Critical Thinking and Tutoring: Examining Implications for Supporting a Teaching and Learning Approach for Tutoring

George E Steele (The Ohio State University)

Tuesday, April 4, 2023 2:30 PM - 3:15 PM

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Session Outline

Helping students think critically about themselves and their plans is core to tutoring. UKAT states this in one of its critical Core Values. The developmental value is described as being “proactive and intentional.” The purpose behind embracing this value for tutoring is to help students:

“set their goals, work out how best to attain them, and then set other goals after achievement. Personal tutors and advisors motivate and encourage students to reflect on their abilities, recognize their potential, meet challenges, and to develop plans for personal and academic development.”

This presentation will offer a perspective on the operational characteristics that would be helpful in supporting critical thinking for tutoring. Operational characteristics are used here to describe the most supportive environment to support critical thinking in tutoring, including organizational and tutor characteristics. This perspective has four outcomes.

  • Offer definitions of critical thinking as defined by John Dewey, which he called Reflective Thinking, as described in his book How We Think (1933) and Graham Gibbs, Reflection Cycle, in Learning by Doing, A Guide to Teaching and Learning Methods (1988).
  • Compare and contrast both approaches of critical thinking.
  • Present the relationship between the desire for intentionality in tutoring, as expressed by using Learning Outcomes, as defined by Bloom’s Taxonomies, and the promotion of critical thinking, as defined by Dewey and Gibbs.
  • Delineate characteristics tutors should demonstrate to help promote Reflective Thinking.

Dewey’s work on defining the Reflective Thinking process advanced why it is important for learning. He argued why it is critical for both individual development and society as a whole. His work has influenced American education for over a century. Many insights from his work anticipate current scholarly work in the areas of mindfulness, delayed gratification, and skill development. There are other models for defining critical thinking. One commonly used one is Gibb’s Reflection Cycle. Comparing and contrasting Dewey’s and Gibbs’ approaches can provide insights into how we operationalize critical thinking within tutoring practice. Dewey’s and Gibbs’ work helps us consider a more holistic perspective. But a holistic perspective is not enough. This is why it is important to consider intentionality through the use of learning outcomes. Bloom’s Taxonomies were developed with the work of Dewey as their foundation. It will be proposed that Bloom’s Taxonomies also apply to the work of Gibbs. Therefore, considering how learning outcomes can be defined through Bloom's Taxonomies for encouraging critical thinking is instructive; we can improve our desire to encourage and engage students in critical thinking to obtain our goals for tutoring.

This session addresses the following competencies of the UKAT Professional Framework for Advising and Tutoring
C2 - Theory relevant to academic advising and tutoring
C4 - Expected outcomes of academic advising and tutoring
R6 - Facilitate problem solving, decision-making, meaning-making, planning, and goal setting