According to Walters (1990): “The training of students in critical thinking, analytic skills, and problem solving has become a top educational priority in recent years.
Courses in critical thinking are now standard in institutions of higher learning” (p. 450). The reason for this is simple – it is namely those students that posses such skills, who would be more likely to succeed in attaining social prominence, as it would increase the extent of their professionally related adaptability.
Therefore, it represents the matter of foremost importance for educators to have a cohesive understanding as to what accounts for facilitation of critical thinking-related skills in the classroom.
In our paper, we will aim to substantiate the validity of this hypothesis at length, while referring to namely Experiential and Problem-Based (Independent) Learning Theories, as we believe that it is namely these two theories that provide teachers with most advanced theoretical framework for helping students to develop proficiency in critical thinking.
Nevertheless, before addressing the subject matter through the conceptual lenses of these two theories, we will need define the essence of critical thinking as ‘thing in itself’ and the role it plays within the discursive matrix of modern education. In the next part of this paper, we are going to do just that.
Despite the fact that, as we have mentioned earlier, the growing number of educators come to realize the indispensability of providing students with a stimulus to develop critical thinking, only few of them seem to understand the theoretical implications of such thinking.
Get your 100% original paper on any topic done in as little as 3 hours Learn More The reason for this appears to be the fact that traditional concept of education implies the notions of ‘knowledge’ and ‘understanding’ being essentially synonymous, even though the post-industrial realities of today’s living render such an implication largely outdated. Whereas; the concept of ‘knowledge’ connotes memorization, the concept of ‘understanding’ connotes interaction.
And, up until comparatively recent times, the whole system of Western education was based upon the assumption that it is perfectly appropriate to expect theoretical knowledge, obtained in class, to correlate with surrounding realities, as if something rather statically defined.
As it was rightly pointed out by Sommer (1974): “The school emphasizes memorization and formal exercises, it emphasizes general relationships and abstract principles… It is obliged to certify the amount of learning that has taken place and relies on formal examinations for this purpose” (p. 10).
Nevertheless, such approach to education cannot be considered suitable, simply because, even the most abstract knowledge that can be obtained in the place of learning derives out of currently predominant socio-political and scientific discourses.
For example, whereas, throughout the course of 20th century, students specializing in political sciences were taught to think of 1868 Peace of Westphalia as the foundation of international law, the NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia in 1991 had rendered such theoretical approach utterly outdated.
Whereas, it has been traditionally assumed that it is namely governments that can indulge in unilateral spying on citizens, the most recent scandal with WikiLeaks had proven that private citizens are being just as capable of spying on the government.
Whereas, up until recently, the rate of people’s IQ was assumed to be environmentally predetermined, the most latest discoveries in the field of biology point out at the rate of people’s IQ as something rather genetically predetermined.
We will write a custom Essay on How can Teachers Teach Critical Thinking? specifically for you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More Therefore, it represents the matter of foremost importance for students to remain intellectually flexible (often by the mean of challenging the validity of conventional scientific theories), while pursuing with their studies, because it is only then that they will be able to take practical advantage of what it being learnt.
In her article, Tsui (2002) states: “By instilling critical thinking in students we groom individuals to become independent lifelong learners—thus fulfilling one of the long-term goals of the educational enterprise” (p. 740).
Apparently, one’s ability to indulge in critical thinking is the pathway towards such intellectual flexibility. And, one’s intellectual flexibility is the key to realization of his or her full existential potential, because only intellectually flexible individual would be able to adapt to highly dynamic realities of today’s living.
Nowadays, the origins of Experiential Learning Theory are being traced to the works of one of founders of American Pragmatism, John Dewey. In his now famous book Democracy and education, Dewey stated: “Knowledge is the tool for managing experience – no such thing as genuine knowledge and fruitful understanding except as the offspring of doing” (1924, p. 322).
According to Dewey, the validity of just about any abstract concept, learnt in schools, colleges or universities, is being reflected by the extent of this concept’s practical applicability.
The reason for this is simple – given the fact that, as representatives of Homo Sapiens specie, we are not mere spectators of a surrounding environment but its active agents, the possession of knowledge, on our part, does not only allow us to appear ‘sophisticate’, but it actually increases the degree of our existential competitiveness.
