B.C. educators gather for conference on critical thinking in the classroom

March 05, 2024

Through a partnership with the BC Social Studies Teachers Association and the support of Simon Fraser University's Faculty of Education, SFU's Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) hosted the 6th iteration of the Developing Minds Conference at SFU Harbour Centre on Friday, February 16th, 2024. 

In response to the recent B.C. Education Curriculum changes that established critical thinking as a core area of competency throughout B.C. classrooms, the Developing Minds Conference brings secondary and post-secondary educators together for insightful conversations. This year’s theme focused on critical thinking across social studies classrooms in the province, exploring why and how to implement critical thinking in classrooms. 

The conference was a great success, with in-person and online attendance of 110 secondary school teachers, graduate students, and university faculty. 

Dr. Peter Ellerton of the University of Queensland delivered the keynote lecture, which discussed the importance of critical thinking as its own subject matter in classrooms. Inspired by seven different speaker talks in the morning, the audience strategized together for the remainder of the conference in roundtable discussions on how to implement the insights from the talks in their classrooms. 

Speaker sessions:

  • Dr. Mark Battersby (Capilano University, Philosophy)
    Critical Thinking in Inquiry
  • Dr. Rosemary-Claire Collard (SFU Geography)
    The Extinction Paradox: Using Critical Human Geography Concepts and Methods to Understand Biodiversity Loss
  • Dr. Lindsay Gibson (UBC Education)
    Critical Thinking in History Education
  • Dr. Qiu Lin (SFU Philosophy)
    Critical Thinking: East and West
  • Dr. Kevin O’Neill (SFU Education) and Dr. Laura D’Amico (SFU Education)
    Critical Thinking and Education Technologies: Can We Make AI Compatible with the Development of Young Minds? 
  • Dr. Sam Black (SFU Philosophy)
    Critical Thinking in Political Philosophy: Teaching Political Philosophy in Politicized Classrooms and Campuses
  • Dr. Mark Leier (SFU History)
    Critical Thinking in Historiography: Studying and Teaching History as an Act of Resistance.