How Can Teachers Encourage And Promote Critical Thinking Among Their Students?

Check Out the New Blog How do you encourage independent and critical thinking?

Elevate your students’ mental workflow beyond just memorizing…

Researcher Dr. Peter Facione states, “Education is nothing more, nor less, than learning to think!”. All educators today agree to the fact that students must become critical thinkers in order to become true learners. Applying critical thinking in the classroom enables and encourages learners to speculate, criticize, and form conclusions about knowledge they already have as well as information they will acquire in the future. Thus, to activate and increase critical thinking in their students, teachers need to devise tasks and activities, and improve their teaching methods to encourage such thinking.

An ideal critical thinker…

  • Is eager to be knowledgeable, and inquisitive of new topics and situations.
  • Analyses different ideas thorough understanding, and not prejudiced mental states.
  • Tries to link what he already knows to what he is learning in order to predict similar subjects. He formulates reasonable assumptions and bases his ideas on solid foundations.
  • Asks thought provoking and critical questions like – Why is it so? What is the main point? What do you mean?
  • Thinks deeply about an idea/ concept and considers alternatives.
  • Critically supports his ideas with logical explanations.
  • Creatively devises strategies to correct his weaknesses.

Here are some teaching strategies that can be implemented to encourage and promote critical thinking among students:

1. “Let’s think”

It’s very easy to always find a solution for a student who needs your help. Avoid that and instead, try responding with “Let’s think about how we can do this.” Then, you can assist the student in figuring out the best possible solution for the problem.

2. Brainstorm

Give students an opportunity to think. Regardless of the subject, have students analyze what they’ll be doing, learning, or reading – before actually starting each activity. Ask lots of questions, like “What do you think this book will be about?” Or “Tell me two things you think you will be learning in this lesson about American History?”

3. Make Connections

Encouraging students to make connections to a real-life situations and identifying patterns is an excellent way to boost their critical thinking skills. Ask students to always be on the look for these connections, and when they find one to make sure they tell you.

4. Compare & Contrast

Have your students compare and contrast just about anything, to get them critically thinking. For example, students can compare and contrast the book class is presently reading or an interesting Science lesson with the previous one.

5. Group Activities

When children are around their classmates working together, they get exposed to the thought processes of their peers. They learn how to understand how other people think. This allows them to become better problem solvers when presented with difficulty.


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