Unit 4- Analyze and Assess Thinking


The purpose of this unit is to help you begin to realize how to create online discussions that helps you know how well each participant knows something.


Critical Thinking is the art of analyzing and assessing thinking in order to improve it. Promoting critical thinking with our students requires that we help them move beyond rote memorization and gain confidence with discussing about and working with new concepts and ideas. When we place thinking at the center of instruction:

  • we approach students as thinkers
  • we continually seek to connect the content we are teaching to the thinking of students – illuminating how and why the content is important to them as thinkers
  • we design instruction so that students have to think their way into and through the content

Critical thinking provides the tools students need to think through content. Critical thinking is a system of thinking that opens up all other systems of thinking. Critical Thinking is a self-directed process by which we take deliberate steps to think at the highest level of quality. To learn anything,
you must actively bring it into your thinking.

Discussion: Think About Your Thinking

To begin to think about your thinking, make a list of any problems you believe currently exist with your thinking.  Try to be as explicit as possible.  The more problems you identify the better.  For each problem you identify, complete the following statements:

  • One problem with my thinking about is…
  • This is a problem because…
  • If I adequately addressed this problem, the quality of my life would improve in the following ways…

Discussion: Rate your Thinking

Consider your thinking in these domains of your life: at work, in personal relationships, in teaching, in intimate relationships, as a reader, as a writer, in planning your life, in dealing with your emotions, in figuring out complex situations. 

Complete these statements: Right now, I believe my thinking across all domains of my life is of  ______________ quality.  I based this judgment on _________________.

  1. In the following areas, I think very well…
  2. In the following areas, my thinking is OK, not great, but not terrible either…
  3. In the following areas, my thinking is probably of low quality…
  4. List at least three areas for each of the above.     

We assume that students are constructing the meanings we intend…But often people listen for what they agree with or what they disagree with. Or they aren’t listening at all.

SEE-I Discussions

The SEE-I is a useful process to create discussion questions to clarify almost anything. You can use this model to clarify any content. The letters in the SEE-I stand for steps in the process:

  • STATE: The most important thing I have learned thus far today is______. In my own words ,the definition of______is ______
  • ELABORATE:  In other words…
  • EXAMPLE:  For example…
  • ILLUSTRATE:  To illustrate…

  • State
    • To state something is to say it briefly, clearly and sometimes it means offering the most basic put precise definition.
    • Sometimes the “state it” definition is the textbook definition.
    • Strategies to help students clearly state their idea or
      • main point: Have the student complete the phrase “I think…” about their idea or main point.
      • Ask the student to state their idea or basic point in one simple sentence. S: State
  • Elaborate
    • To elaborate on the statement above is to expand it, explain it in your own words at a greater length.
    • Strategies to help students expand on their idea or main point are:
      • Have the student complete the phrase “In other words…” about their idea or main point.
      • Ask the student to elaborate their basic point more fully.
  • Exemplify
    • To give a good example of a topic or concept is to clarify for yourself or your audience what you mean after “stating” and “elaborating.” It is best to have an original example that you pull from your own life or the world around you.
    • Strategies to help students exemplify their idea or main point are:
      • Have the student complete the phrase “For example…” about their idea or main point.
      • Ask the student to give you an example of their point for their experience.
  • Illustrate
    • An illustration of a concept or topic provides a picture to clarify one’s thinking. It might be a graph, diagram or concept map. Typically, it can be a metaphor, simile or analogy that captures the meaning.
    • Strategies to help students illustrate their idea or main point are:
      • Have the student complete the phrase “It is like…” about their idea or main point.
      • Ask the student to give you an analogy or metaphor to help you see what they mean.
  • S is a STATEMENT: A clear, concise, correct definition of the term.
  • E is an ELABORATION: Another way of saying it, using your own words.
  • E is an EXAMPLE: A good one, one that is correct and actually works.
  • I is an ILLUSTRATION: A metaphor, image, or comparison, e.g., the term is like a …

Write your understanding of critical thinking, in this form:

  1. Critical thinking is …..
  2. In other words…
  3. For example …

Discssions to Analyze Concepts

  • What is the purpose of _______?
  • What key questions should we be asking in________?
  • What information should we use to determine how we should approach ______?
  • What key ideas or concepts should guide ______?
  • What are some important implications?
  • What should we assume, or take for granted, about what it means to be ____?

Unit 4- Practice

  1. Watch the following videos

Read in Chapter 8 of Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Learning and Your Life, pages 160-175.

Complete ‘Think for Yourself 8.9’ assignment (page 175).

Complete ‘Think for Yourself 8.6’ (page 161 in the reading) and ‘Think for Yourself 8.7’ (page 163).

Complete the following Practice:

Unit 4- Reflection & Badge

Complete the following self-assessment:

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