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Eight Instructional Strategies for Promoting Critical Thinking

teaching strategies that develop critical thinking skills

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(This is the first post in a three-part series.)

The new question-of-the-week is:

What is critical thinking and how can we integrate it into the classroom?

This three-part series will explore what critical thinking is, if it can be specifically taught and, if so, how can teachers do so in their classrooms.

Today’s guests are Dara Laws Savage, Patrick Brown, Meg Riordan, Ph.D., and Dr. PJ Caposey. Dara, Patrick, and Meg were also guests on my 10-minute BAM! Radio Show . You can also find a list of, and links to, previous shows here.

You might also be interested in The Best Resources On Teaching & Learning Critical Thinking In The Classroom .

Current Events

Dara Laws Savage is an English teacher at the Early College High School at Delaware State University, where she serves as a teacher and instructional coach and lead mentor. Dara has been teaching for 25 years (career preparation, English, photography, yearbook, newspaper, and graphic design) and has presented nationally on project-based learning and technology integration:

There is so much going on right now and there is an overload of information for us to process. Did you ever stop to think how our students are processing current events? They see news feeds, hear news reports, and scan photos and posts, but are they truly thinking about what they are hearing and seeing?

I tell my students that my job is not to give them answers but to teach them how to think about what they read and hear. So what is critical thinking and how can we integrate it into the classroom? There are just as many definitions of critical thinking as there are people trying to define it. However, the Critical Think Consortium focuses on the tools to create a thinking-based classroom rather than a definition: “Shape the climate to support thinking, create opportunities for thinking, build capacity to think, provide guidance to inform thinking.” Using these four criteria and pairing them with current events, teachers easily create learning spaces that thrive on thinking and keep students engaged.

One successful technique I use is the FIRE Write. Students are given a quote, a paragraph, an excerpt, or a photo from the headlines. Students are asked to F ocus and respond to the selection for three minutes. Next, students are asked to I dentify a phrase or section of the photo and write for two minutes. Third, students are asked to R eframe their response around a specific word, phrase, or section within their previous selection. Finally, students E xchange their thoughts with a classmate. Within the exchange, students also talk about how the selection connects to what we are covering in class.

There was a controversial Pepsi ad in 2017 involving Kylie Jenner and a protest with a police presence. The imagery in the photo was strikingly similar to a photo that went viral with a young lady standing opposite a police line. Using that image from a current event engaged my students and gave them the opportunity to critically think about events of the time.

Here are the two photos and a student response:

F - Focus on both photos and respond for three minutes

In the first picture, you see a strong and courageous black female, bravely standing in front of two officers in protest. She is risking her life to do so. Iesha Evans is simply proving to the world she does NOT mean less because she is black … and yet officers are there to stop her. She did not step down. In the picture below, you see Kendall Jenner handing a police officer a Pepsi. Maybe this wouldn’t be a big deal, except this was Pepsi’s weak, pathetic, and outrageous excuse of a commercial that belittles the whole movement of people fighting for their lives.

I - Identify a word or phrase, underline it, then write about it for two minutes

A white, privileged female in place of a fighting black woman was asking for trouble. A struggle we are continuously fighting every day, and they make a mockery of it. “I know what will work! Here Mr. Police Officer! Drink some Pepsi!” As if. Pepsi made a fool of themselves, and now their already dwindling fan base continues to ever shrink smaller.

R - Reframe your thoughts by choosing a different word, then write about that for one minute

You don’t know privilege until it’s gone. You don’t know privilege while it’s there—but you can and will be made accountable and aware. Don’t use it for evil. You are not stupid. Use it to do something. Kendall could’ve NOT done the commercial. Kendall could’ve released another commercial standing behind a black woman. Anything!

Exchange - Remember to discuss how this connects to our school song project and our previous discussions?

This connects two ways - 1) We want to convey a strong message. Be powerful. Show who we are. And Pepsi definitely tried. … Which leads to the second connection. 2) Not mess up and offend anyone, as had the one alma mater had been linked to black minstrels. We want to be amazing, but we have to be smart and careful and make sure we include everyone who goes to our school and everyone who may go to our school.

As a final step, students read and annotate the full article and compare it to their initial response.

Using current events and critical-thinking strategies like FIRE writing helps create a learning space where thinking is the goal rather than a score on a multiple-choice assessment. Critical-thinking skills can cross over to any of students’ other courses and into life outside the classroom. After all, we as teachers want to help the whole student be successful, and critical thinking is an important part of navigating life after they leave our classrooms.



Patrick Brown is the executive director of STEM and CTE for the Fort Zumwalt school district in Missouri and an experienced educator and author :

Planning for critical thinking focuses on teaching the most crucial science concepts, practices, and logical-thinking skills as well as the best use of instructional time. One way to ensure that lessons maintain a focus on critical thinking is to focus on the instructional sequence used to teach.

Explore-before-explain teaching is all about promoting critical thinking for learners to better prepare students for the reality of their world. What having an explore-before-explain mindset means is that in our planning, we prioritize giving students firsthand experiences with data, allow students to construct evidence-based claims that focus on conceptual understanding, and challenge students to discuss and think about the why behind phenomena.

Just think of the critical thinking that has to occur for students to construct a scientific claim. 1) They need the opportunity to collect data, analyze it, and determine how to make sense of what the data may mean. 2) With data in hand, students can begin thinking about the validity and reliability of their experience and information collected. 3) They can consider what differences, if any, they might have if they completed the investigation again. 4) They can scrutinize outlying data points for they may be an artifact of a true difference that merits further exploration of a misstep in the procedure, measuring device, or measurement. All of these intellectual activities help them form more robust understanding and are evidence of their critical thinking.

In explore-before-explain teaching, all of these hard critical-thinking tasks come before teacher explanations of content. Whether we use discovery experiences, problem-based learning, and or inquiry-based activities, strategies that are geared toward helping students construct understanding promote critical thinking because students learn content by doing the practices valued in the field to generate knowledge.


An Issue of Equity

Meg Riordan, Ph.D., is the chief learning officer at The Possible Project, an out-of-school program that collaborates with youth to build entrepreneurial skills and mindsets and provides pathways to careers and long-term economic prosperity. She has been in the field of education for over 25 years as a middle and high school teacher, school coach, college professor, regional director of N.Y.C. Outward Bound Schools, and director of external research with EL Education:

Although critical thinking often defies straightforward definition, most in the education field agree it consists of several components: reasoning, problem-solving, and decisionmaking, plus analysis and evaluation of information, such that multiple sides of an issue can be explored. It also includes dispositions and “the willingness to apply critical-thinking principles, rather than fall back on existing unexamined beliefs, or simply believe what you’re told by authority figures.”

Despite variation in definitions, critical thinking is nonetheless promoted as an essential outcome of students’ learning—we want to see students and adults demonstrate it across all fields, professions, and in their personal lives. Yet there is simultaneously a rationing of opportunities in schools for students of color, students from under-resourced communities, and other historically marginalized groups to deeply learn and practice critical thinking.

For example, many of our most underserved students often spend class time filling out worksheets, promoting high compliance but low engagement, inquiry, critical thinking, or creation of new ideas. At a time in our world when college and careers are critical for participation in society and the global, knowledge-based economy, far too many students struggle within classrooms and schools that reinforce low-expectations and inequity.

If educators aim to prepare all students for an ever-evolving marketplace and develop skills that will be valued no matter what tomorrow’s jobs are, then we must move critical thinking to the forefront of classroom experiences. And educators must design learning to cultivate it.

So, what does that really look like?

Unpack and define critical thinking

To understand critical thinking, educators need to first unpack and define its components. What exactly are we looking for when we speak about reasoning or exploring multiple perspectives on an issue? How does problem-solving show up in English, math, science, art, or other disciplines—and how is it assessed? At Two Rivers, an EL Education school, the faculty identified five constructs of critical thinking, defined each, and created rubrics to generate a shared picture of quality for teachers and students. The rubrics were then adapted across grade levels to indicate students’ learning progressions.

At Avenues World School, critical thinking is one of the Avenues World Elements and is an enduring outcome embedded in students’ early experiences through 12th grade. For instance, a kindergarten student may be expected to “identify cause and effect in familiar contexts,” while an 8th grader should demonstrate the ability to “seek out sufficient evidence before accepting a claim as true,” “identify bias in claims and evidence,” and “reconsider strongly held points of view in light of new evidence.”

When faculty and students embrace a common vision of what critical thinking looks and sounds like and how it is assessed, educators can then explicitly design learning experiences that call for students to employ critical-thinking skills. This kind of work must occur across all schools and programs, especially those serving large numbers of students of color. As Linda Darling-Hammond asserts , “Schools that serve large numbers of students of color are least likely to offer the kind of curriculum needed to ... help students attain the [critical-thinking] skills needed in a knowledge work economy. ”

So, what can it look like to create those kinds of learning experiences?

Designing experiences for critical thinking

After defining a shared understanding of “what” critical thinking is and “how” it shows up across multiple disciplines and grade levels, it is essential to create learning experiences that impel students to cultivate, practice, and apply these skills. There are several levers that offer pathways for teachers to promote critical thinking in lessons:

1.Choose Compelling Topics: Keep it relevant

A key Common Core State Standard asks for students to “write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.” That might not sound exciting or culturally relevant. But a learning experience designed for a 12th grade humanities class engaged learners in a compelling topic— policing in America —to analyze and evaluate multiple texts (including primary sources) and share the reasoning for their perspectives through discussion and writing. Students grappled with ideas and their beliefs and employed deep critical-thinking skills to develop arguments for their claims. Embedding critical-thinking skills in curriculum that students care about and connect with can ignite powerful learning experiences.

2. Make Local Connections: Keep it real

At The Possible Project , an out-of-school-time program designed to promote entrepreneurial skills and mindsets, students in a recent summer online program (modified from in-person due to COVID-19) explored the impact of COVID-19 on their communities and local BIPOC-owned businesses. They learned interviewing skills through a partnership with Everyday Boston , conducted virtual interviews with entrepreneurs, evaluated information from their interviews and local data, and examined their previously held beliefs. They created blog posts and videos to reflect on their learning and consider how their mindsets had changed as a result of the experience. In this way, we can design powerful community-based learning and invite students into productive struggle with multiple perspectives.

3. Create Authentic Projects: Keep it rigorous

At Big Picture Learning schools, students engage in internship-based learning experiences as a central part of their schooling. Their school-based adviser and internship-based mentor support them in developing real-world projects that promote deeper learning and critical-thinking skills. Such authentic experiences teach “young people to be thinkers, to be curious, to get from curiosity to creation … and it helps students design a learning experience that answers their questions, [providing an] opportunity to communicate it to a larger audience—a major indicator of postsecondary success.” Even in a remote environment, we can design projects that ask more of students than rote memorization and that spark critical thinking.

