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Workshop Topic Detail

Teaching Critical Thinking in Pre-College English Courses

Many incoming community college students need remediation in English courses. This can be time consuming and lead instructors to believe that there isn’t enough time in the term to teach important thinking skills. This workshop provides participants with specific tools for teaching critical thinking skills in pre-college English courses. The facilitator provides proven methodologies to enhance critical thinking skills while teaching basic English writing and comprehension. By the end of the workshop, participants can better prepare students for transfer-level English courses and increase their critical thinking skills.

Key topics covered during the workshop include: 

  1. Critical thinking, remediation, and open-mindedness.
  2. Critical thinking as a foundation for college skills.
  3. Recognizing and using evidence.
    1. What is a fact?
    2. How is a fact different from an opinion?
    3. How should facts guide opinions?
    4. Emotions, opinions, and facts.
    5. Exercises to identify facts.
  4. The structure of an argument.
    1. Introduction.
    2. Basic writing exercises for students.
  5. Argument creation/formation.
    1. Levels of difficulty in argument creation.
  6. Moving from arguments to writing.
    1. Levels of difficulty in writing about arguments.
    2. Argumentation and rough drafts.
  7. Improving reading skills: Argument analysis.
    1. Understanding an author’s argument.
    2. Research, using multiple articles, and college-level writing.

Participants can claim a digital badge and certificate upon completing the workshop and a post-workshop survey.

About the Facilitator

Dr. John Eigenauer is a professor of philosophy at Taft College. He holds a master’s degree in English, a master’s degree in humanities, and a doctorate in interdisciplinary studies from Syracuse University, where he was the recipient of the prestigious Syracuse University Fellowship. Dr. Eigenauer has taught philosophy, English, mathematics, computer science, physics, and Spanish. He has delivered workshops nationally and internationally on the pedagogy of critical thinking and published articles on critical thinking and rationality. His most recent article, “The Problem With the Problem of Human Rationality,” published in the International Journal of Educational Reform, was highlighted in Psychology Today. Other publications of Dr. Eigenauer’s have appeared in The Historian, The Harvard Theological ReviewHistory of Intellectual Culture, Inquiry: Critical Thinking across the Disciplines, The Rational Alternative, Thinking Skills and Creativity, Eighteenth-Century Studies, The Huntington Library QuarterlyInnovation Abstracts, and The NISOD Papers.

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