As Hytten (2000) had put it: “He (Dewey) argues that it (education) should help men and women deal with the problems of their day and create a more harmonious and fulfilling future.
For him, education provides the arena in which to test out the value of philosophical ideas” (p. 455). Therefore, students’ theoretical studies must always be followed by field exercises, during the course of which students will be able to test the strengths and weaknesses of what they had learnt in the classroom, on their own.
Not sure if you can write a paper on How can Teachers Teach Critical Thinking? by yourself? We can help you for only $16.05 $11/page Learn More David Kolb utilized Dewey’s theoretical insights, in regards to education, while developing his model of Experiential Learning, which consists of four stages: Abstract Conceptualization, Active Experimentation, Concrete Experience, and Reflective Observation.
According to Kolb, it is namely while being taken through the last three stages of a learning process, that students attain critical thinking skills, as it is only then that they learn how to apply independent practice-related judgments to theoretical knowledge, obtained in the classroom. At the end of a learning process: “They (learners) must be able to reflect on and observe their experiences from many perspectives” (1984, p. 30).
In her article, where she discusses different aspects of an internship practice, Tovey (2001) points out to the fact that facilitation of students’ critical thinking should be considered as one of experiential learning’ most important benefits: “Being part of a workplace involves more than simply learning the job skills… it involves the enhancement of students’ analytical abilities” (p. 282).
By being prompted to learn from experience, students get to realize how their previously obtained theoretical knowledge applies in practice, which in its turn, helps them to adopt a critical perspective on professionally related tasks.
It is needless to mention, of course, that this would aid them rather substantially in attaining professional adequacy, because it is specifically those employees that do not address their professional duties strictly ‘by the book’ that are being valued the most.
Therefore, we can only agree with Maudsley and Strivens (2000), who provide us with a better understanding of how facilitation of critical thinking is being perceived through the lenses of Kolb’s Experiential Model: “The critical thinking process is person-specific, emotion-centered, and both intrinsically and extrinsically motivated, and often leads to critical insight unexpectedly” (p. 540).
Upon being prompted to reflect on how their theoretical knowledge correlates with their experiential knowledge, students get to be automatically presented with an opportunity to foster their critical thinking skills.
Another learning theory, the application of which is believed to result in enhancing students’ critical thinking skills, is being commonly referred to as Problem-Based or Independent.
The proponents of this theory suggest that, in order for students to be able to benefit from studying a particular theoretical discipline, they must be left on their own, while tackling learning-related challenges.
In their article, Belton and Scott (1998) provide us with the insight onto the conceptual premise of this theory: “Independent Learning (IL) is used here to emphasize independence in the processes of learning or attainment of knowledge; students taking responsibility for their own learning… The teacher’s role is more of a learning manager and resource person; a co-learner whose experience in acquiring appropriate knowledge is more important than their knowledge acquire” (p. 899).
The origins of this theory can be traced back to sixties, when medical students at McMaster University in Canada were provided with a number of educational liberties, such as showing up at certain lectures if they only considered it necessary.
Nevertheless, even though the emergence of this theory has never been associated with the individuals of a great social or scientific prominence, as opposed to what it is being the case with Experiential Theory, it continues to grow ever more popular with educators.
This can be explained by the fact that, as time goes by, the very notion of professional excellence is being increasingly perceived within essentially problem-solving context. For example, as of today, 65% of Microsoft’s software designers consist of naturalized citizens from Russia, India and China.
Even though that the bulk of these employees do not even hold a formal degree in IT-related fields and even though many of them have a criminal record, due to their hacking activities in the countries where they were born, it nevertheless did not prevent them from being hired.
The reason for this is simple – as time goes by, one’s formal possession of a university diploma becomes increasingly irrelevant, when it comes to defining his or her chances to get a job. This appears to be especially the case in Western countries where a so-called ‘affirmative action’ educational policy had attained an official status.
Nowadays, more and more corporate employers seek to hire those who, due to their possession of high IQ, are being able to adapt to the challenges of a highly dynamic professional environment.
And, it is specifically the application of Problem-Based (Independent) learning strategy in the classroom, which is expected to endow students with problem-solving skills, and consequently – to improve their critical thinking abilities.
