Activities around Critical Thinking in PIASS
The activities on Critical Thinking aim at strengthening critical thinking skills of PIASS students, through the practice and fostering of critical thinking skills, a training on how to facilitate discussions that can foster critical thinking, a seminar on how to integrate critical thinking in teaching methodologies of lecturers and discussions facilitated by students trained as facilitators.
- Critical Thinking Training Mini Workshop for CRASPD Staff
The mini-workshop aimed at introducing the critical thinking approach, as developed by partners of the GIZ/Civil Peace Service-Rwanda. It took place on the afternoon of May 21 and the entire CRASPD team was present, plus a Japanese researcher interested in the topic. The workshop consisted mainly of an example of fostering critical thinking by discussing a quote; a presentation of the activities planned in the series of activities around critical thinking; the sharing of important tasks for those activities, and orienting the activities to the objectives that CRASPD wanted to achieve with those activities.
- Critical Thinking Trainings for PIASS Students
PIASS, Huye Campus, June 5 – 6, 19 – 20 & June 28 – 29, July 5 – 6, 2018
The general objective of the training is to create a space for PIASS students from different faculties to increase their critical thinking skills for the sustainable development of the communities they will work with in their professional life after graduation.
The two four-day trainings of students were conducted on June 5-6, 19-20 and June 28-29, July 6-5. Each training had 20 participants (12 males and 8 females attended the first training; 10 males and 10 females attended the second one); the registration of male and female students in the trainings was almost equal and their participation during the trainings, too. The participants in these trainings were students from all the three faculties of PIASS (the Faculty of Development Studies, the Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies). The series of activities were opened by the Chaplain and Dean of Students, Canon Etienne, when he officially gave opening remarks on the first day of the first critical thinking training for students. The two trainings were co-facilitated with two Never Again Rwanda staff who are trainers in critical thinking; the first training was with Theoneste Ndungutse and the second one with Anna Mueller-Holtz.
In the trainings, participants explored different topics such as obedience, self-responsibility, moral development, inclusion and exclusion, stereotypes, gender clichés, the link between critical thinking and peace-building, relevance, challenges and limitations of critical thinking. By the end of the trainings, there was an obvious improvement in the quality of the arguments of participants. In both trainings, participants were given evaluation forms that they filled in to give feedback on what they learnt and what could be improved in future trainings. There will be evaluation forms that will be sent to the participants again after 6 months to assess the impact of the trainings on the life of the participants and their experiences of using critical thinking in their everyday life.
- Critical Thinking Training of Facilitators (ToF)
The training of facilitators took place on July 25 – 26 and August 1 – 2 at PIASS. This training brought together students who were part of the two first critical thinking trainings and who were willing to become facilitators of discussions that foster critical thinking. There were 16 participants: 10 males and 6 females. In the training, the participants mainly practiced the simulation of tools that can be used to provoke discussions which foster critical thinking such as barometers of values, speeches, quotes, moral dilemmas and debates based on newspaper articles. In the facilitation practices, teams of two learning facilitators were formed, preferably a male and a female every time; most of the participants were able to facilitate at least one tool. After each practice, the learning facilitators were given feedback from other participants and from the trainers on what was well done and what could be improved. At the end of the training, all participants worked in Associations according to their faculties and interests to develop an action plan of organizing discussions with different Associations of people. Those discussions will start from October 2018 onward in different parts of the country where the facilitators will be.
- Upcoming activities
There are still more activities on Critical Thinking that will take place in the coming months.
- The seminar on critical thinking with PIASS lecturers and practitioners is planned for October at PIASS.
- There will also be discussions fostering critical thinking that will be organized by the students trained as facilitators. For the moment, PIASS Peace Club is interested in having a discussion in October (the date is yet to be confirmed), when PIASS students start a new academic year. Some facilitators from the Faculty of Education and Theology are also interested in doing discussions in their parishes.