Symposia Archives – 6/1/11

Developing Critical Thinkers and Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher

Dr. Stephen Brookfield

Distinguished University Professor at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN

Wednesday, June 1, 2011: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
AND Thursday, June 2, 2011: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
TC-103AB, Haverhill Campus

Developing Critical Thinkers

Critical thinking involves students (and teachers) being able to identify and research the assumptions that frame how they think and act. Only if these assumptions are accurate and valid can we trust them as guides for thought and action. Studies of critical thinking show that four factors are crucial to learning critical thinking:

  1. it is an incremental process of learning in which students learn best by acquiring certain mental & intellectual habits and, over time, bringing these to bear directly on their own thinking,
  2. it needs explicit modeling of the process by teachers,
  3. it needs to be inserted into how learning activities and assignments across the curriculum are constructed, and
  4. teachers need constantly to study how critical thinking is learned and practiced by students.

In this interactive workshop Stephen Brookfield will model critical thinking about critical thinking (!) and will introduce a number of classroom activities that can actively engage students in learning how to think critically.

Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher

Teaching in a critically reflective key means viewing our assumptions about good practice through four complementary lenses – our students’ eyes, our colleagues’ perceptions, the lens of theory/research, and our own autobiographical experiences as learners. In this workshop Stephen will build on his award winning book Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher to explore how we can use these lenses and some of the benefits and problems of these practices. Using ample examples from his own practice he will introduce participants to critically reflective techniques. Since students repeatedly say that seeing teachers model critical reflection is a spur to students’ own critical thinking he will examine some of the most successful ways that teachers communicate what it means to think critically. Throughout this interactive workshop Stephen will take questions and he will try to emphasize how being critically reflective about our own teaching and developing our students as critical thinkers are inextricably interconnected.

Articles and Resources

View the website of Dr. Stephen Brookfield.

View the biography of Dr. Stephen Brookfield.


To register to attend, please complete the online registration form by May 20, 2011.

Interpreting Services

Should you need Interpreting Services, please contact Christine DeRosa at and arrangements will be made.