Our call to action is this: As educators, we need to make opportunities for critical thinking available not only to the affluent or those fortunate enough to be placed in advanced courses. The tools are available, let’s use them. Let’s interrogate our current curriculum and design learning experiences that engage all students in real, relevant, and rigorous experiences that require critical thinking and prepare them for promising postsecondary pathways.


Critical Thinking & Student Engagement

Dr. PJ Caposey is an award-winning educator, keynote speaker, consultant, and author of seven books who currently serves as the superintendent of schools for the award-winning Meridian CUSD 223 in northwest Illinois. You can find PJ on most social-media platforms as MCUSDSupe:

When I start my keynote on student engagement, I invite two people up on stage and give them each five paper balls to shoot at a garbage can also conveniently placed on stage. Contestant One shoots their shot, and the audience gives approval. Four out of 5 is a heckuva score. Then just before Contestant Two shoots, I blindfold them and start moving the garbage can back and forth. I usually try to ensure that they can at least make one of their shots. Nobody is successful in this unfair environment.

I thank them and send them back to their seats and then explain that this little activity was akin to student engagement. While we all know we want student engagement, we are shooting at different targets. More importantly, for teachers, it is near impossible for them to hit a target that is moving and that they cannot see.

Within the world of education and particularly as educational leaders, we have failed to simplify what student engagement looks like, and it is impossible to define or articulate what student engagement looks like if we cannot clearly articulate what critical thinking is and looks like in a classroom. Because, simply, without critical thought, there is no engagement.

The good news here is that critical thought has been defined and placed into taxonomies for decades already. This is not something new and not something that needs to be redefined. I am a Bloom’s person, but there is nothing wrong with DOK or some of the other taxonomies, either. To be precise, I am a huge fan of Daggett’s Rigor and Relevance Framework. I have used that as a core element of my practice for years, and it has shaped who I am as an instructional leader.

So, in order to explain critical thought, a teacher or a leader must familiarize themselves with these tried and true taxonomies. Easy, right? Yes, sort of. The issue is not understanding what critical thought is; it is the ability to integrate it into the classrooms. In order to do so, there are a four key steps every educator must take.

  • Integrating critical thought/rigor into a lesson does not happen by chance, it happens by design. Planning for critical thought and engagement is much different from planning for a traditional lesson. In order to plan for kids to think critically, you have to provide a base of knowledge and excellent prompts to allow them to explore their own thinking in order to analyze, evaluate, or synthesize information.
  • SIDE NOTE – Bloom’s verbs are a great way to start when writing objectives, but true planning will take you deeper than this.


  • If the questions and prompts given in a classroom have correct answers or if the teacher ends up answering their own questions, the lesson will lack critical thought and rigor.
  • Script five questions forcing higher-order thought prior to every lesson. Experienced teachers may not feel they need this, but it helps to create an effective habit.
  • If lessons are rigorous and assessments are not, students will do well on their assessments, and that may not be an accurate representation of the knowledge and skills they have mastered. If lessons are easy and assessments are rigorous, the exact opposite will happen. When deciding to increase critical thought, it must happen in all three phases of the game: planning, instruction, and assessment.


  • To increase rigor, the teacher must DO LESS. This feels counterintuitive but is accurate. Rigorous lessons involving tons of critical thought must allow for students to work on their own, collaborate with peers, and connect their ideas. This cannot happen in a silent room except for the teacher talking. In order to increase rigor, decrease talk time and become comfortable with less control. Asking questions and giving prompts that lead to no true correct answer also means less control. This is a tough ask for some teachers. Explained differently, if you assign one assignment and get 30 very similar products, you have most likely assigned a low-rigor recipe. If you assign one assignment and get multiple varied products, then the students have had a chance to think deeply, and you have successfully integrated critical thought into your classroom.


Thanks to Dara, Patrick, Meg, and PJ for their contributions!

Please feel free to leave a comment with your reactions to the topic or directly to anything that has been said in this post.

Consider contributing a question to be answered in a future post. You can send one to me at [email protected] . When you send it in, let me know if I can use your real name if it’s selected or if you’d prefer remaining anonymous and have a pseudonym in mind.

You can also contact me on Twitter at @Larryferlazzo .

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Helping Students Hone Their Critical Thinking Skills

Used consistently, these strategies can help middle and high school teachers guide students to improve much-needed skills.

Middle school students involved in a classroom discussion

Critical thinking skills are important in every discipline, at and beyond school. From managing money to choosing which candidates to vote for in elections to making difficult career choices, students need to be prepared to take in, synthesize, and act on new information in a world that is constantly changing.

While critical thinking might seem like an abstract idea that is tough to directly instruct, there are many engaging ways to help students strengthen these skills through active learning.

Make Time for Metacognitive Reflection

Create space for students to both reflect on their ideas and discuss the power of doing so. Show students how they can push back on their own thinking to analyze and question their assumptions. Students might ask themselves, “Why is this the best answer? What information supports my answer? What might someone with a counterargument say?”

Through this reflection, students and teachers (who can model reflecting on their own thinking) gain deeper understandings of their ideas and do a better job articulating their beliefs. In a world that is go-go-go, it is important to help students understand that it is OK to take a breath and think about their ideas before putting them out into the world. And taking time for reflection helps us more thoughtfully consider others’ ideas, too.

Teach Reasoning Skills 

Reasoning skills are another key component of critical thinking, involving the abilities to think logically, evaluate evidence, identify assumptions, and analyze arguments. Students who learn how to use reasoning skills will be better equipped to make informed decisions, form and defend opinions, and solve problems. 

One way to teach reasoning is to use problem-solving activities that require students to apply their skills to practical contexts. For example, give students a real problem to solve, and ask them to use reasoning skills to develop a solution. They can then present their solution and defend their reasoning to the class and engage in discussion about whether and how their thinking changed when listening to peers’ perspectives. 

A great example I have seen involved students identifying an underutilized part of their school and creating a presentation about one way to redesign it. This project allowed students to feel a sense of connection to the problem and come up with creative solutions that could help others at school. For more examples, you might visit PBS’s Design Squad , a resource that brings to life real-world problem-solving.

Ask Open-Ended Questions 

Moving beyond the repetition of facts, critical thinking requires students to take positions and explain their beliefs through research, evidence, and explanations of credibility. 

When we pose open-ended questions, we create space for classroom discourse inclusive of diverse, perhaps opposing, ideas—grounds for rich exchanges that support deep thinking and analysis. 

For example, “How would you approach the problem?” and “Where might you look to find resources to address this issue?” are two open-ended questions that position students to think less about the “right” answer and more about the variety of solutions that might already exist. 

Journaling, whether digitally or physically in a notebook, is another great way to have students answer these open-ended prompts—giving them time to think and organize their thoughts before contributing to a conversation, which can ensure that more voices are heard. 

Once students process in their journal, small group or whole class conversations help bring their ideas to life. Discovering similarities between answers helps reveal to students that they are not alone, which can encourage future participation in constructive civil discourse.

Teach Information Literacy 

Education has moved far past the idea of “Be careful of what is on Wikipedia, because it might not be true.” With AI innovations making their way into classrooms, teachers know that informed readers must question everything. 

Understanding what is and is not a reliable source and knowing how to vet information are important skills for students to build and utilize when making informed decisions. You might start by introducing the idea of bias: Articles, ads, memes, videos, and every other form of media can push an agenda that students may not see on the surface. Discuss credibility, subjectivity, and objectivity, and look at examples and nonexamples of trusted information to prepare students to be well-informed members of a democracy.

One of my favorite lessons is about the Pacific Northwest tree octopus . This project asks students to explore what appears to be a very real website that provides information on this supposedly endangered animal. It is a wonderful, albeit over-the-top, example of how something might look official even when untrue, revealing that we need critical thinking to break down “facts” and determine the validity of the information we consume. 

A fun extension is to have students come up with their own website or newsletter about something going on in school that is untrue. Perhaps a change in dress code that requires everyone to wear their clothes inside out or a change to the lunch menu that will require students to eat brussels sprouts every day. 

Giving students the ability to create their own falsified information can help them better identify it in other contexts. Understanding that information can be “too good to be true” can help them identify future falsehoods. 

Provide Diverse Perspectives 

Consider how to keep the classroom from becoming an echo chamber. If students come from the same community, they may have similar perspectives. And those who have differing perspectives may not feel comfortable sharing them in the face of an opposing majority. 

To support varying viewpoints, bring diverse voices into the classroom as much as possible, especially when discussing current events. Use primary sources: videos from YouTube, essays and articles written by people who experienced current events firsthand, documentaries that dive deeply into topics that require some nuance, and any other resources that provide a varied look at topics. 

I like to use the Smithsonian “OurStory” page , which shares a wide variety of stories from people in the United States. The page on Japanese American internment camps is very powerful because of its first-person perspectives. 

Practice Makes Perfect 

To make the above strategies and thinking routines a consistent part of your classroom, spread them out—and build upon them—over the course of the school year. You might challenge students with information and/or examples that require them to use their critical thinking skills; work these skills explicitly into lessons, projects, rubrics, and self-assessments; or have students practice identifying misinformation or unsupported arguments.

Critical thinking is not learned in isolation. It needs to be explored in English language arts, social studies, science, physical education, math. Every discipline requires students to take a careful look at something and find the best solution. Often, these skills are taken for granted, viewed as a by-product of a good education, but true critical thinking doesn’t just happen. It requires consistency and commitment.

In a moment when information and misinformation abound, and students must parse reams of information, it is imperative that we support and model critical thinking in the classroom to support the development of well-informed citizens.


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Strategies to Increase Critical Thinking Skills in students

Matthew Joseph October 2, 2019 Blog , Engage Better , Lesson Plan Better , Personalize Student Learning Better

teaching strategies that develop critical thinking skills

In This Post:

  • The importance of helping students increase critical thinking skills.
  • Ways to promote the essential skills needed to analyze and evaluate.
  • Strategies to incorporate critical thinking into your instruction.

We ask our teachers to be “future-ready” or say that we are teaching “for jobs that don’t exist yet.” These are powerful statements. At the same time, they give teachers the impression that we have to drastically change what we are doing .

So how do we plan education for an unknown job market or unknown needs?

My answer: We can’t predict the jobs, but whatever they are, students will need to think critically to do them. So, our job is to teach our students HOW to think, not WHAT to think.

Helping Students Become Critical Thinkers

My answer is rooted in the call to empower our students to be critical thinkers. I believe that to be critical thinkers, educators need to provide students with the strategies they need. And we need to ask more than just surface-level questions.

Questions to students must motivate them to dig up background knowledge. They should inspire them to make connections to real-world scenarios. These make the learning more memorable and meaningful.

Critical thinking is a general term. I believe this term means that students effectively identify, analyze, and evaluate content or skills. In this process, they (the students) will discover and present convincing reasons in support of their answers or thinking.