In their article, Hmelo-Silver and Barrows (2006) state: “For experts, teaching is a problem-solving context in which they must come to understand the meaning of students’ ideas rather than just correct them.
This is especially true when teachers and students co-construct the instructional agenda in a student-centered environment such as problem-based learning (PBL)” (p. 21). When being exposed to Problem-Based (Independent) learning strategies, students learn how to utilize their own sense of rationale, while addressing a particular academic or practical challenge.
It is now became a commonplace practice for the teaching affiliates of this theory to provide students with a few possible clues as to how a particular academically-related challenge should be tackled, and then to simply leave students alone for a while, so that they would be able to choose in a favor of a proper solution on their own.
Such practice, of course, contributes rather substantially to the process of students acquiring essential skills in critical thinking, because, while being presented with a challenge to solve a particular problem, students get to realize that they have no option but to rely on their personal rationale-based judgments.
As it was rightly pointed out by Semerci (2006): “For a student who has assumed responsibility for his/her own learning, the necessity to display the behaviors of attaining knowledge and using it makes thinking and problem solving important skills… Problem-based learning (PBL) supports critical thinking and problem-solving skills” (p. 1127).
Thus, just as it being the case with Experiential Learning Theory, the utilization of Problem-Based (Independent) Learning Theory in the classroom creates the set of objective preconditions for students to indulge in critical thinking, as an integral part of the process of acquiring knowledge.
The earlier articulated ideas as to how Experiential Learning Theory and Problem-Based (Independent) Learning Theory address the issue of facilitating critical thinking, allow us to formulate the set of recommendations for fostering this type of thinking in the classroom:
1) Teachers should encourage students to come up with their own interpretation of the concepts and ideas that they are being taught about in the place of learning. This should especially be the case when the acquired knowledge is being concerned with liberal sciences.
According to Spinks (2001): “There is a widespread perception that Western society is undergoing a profound transformation in its relation to the political dimension of human experience” (23). Therefore, no topics should be made a ‘taboo’ to discuss, regardless of how controversial they might be.
For example, instead of making students to believe that the beneficence of ‘multiculturalism’ cannot even be doubted, as it is usually the case in today’s Western schools, colleges and universities, teachers should be providing them with an alternative perspective onto the subject matter – hence, prompting them to indulge in critical thinking.
2) Teachers should never skip an opportunity to allow students to validate the objectiveness of theoretical knowledge, they acquire in the class, independently.
And, the best way to assure that, is encouraging students to go on a field trips, during the course of which they would be able to test the strengths and weaknesses of a theory in practice, and to persuade them to enroll into externship and internship programs.
While referring to the specifics of how internship programs at Purdue University help students to improve their analytical abilities, Bay (2006) states: Students write a weekly internship log or journal of about two to three pages, in which they not only record their experiences but must also analyze them from a number of different perspectives” (p. 136).
It is specifically by interacting and by socializing in professionally related environment that students will be able to gain a better understanding of classroom-based knowledge’s practical relevance.
3) Teachers should consider making it possible for students to indulge in project-based learning activities, as one of the pathways towards facilitating their critical thinking skills. While being asked to work on completing a particular project, related to theoretical knowledge, students would be prompted to assess the extent of such knowledge’s practical applicability.
In its turn, this would enhance their skills of critical thinking rather extensively.
In their article, Lime et al. (2007) provide us with the insight onto project-based learning’ possible objectives: “Project-based learning can be aimed at applying knowledge and techniques that are already acquired (usually limited to one subject).
It can also include interdisciplinary projects that are related to existing professional issues” (p. 338). After having completed a particular field-project, students would be less likely to think of purely theoretical recommendations, as to such project’s completion, as representing an undeniable truth-value.
4) Teachers should create preconditions for students to choose in favor of participating in team-based brainwashing sessions as the ultimate tool of addressing educational tasks and challenges.
By taking part in these sessions, students will not only be able to improve their skills of critical thinking, but they will also learn how to defend their critical perspectives, in regards to a particular issue, against the critical perspectives of others. In their article, Kaplan and Kies (1995) state: “Critical thinking requires that students are taught the thinking skills process along with the content area.
