Developing Critical Thinking in Students

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It is important to develop critical thinking in students. This skill set will help them deal with everyday situations with greater ease and responsibility.

There are many strategies that can be used to make students think
critically. Some of them are:

  • Classroom Assessment Techniques

In this technique, you let the student assess the lessons on an ongoing basis. Posing questions like ‘What’s the most important you learnt from today’s lesson’ will get into thinking critically.

  • Case Study/ Discussion Method

Another technique is to foster a discussion or present a case study in the classroom. Do not present a conclusion. Let the students wander through the discussion or case and think their way to a conclusion.

  • Conference Style Learning

Another strategy to develop critical thinking in students is for the teacher to avoid “teaching” in class, but play the role of a facilitator in a conference, where you guide the class along even as students are the ones who do the reading and explaining. It is important that teachers’ do not misinterpret their role to be passive but remain in control of the lesson while letting the students do the thinking.

  • Writing Assignments

Giving your students broad writing assignments allows them to think through an issue. Encourage them to reason and argue both sides of the issue.

  • Ambiguity

Being a little ambiguous forces your students to think for themselves. Remember though that there is a difference between being ambiguous and simply confusing your students.

What are some strategies that you can use to encourage critical thinking in your classroom? Share your ideas.

Learn more teaching strategies and tips through Professional Learning Board’s courses for online continuing education and professional development.

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Comments

3 Responses to “Developing Critical Thinking in Students”
  1. Christina Lipori says:

    I believe in order to be critical thinkers, the teacher needs to provide his/her students with the strategies to be able to do so. There are several before, during, and after reading strategies that helps keeps students involved with their reading and the task at hand. One of my favorite’s is using an Anticipation guide before a reading to have students get their brains thinking about the topic at hand. This will allow them to dig up background knowledge and hopefully make some connections to make the learning more memorable and meaningful. During the reading I like to have the students find supportive details to either support or answers to the anticipation guide or to find details that will prove their original thoughts wrong (almost like being able to adjust an initial prediction which is another great reading strategy proficient readers do). I also like to have the students use index cards or post it notes where they have questions about new information, find something interesting, learned something new, or agree/disagree with content in the reading. This pushes them to be critically thinking about the reading the entire way through. At the end students can share their thoughts and questions and work together to answer them and can finalize the lesson with a whole class discussion. The index cards/post it notes can even be used as exit slips for the day and be used as a great way to open up the next days lesson building off of yesterdays!

  2. Thanks Christina for your suggestions to the online Professional Learning Community!

  3. Beena Babu says:

    The design of teaching-learning methodology and assessments exhibiting student learning outcomes are critical to enhance critical thinking among students. The discovery mode of learning guided by specific learning objectives and expected outcomes through collaborative method puts their critical thinking skills and abilities to test. Activities like using their debating skills during a student driven seminar or via presentation of a current topic followed by prior student research work helps hone their critical thinking skills. Designing questionnaires by students for an interview that is part of a project based learning or for a guest speaker talking on a specific topic of interest followed by analyzing and interpreting their findings makes the students active learners. This in turn would aid in making meaningful connections, proving/ altering their hypothesis, drawing relevant conclusions….. Learning outcomes such as designing a poster/ working model or writing a story or a newspaper/ journal article or a poem makes students use their learning experiences and provides them an opportunity to apply their understanding and skills. Development of critical thinking skills like any other skill needs adequate exposure and opportunities to apply them. All this demands the use of innovative and creative mode of teaching-learning.

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