Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines

Volume 29, Issue 3, Fall 2014

Linda Behar-Horenstein
Pages 27-38

Dental Education and Making A Commitment to The Teaching of Critical Thought

Less than two decades ago, Halpern (1998) presented a convincing approach for teaching critical thought. However, nowhere in her article did she explain how to “get” faculty to teach to thinking skills to transfer across domains of knowledge using: “(a) dispositional or attitudinal component, (b) instruction in and practice with critical thought, (c) structure–training activities, and (d) a metacognitive component used to direct and assess thinking.” (p. 451) It is an open question as to what type of strategies will faculty need to demonstrate to create productive, knowledgeable, thinking citizenry? In this paper I focus on the faculty’s role in promoting the teaching of critical thought, that is, critical thought processes, with particular reference to dental education. Many students can develop processes of critical thought with frequent practice involving the active use of multiple types of ill-structured problems and situations designed to require the ability (1) to recall useful information, (2) to use pattern recognition, (3) to discern pertinent information, (4) to think ahead, and (5) to anticipate outcomes and problems while (6) remaining composed enough so that their emotions do not hinder decision-making skills.