You can look up critical thinking and get many definitions like this one from Wikipedia: “ Critical thinking consists of a mental process of analyzing or evaluating information, particularly statements or propositions that people have offered as true. ”

Essential Skills for Critical Thinking

In my current role as director of curriculum and instruction, I work to promote the use of 21st-century tools and, more importantly, thinking skills. Some essential skills that are the basis for critical thinking are:

  • Communication and Information skills
  • Thinking and Problem-Solving skills
  • Interpersonal and Self- Directional skills
  • Collaboration skills

These four bullets are skills students are going to need in any field and in all levels of education. Hence my answer to the question. We need to teach our students to think critically and for themselves.

One of the goals of education is to prepare students to learn through discovery . Providing opportunities to practice being critical thinkers will assist students in analyzing others’ thinking and examining the logic of others.

Understanding others is an essential skill in collaboration and in everyday life. Critical thinking will allow students to do more than just memorize knowledge.

Ask Questions

So how do we do this? One recommendation is for educators to work in-depth questioning strategies into a lesson launch.

Ask thoughtful questions to allow for answers with sound reasoning. Then, word conversations and communication to shape students’ thinking. Quick answers often result in very few words and no eye contact, which are skills we don’t want to promote.

When you are asking students questions and they provide a solution, try some of these to promote further thinking:

  • Could you elaborate further on that point?
  • Will you express that point in another way?
  • Can you give me an illustration?
  • Would you give me an example?
  • Will you you provide more details?
  • Could you be more specific?
  • Do we need to consider another point of view?
  • Is there another way to look at this question?

Utilizing critical thinking skills could be seen as a change in the paradigm of teaching and learning. Engagement in education will enhance the collaboration among teachers and students. It will also provide a way for students to succeed even if the school system had to start over.

[scroll down to keep reading]

Promoting critical thinking into all aspects of instruction.

Engagement, application, and collaboration are skills that withstand the test of time. I also promote the integration of critical thinking into every aspect of instruction.

In my experience, I’ve found a few ways to make this happen.

Begin lessons/units with a probing question: It shouldn’t be a question you can answer with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no.’ These questions should inspire discovery learning and problem-solving.

Encourage Creativity: I have seen teachers prepare projects before they give it to their students many times. For example, designing snowmen or other “creative” projects. By doing the design work or by cutting all the circles out beforehand, it removes creativity options.

It may help the classroom run more smoothly if every child’s material is already cut out, but then every student’s project looks the same. Students don’t have to think on their own or problem solve.

Not having everything “glue ready” in advance is a good thing. Instead, give students all the supplies needed to create a snowman, and let them do it on their own.

Giving independence will allow students to become critical thinkers because they will have to create their own product with the supplies you give them. This might be an elementary example, but it’s one we can relate to any grade level or project.

Try not to jump to help too fast – let the students work through a productive struggle .

Build in opportunities for students to find connections in learning.  Encouraging students to make connections to a real-life situation and identify patterns is a great way to practice their critical thinking skills. The use of real-world scenarios will increase rigor, relevance, and critical thinking.

A few other techniques to encourage critical thinking are:

  • Use analogies
  • Promote interaction among students
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Allow reflection time
  • Use real-life problems
  • Allow for thinking practice

Critical thinking prepares students to think for themselves for the rest of their lives. I also believe critical thinkers are less likely to go along with the crowd because they think for themselves.

About Matthew X. Joseph, Ed.D.

Dr. Matthew X. Joseph has been a school and district leader in many capacities in public education over his 25 years in the field. Experiences such as the Director of Digital Learning and Innovation in Milford Public Schools (MA), elementary school principal in Natick, MA and Attleboro, MA, classroom teacher, and district professional development specialist have provided Matt incredible insights on how to best support teaching and learning. This experience has led to nationally publishing articles and opportunities to speak at multiple state and national events. He is the author of Power of Us: Creating Collaborative Schools and co-author of Modern Mentoring , Reimagining Teacher Mentorship (Due out, fall 2019). His master’s degree is in special education and his Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Boston College.

Visit Matthew’s Blog

teaching strategies that develop critical thinking skills

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Home > Books > Instructional Strategies for Active Learning [Working Title]

Unveiling Critical Thinking: Instructional Strategies to Enhance Argumentation

Submitted: 28 January 2024 Reviewed: 20 March 2024 Published: 24 April 2024

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.114878

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Instructional Strategies for Active Learning [Working Title]

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Argumentative writing serves as a stage where students showcase their critical thinking, a skill they already possess and have cultivated throughout their lives. However, it is argued that learners need instances within the classroom to activate this thinking, enriching it under the guidance of their teachers. It is the teacher who shapes and adapts the pedagogical environment, enabling students to respond naturally and spontaneously to meet class objectives. In the upcoming chapter, the implementation of a didactic sequence designed to enhance the argumentation skills of Spanish as a Foreign Language (SFL) students. This approach provided opportunities for students to, through reading and writing, interpret situations, analyze messages, evaluate options, infer conclusions, take positions, and explain them, actively monitoring their argumentation and writing process. This strategy embodies active learning in an environment facilitated by the teacher, where students forge their critical thinking.

  • critical thinking
  • didactic sequence
  • argumentative writing
  • active learning

Author Information

Diana lozano *.

  • Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, Colombia

*Address all correspondence to: [email protected]

1. Introduction

A foreign language learner, considered a social agent, develops comprehension and expression skills that enable effective communication and assertive action in social interactions. The communicative tasks they fulfill are not solely related to language usage but are connected to goal-oriented actions that require critical thinking to respond, as they are associated with reflection and, above all, action in the face of social issues. This implies the need to adopt an alternative and humanistic attitude toward language education, as the critical dimension aligns with humanistic rather than technical approaches. These social acts lead the learner to make decisions that necessitate critical thinking and action.

Critical thinking comes into play in all language learner interactions due to the immediate information processing they are exposed to. Therefore, the descriptors of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) [ 1 ] envision a recognition of proficiency in the use of linguistic repertoire and knowledge appropriate to social situations. Learners enhance their language proficiency in an integrated manner, based on the development of their reactive and mediating capacity, as determined by foreign language curricula and teachers. The teacher guides students to apply their learning in real-life situations, ensuring that learning is activity-based. In the context of learning a foreign language in a classroom, the teacher facilitates the empowerment of students’ thinking and skills, preparing them to independently address situations beyond the classroom.

This implies that critical thinking should not be understood as something individuals can acquire through the practice of specific materials, nor is it something teachers provide to their students for use. The idea of capitalizing on the critical thinking learners already possess also implies that as it is put into practice to address social issues, this thinking will find alternatives for development and qualification. This chapter describes the scope of research conducted to obtain the Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics of Spanish as a Foreign Language at the Pontifical Javeriana University in Bogotá, Colombia. The objective was to observe and interpret how, through the implementation of a didactic sequence centered around the analysis of editorial cartoons, students of Spanish as a Foreign Language (SFL) create their own argumentative texts [ 2 ].

This didactic proposal, called ArguméntELE, illustrates how students actively engaged in their learning process to write an argumentative text in a foreign language, considering the teacher’s role in promoting activities that developed critical thinking skills in students through a didactic sequence. Students actively participated in constructing arguments, collaborating with peers, and applying language skills in practical, real-world contexts. Regarding the activities and exercises in the didactic sequence, it is interpreted that they constantly encourage the use of the different critical thinking skills described by Facione [ 3 ]. These skills are activated by designing and implementing activities that include the characteristics of each cognitive skill and emphasize a situation that allows its use. Therefore, it is expected that the activities in the didactic sequence will serve as supporting material for language teachers to include and adapt them in their classes to strengthen the student’s critical dimension as a social, intercultural, and autonomous actor.

2. Theoretical contextualization: critical thinking in communicative tasks

Understanding the context within which communication takes place requires the activation and use of critical thinking. In a social interaction, explicit aspects, such as language and its structure, and implicit aspects, such as the speakers’ intentions or hidden cultural traits, are reflected. Foreign language learners are expected to participate appropriately and effectively based on their performance within the framework of their proficiency level. According to Facione [ 3 ], critical thinking is vital for society. It is essential for individuals facing situations where they must act to contribute assertively to improvement or transformation within immediate social and intercultural contexts. As social actors, individuals are involved in economic, political, and cultural processes, and each action impacts society. Therefore, the ability to interpret, analyze, evaluate, infer, explain, and self-reflect results in reasoned actions as ways for a critical thinker to effectively intervene in each situation.

In a consensus on critical thinking [ 3 ], experts agreed that several cognitive skills share characteristics with the core skills of critical thinking, such as interpretation, analysis, evaluation, inference, explanation, and self-regulation. Consequently, a learner proficient in these skills is considered an expert in critical thinking. It is crucial to foster critical thinking in teaching and learning processes through activities that include real situations (social, cultural, political, and educational) from the immersion context and its specific realities. This consideration arises first from the understanding that a student, when not a critical thinker, may be easily persuaded in their immediate context. Second, it ensures that SFL students need to be critical thinkers to function as social agents within a community, seeking improvement in any social or intercultural situation. As suggested by Pascale et al. [ 4 ] as a social agent, the learner must be able, according to their needs in the public, personal, professional, and/or educational sphere, to engage in transactions requiring immediate participation. This response implies that the learner must consider and interpret the entire situation, necessitating critical thinking skills such as interpretation, analysis, and inference to explain their ideas, evaluate, and reflect on results and their implications.

While these skills are innate, they need to be strengthened in a foreign language learning context. Thus, if a learner can successfully complete specific communicative tasks according to their proficiency level, they should also be able to demonstrate their cognitive abilities. This involves awareness of natural processing in their first language and reflection on how to express and understand information. Strengthening critical thinking is not only important in general education, as stated in Refs. [ 5 , 6 ], but also in teaching a foreign language. Through the voices of these authors, it is emphasized that students need to use critical thinking skills to evaluate not only simple and everyday situations critically but also to wisely address situations that arise in other cultures. Learning a foreign language distinguishes language as a resource that allows the development of critical thinking by serving as both a means of communication and an instrument for constructing thought. As a result, active learning serves as a foundational framework by integrating engaging communicative tasks, enhancing cognitive skills, and emphasizing critical thinking, thus enriching the learning experience in foreign language education.

The student is considered a critical thinker in the context in which they operate and in their own learning processes. Consequently, it is advisable for the SFL teacher to recognize the importance of conducting activities that promote critical thinking skills as a complement to their classes. Teachers could also use the activities proposed in this research as a model to activate, strengthen, and improve critical thinking for students to achieve a high level of argumentation.

In a guided learning context where teachers propose activities with a learner-centered approach, it is recognized that active learning enhances critical thinking through activities developed by learners. Bonwell and Eison [ 7 ] state that students’ involvement can be increased by using strategies such as leading discussions and questioning techniques skillfully to engage students in a personal exploration of the subject matter. Students can engage in short writing activities in class, share what they have written in small groups, and participate in presentations, debates, and role-playing activities.

