CRTW 201: Nosich Chapter 3 Handout

Here is how to use this handout: Once you have read chapter 3, use this handout to check your critical reading (annotations). You will find that the handout contains suggestions that will help you with the disciplinary part of your group presentation as well as your Major Paper.

Page 86: Ask yourself, “What ‘positions, theories, arguments, strategies, [and/or] artworks’ does my major field include?”

Page 87: Use SEE-I to bring the nature of your discipline into focus.

Page 90: Note: The grey boxes in chapter 3 are particularly helpful. Doing the exercises in them will help prepare you for your group presentation and Major Paper.

Page 92: “Critical thinking in a field is thinking things through in terms of the concepts of the field.” So ask yourself: “What are the key concepts in my major field?” Note: I do not want you guys to say things like Critical thinking in biology involves thinking biologically. This is a circular definition. It allows you to duck the fundamental question, which is What constitutes biological thinking?

Page 93: Basically, Nosich says that you should think through the logic of your major by considering questions, concepts, and information. These elements, at least, are a reasonable starting place.

Page 95: Then he says that you should begin to apply the other elements. He specifically mentions purpose, assumptions, and point of view.

Pages 97ff.: Note that Nosich’s analysis of a literature course is very poor. It reflects an understanding of the field of English studies that is stuck in a sophomore-level introductory literature course. Take care that you do not make the same mistake in your group presentation and Major Paper.

Page 100: Learning a discipline’s concepts enables you to see connections that lead to understanding.

Page 101: “A fundamental and powerful concept is one that can be used to explain or think out a huge body of questions, problems, information, and situations.” Identifying some FPCs is a great way to approach the major-related part of your presentation.

Page 102: Nosich gives Romanticism as an example of a FPC. Such a concept is fundamental “because it forms a foundation of our understanding” and powerful because it applies to “a wide range of questions and problems, issues, and situations" (emphases added).

Page 105: He then introduces the use of concept maps to show logical connections. This strategy could be especially helpful for those of you who are visual learners.

Page 109: Here Nosich gives six bullet points that may help you delve into a course (or your major). In particular, he suggests that you consider the main question, the secondary questions, and the topics that are covered.

Pages 109-11: Here is a short essay that could be a model for preparing to discuss your thinking in your major in connection with your chapter in Wilson’s book.

Page 112: Here are three tools that are quite important in figuring out how you think in your major: 1) the domain (what the discipline encompasses); 2) concepts (already noted above); and 3) connections among concepts (think about using The Method from WA).

Pages 114ff.: The same impediments that Nosich mentions in chapter 1 are still in play when you turn to your major. These include background stories, egocentrism, and belief perseverance. (On page 122, he even shows how common sense can be an impediment. Sometimes common sense is at odds with accurate information.)

Page 119: A discipline functions like a lens, and lenses distort things. Think about it: a major is a point of view, and something looks different when viewed from alternative points of view.

Page 120: But your job is to trust your discipline and report on it as a lens. That is the whole point of the major-related segment of your group presentation. It is also why you are going to write the Major Paper in class once we finish with Wilson. One task should enable the other.

Pages 123-24: The “Outcomes” section summarizes many of the procedures that may be helpful to you as you work on your major: SEE-I, main concepts, the elements of critical thinking, questions, vocabulary, FPCs, domain, categories, and connections.

Note: If you’re having trouble analyzing your entire discipline, start with a course in your major and apply some of these tools. And for heaven's sake, do not just dip your big toe into your major and give us a couple of drops. Use some of the tools that Nosich brings up in chapter 3.