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TEALS- Fostering Critical Thinking Skills

TEALS- Fostering Critical Thinking Skills

Author: Steven Bukin
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Tech Tools to Promote Critical Thinking Skills

An introduction to technology tools to promote Critical Thinking Skills in the TEALS classroom

Some P4C (Philosophy for Children) lesson plans

Today my A2 level students were Philosophers. Despite their relatively low level they were courageous enough to consider moral dilemmas and deep philosophical questions. Here is my lesson plan which could be done in SPW at any level.
1. Introduce/ pre-teach the concept of a dilemma/ moral dilemma (often a picture of a crossroads suffices)
2.Give an example situation- here's a light-hearted one I often use: You are driving in your car one evening. you pass a bus stop, and you see 3 people waiting for the bus: an elderly lady who looks vey ill and needs to go to hospital; an old friend who once saved your life; the perfect man/ woman of your dreams.
It's pouring with rain and the next bus isn't for an hour. You have a sports car with only one seat free. Which one would you give a lift to?
3. Show a video from Youtube on the 'Trolley Dilemma'
pausing at the first section
Ask Ss for their decision but they MUST JUSTIFY their decision. This was after a lesson on comparatives so they could use 'better' and 'worse'.
4. Show the second part. Ask Ss to compare the situations.
5. Sit Ss in a circle and tell them the story of 'The Bridge'
The Story

There is a river with a bridge over it, and a WIFE and her HUSBAND live in a house on one side. The WIFE has a LOVER who lives on the other side. The only way to get across the river is to walk across the bridge or ask the BOATMAN to take you.

The HUSBAND has to go on an overnight business trip in a faraway town.. The WIFE pleads with him to take her with him. She knows if he doesn't she'll be unfaithful to him. The HUSBAND absolutely refuses to take her because she will only be in the way of his important business. So the husband goes alone.

That night the WIFE goes over the bridge & stays with her LOVER. Dawn is almost up when the WIFE leaves because she must be back home before her HUSBAND returns. She starts across the bridge but sees a SOLDIER on the bridge. He tells he has orders to shoot anyone who tries to cross the bridge. In terror, she runs up the side of the river and asks the BOATMAN to take her across the river, but he wants half-a-crown. She has no money, so he refuses to take her.

The WIFE runs back to the LOVER'S house & explains her predicament and asks him for the half-a-crown to pay the BOATMAN. The LOVER refuses, telling her it's her own fault for getting into this situation. As dawn comes up the WIFE is nearly out of her mind & decides to dash across the bridge. When she comes face to face with the SOLDIER, he takes aim and shoots her dead.

Now get the Ss to tell you the names of the five characters in the order in which you think they were most responsible for the WIFE'S death. ie The WIFE, HUSBAND, LOVER, SOLDIER, & BOATMAN in the order you think they are most guilty.

Q1: Which character was MOST responsible for the wife's death? Please select your answer from one of these options

a. The Wife was MOST responsible
b. The Husband was MOST responsible
c. The Lover was MOST responsible
d. The Soldier was MOST responsible
e. The Boatman was MOST responsible
6. Don't make any comments but then get the Ss in pairs to think of juicy philosophical questions. Explain this by saying that the questions must make sense to someone who did't hear the story.
7. Ss then vote on the best questions
8. Have a discussion! Act as an agent provocateur or Devil's Advocate. If Ss have problems forming meaty questions, have some prepared, such 'Is it better to be happy or know the truth?'.
This lesson is based on an Philosophical Enquiry model developed for children in P4C.

The Trolley Problem

A Philosophical Dilemma for a Spoken Performance Workshop

The Prisoner's Dilemma

A Thought Experiment that could be used as role play and discussion.