Materials for Spanish as a second language courses and even other languages must challenge claims, myths, and prejudices embedded in everyday discourse to counter-argue, disarm, review, and analyze one’s own perspectives and conceptions [ 8 ]. For learners of SFL, the target language of the conducted research, this skill is crucial during communication. Language communication involves a discourse where information is constantly given and received, influenced by language recognition, speaker gestures, tone of voice, intention, implicit messages, among other communicative aspects. Thus, it is essential to employ critical thinking skills to recognize the strengths or weaknesses of certain ideas. It is not just about expressing ideas but also about persuading others and drawing their conclusions based on the information received. According to Centro Virtual Cervantes [ 9 ], argumentation refers to the reasoned expression of a point of view through a word, a statement, or a text. Fostering argumentation becomes relevant within the teaching and learning processes of SFL, as it seeks to influence the opinions and persuasion of recipients.

By using interpretation, analysis, evaluation, inference, explanation, and self-regulation skills within activities in the class, a significant improvement in the level of argumentation when writing an argumentative text can be achieved, thereby enhancing critical thinking. Similarly, when arguing about a situation or problem, the use of these skills is necessary to ensure that the presented premises are strong, relevant, and well-founded. If an instructor’s goals include not only imparting information but also developing cognitive skills and changing attitudes, alternative teaching strategies should be interwoven with the lecture method during classroom presentations [ 7 ]. This recognizes the need to activate deeper cognitive skills for understanding and analyzing information to interact or act in response to it. From a linguistic perspective, pragmatics reveals the enrichment of language comprehension beyond literal expressions, facilitating the understanding of implicit meanings and activating deep cognitive skills by considering context, inferring implicit meanings, and understanding cultural and social nuances of language. Teachers can incorporate these aspects into their class activities. With active learning, for a successful discussion to take place, instructors must set specific objectives for the class period, structure questions appropriate for the material under consideration, and demonstrate techniques to extend students while maintaining a supportive environment [ 7 ].

Active learning is guided by specific objectives established according to cognitive skills, as Kosslyn [ 10 ] estimates that it is not just about learning by doing, but activities need to be designed with a specific objective and keep students engaged. Kosslyn [ 10 ] also asserts that the key is to design activities appropriate to a set of knowledge and skills that students are aware of to achieve learning outcomes. This notion reinforces the activities proposed in the didactic sequence of this research, where each task aims to activate a critical thinking skill to develop communicative tasks.

2.1 Pragmatics and communicative competence

Pragmatics is defined as the discipline that studies language use, considering the relationship between the statement, the interlocutors, and the context in which the communication process unfolds. Therefore, its level of analysis focuses on how speakers interpret and produce messages in specific contexts [ 11 ]. For this reason, the research considered that the interpretation of editorial cartoons, as material in the classroom, should be based on the critical reading of extralinguistic elements, such as the author’s communicative intention or the social and cultural context it represents.

From the dimensions of written comprehension and expression, it is relevant to consider aspects of foreign language learning and teaching, such as the competencies that learners must develop. In a general framework, communicative competence is related, defined by Instituto Cervantes [ 11 ] as the ability of a person to behave effectively and appropriately in a specific speech community. This competence involves complying with a series of rules from a linguistic level, considering grammar, vocabulary, and semantics, etc., and from the level of language use, considering the sociocultural contexts where the communicative process unfolds. In other words, communicative competence is the ability to express linguistically correct messages without creating misunderstandings in specific intercultural contexts.

From communicative competence, several components emerge, such as linguistic, sociolinguistic, and pragmatic competences. According to Instituto Cervantes [ 1 ], linguistic competence refers to the formal knowledge of the language as a system and involves syntactic, lexical, and phonological skills independent of sociocultural contexts. Sociolinguistic competence involves sociocultural values or social conventions related to language use (courtesy norms, etc.). Finally, pragmatic competence refers to the speaker’s ability to make communicative use of language, considering not only the relationships between linguistic signs but also those between the communication context and the interlocutors.

From all the above, it can be suggested that effective understanding and analysis of hidden realities implied in editorial cartoons, for example, require the learner to develop the ability to identify these described extralinguistic elements. In many cases, these elements do not reflect the learner’s sociocultural context of origin. Therefore, with the design of the didactic sequence, activities were planned for the learner to have opportunities in the classroom to develop pragmatic competence together with linguistic and sociolinguistic competencies. In this way, their level of argumentation could improve, as they were able to generate linguistically correct messages, which are relevant and well-justified arguments avoiding possible misunderstandings.

In the chosen population of the conducted research and based on the authors’ teaching experience primarily, it was found that in SFL courses in a school in Bogotá, Colombia, students demonstrated a low level of argumentation for their proficiency level, according to the descriptors of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages [ 1 ]. This issue was evident with The Ennis-Weir Critical Thinking Essay Test [ 12 ], which assesses critical thinking skills in a written argumentative text, although critical thinking in this test is reduced to an instrumental dimension, as it demands predetermined argumentative writing skills proposed by the CEFR descriptors [ 1 ].

This type of research provides fundamental theoretical foundations to enrich the practices of the researching teachers in the school under study and, in turn, benefit the learning processes of SFL students. Critical thinking skills must be put into practice in an SFL class because they are present in all students. However, the aim is for both the teacher and the student to be aware of their mental processes to increase their level of argumentation. This way, aspects that need improvement during class activities can be discovered to address the identified phenomenon. It is not about recognizing that the pedagogical practices applied are wrong but rather analyzing different ways and strategies to encourage the use of critical thinking skills in students.

3. Proposal and research methodology

This proposal and the research results were analyzed from a qualitative approach with an observation of students’ participation in the creation of their own texts within the environment created in the didactic sequence around cartoons, which was carried out during the application of the didactic material. For the implementation of the didactic sequence, there was an evaluation by a materials expert to confirm the methodology, and finally, an evaluation of the argumentative text they wrote to assess the use of arguments. This analysis allowed recognizing that students’ argumentation about controversial topics, such as the work environment exposed through cartoons, is mediated by their practice, and writing process, as revealed during the development of the didactic sequence. This sequence creates an active learning environment and is recognized as an engaging environment, which according to Narváez Pérez [ 13 ], is one where critical thinking is promoted through learning experiences that include exercises to ask and answer questions, synthesize, evaluate, compare, reflect, contextualize, make inferences, summarize, and solve problems. As advocated by the outlined didactic sequence.

3.1 Teaching strategy to promote argumentation

To enhance the argumentative skills of Spanish as a Foreign Language (SFL) students from a methodological and didactic perspective, a series of activities must be planned within a didactic sequence. The initial step involves the planning of activities, which stems from an analysis of the needs of the participating population. According to Woodward [ 14 ], class and course planning requires educators to think about their learners, content, materials, and activities, reflecting constantly on how to provide opportunities for students to enhance their learning. In other words, effective planning requires teachers to be aware of how to create a good class that aims to achieve the proposed cognitive goals. The teacher creates an active learning environment, which, according to Kosslyn [ 10 ], “improves how well students understand material, remember it, and know how to apply it across a wide range of situations.” Furthermore, it enhances the learning environment where the learner is the center, as Narváez Pérez [ 13 ] states, “creative activities are developed, points of view are explored, conclusions are drawn, deductive reasoning is practiced, hypotheses are questioned and formulated, analysis is carried out, comparisons are performed, new ideas are proposed, analysis is performed, and reflection is carried out.” Student-centered learning in the foreign language learning context enhances critical thinking, where the teacher plays the role of a mediator and facilitator of learning through applied strategies and resource utilization.

Regardless, it can be affirmed that for class planning to be effective, activities must be related to both learning objectives and student interests. These activities can be logically designed within a sequence. The Dictionary of Key Terms in SFL defines didactic sequence as a series of interconnected activities that aim to teach specific linguistic content within specific learning objectives. A set of activities may constitute a task, a complete lesson, or part of it. Depending on the type of activities, their characteristics, and their functions, the phases within the didactic sequence can be diversified. Also, the didactic sequence can incorporate principles of activity-based learning to ensure that these activities are not only interconnected but also designed to actively engage students, fostering a more dynamic and participatory learning experience through active learning.

Regarding these phases, Harmer [ 15 ] asserts that students need exposure, motivation, and opportunities to use language appropriately. Similarly, he acknowledges that students may react differently to stimuli, suggesting that most teaching sequences should integrate a series of characteristics or elements (hereinafter referred to as phases) that can last for minutes, hours, lessons, etc. In this regard, Harmer [ 15 ] proposes a series of phases that can ensure successful language learning. These phases include Motivation, Practice (controlled or free), and Interactive Explanation.

The didactic sequence of the research followed a communicative approach with a task-based methodology that presents a final task to set students in an active learning lesson where they are involved in higher-order thinking (analysis, synthesis, evaluation) [ 7 ], which involves writing an argumentative text about the work environment, as this is the central theme of the designed material. It is considered that certain characteristics of this type of text and the exercises proposed as facilitating tasks work in favor of metacognition when writing. For this reason, the didactic sequence is named ArguméntELE, as it is essential to promote good argumentation. Each of the activities proposed in this material responds to the theoretical contributions considered in the research, the needs of the students and their context, and the linguistic and functional contents of the PCIC (Plan Curricular del Instituto Cervantes) [ 11 ].

Furthermore, exercises that activate critical thinking skills relevant to argumentation processes must be proposed, and students are constantly asked for their opinions. With the completion of this research, the intention is to encourage teachers to activate the described critical thinking skills to increase their students’ level of argumentation. During the sequence, students are asked to express their opinions and justify them; but in the end, a comprehensive opinion is expected, considering aspects such as interpreting a problem in a situation, analyzing the factors involved in the situation, evaluating different options or points of view, hypothesizing about the inferred possibilities, explaining whether they agree or disagree, and also asking them to review their writing before submitting the final version.

Likewise, it is expected that students emphasize functional aspects for argumentation, as they are considered to have a great linguistic knowledge of their proficiency level, allowing them to understand instructions, statements, and express themselves to complete activities. According to the PCIC [ 11 ], students as social actors at this level have sufficient linguistic ability to present the details of a problem, make claims, and resolve conflicting situations by resorting to their ability to argue and persuasive language.

Thus, a total of 18 facilitating tasks are presented, allowing students to recognize various factors to enhance their level of argumentation, and they are tailored to each of the phases. Additionally, they are provided based on the four language skills for language learning (reading and listening comprehension, oral and written production). The didactic sequence comprises the following contents reflecting active learning:

Communicative Resources: Engage in problem interpretation, analyze factors, evaluate various options, propose hypotheses with inferred consequences, express agreement, or disagreement, and monitor the argumentation process. Active learning is exemplified as students participate actively in higher-order thinking processes like analysis, evaluation, and synthesis during problem-solving and argumentation.

Linguistic Resources: In accordance with PCIC [ 11 ], encompass expressions for opinions, assessments, agreement, disagreement, discourse organization, possibilities, and argumentation at the students’ language level. Active learning is apparent as students actively express opinions, assess information, and organize discourse, promoting language acquisition through practical application and interaction.

