The capacity to observe astutely and propose and defend opinions and ideas with tact and conviction is the invaluable learning outcome for the Saint Mary's Collegiate Seminar student. Not a mere recipient of ideas, the student is a participant in discovery and inquiry.
Critical thinking within Seminar is grounded on the processes of analysis, synthesis and evaluation necessary to read with understanding. Through careful reading, listening, and reflection, which lead to a solid understanding of the texts, critical thinking allows students to make perceptive insights and connections between texts, Seminars and ultimately their life experiences. Critical thinking within Seminar also includes skills that allow for sound judgments to be made when multiple, competing viewpoints are possible. Seminar is a place where reading critically is transformed and integrated into a habit of mind, providing students with the tools to question the authority of the text and the foundations of their own assumptions. In short, critical thinking allows students to recognize, formulate and pursue meaningful questions, which are not only factual but also interpretive and evaluative, about the ideas of others as well as their own.
Critical Thinking Learning Outcomes: As a result of their participation in the Collegiate Seminar Program, students will grow in their ability to:
- Distinguish the multiple senses of a text (literal and beyond the literal).
- Identify and understand assumptions, theses, and arguments that exist in the work of authors.
- Evaluate and synthesize evidence in order to draw conclusions consistent with the text. Seek and identify confirming and opposing evidence relevant to original and existing theses.
- Ask meaningful questions and originate plausible theses.
- Critique and question the authority of texts, and explore the implications of those texts.
WRITTEN AND ORAL COMMUNICATION
A mind is not truly liberated until it can effectively communicate what it knows. Thus the Collegiate Seminar Program seeks to develop strong written and oral communication skills in its students. Students will develop skills that demonstrate an understanding of the power of language to shape thought and experience. They will learn to write and speak logically, with clarity, and with originality, and grow in their intellectual curiosity through the process of writing.
Written and Oral Communication Learning Outcomes: As a result of their participation in the Collegiate Seminar Program, students will grow in their ability to:
- Recognize and compose readable prose, as characterized by clear and careful organization, coherent paragraphs and well-constructed sentences that employ the conventions of Standard Written English and appropriate diction.
- Recognize and formulate effective written and oral communication, giving appropriate consideration to audience, context, format, and textual evidence.
- Analyze arguments so as to construct ones that are well supported (with appropriate use of textual evidence), are well reasoned, and are controlled by a thesis or exploratory question.
- Use discussion and the process of writing to enhance intellectual discovery and unravel complexities of thought.
Shared inquiry is the act of reasoning together about common texts, questions, and problems. It is a goal of Collegiate Seminar to advance students' abilities to develop and pursue meaningful questions in collaboration with others, even in the context of confusion, paradox, and/or disagreement. Through the habits of shared inquiry students will carefully consider and understand the perspectives and reasoned opinions of others, reconsider their own opinions, and develop rhetorical skills.
Shared Inquiry Learning Outcomes: As a result of their participation in the Collegiate Seminar Program, students will grow in their ability to:
- Advance probing questions about a common text or other objects of study.
- Pursue new and enriched understandings of the texts through sustained collaborative inquiry.
- Reevaluate initial hypotheses in light of evidence and collaborative discussion with the goal of making considered judgments.
- Engage in reflective listening and inclusive, respectful conversation.