The thinking skills process requires instruction and practice. The practice can be either deductive approach and/or by an inductive approach. Brainstorming is the part of deductive approach” (p. 186). While partaking in brainstorming sessions, students will also learn how to assess the objective value of their critical opinions. And, this will come as a great asset later in their lives.
We believe that the earlier provided line of argumentation, in regards to the significance of facilitation of critical thinking in the classroom, and also in regards to the implications of such facilitation, substantiate the validity of paper’s initial hypothesis.
By encouraging students to act as critical thinkers, while studying, teachers will help them greatly in the process of attaining self-actualization. As individuals capable of critically assessing the information that is being conveyed to them in classrooms, students will eventually cease to think of themselves as the mere recipients of knowledge.
Instead, they will grow to think of their role in the learning process as such knowledge’s co-creators. In its turn, this will result in endowing students with a completely new perspective on learning, which would be consistent with post-industrial realities of living in Globalized world.
References Bay, J. (2006). Preparing undergraduates for careers: An argument for the internship practicum. College English, 69(2), 134-141.
Outstanding Photographers: Irving Penn and Jan Groover Essay
Nursing Assignment Help Every area of human activity is divided into certain periods with regard to the technological development, changes in social behavior, shifts in political regimes, and distribution of power. Photography is a branch of contemporary arts that is influenced by a great number of internal and external factors.
Different types of films and filters were used for many years to produce the image visible for human eyes but impossible to reproduce in photographs. All difficulties and obstacles advanced technological innovations and enabled photographers to take pictures without necessity to wait for printed pictures to come in a week.
However, outstanding photographers of their time took the challenges and invented their own methods to make the invisible visible and vice versa. Thus, it is necessary to analyze some works made by Irving Penn and Jan Groover who managed to benefit from use of black and white in their still life photographs and while shooting models and objects for fashion magazines.
Irving Penn And Jan Groover Both these photographers are known for their talent and attention to details. Arrangement of the objects for a photograph is very important and this importance can be understood while looking at pictures taken by Irving Penn and Jan Groover. Use of color images is contrasted to black and white though both authors used different patterns while taking pictures of models for fashion magazines and still life pictures, some aspects of their work are different while others are similar.
Images of nude people and kitchen utensils were depicted in the most unexpected ways using specific arrangement of objects, certain color choice, light and shadow techniques and other special approaches that enabled a photographer to convey his/her message and show the things and people in the way he/she saw those.
Every decade brought something new to the world in terms of technological advancement; photography was not an exception. New techniques and brighter colors shifted the priority though did not change the talent and approach used by Irving Penn and Jan Groover.
Involvement. The involvement in terms of photography presupposes that an author is involved into a certain area, genre, or a single technique. This aspect is very important for contemporary authors as it enables us to trace the changes in the involvement of these two great photographers.
Get your 100% original paper on any topic done in as little as 3 hours Learn More Irving Penn is known for several large involvements each being a theme of n exhibition as well as Jan Groover who had also established her style; certain themes and genres prevailed in the photographs of both authors depending on the period of their development. The involvement can be seen in the series of still life and nudes made with the help of certain techniques.
Thus, Irving Penn used silver and platinum prints while creating a series of photographs “Earthly Bodies” in 1949-1950. This technique enabled the author to present human bodies in the most unexpected angles and poses. In this respect, the pictures seem to reflect the real meaning imposed by the author concerning the beauty of bodies regardless of their imperfectness. He arranged the compositions so that all these people looked attractive.
We can assume that these bodies would not look attractive if they were not arranged and printed with the help of palladium and platinum. For instance, the picture “Nude No. 70” (see Fig. 1) is a part of the “Earthly Bodies” (1949-1950) series was acknowledged as well as other photographs from this series only when a few decades passed because they were avant-garde for their time.
Another major involvement of Irving Penn was the portraits and people from the real life and famous people that often appeared on the covers of magazines such as Vogue. For instance, his wife, Lisa Fonssagrives married him in 1950 after a picture taken for Vogue depicting models that could have been seen on the cover of Vogue in different issues and volumes (“Penn’s People” 103).
As you can see from the Figure 2, the author managed to depict beautiful women without making attempts to single out one person and make her a center of the composition. Irving Penn made wonderful portraits that were treated as masterpieces due to the perfect arrangement of things and people in the pictures. Every object could look appealing when appropriately arranged – this was the major idea of the author.
