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ProCon.org Critical Thinking Seminar
Watch critical thinking actually change minds!



On July 28, 2014, students attending the Junior Statesmen of America’s Gene Burd Symposium on Media & Politics at UCLA took part in our 90-minute critical thinking seminar. Before and after the session, students were asked "Are social networking sites good for society?” The difference in their votes helps prove that critical thinking can actually change minds.

BEFORE
SEMINAR
AFTER
SEMINAR
% CHANGE
PRO 68% 55% -19%
CON 22% 25% 14%
UNSURE 10% 20% 100%
Total 100% 100%

Seminar Facts
  • 120 high school students
  • 90 minutes
  • 3 staff and 1 intern
  • 2 cameras
  • 180 minutes of footage
  • 6:17 video created



—LESSON PLAN IDEA FOR EDUCATORS—

OVERVIEW: The seminar revolves around a hotly debated topic, such as the pros and cons of social networking or illegal immigration. The students analyze several expert quotations, both pro and con. They work together in small groups and engage in a large-group discussion, offering their interpretations and criticisms of the quotes they have read. A rapid-fire brainstorming session follows, during which they build their own lists of pro and con arguments. The impact of the seminar is exemplified by a "before and after" vote on the chosen topic. Students frequently change their positions in the second vote, demonstrating their careful reflection on the arguments from both sides.


HANDOUT: The 2-page seminar handout includes all the information necessary for teachers to present the program to their own students, including pro and con quotations and a detailed outline of the 90-minute session.
COMMON CORE STANDARDS ADDRESSED IN THE SEMINAR:
Anchor Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.6
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.8
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.9
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4

Content Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY. RI.9-10.3
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY. RI.9-10.4
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY. RI.9-10.5
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY. RI.9-10.8
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY. SL.9-10.1.C
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY. SL.9-10.1.D
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY. SL.9-10.4
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY. SL.9-10.6
NATIONAL LANGUAGE ARTS STANDARDS ADDRESSED IN THE SEMINAR:
NCTE 7
NCTE 12
NL-ENG.K-12.3
NL-ENG.K-12.6
12.NL-ENG.K-12.11


---Related Links---

- Teachers' Corner - main page for ProCon.org educator resources

-Free Lesson Planning with ProCon.org-lesson plan ideas, educational standards, and Common Core information

-Teaching Critical Thinking-critical thinking videos and seminar, plusa curated collection of books and studies about the importance of critical thinking

-Critical Thinking Quotes -illustrated quotes about critical thinking from famous minds

-How Educators Use ProCon.org -see how thousands of educators incorporate ProCon.org into their curricula, and take the survey so we can add your insights to the list