Critical Thinking for Any Subject

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Registration Closed.
Last Date to Register: 2/25/2024 11:59 PM
Last Date to Cancel: 2/27/2024 11:59 PM
Agency: Metro ECSU
Agency Contact: Christina Streiff Oji
Agency Assistant: Brittany Stepan -
Location: Virtual
Zoom link
Metro ECSU, MN 55112
Facility: Virtual
2/27/2024 04:00 PM - 05:15 PM
3/5/2024 04:00 PM - 05:15 PM
3/12/2024 04:00 PM - 05:15 PM
3/19/2024 04:00 PM - 05:15 PM
3/26/2024 04:00 PM - 05:15 PM

Critical Thinking for Any Subject 

Synchronous via Zoom

Weekly - Tuesday, February 27 - March 26, 2024

Audience: Classroom Teachers K-12, Administrators

Facilitator: David LaPorte, Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology & Biophysics at the University of Minnesota

This training will help you incorporate critical thinking into courses that you already teach.

Critical thinking includes domain-general and subject specific skills. This course will emphasize the domain-general skills (e.g. evaluating claims using evidence and logic) since they are transferable. Subject specific skills will be considered when we examine examples, particularly in the case studies module. For example, besides the transferable skills, media literacy requires finding multiple independent sources and considering the motivations of the authors while scientific thinking requires experimental controcls (e.g. placebos), sample size and randomization. (Note that these lists are not comprehensive.)

Generative Artificial Intelligence (e.g. ChatGPT) will be discussed. This technology is disrupting both the workplace and the classroom. While there are benefits and threats with this technology, a topic that hasn't received such attention are the negative consequences of students outsourcing their thinking at Large Language Models rather than practicing this skill themselves.

The READ Act requires teaching reading comprehension throughout preK-12. NAEP emphasizes the ability to draw inferences from complex text among the key Cognitive Goals for Reading. Inferences are claims supported by evidence using logic and reasoing, the very definition of basic critical thinking. Reading comprehension depends on background knowledge and vocabulary, three of the pillars of reading that evolve throughout a student's education and change continues for their entire lives.

Dr. David LaPorte is a professor emeritus of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology & Biophysics at the University of Minnesota, where he worked for 37 years before retiring in 202. He spent the last 15 years of his academic career teaching a course in cirtical thinking, which he founded and revised every year. In 2018, he received the Stanley Dagley-Samuel Kirkwood Undergraduate Education Award.

In 2019, he formed and chairs a committee that is promoting the teaching of critical thinking, creative problem solving, collaboration and communciations (collectively known as the 21st Century Skills) in preK-12 education.

Critical thinking is primarily based on three academic disciplines: the natural science, cognitive psychology and philosophy (see below). Dr. LaPorte blends the strengths of all three traditions. 

The natural sciences use inductive and deductive reasoing to develop and test hypotheses and theories. Adam Grant, organizational psychologist at Wharton/Penn and best-selling author, has suggested that scientific reasoing be applied broadly, beyond just the sciences. Dr. LaPorte spent 50 years as a biochemist, running a successful research program and teaching a variety of courses.

Psychology highlights cognitive biases, which can lead to flawed reasoing if they are not controlled. Dr. LaPorte was a psychology minor as an undergraduate, is a lifetime member of Psi Chi honors society and has been studying psychology for half a century.

Philosophy, the original discipline for critical thinking dating back to ancient Greece, is based on logic. Dr. LaPorte has studied philosophical critical thinking since he started his course 20 years ago.


$75 - BrightWorks Member

$100 - Standard Rate

Please make checks payable to BrightWorks and mail to: 

Attn: Brittany Stepan
2 Pine Tree Drive, Suite 101
Arden Hills, MN 55112

Please note: If an invoice is required, an additional fee of $10 will be applied. 

Cancellation: You can cancel your own registration for an event before the cancellation deadline. (Please check the event information for specific cancellation details.) If the event has a fee, refunds are possible only if cancellation is prior to the deadline. If you do not attend and do not cancel prior to an event, you are still responsible for payment and will be billed.

Special Accommodations: Please alert BrightWorks 2-3 weeks prior to the workshop/event if you need special accommodations, including sign language interpreters. (BrightWorks requires a notice of 2 business days to cancel a sign language interpreter. If you fail to cancel, we reserve the right to bill your school/district for this expense.) Update your profile as needed. Special accommodations are not included with each registration, but are stored in your profile until you make changes.