Lexical Resources: Utilize vocabulary for discussing work activities, unemployment, job search, and worker characteristics. Active learning is showcased through students’ exploration of pertinent vocabulary in real-world contexts, enhancing comprehension and retention through active engagement in discussions and exercises.

This sequence is characterized by starting with motivational activities related to the topic to be addressed within the proposed learning objectives. As explained earlier, these activities should be aligned with the learner’s interests and preferences to encourage their participation in the rest of the phases and activities. For the material designed to enhance the argumentation level of students, the exercises in the motivation phase provided an initial approach to reading and interpreting Quino’s cartoons. Then, with the free practice phase, the teacher could identify the students’ weaknesses to address them in the next phase. The free practice activities include exercises where students must give their initial perception of what they can interpret and analyze from the cartoons used. Regarding this phase, the designed material will integrate exercises of both oral and written productions without any restrictions regarding the interpretation of opinion cartoons. From their production, the aspects that need to be addressed in the Interactive Explanation phase can be defined.

Now, the material guiding the learning environment of the research is divided into the different moments of the boomerang didactic sequence proposed by Harmer [ 15 ], which was designed listing the following phases:

¡Involúcrate! (Get involved): In this phase, a motivation activity is presented that allows an analysis of the context of the situation proposed in the exercises. It involves sensitizing the student to approach the central themes of the material, which consist of different situations in the work environment.

The first activity involves reading a cartoon by Quino. As seen in Figure 1 , the sign behind the characters says “El valor del trabajo” in Spanish, which means the value of work, and the questions: what do you see in this picture, what do you get when you do a job? Students must justify their answers. To do this, first, the student must read, recognizing each aspect of the image, such as the location of the characters, the possible relationship between them; second, a reading of the text accompanying the cartoon, which is a statement by one of the characters. It is expected that the student begins to relate to the topic of the work environment and the aspects found in a cartoon, such as the relationship between characters, the characteristics that describe that relationship, the theme, the author’s implicit message, the hidden reality reflected, and that the student identifies with the situation or can identify if that reality is present in their country or context.

teaching strategies that develop critical thinking skills

Cartoon to contextualize in the motivation activity.

¡Actívate! (Activate Yourself): In this phase, the student is allowed to engage in free practice to demonstrate their knowledge and seek, from their linguistic repertoire, to respond to the proposed language situation. Students are asked to take on the role of the person in charge of selecting a candidate for a job. This is illustrated in Figure 2 , where the material replicates the webpage of a job portal to immerse the student in this real-life situation.

teaching strategies that develop critical thinking skills

Image to provide a role for the students in the practice activity.

The free practice phase aims for the student to identify how to argue by exploring and exploiting their prior knowledge. In the first step, students must identify aspects related to a job offer within an announcement based on candidate requirements. Then, with this information and two cover letters, they will decide which candidate is more suitable for the position and express it through an email justifying their opinion. In each activity of this phase, the student is free to respond from their linguistic repertoire, and aspects to be worked on in the next phase will be identified from their writing.

¡Aprende más! (Learn More): This is the central section of grammar presented with an interactive explanation. Discourse organizers (additive, consecutive, justificatory, information structuring, and counter-argumentative connectors) are exposed along with expressions useful when giving opinions, assessing, arguing, or counter-arguing an opinion. Figure 3 demonstrates how, in the material, the characters’ images are displayed, and linguistic resources that students can use to express themselves are highlighted in bold.

teaching strategies that develop critical thinking skills

Activity with linguistic resources as a reference in the interactive explanation.

With all the contextualization from the previous exercises, students are presented with the phase that allows them to focus on useful strategies to increase their level of argumentation, linguistic resources, and the specific activation of each of the critical thinking skills presented in the objectives. For this reason, the phase consists of a topic divided into six situations and exercises, one to emphasize the use of each skill. Also, each includes a red box explicitly describing each linguistic resource with examples.

The first point activates the interpretation skill. In this, the student must comprehend a text about the relationship between money and happiness in a specific context. Then, the student must identify the main idea of this article and each of its paragraphs to choose the appropriate discourse connector according to its function until completing it.

The second point encourages the use of analysis skills. This is developed by asking the student to identify the relationships between two important factors within a specific work environment: depression and the type of work. This information is presented in a graph showing that most workers with unpaid jobs show more symptoms of depression. Then, students must describe if this situation also occurs in their home countries.

The third point stimulates the use of the evaluation skill, as when making assessments about the opinions of the interlocutors, in this case, the characters of the Mafalda series, students must express opinions considering different options or points of view. The exercise aims for students to recognize and use the linguistic elements that allow them to give opinions and make evaluations, which are presented in a table with their respective examples.

Now, with the fourth point, the use of the inference skill is activated by establishing possible consequences of an action in any situation and its implications. Through linguistic resources, such as ways to express possibilities, students can infer and express consequences or implications of hiring employees with depressive tendencies or symptoms.

With the fifth point, the use of the explanation skill is encouraged, where the student must have recognized the other skills to indicate whether they agree or disagree with some opinions presented through audios about one of the Mafalda cartoons. Similarly, some expressions are presented in a box, which students can use to respond to this activity.

Finally, in the last point of this phase, the self-regulation skill is activated by inviting the student to perform a conscious self-evaluation, to remember the linguistic resources they have learned throughout the development of the material and classify them according to their communicative function. These resources will be very useful to achieve the communicative objective proposed for the didactic sequence. During the development of the didactic sequence, students should be informed that these points present strategies that should be considered to strengthen an argument.

¡Practica! (Practice): With controlled practice exercises, students can follow rules and structures that allow them to approach the correct use of language to fulfill the proposed learning objectives. In Figure 4 , the character descriptions provide insight into their worldview, and students are required to complete the texts with expressions to articulate a point of view. However, critical thinking is engaged by intentionally using these messages with implicit cultural information, as the cartoon’s author critiques the social classes of Latin America, with each character embodying a particular perspective.

teaching strategies that develop critical thinking skills

Practice activity to analyze the characters.

This phase is the controlled practice phase, which seeks for students to consider aspects of different cartoons, such as the personalities of the characters that also represent many of the thoughts of Latin Americans, and the message that the author conveys through them by using linguistic resources to give opinions that they recognized in the previous phase.

¡Escribe! (Write): In this phase, students are presented with exercises for free practice. Through this practice, students engage in written production exercises to integrate the knowledge acquired through the previous phases. In the final phase of free practice, the ultimate task is introduced, in which students are required to express their opinions on one of the themes covering the work environment in their country. For instance, salary, unemployment, job search, characteristics of a worker, the relationship between money and happiness, and paid and unpaid work. In this task, they must incorporate the aspects they learned in the “Learn More!” phase and consider the argumentation factors addressed in each point of the sequence.

4. Reflections

4.1 reflections on the natural and spontaneous use of critical thinking within a pedagogical environment mediated using cartoons.

Based on the observation of the implementation of the designed material, it was considered that the cartoons by Joaquín Salvador Lavado (Quino) encouraged students to use critical thinking skills such as analysis, interpretation, and inference when reading them. This was analyzed because many of the cartoons used contain implicit criticisms of the Latin American reality related to the work environment. Students recognized that these situations were not only specific to Latin America but also present in their home countries. Each participating student, from the first exercise, indicated that some of the situations presented in the exercises and depicted in the cartoons also occur in their countries, depending on their profession and working conditions.

This allows us to confirm that, as mentioned earlier, cartoons include implicit conventions that allow the creator to express a denial using symbols, juxtaposing incongruent images or images and incongruent words, or blatantly violating or reversing visual conventions [ 16 ]. The understanding of this implicit information is achieved through the stimulation of critical thinking skills. This is the case with the first exercise of the ArguméntELE didactic sequence, in which the teacher presented the initial exercise as a discussion activity between two students who had to discuss the meaning of that cartoon ( Figure 1 ). To understand this cartoon, students had to analyze and infer the meaning of both the graphic and linguistic elements, so the observer interprets that this cartoon served to encourage the use of analytical, interpretive, and inferential skills, leading students to describe and express an opinion and evaluation about it. This information confirms what Vásquez [ 17 ] states that learning can be developed involving thinking skills, seeking for the student to access the reality shown in the cartoon through the identification of the context, the characters that compose it, etc., culminating in an interpretation of the facts or ideas expressed by its author (p. 2). In this way, the student recognized the reality represented by the cartoon because, even though it may be different in their context, they interpreted and presented it from their experience throughout the sequence.

During the observation, it was noted that the cartoons invited them to consider their own context and make comparisons about the reality they presented. This leads to the affirmation that the use of cartoons was favorable for students to understand the main ideas of the author and to understand the complex, concrete, and abstract themes implicit in his works. When discussing and expressing an opinion about a cartoon, the activation of the skills of evaluation and explanation was observed again. This could be observed again since Quino’s cartoons allow students to recognize some of the realities in their own context by identifying what each of his works and characters represents. To understand the cartoons used in the didactic sequence, students used interpretation skills because, with this, meaning could be found in the characters’ comments. After this, they were able to activate the evaluation and explanation skills because, after assessing and considering what each character in the cartoon expressed, they could give an opinion with reasoned examples. As the teacher placed more emphasis on the arguments and presented aspects to consider for doing so, students included them in their oral and written discourse.

Throughout the development of the didactic sequence, it was evident that students considered and used the linguistic and non-linguistic inputs indicated by both the material and the teacher to improve their arguments in each response. This demonstrated the activation of self-regulation skills because students were aware of their own learning process and monitored how they interpreted each cartoon to express opinions about the situations the author wants to reflect. They also showed that these aspects were considered when rereading the points in the “Learn More!” phase when they were writing their final text.

However, it is important to clarify that the teacher should guide the reading of some of the cartoons used because it is not certain that the student can recognize all their graphic and linguistic elements with a first attempt. The teacher’s role is crucial in facilitating active learning, ensuring students navigate the complexities of visual and linguistic nuances within the cartoons for a more comprehensive understanding.

4.2 Reflections on the design of ArguméntELE from a methodological perspective

This research aimed to analyze and reflect on how, through the implementation of a didactic sequence based on the use of opinion cartoons, the argumentative writing of Spanish as a Foreign Language (SFL) students was strengthened. It is relevant to recognize how the activities developed allow students to argue and promote their learning by activating critical thinking skills. Simultaneously, an evaluation was conducted on how the design and presentation of each topic played a significant role in student motivation and the ease of performing activities. The reflections presented in this section are based on the observation of the material implementation.

In the design of the didactic sequence, the characteristics, and phases of the Boomerang didactic sequence [ 15 ], the students’ level, activities to encourage critical thinking skills, and linguistic elements related to expressing opinions, evaluating, expressing agreement and disagreement, suggesting possibilities, organizing a discourse, and arguing, according to the PCIC [ 11 ], were considered. Methodologically, the design of communicative and facilitating tasks was considered to reach the final task following the characteristics of the task-based approach. These tasks aimed to stimulate the use of critical thinking skills (interpretation, analysis, evaluation, inference, explanation, and self-regulation) using Quino’s cartoons as a motive for reading.

