Methodology and Assessment

Methodology

The practice of a new methodology of embodied critical thinking will be tested in the teaching of critical, problem-based thinking at universities in Iceland, the US (Chicago), and at two research centers, the Interacting Mind Centre at Århus University and the Peace, Justice and Conflict Centre at DePaul University Chicago and at others universities and educational institutions.

The ECT methods that will be used have in common the following emphases: (1) Radical listening/radical self-reflection aiming to become aware of the intricate details of the experiential process in thinking. This also implies the very precondition for hearing the other and involves becoming capable of “experiential unfolding”, “bearing with unclarity”, “vegetal thinking” (Irigaray and Marder 2016), mimetic critical thinking, thinking in logical and “responsive orders” (Gendlin 1997, Casey and Schoeller 2017) and a low-tech classroom. (2) Challenging the categorizing and labeling reflex of philosophical-academic critique that does not leave any space for “in-between” positions, which need creative language to account for the intricacy and specificity of lived experience. Thinking “fast” and “slow” (Kahneman 2011) gives a space for potential development into something that is not there yet, not yet definite and explicit and needs time to develop. (3) Embodied critical thinking as maieutic practice (Socratic roots).

Assessement of Practical Applications

Seminars and workshops where ECT methods are employed (in working with texts, concepts, problems, positions or dispositions) will be assessed. Methodologies, such as the transdisciplinary research method “Thinking at the Edge” and philosophical forms of “Focusing,” will first be self-assessed by the participants with the support of the interview-technique developed by Claire Petitmengin, who is a partner in the project. This technique is a micro-phenomenological research tool to describe the tacit dimensions of experience.

Whereas John Searle considers problems in attending and explicating the backgrounds of intentions and ideas (Searle 1983), Petitmengin has proven that it is a matter of attentional practice, in which open questions enable the interviewee to get in contact attentively with the fine-grained dimensions of an experiential process accompanying abstract moves and thoughts, insights and ideas (Petitmengin 2007, 2016). Micro-phenomenological questions can “elicitate” the specific quality of an enhancement of critical thinking. The interview will provide the basis of a rigorous self-assessment which is necessary, for what is to be examined is not only the quantitative generating of new ideas or innovations, but also the understanding of what takes the thinking to “another level” when engaging ECT methodologies. Participants are invited to come up with close descriptions of what was most valuable in the course of the ECT process, what mattered most, what was relevant and what supported a thinking at the edge of their usual patterns and usual moves, providing fresh insight and connections. The first-person accounts of the elicitation interview will be the material for further assessment and cross-validation, inviting the third person perspective to recognize generic categories and structures. Andreas Roepstorf and Claire Petitmengin will design the self-assessment interviews, and the criteria of coding and assessing them, as well as participant observation. The promising aspect of the assessment process consists in the very procedure of probing embodied thinking allowing for a strengthening of the process itself, thus offering valuable clues for modifying methodologies by creating reflective loops.