Critical Thinking Video Series On Running

The Center and Foundation for Critical Thinking have together hosted critical thinking academies and conferences for more than three decades. 

During that time, we have played a key role in defining, structuring, assessing, improving and advancing the principles and best practices of fairminded critical thought in education and in society. Our annual conference provides a unique opportunity for you to improve your understanding of critical thinking, as well as your ability to more substantively foster it in the classroom and in all aspects of your work and life.

The conference begins with 4 options for preconference sessions. The rest of the conference will consist of approximately 40 sessions offered over four days. Participants will choose in advance the sessions offered during the preconference and on days one, two, and four of the main conference. On the third day of the conference participants will choose from approximately 30 concurrent sessions. (The full concurrent session program will be available at the conference. Many of the sessions will be posted online by June 2012).

Throughout our work we emphasize the importance of fostering a substantive conception of critical thinking. Such a conception not only highlights the qualities of the educated person, but also implies the proper design of the educational process. There are essential minimal conditions for cultivating educated minds. These entail modes of instruction that facilitate development of the standards, abilities, and traits of the educated person. For example, when history is substantively taught, it is taught as historical thinking, with the major goal to give students practice in thinking historically (analyzing, evaluating, and reconstructing historical interpretations and problems). As a result, students learn not only how to read historical texts with insight and understanding, but also how to gather important facts and write well-developed historical essays of their own. Through this mode of instruction, students come to see the significance of historical thinking both in their own lives and in the life of culture and society. History becomes — in such a transformed mind, — not random facts from the past, but a way to reason about the past, to make intelligent decisions in the present, and reasonable plans for the future.

All of our work, and thus all of our conference sessions, are based on this substantive conception of critical thinking. We are committed to a concept that interfaces well within the disciplines, that integrates critical with creative thinking, that applies directly to the needs of everyday and professional life.

All conference sessions are designed to converge on basic critical thinking principles and to enrich a core concept of critical thinking with practical teaching and learning strategies. 

For a fuller explanation of core critical thinking concepts, see the Thinker's Guide Library.


Dr. Richard Paul

Dr. Richard Paul is a distinguished leader in the international critical thinking movement. He is Director of Research at the Center for Critical Thinking, the Chair of the National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking, and author of over 200 articles and seven books on critical thinking. Dr. Paul has given hundreds of workshops on critical thinking and made a series of eight critical thinking video programs for PBS. His views on critical thinking have been canvassed in New York Times, Education Week, The Chronicle of Higher Education, American Teacher, Educational                                                                                                

                                                    Leadership, Newsweek, U.S. News and World   

                                                    Report, and Reader's Digest.   


Dr. Linda Elder

Dr. Linda Elder is an educational psychologist and a prominent authority on critical thinking. She is President of the Foundation for Critical Thinking and Executive Director of the Center for Critical Thinking. Dr. Elder has taught psychology and critical thinking at the college level and has given presentations to more than 20,000 educators at all levels. She has coauthored four books and 20 thinker's guides on critical thinking. Her views have been canvassed in the Times Higher Education, the Christian Science Monitor, and on National Public Radio.

Dr. Gerald Nosich

Dr. Gerald Nosich is an authority on critical thinking. He has given more than 150 national and international workshops on critical thinking. He has worked with the U.S. Department of Education on a project for the National Assessment of Higher Order Thinking skills, has served as the Assistant Director of the Center for Critical Thinking, and been featured as a Noted Scholar at the University of British Columbia. He is Professor of Philosophy at Buffalo State College in New York. He is the author of two books including Learning to Thinking Things Through.

Mr. Rush Cosgrove

Mr. Rush Cosgrove is Historian for the Foundation for Critical Thinking and is engaged in research for a PhD at the University of Cambridge.  He holds Masters degrees from both the University of Oxford, New College and the University of Cambridge, Darwin College.   He has conducted research on critical thinking and the Oxford Tutorial and is currently conducting research on the Paulian Framework for critical thinking as contextualized at a major U.S. research University. He conducts workshops in critical thinking for both faculty and students, in both English and Spanish.

  Read about all the main conference presenters .

Introducing at this year's conference…

The Bertrand Russell Distinguished Scholars 
Critical Thinking Lecture Series

This new feature of the conference will highlight the work and thinking of distinguished thinkers within subjects, fields, disciplines, or about specific topics or issues.  This year's scholars include Michael Shermer, William Robinson, and Ethan Watters. All conference participants are invited to these lectures.

Dr. Michael Shermer

Dr. Michael Shermer is the Publisher of  Skeptic  magazine, a monthly columnist for  Scientific American , and author of many books including  Why People Believe Weird Things . He was a college professor for 20 years, and has appeared on such shows as The Colbert Report, 20/20, Dateline, Charlie Rose, and Larry King Live. Dr. Shermer was the co-host and co-producer of the 13-hour Family Channel television series, Exploring the Unknown. 

Ethan Watters

Ethan Watters is the author of  Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche  and coauthor of  Making Monsters , an indictment of the recovered memory movement. A frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine, Discover, Men’s Journal, Details, Wired, and PRI's This American Life, he has appeared on such national media as Good Morning America, Talk of the Nation, and CNN. His work has been featured in the Best American Science and Nature Writing series.

William I. Robinson

William I. Robinson is professor of sociology, global studies, and Latin American studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara.  He is a scholar-activist who participates in social justice movements in Latin America and the United States.  Among his seven books are A Theory of Global Capitalism (2004) and Latin America and Global Capitalism (2008).  His web page is 

Focus on developing skills through games so your students will learn while having fun.

Including games is critical for elementary school-age kids for three reasons:

  • Retention—If kids enjoy practice, they are more likely to return. The more they practice, the better they get. When kids see their improvement, they enjoy it even more, so the cycle continues.
  • Critical thinking skills—Games help kids learn to ""read"" movement around them and make decisions for reacting. Games with simple rules and ethics also develop their mental ability to understand and participate in sport.
  • Improved fitness—Playing games will keep your team moving when they may otherwise begin to get sluggish, which will improve their overall fitness. The games also include elements of speed, agility, coordination, and power, thus building general athletic skill.

It's good to use a high-spirited game at the conclusion of each practice to keep kids engaged straight through to the end and looking forward to the next session.



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