Jan Groover was more involved in taking still life pictures. While Irving Penn thoroughly arranged the objects to depict them in his works (Inc Icon Group International 86), Jan Groover said about the arrangement: “With photography I didn’t have to make things up. Everything was already there” (“Photography” 76). In this respect, Jan Groover claims that all objects were not intentionally arranged. However, this cannot be truth for the picture “Untitled” created in 1983 (see Fig. 3).
This shows us the main involvement of this author as she seems to be obsessed with different fruits, vegetables, knives, forks, and other objects that present still life. Triptychs and diptychs can be considered another involvement of Jan Groover as she uses this technique of depicting the same theme in three different ways and presenting these as a single unit.
We will write a custom Essay on Outstanding Photographers: Irving Penn and Jan Groover specifically for you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More This means that the common involvement of these two artists was the depiction of still life whereas nudes and household utensils can be considered the most obvious difference. Moreover, both author used white and black as well as color photographs to show how these objects can be understood, instead of showing just objects as everybody can see those in the day-to-day life. Still life was the major involvement of Jan Groover whereas portraits were the major involvements of Irving Penn.
Formal approach. The formal approach to depiction of different objects and arrangement of the things can be considered typical of works created by Irving Penn. The author managed to organize the things in the way they would look more appealing and benefit from this angle, filter, color use, and other aspects of every photograph.
Every picture can be taken as it appears; however, the author tried to show the things and people as they should be perceived instead of making things obvious. Thus, the meaning of the things can be better understood while looking at pictures by Irving Penn.
Jan Groover uses another formal approach by depicting some areas and objects with the help of the method that presupposes depiction of different objects or people with regard to a single topic of these pictures making a single unit that should be perceived as a single piece of arts. Thus, she uses triptychs and diptychs to show the same things with a specific vision.
For instance, the picture “Untitled” created in 1977 contains flower pots with flowers; the use of color can be considered one of the prominent characteristics of this diptych and the idea that unites these two parts of the whole unit.
However, the formal approach taken by Jan Groover can be called the method of taking pictures in the way they can be found in the real life as the author manages to show us her vision of those arrangement that were not arranged intentionally.
Photographic syntax. As every sentence in human speech consists of certain parts, a picture consists of a frame, light, shadow, gloss, mat surface, or other aspects that may positively contribute to the overall comprehension of what was meant by the author.
As every author uses some techniques and methods typical for his/her works, it is necessary to take into account the periods in the work of different photographers and their formal approach to taking pictures and arrangement of objects. In this respect, the pictures created by Irving Penn and Jan Groover are absolutely different because these two authors use different structures to create their masterpieces hence making the works more recognizable and appealing.
Not sure if you can write a paper on Outstanding Photographers: Irving Penn and Jan Groover by yourself? We can help you for only $16.05 $11/page Learn More For instance, the picture “Members of The Ballet Society” created in 1948 by Irving Penn can be considered one of the strongest evidences of the outstanding photographic syntax used by this photographer. The most prominent aspect of this masterpiece is the arrangement of people as the girl appears to be in the center whereas she is also standing in the corner. This can be considered an allegory because the corner is used to reflect the real nature of these people. The author made them attractive and mysterious in a way.
Though all the four do not look tired or exhausted, three of them, the men, are sitting on the floor creating in this way a ground of the picture whereas the upper corners of it are intentionally left blank with the help of white color imposed and blurring as the technique that helps to make obvious things less clear and more ambiguous so that every viewer could invent his/her own meaning for this picture.
The pictures created by Jan Groover have their own unique photographic syntax as they are composed using the household utensils and vegetables. The pepper could not be depicted in a more appealing way that it was by Jan Groover. Thus, the author uses different colors, experiments with lights and shadows, implements black and white objects and applies other techniques to her photographs.
One of the characteristics typical for a great number of her works is that the main objects are not always depicted in the center of the composition. This aspect makes the composition look more natural and real instead of making it more glamorous and artificial. Thought the objects and people are arranged perfectly in the pictures created by Irving Penn, they do not look artificial or unnatural.