The Boomerang didactic sequence proposed by Harmer [ 15 ] integrates activities that activate the mentioned critical thinking skills and constantly invite students to express opinions and argue. This sequence is suitable for advanced levels and addresses the students’ needs. In each phase of the sequence, activities related to the students’ topic of interest and the use of Quino’s cartoons were integrated to reinforce the students’ level of argumentation through the writing of argumentative texts and the activation of the mentioned skills.

Through the observation of the material implementation, it was concluded that the exercises were relevant to each stage of the Boomerang didactic sequence. Although students indicated that it was extensive, they could recognize that there are many aspects to consider when arguing. Initially, the exercises in the motivation phase (¡Involúcrate!) succeeded in involving and motivating students with the sequence’s theme and the reading of cartoons. This activity opened a discussion within the class about the work reality of the participating students’ places of origin, as each one shared their experiences regarding their jobs. It also helped generate a discussion about how to read a cartoon and interpret the gestures of characters and other graphic elements present.

When students presented an example of the work situation in their places of origin, they indicated what their jobs were like and the forms of remuneration or subsidies they received. This demonstrates their ability to analyze situations that demand an immediate response as social actors. They also expressed that it was interesting to recognize connections between cultures because they recognized who Quino was but were not aware of his impact on the Hispanic world. Regarding the description of the work situation in their home countries, this provided an opportunity to break stereotypes.

Regarding the first free practice (¡Actívate!), it served to identify the linguistic aspects to be addressed in the Interactive Explanation phase. The ¡Actívate! section contains reading exercises that encourage students to deduce, evaluate, and compare information to reach a justified conclusion to be reported in writing. In the production of the final written texts, it is noticeable that students attempted to meet the criteria of the instruction in their established order; they expressed this while completing the final task. Therefore, it is considered that to carry out a more effective argumentation exercise, students should have more time to do it. With these actions, students unconsciously put into practice critical thinking skills useful for further developing their level of argumentation.

Although the use of critical thinking skills has been encouraged in previous phases, in the ¡Learn more! phase, six exercises are presented that emphasize the six specific critical thinking skills aimed at activating the didactic sequence while linguistic aspects for each skill are considered. Facione [ 3 ] indicates that there are activities that demonstrate each thinking skill. For example, the interpretation skill is evident from categorization; analysis from the examination of ideas; evaluation when assessing the quality of arguments; inference by making conjectures about alternatives; explanation through justification; and self-regulation through self-examination. These activities were presented in the didactic sequence, and it was observed that participating students were ready to develop them using these skills and the linguistic contents integrated into the other phases of the sequence.

On the other hand, in the ¡Practice! phase, controlled practice exercises are presented in which students must follow established patterns and then express themselves freely in the second free practice (¡Escribe!), which is the final task. During the controlled practice phase, students indicated that they knew people with traits like Mafalda’s characters. However, in the final task, students could not apply everything they had learned through the didactic sequence. This can be attributed to time, which probably was not sufficient to write the text. Therefore, the development of the didactic sequence should have been done in several class sessions, about three or four, to provide students with the opportunities and time needed to carry out the activities effectively. In their final writings, they used some discourse markers to organize their ideas (To begin with, however, also, etc.), expressions to give opinions and assess (For me, I think, it seems to me, etc.), but expressions to indicate possibilities or express agreement or disagreement were not recognized.

5. Conclusion

When designing material for a class, the logical sequence of learning is considered to organize activities. This sequence should consider, in the case of foreign languages, the students’ performance level, their motivations, and their experience or mastery of the topic to be addressed. Connecting students with the learning objectives of the class would lead them to active learning. According to Bonwell and Eison [ 7 ], if active learning is to be promoted, students must be engaged; they should be able to develop their skills, think critically, and explore their own attitudes. Therefore, it is crucial for the teacher to carefully select resources or activities to fulfill their objectives with active learning.

The ArguméntELE didactic sequence highlights active learning as a fundamental framework that propels language education beyond traditional boundaries. Throughout the sequence, active learning is not simply a pedagogical concept but a lived experience for students. Immersion in Quino’s cartoons, along with critical thinking exercises, actively engages students in interpreting, analyzing, and expressing opinions on real-world scenarios, fostering a deeper understanding of language in context. Active learning, as manifested in the sequence, goes beyond mere participation; it becomes a catalyst for cognitive processes such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. The motivation phase, involving discussions sparked by cartoons, actively involves students in relating personal experiences, establishing connections, and setting the stage for the journey ahead. The subsequent phases—free practice, interactive explanation, and controlled practice—mirror active learning principles by encouraging students to actively apply linguistic elements and critical thinking skills in progressively challenging and personally relevant tasks.

Furthermore, the ArguméntELE sequence embodies activity-based learning by structuring a series of purposeful activities within a didactic sequence, forming a cohesive and dynamic educational framework. The interconnected activities strategically guide students through a learning trajectory, ensuring that each task contributes to a holistic language learning experience. In this approach, students actively shape their learning path, enhancing their engagement and sense of ownership in the educational process.

Additionally, the ArguméntELE sequence reflects the principles of active learning by prioritizing student involvement in higher-order thinking and exploration of their attitudes and values. The practice and writing phases actively encourage students to express opinions, evaluate, and engage in argumentation, aligning with active learning’s emphasis on fostering skills beyond mechanical memorization. In this way, active learning in the ArguméntELE sequence is not just a methodology—it is a transformative force that empowers students to be active participants, critical thinkers, and effective communicators. The sequence serves as a testament to the potential of active learning as a robust framework, shaping a language learning experience that transcends traditional paradigms and prepares students for the dynamic challenges of a globalized world.

  • 1. Consejo de Europa. Marco común europeo de referencia para las lenguas: aprendizaje, enseñanza, evaluación [Internet]. France: Consejo de Europa; 2001. Available from:
  • 2. Lozano D, Medina J. El fortalecimiento de habilidades de pensamiento crítico en la escritura de textos argumentativos de estudiantes de ELE nivel B2. Bogotá: Pontificia Universidad Javeriana; 2019
  • 3. Facione PA. Pensamiento crítico, ¿qué es y por qué es importante? Insight Assessment. 2007; 1 :1-22
  • 4. Pascale E, Ramos A, Vallejo S. El estudiante como agente social, hablante intercultural y aprendiente autónomo: Elaboración de materiales para B1/B2 del Plan Curricular del Instituto Cervantes. V Encuentro Brasileño de Profesores de Español. Belo Horizonte: Marco ELE; 2009; 9 (13)
  • 5. Collazos S. ¿Las prácticas de evaluación utilizadas por los docentes en los procesos formativos contribuyen al desarrollo del pensamiento crítico de los estudiantes del grado sexto del colegio Nuestra Señora de Fátima de Popayán? Bogotá: Pontificia Universidad Javeriana; 2012
  • 6. Mantilla L. Propuesta pedagógica para hacer la clase de lengua castellana un espacio generador de pensamiento crítico. Bucaramanga: Universidad Industrial de Santander; 2009
  • 7. Bonwell CC, Eison JA. Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Reports; 1991. Disponible en:
  • 8. Balestras A, Jiménez L. Pensamiento crítico, conciencia cultural y tecnología: actividades para cursos de español como L2. Comunicación. 2017; 26 :49-62. Available from:
  • 9. Centro Virtual Cervantes. CVC. Diccionario de términos clave de ELE. Índice [Internet]. 1997-2018. Available from: [Accessed: August 19, 2018]
  • 10. Kosslyn SM. Active Learning Online: Five Principles That Make Online Courses Come Alive. Alinea Learning; 2021. Disponible en:
  • 11. Instituto Cervantes. Plan Curricular del Instituto Cervantes. Objetivos generales. [Internet]. 1997-2018. Available from: [Accessed: May 26, 2018]
  • 12. Ennis RH, Weir E. The Ennis-Weir Critical Thinking Essay Test. California: Midwest Publications; 1985
  • 13. Narváez PE. Critical thinking skills in elementary school learners and the task-based language teaching approach: A systematic literature review. Revista Educación. 2023; 47 (1):571-587
  • 14. Woodward T. Planificación de clases y cursos. Madrid, Spain: Cambridge University Press; 2001
  • 15. Harmer J. The Practice of English Language Teaching. Harlow: Longman; 2007
  • 16. Groarke L. Logic, Art and Argument. Informal Logic [Internet]. 1996. Available from:
  • 17. Vásquez J. Las caricaturas como recurso para el desarrollo de aprendizajes (habilidades del pensamiento) en el curso de historia en alumnos de 4to de secundaria en una institución educativa de Lima. Lima: Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia; 2017

© 2024 The Author(s). Licensee IntechOpen. This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

How to teach critical thinking, a vital 21st-century skill

teaching strategies that develop critical thinking skills

A well-rounded education doesn’t just impart academic knowledge to students — it gives them transferable skills they can apply throughout their lives. Critical thinking is widely hailed as one such essential “ 21st-century skill ,” helping people critically assess information, make informed decisions, and come up with creative approaches to solving problems.

This means that individuals with developed critical thinking skills benefit both themselves and the wider society. Despite the widespread recognition of critical thinking’s importance for future success, there can be some ambiguity about both what it is and how to teach it . 1 Let’s take a look at each of those questions in turn.

What is critical thinking?

Throughout history, humanity has attempted to use reason to understand and interpret the world. From the philosophers of Ancient Greece to the key thinkers of the Enlightenment, people have sought to challenge their preconceived notions and draw logical conclusions from the available evidence — key elements that gave rise to today’s definition of “critical thinking.”

At its core, critical thinking is the use of reason to analyze the available evidence and reach logical conclusions. Educational scholars have defined critical thinking as “reasonable reflective thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do,” 2 and “interpretation or analysis, followed by evaluation or judgment.” 3 Some have pared their definition down to simply “good” or “skillful thinking.”

At the same time, being a good critical thinker relies on certain values like open-mindedness, persistence, and intellectual humility. 4 The ideal critical thinker isn’t just skilled in analysis — they are also curious, open to other points of view, and creative in the path they take towards tackling a given problem.

Alongside teaching students how to analyze information, build arguments, and draw conclusions, educators play a key role in fostering the values conducive to critical thinking and intellectual inquiry. Students who develop both skills and values are well-placed to handle challenges both academically and in their personal lives.

Let’s examine some strategies to develop critical thinking skills and values in the classroom.

How to teach students to think critically — strategies

1. build a classroom climate that encourages open-mindedness.

teaching strategies that develop critical thinking skills

Fostering a classroom culture that allows students the time and space to think independently, experiment with new ideas, and have their views challenged lays a strong foundation for developing skills and values central to critical thinking.

Whatever your subject area, encourage students to contribute their own ideas and theories when addressing common curricular questions. Promote open-mindedness by underscoring the importance of the initial “brainstorming” phase in problem-solving — this is the necessary first step towards understanding! Strive to create a classroom climate where students are comfortable thinking out loud.

