteen dispositions into a pre-existing critical thinking curriculum is to help freshman college students become reasonable, reflective, and focused thinkers and decision-makers.