Teaching Critical Thinking as a Late-Life Career Change

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Peter Taylor


Having studied philosophy intensely for ten years and then spent twenty years in the computer industry, I am now embarking in a new career teaching critical thinking. My teaching style will draw heavily on my philosophical background, but my studies in the Critical and Creative Thinking Program have broadened my conception of critical thinking. In my synthesis paper, I discuss the important elements of critical thinking, the tools I intend to use to teach critical thinking, initial efforts to create a forum for critical thinking professionals (building on a dormant think tank hosted by CCT), and the steps I plan to take after graduation to secure a teaching position. The important elements of critical thinking include dispositions, (intellectual honesty, Socratic ignorance, dispassion, common sense, intellectual rigor, an ear for language, the dispositions to be curious and questioning, broad, adventurous and organized thinkers, and the disposition to give thinking time), close analysis, linguistic analysis, logical analysis, definition of words, use of rules of thumb and aphorisms, and scrutiny of examples. The tools I intend to use to teach critical thinking include lists of guidelines, posters, handouts, facilitating, group activities, problem-based learning, free writing, methodological believing, and scrutiny of examples. In a sample syllabus divided into eleven lessons, I introduce these elements and techniques and include a separate lesson specifically about the Internet.


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