Pamela R. Conley

Pamela R. Conley

I continue to broaden my horizons by studying other languages to understand what matters to people from different cultures.  Learning other languages has supported my applied critical thinking development.

1. How Do You Teach Applied Critical Thinking?

Students are exposed to a wide variety of texts, being asked to apply their critical thinking by writing papers in response to analytical questions about language (not) present in these texts.   

Students are also required to write papers about multiple points of views on controversial social issues; they assess arguments presented by different authors on a given topic and then offer their final critical thinking insights about the topic.  

2. Why Do You Think Applied Critical Thinking is Important in Your Domain?

Social media inherently encourages “instant group thinking,” making it hard for those to have opportunities to incubate and express their independent thinking, so applied critical thinking is a necessity for those to consider and offer honest perspectives on controversial topics that matter to them in today’s world.    

3. Can You Share a Story Where Quality Applied Critical Thinking Was Key to Your Success?

I grew up enjoying reading, but I did not really think critically while reading.  I had great teachers in school but there was a special teacher who challenged my applied critical thinking development.  I remember being assigned to read “The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” a short Sherlock Holmes story written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  Mrs. Shannon asked me what the “speckled band” was and I honestly told her that I did not know despite my strong reading fluency.  She insisted that I reread the story to find the answer to her question.  I painfully reread the story and suddenly had a eureka moment.  Since that time, I have been “reading between the lines.” I was grateful for being encouraged to make this critical thinking discovery on my own.  

4. How Do You Use Critical Thinking in Other Areas of Your Life Outside of RIT?

Because of my rural ancestors, I acquired the value of thinking critically outside the academia.  One recent evening, I got fed up feeling the draft of cold air from the patio door while having my meal in the dining room. I took a few minutes to think critically about this problem.  I used my hand to go around the door frame to determine where the air was leaking.  Having found the leak, I folded a paper towel sheet three times and inserted it in the area of the leak.  This simple temporary repair stopped the cold air from coming in!

5. Any Last Critical Thoughts?

Always try to think for yourself while researching, reading, and/or writing.