Art and technological determinism. As the technological advancement means a lot for photography, we should analyze the impact of technological determinism on the photographs created by Irving Penn and Jan Groover. Though most of their pictures were in avant-garde of their time and were acknowledged only some decades after their creation and presentation, this can be explained by technological determinism and other factors that influenced the photography greatly.
One of the aspects that influenced all areas of human lives in all times was the scope of changes that took place in the political, economic, and social life all over the world, in specific countries and areas, and in a certain neighborhood. Thus, nudes were popular in the period when every photographer thought it necessary to present his/her vision of human body through the images of naked people.
Though every author used specific colors, he/she could create something different from his/her usual works after being inspired with the contemporary tendencies. However, the range of topics should not be identified as one of the aspects that determined the use of technological equipment because the films and filters were the basic technological determiners for Irving Penn and Jan Groover as the author that managed to create outstanding pictures without technologically advanced materials.
The most typical of all pictures can be considered the use of platinum and palladium that were applied to the pictures to make them more glossy and three-dimensional.
Another technique that was used for color pictures were the chromogens used alternatively to the use of silver halide pigments to produce the image. Moreover, the work of chemical laboratories was one of the obstacles that made the production of images more time-consuming and reduced the scope for experiments.
While most pictures created by Irving Penn were produced with the use of platinum and palladium as the main compounds, Jan Groover implemented the use of chromogenic pigments. This fact can be explained with regard to the color of pictures prevailing in the works produced by both authors.
As Jan Groover used a limited tonal range and combined different tonal ranges in one picture including muted colors though fewer black and white pictures, Irving Penn used mostly black and white pictures to convey his message to the viewers. In this respect, the technological determinism can be viewed in the works by both authors contrasted to the color choice that was varied by both.
True subject. The true subject can be usually noticed after thorough examination of the work. Sometimes, there seems to be no meaning at all whereas other works are full of hidden meanings that can be changed in accordance with the context in which the story reveled in the picture appears. In this respect, the work “Untitled” created in 1979 by Jan Groover can be considered one of the most vivid and brightest pictures in terms of the theme (see Fig. 7).
This idea enables us to analyze this picture assuming that every little object has its own story that contributed to the overall meaning of the picture. In other words, vegetables, kitchen utensils and shells look very natural though it is unlikely for these objects to appear in this combination naturally. However, the composition presupposes that the mess created artificially was aimed at becoming the ground for the picture.
This picture shows how the simplest things can be arranged in the most harmonious manner and that even the objects that seem difficult to combine can be used in the most unexpected settings as well as peaceful negotiations can be held between countries that have been in war for years.
The pictures created by Irving Penn are marvelous due to the use of mostly black and white colors and perfect arrangement of the photographic syntax. Thus, his works seem to be full of hidden meaning making the viewers admire the depth of depiction and integrity of all objects presented in the picture. The same concerns the photograph created by Irving Penn in 1947 “Still Life with Watermelon” (see Fig. 8) where the author suggests his vision of a still life picture.
This image combines fresh fruits and a loaf of bread that was tried by a person. These objects are perfectly combined so that a viewer can experience hunger while looking at this picture. In other words, the real subject of this picture can be considered the hunger. Moreover, there can be a hidden message about the help that should be provided to those nations that suffer from famine.
Conclusion To conclude, it is necessary to say that both authors can be considered genii of their time because they managed to create outstanding pictures regardless of technological determinism and lack of appropriate materials to produce images and catch the most gentle and lightest movements and details. Every picture is arranged perfectly in the works by Irving Penn whereas Jan Groover claims her pictures to be taken almost spontaneously as she took them when everything was naturally arranged by a mess or a situation.
In this respect, use of colors, the photographic syntax and other aspects related to the works of both authors determine the main difference and similarities of their photographs. Lack of materials did not prevent them from taking pictures that are acknowledged by contemporary audience as the most outstanding pictures of all times.
Works Cited Begleiter, Steven. The Art of Color Infrared Photography. Buffalo, NY: Amherst Media, Inc, 2001. Print.
Inc Icon Group International. Penn: Webster’s Quotations, Facts and Phrases. San Diego, CA: ICON Group International, 2008. Print.
“Penn’s People.” Life 14 Nov. 1960: 103-109. Web.
“Photography.” New York Magazine 12 Sep. 1988: 76-78. Web.
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