Monthly Archives: January 2014

Guide to Critical Thinking

Of course, writing well is closely tied to thinking critically. And critical thinking is specifically named in the Cañada College mission statement. All of us want our students to deepen their critical thinking abilities.

Researchers, Richard Paul & Linda Elder, have developed a text called, “The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking: Concepts and Tools,” which is available in abbreviated form at:  The entire text is available at on-line books sellers, including Amazon. Paul has also spearheaded a website with other resources regarding Critical Thinking called the Critical Thinking Community; you can find those resources at:

One page from the “The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking” offers questions for students and instructors to consider.

You might ask these questions of your students or share them with students to guide their reflection about their own and each other’s work.

Could you elaborate further?
Could you give me an example?
Could you illustrate what you mean?

How could we check on that?
How could we find out if that is true?
How could we verify or test that?

Could you be more specific?
Could you give me more details?
Could you be more exact?

How does that relate to the problem?
How does that bear on the question?
How does that help us with the issue?

What factors make this a difficult problem?
What are some of the complexities of this question?
What are some of the difficulties we need to deal with?

Do we need to look at this from another perspective?
Do we need to consider another point of view?
Do we need to look at this in other ways?


Does all this make sense together?
Does your first paragraph fit in with your last?
Does what you say follow from the evidence?

Is this the most important problem to consider?
Is this the central idea to focus on?
Which of these facts are most important?

Do I have any vested interest in this issue?
Am I sympathetically representing the viewpoints of others?

Welcome to 2014!

Welcome to 2014, Cañada Faculty!

I have a collection of resources that I’ve gathered from the Teaching of Composition and the Teaching Post-Secondary Reading certificate programs at San Francisco State. I’ll be sharing material I see as relevant and useful to instructors; I hope you will find some benefit in them.

This Spring 2014 semester, I will be offering Drop-In Writing Tutoring to students in the Learning Center on:

  • Mondays: 9am-12:30pm
  • Tuesdays: 12noon-3pm
  • Wednesdays: 12noon-3pm

Please feel free to direct your students to the Learning Center to see me for writing support.

Thank you and have a great semester!

Julie Wilson, Writing Coordinator