Emphasize to students the importance of understanding different perspectives on issues, and that it’s okay for people to disagree. Establish guidelines for class discussions — especially when covering controversial issues — and stress that changing your mind on an issue is a sign of intellectual strength, not weakness. Model positive behaviors by being flexible in your own opinions when engaging with ideas from students.

2. Teach students to make clear and effective arguments

Training students’ argumentation skills is central to turning them into adept critical thinkers. Expose students to a wide range of arguments, guiding them to distinguish between examples of good and bad reasoning.

When guiding students to form their own arguments, emphasize the value of clarity and precision in language. In oral discussions, encourage students to order their thoughts on paper before contributing.

teaching strategies that develop critical thinking skills

In the case of argumentative essays , give students plenty of opportunities to revise their work, implementing feedback from you or peers. Assist students in refining their arguments by encouraging them to challenge their own positions. 

They can do so by creating robust “steel man” counterarguments to identify potential flaws in their own reasoning. For example, if a student is passionate about animal rights and wants to argue for a ban on animal testing , encourage them to also come up with points in favor of animal testing. If they can rebut those counterarguments, their own position will be much stronger!

Additionally, knowing how to evaluate and provide evidence is essential for developing argumentation skills. Teach students how to properly cite sources , and encourage them to investigate the veracity of claims made by others — particularly when dealing with online media .

3. Encourage metacognition — guide students to think about their own and others’ thinking

Critical thinkers are self-reflective. Guide students time to think about their own learning process by utilizing metacognitive strategies, like learning journals or having reflective periods at the end of activities. Reflecting on how they came to understand a topic can help students cultivate a growth mindset and an openness to explore alternative problem-solving approaches during challenging moments.

You can also create an awareness of common errors in human thinking by teaching about them explicitly. Identify arguments based on logical fallacies and have students come up with examples from their own experience. Help students recognize the role of cognitive bias in our thinking, and design activities to help counter it.

Students who develop self-awareness regarding their own thinking are not just better at problem-solving, but also managing their emotions .

4. Assign open-ended and varied activities to practice different kinds of thinking

Critical thinkers are capable of approaching problems from a variety of angles. Train this vital habit by switching up the kinds of activities you assign to students, and try prioritizing open-ended assignments that allow for varied approaches.

A project-based learning approach can reap huge rewards. Have students identify real-world problems, conduct research, and investigate potential solutions. Following that process will give them varied intellectual challenges, while the real-world applicability of their work can motivate students to consider the potential impact their thinking can have on the world around them.

teaching strategies that develop critical thinking skills

Classroom discussions and debates are fantastic activities for building critical thinking skills. As open-ended activities, they encourage student autonomy by requiring them to think for themselves.

They also expose students to a diversity of perspectives , inviting them to critically appraise these different positions in a respectful context. Class discussions are applicable across disciplines and come in many flavors — experiment with different forms like fishbowl discussions or online, asynchronous discussions to keep students engaged.

5. Use argument-mapping tools such as Kialo Edu to train students in the use of reasoning

One of the most effective methods of improving students’ critical thinking skills is to train them in argument mapping .

Argument mapping involves breaking an argument down into its constituent parts, and displaying them visually so that students can see how different points are connected. Research has shown that university students who were trained in argument mapping significantly out-performed their peers on critical thinking assessments. 5

While it’s possible — and useful — to map out arguments by hand, there are clear benefits to using digital argument maps like Kialo Edu. Students can contribute simultaneously to a Kialo discussion to collaboratively build out complex discussions as an argument map. 

Using argument maps to teach critical thinking has improved results for students.

Individual students can plan essays as argument maps before writing. This helps them to stay focused on the line of argument and encourages them to preempt counterarguments. Kialo discussions can even be assigned as an essay alternative when teachers want to focus on argumentation as the key learning goal. Unlike traditional essays, they defy the use of AI chatbots like ChatGPT!

Kialo discussions prompt students to use their reasoning skills to create clear, structured arguments. Moreover, students have a visual, engaging way to respond to the content of the arguments being made, promoting interpretive charity towards differing opinions. 

Best of all, Kialo Edu offers a way to track and assess your students’ progress on their critical thinking journey. Educators can assign specific tasks — like citing sources or responding to others’ claims — to evaluate specific skills. Students can also receive grades and feedback on their contributions without leaving the platform, making it easy to deliver constructive, ongoing guidance to help students develop their reasoning skills.

Improving students’ critical thinking abilities is something that motivates our work here at Kialo Edu. If you’ve used our platform and have feedback, thoughts, or suggestions, we’d love to hear from you. Reach out to us on social media or contact us directly at [email protected] .

  •  Lloyd, M., & Bahr, N. (2010). Thinking Critically about Critical Thinking in Higher Education. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 4 (2), Article 9.
  •  Ennis, R. H. (2015). Critical Thinking: A Streamlined Conception. In: Davies, M., Barnett, R. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Thinking in Higher Education. Palgrave Macmillan, New York.
  • Lang-Raad, N. D. (2023). Never Stop Asking: Teaching Students to be Better Critical Thinkers . Jossey-Bass.
  •  Ellerton, Peter (2019). Teaching for thinking: Explaining pedagogical expertise in the development of the skills, values and virtues of inquiry . Dissertation, The University of Queensland. Available here .
  • van Gelder, T. (2015). Using argument mapping to improve critical thinking skills. In The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Thinking in Higher Education (pp. 183–192). doi:10.1057/9781137378057_12.

Want to try Kialo Edu with your class?

Sign up for free and use Kialo Edu to have thoughtful classroom discussions and train students’ argumentation and critical thinking skills.

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Active Learning Strategies to Promote Critical Thinking

Stacy E. Walker, PhD, ATC, provided conception and design; acquisition and analysis and interpretation of the data; and drafting, critical revision, and final approval of the article.

To provide a brief introduction to the definition and disposition to think critically along with active learning strategies to promote critical thinking.

Data Sources:

I searched MEDLINE and Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) from 1933 to 2002 for literature related to critical thinking, the disposition to think critically, questioning, and various critical-thinking pedagogic techniques.

Data Synthesis:

The development of critical thinking has been the topic of many educational articles recently. Numerous instructional methods exist to promote thought and active learning in the classroom, including case studies, discussion methods, written exercises, questioning techniques, and debates. Three methods—questioning, written exercises, and discussion and debates—are highlighted.


The definition of critical thinking, the disposition to think critically, and different teaching strategies are featured. Although not appropriate for all subject matter and classes, these learning strategies can be used and adapted to facilitate critical thinking and active participation.

The development of critical thinking (CT) has been a focus of educators at every level of education for years. Imagine a certified athletic trainer (ATC) who does not consider all of the injury options when performing an assessment or an ATC who fails to consider using any new rehabilitation techniques because the ones used for years have worked. Envision ATCs who are unable to react calmly during an emergency because, although they designed the emergency action plan, they never practiced it or mentally prepared for an emergency. These are all examples of situations in which ATCs must think critically.

Presently, athletic training educators are teaching many competencies and proficiencies to entry-level athletic training students. As Davies 1 pointed out, CT is needed in clinical decision making because of the many changes occurring in education, technology, and health care reform. Yet little information exists in the athletic training literature regarding CT and methods to promote thought. Fuller, 2 using the Bloom taxonomy, classified learning objectives, written assignments, and examinations as CT and nonCT. Athletic training educators fostered more CT in their learning objectives and written assignments than in examinations. The disposition of athletic training students to think critically exists but is weak. Leaver-Dunn et al 3 concluded that teaching methods that promote the various components of CT should be used. My purpose is to provide a brief introduction to the definition and disposition to think critically along with active learning strategies to promote CT.


Four commonly referenced definitions of critical thinking are provided in Table ​ Table1. 1 . All of these definitions describe an individual who is actively engaged in the thought process. Not only is this person evaluating, analyzing, and interpreting the information, he or she is also analyzing inferences and assumptions made regarding that information. The use of CT skills such as analysis of inferences and assumptions shows involvement in the CT process. These cognitive skills are employed to form a judgment. Reflective thinking, defined by Dewey 8 as the type of thinking that consists of turning a subject over in the mind and giving it serious and consecutive consideration, can be used to evaluate the quality of judgment(s) made. 9 Unfortunately, not everyone uses CT when solving problems. Therefore, in order to think critically, there must be a certain amount of self-awareness and other characteristics present to enable a person to explain the analysis and interpretation and to evaluate any inferences made.

Various Definitions of Critical Thinking

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Recently researchers have begun to investigate the relationship between the disposition to think critically and CT skills. Many believe that in order to develop CT skills, the disposition to think critically must be nurtured as well. 4 , 10 – 12 Although research related to the disposition to think critically has recently increased, as far back as 1933 Dewey 8 argued that possession of knowledge is no guarantee for the ability to think well but that an individual must desire to think. Open mindedness, wholeheartedness, and responsibility were 3 of the attitudes he felt were important traits of character to develop the habit of thinking. 8

More recently, the American Philosophical Association Delphi report on critical thinking 7 was released in 1990. This report resulted from a questionnaire regarding CT completed by a cross-disciplinary panel of experts from the United States and Canada. Findings included continued support for the theory that to develop CT, an individual must possess and use certain dispositional characteristics. Based upon the dispositional phrases, the California Critical Thinking Dispositional Inventory 13 was developed. Seven dispositions (Table ​ (Table2) 2 ) were derived from the original 19 published in the Delphi report. 12 It is important to note that these are attitudes or affects, which are sought after in an individual, and not thinking skills. Facione et al 9 purported that a person who thinks critically uses these 7 dispositions to form and make judgments. For example, if an individual is not truth seeking, he or she may not consider other opinions or theories regarding an issue or problem before forming an opinion. A student may possess the knowledge to think critically about an issue, but if these dispositional affects do not work in concert, the student may fail to analyze, evaluate, and synthesize the information to think critically. More research is needed to determine the relationship between CT and the disposition to think critically.

Dispositions to Think Critically 12

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Educators can use various instructional methods to promote CT and problem solving. Although educators value a student who thinks critically about concepts, the spirit or disposition to think critically is, unfortunately, not always present in all students. Many college faculty expect their students to think critically. 14 Some nursing-specific common assumptions made by university nursing teaching faculty are provided 15 (Table ​ (Table3) 3 ) because no similar research exists in athletic training. Espeland and Shanta 16 argued that faculty who select lecture formats as a large part of their teaching strategy may be enabling students. When lecturing, the instructor organizes and presents essential information without student input. This practice eliminates the opportunity for students to decide for themselves what information is important to know. For example, instead of telling our students via lecture what medications could be given to athletes with an upper respiratory infection, they could be assigned to investigate medications and decide which one is appropriate.

