A Thinker’s Journal for College Freshmen

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Author: Judy Daniel

To succeed in higher education today, college students need to develop the all-important skill of critical thinking. In this innovative new volume Judy Daniel lays out a blueprint for success in the college classroom.

This is an interactive book to be used throughout a single semester. The journal format allows students to assess daily their intellectual progress in several areas of critical thinking. Students answer questions, record their thoughts, and compare their ideas to those of many successful thinkers throughout history. This format also allows teachers to provide to students their own reading prompts from newspapers, magazines, or even scholarly journals from a variety of disciplines.

The book is divided into twelve sections – corresponding to a like number of weeks – with each one addressing a different critical thinking skill. Daniel asks students to analyze their own motivations and preparations in learning. She then offers various strategies for different learning situations.

The heart of the book is the five sections, or weeks, devoted to critical thinking about scholarly writing. These chapters take the students through an intellectual process dubbed by Daniel as the “TASKS” system. This acronym stands for Thesis, Audience/Approach, Subtopics, Knowledge, and Summary. Each week, students can explore questions that help them analyze what they read with these concepts in mind.

This book is ideal as a supplement in any first-semester college class, or as a main text in a Freshman Experience program. Teachers of advanced high school classes also will find this book of great benefit for preparing their students for higher education.

JUDY DANIEL taught English at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas. She was the director of McMurry’s Freshman Seminar Program, which helps first-year college students adjust to the academic challenges of the university curriculum, prior to her death in 2017.

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