Arizona Alliance of Black

School Educators

Thinking Like A Lawyer: Powerful and Practical Strategies for Engaging African American Students in Rigorous Critical Thinking Instruction

​Critical thinking is one of the most important 21st century skills and is essential for college and career readiness. However, teaching students to think critically is difficult: it takes a great deal of time, training, and expertise to do it in a meaningful way that helps students unleash their critical thinking potential. This workshop provides educators and school leaders with practical tools to bring critical thinking into every classroom for every students, especially African American students who teachers struggle to connect with. Participants will:

  • Develop a working understanding of why critical thinking is challenging to teach
  • Understand several powerful inquiry strategies to enhance critical thinking and increase student engagement
  • Understand the link between critical thinking challenges and student behavior, conflict resolution, and decision making
  • Gain practical tools for assessing and improving the level of critical thinking instruction occurring in their classrooms, particularly for African American Students

Colin Seale  has dedicated his life to ensuring that all children have the opportunity to obtain an excellent education, regardless of where they live and who they were born to. This passion led Colin to Teach for America, where he taught secondary math in Washington, D.C. after obtaining his B.S. in Computer Science and minor in African American Studies at Syracuse University, where he was the Student Body President. Experiencing firsthand how issues of poverty impact our youth’s ability to achieve academically, Colin returned to Syracuse University to earn his Master’s in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Administration. But after serving as a Management Analyst at Clark County’s Department of Family Services, Colin realized that effective management was never going to be enough when the laws that led to systematic inequality remained constant.

This led Colin back to the classroom at the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy and enrolled in law school part-time at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where Colin graduated magna cum laude, externed with the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, and represented youth in the Juvenile Justice Clinic. Colin’s commitment to service continued as a corporate attorney at Greenberg Traurig, where he clocked hundreds of pro bono hours through the Children’s Attorney Project in addition to his service as Board Chair for the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth and as President of the Charter School Association of Nevada.

In 2015, Colin launched thinkLaw (, a standards-aligned program that helps teachers use real-life legal cases to teach critical thinking to all students. thinkLaw won the Shark Tank: One Day competition at TFA’s 25th Anniversary Summit in Washington, D.C., 1st Place and the People's Choice Award at the Governor's Conference on Business in Nevada, and has been awarded the ACLU of Nevada’s Community Juvenile Justice Award, the Las Vegas Chapter of the National Bar Association’s Community Juvenile Justice Award, and the City of Las Vegas’ African American Trailblazer, Peacekeepers Educators Award for thinkLaw’s work in ensuring that critical thinking is no longer a luxury good.