Volume 4, 2018
Experiential Learning and Education
Julie Loveland Swanstrom
Embedding Teaching Critical Thinking Skills in a Philosophy Course
I explore methods for the explicit instruction of critical thinking in a topics-based philosophy course (topically or historically organized courses designated neither as Critical Thinking nor Logic). These methods make the classroom more experiential and less didactic and involve students in the philosophical process, allowing them to learn content while using the methods of philosophy to work through, explain, or produce similar content. Experiential learning—approaching learning as a “continuous process grounded in experience” involving the acquisition of practices, the specialization in those practices, and the integration of oneself into the learning process—enhances traditional philosophy classrooms, and explicitly teaching critical thinking skills involves the methods of experiential learning. After an overview of relevant aspects of experiential learning and addressing how experiential learning methods can be used for the explicit teaching of critical thinking skills, I explain four methods I use to explicitly teach critical thinking in my introductory classes.