Common Assumptions of Nursing Faculty 15

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Students need to be exposed to diverse teaching methods that promote CT in order to nurture the CT process. 14 , 17 – 19 As pointed out by Kloss, 20 sometimes students are stuck and unable to understand that various answers exist for one problem. Each ATC has a different method of taping a sprained ankle, performing special tests, and obtaining medical information. Kloss 20 stated that students must be exposed to ambiguity and multiple interpretations and perspectives of a situation or problem in order to stimulate growth. As students move through their clinical experiences, they witness the various methods for taping ankles, performing special tests, and obtaining a thorough history from an injured athlete. Paul and Elder 21 stated that many professors may try to encourage students to learn a body of knowledge by stating that body of knowledge in a sequence of lectures and then asking students to internalize knowledge outside of class on their own time. Not all students possess the thinking skills to analyze and synthesize information without practice. The following 3 sections present information and examples of different teaching techniques to promote CT.


An assortment of questioning tactics exists to promote CT. Depending on how a question is asked, the student may use various CT skills such as interpretation, analysis, and recognition of assumptions to form a conclusion. Mills 22 suggested that the thoughtful use of questions may be the quintessential activity of an effective teacher. Questions are only as good as the thought put into them and should go beyond knowledge-level recall. 22 Researchers 23 , 24 have found that often clinical teachers asked significantly more lower-level cognitive questions than higher-level questions. Questions should be designed to promote evaluation and synthesis of facts and concepts. Asking a student to evaluate when proprioception exercises should be included in a rehabilitation program is more challenging than asking a student to define proprioception. Higher-level thinking questions should start or end with words or phrases such as, “explain,” “compare,” “why,” “which is a solution to the problem,” “what is the best and why,” and “do you agree or disagree with this statement?” For example, a student could be asked to compare the use of parachlorophenylalanine versus serotonin for control of posttreatment soreness. Examples of words that can be used to begin questions to challenge at the different levels of the Bloom Taxonomy 25 are given in Table ​ Table4. 4 . The Bloom Taxonomy 25 is a hierarchy of thinking skills that ranges from simple skills, such as knowledge, to complex thinking, such as evaluation. Depending on the initial words used in the question, students can be challenged at different levels of cognition.

Examples of Questions 23

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Another type of questioning technique is Socratic questioning. Socratic questioning is defined as a type of questioning that deeply probes or explores the meaning, justification, or logical strength of a claim, position, or line of reasoning. 4 , 26 Questions are asked that investigate assumptions, viewpoints, consequences, and evidence. Questioning methods, such as calling on students who do not have their hands up, can enhance learning by engaging students to think. The Socratic method focuses on clarification. A student's answer to a question can be followed by asking a fellow student to summarize the previous answer. Summarizing the information allows the student to demonstrate whether he or she was listening, had digested the information, and understood it enough to put it into his or her own words. Avoiding questions with one set answer allows for different viewpoints and encourages students to compare problems and approaches. Asking students to explain how the high school and the collegiate or university field experiences are similar and different is an example. There is no right or wrong answer because the answers depend upon the individual student's experiences. 19 Regardless of the answer, the student must think critically about the topic to form a conclusion of how the field experiences are different and similar.

In addition to using these questioning techniques, it is equally important to orient the students to this type of classroom interaction. Mills 22 suggested that provocative questions should be brief and contain only one or two issues at a time for class reflection. It is also important to provide deliberate silence, or “wait” time, for students upon asking questions. 22 , 27 Waiting at least 5 seconds allows the students to think and encourages thought. Elliot 18 argued that waiting even as long as 10 seconds allows the students time to think about possibilities. If a thought question is asked, time must be given for the students to think about the answer.

Classroom Discussion and Debates

Classroom discussion and debates can promote critical thinking. Various techniques are available. Bernstein 28 developed a negotiation model in which students were confronted with credible but antagonistic arguments. Students were challenged to deal with the tension between the two arguments. This tension is believed to be one component driving critical thought. Controversial issues in psychology, such as animal rights and pornography, were presented and discussed. Students responded favorably and, as the class progressed over time, they reported being more comfortable arguing both sides of an issue. In athletic training education, a negotiation model could be employed to discuss certain topics, such as the use of heat versus ice or the use of ultrasound versus electric stimulation in the treatment of an injury. Students could be assigned to defend the use of a certain treatment. Another strategy to promote students to seek both sides of an issue is pro and con grids. 29 Students create grids with the pros and cons or advantages or disadvantages of an issue or treatment. Debate was used to promote CT in second-year medical students. 30 After debating, students reported improvements in literature searching, weighing risks and benefits of treatments, and making evidence-based decisions. Regardless of the teaching methods used, students should be exposed to analyzing the costs and benefits of issues, problems, and treatments to help prepare them for real-life decision making.

Observing the reasoning skills of another person was used by Galotti 31 to promote CT. Students were paired, and 4 reasoning tasks were administered. As the tasks were administered, students were told to talk aloud through the reasoning process of their decisions. Students who were observing were to write down key phrases and statements. This same process can be used in an injury-evaluation class. One student performs an evaluation while the others in the class observe. Classroom discussion can then follow. Another alternative is to divide students into pairs. One student performs an evaluation while the other observes. After the evaluation is completed, the students discuss with each other the evaluation (Table ​ (Table5 5 presents examples). Another option is to have athletic training students observe a student peer or ATC during a field evaluation of an athlete. While observing, the student can write down any questions or topics to discuss after the evaluation, providing the student an opportunity to ask why certain evaluation methods were and were not used.

Postevaluation Questions

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Daily newspaper clippings directly related to current classroom content also allow an instructor to incorporate discussion into the classroom. 32 For example, an athlete who has been reported to have died as a result of heat illness could provide subject matter for classroom discussion or various written assignments. Such news also affords the instructor an opportunity to discuss the affective components involved. Students could be asked to step into the role of the ATC and think about the reported implications of this death from different perspectives. They could also list any assumptions made by the article or follow-up questions they would ask if they could interview the persons involved. This provides a forum to enlighten students to think for themselves and realize that not each person in the room perceives the article the same way. Whatever the approach taken, investigators and educators agree that assignments and arguments are useful to promote thought among students.

Written Assignments

In-class and out-of-class assignments can also serve as powerful vehicles to allow students to expand their thinking processes. Emig 33 believed that involving students in writing serves their learning uniquely because writing, as process and product, possesses a cluster of attributes that correspond uniquely to certain powerful learning strategies. As a general rule, assignments for the purpose of promoting thought should be short (not long term papers) and focus on the aspect of thinking. 19 Research or 1-topic papers may or may not be a student's own thoughts, and Meyers 32 argued that term papers often prove to be exercises in recapitulating the thoughts of others.

Allegretti and Frederick 34 used a variety of cases from a book to promote CT regarding different ethical issues. Countless case-study situations can be created to allow students to practice managing situations and assess clinical decision making. For example, after reading the National Athletic Trainers' Association position statement on lightning, a student can be asked to address the following scenario: “Explain how you would handle a situation in which a coach has kept athletes outside practicing unsafely. What information would you use from this statement to explain your concerns? Explain why you picked the specific concerns.” These questions can be answered individually or in small groups and then discussed in class. The students will pick different concerns based on their thinking. This variety in answers is not only one way to show that no answer is right or wrong but also allows students to defend their answers to peers. Questions posed on listservs are excellent avenues to enrich a student's education. Using these real-life questions, students read about real issues and concerns of ATCs. These topics present excellent opportunities to pose questions to senior-level athletic training students to examine how they would handle the situation. This provides the students a safe place to analyze the problem and form a decision. Once the students make a decision, additional factors, assumptions, and inferences can be discussed by having all students share the solution they chose.

Lantz and Meyers 35 used personification and assigned students to assume the character of a drug. Students were to relate themselves to the drug, in the belief that drugs exhibit many unique characteristics, such as belonging to a family, interaction problems, adverse reactions, and so forth. The development of analogies comes from experience and comparing one theory or scenario to another with strong similarities.

Fopma-Loy and Ulrich 36 identified various CT classroom exercises educators can implement to promote higher-order thought (Table ​ (Table6). 6 ). Many incorporate a personal reaction from the student and allow the student to link that learning to his or her feelings. This personal reaction of feelings to cognitive information is important to show the relevance of material.

Exercises to Promote Critical Thought 36

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Last, poems are another avenue that can be used to promote CT. 20 Although poems are widely thought of as an assignment in an English class, athletic training students may benefit from this creative writing activity. The focus of this type of homework activity should be on reviewing content creatively. The lines of the poem need not rhyme as long as appropriate content is explained in the poem. For example, a poem on the knee could be required to include signs, symptoms, and anatomical content of one injury or various injuries. A poem on head injuries could focus on the different types of history questions that should be asked. Students should understand that the focus of the assignment is a creative review of the material and not a test of their poetic qualities. The instructor should complete a poem as well. To break the ice, the instructor's poem can be read first, followed by a student volunteering to read his or her poem.


Regardless of the methods used to promote CT, care must be taken to consider the many factors that may inhibit a student from thinking critically. The student's disposition to think critically is a major factor, and if a deficit in a disposition is noticed, this should be nurtured. Students should be encouraged to be inquisitive, ask questions, and not believe and accept everything they are told. As pointed out by Loving and Wilson 14 and Oermann, 19 thought develops with practice and evaluation over time using multiple strategies. Additionally, faculty should be aware of their course goals and learning objectives. If these goals and objectives are stated as higher-order thought outcomes, then activities that promote CT should be included in classroom activities and assignments. 14 Finally, it is important that CT skills be encouraged and reinforced in all classes by teaching faculty, not only at the college level but at every level of education. Although huge gains in CT may not be reflected in all college students, we can still plant the seed and encourage students to use their thinking abilities in the hope these will grow over time.


10 Innovative Strategies for Promoting Critical Thinking in the Classroom

Are you looking for innovative ways to promote critical thinking skills in your classroom? As an educator, you know the importance of developing strong critical thinking skills in your students. In today’s complex and ever-changing world, critical thinking is a vital skill that can make the difference between success and failure.

Critical Thinking Lessons and Activities

To help you out, we’ve put together 10 surprising ways to boost critical thinking skills in your classroom, complete with real-world examples and actionable strategies. These strategies are designed to promote active learning, inquiry-based learning, and Bloom’s Taxonomy levels of analysis, evaluation, and interpretation. Here they are:

1. Collaborative Learning

Collaborative learning is an effective way to promote critical thinking skills in your classroom. By encouraging your students to work together to solve complex problems, you can help them develop skills in analysis, evaluation, and interpretation.

For example, you could divide your students into small groups and give them a problem to solve. Each group can then present their solution to the class and the class can evaluate and critique each solution. This not only encourages critical thinking, but it also promotes teamwork and communication skills.

2. Questioning

Asking open-ended questions is another effective way to promote critical thinking skills in your classroom. Open-ended questions encourage your students to think deeply about a topic and consider different perspectives.

Read our article: 10 Best Educational Games for Kids That will Shape Their Future

For example, if you’re teaching a lesson on climate change, you could ask your students questions such as “What are the causes of climate change?” and “What are the potential consequences of climate change?” These questions encourage your students to analyze information and think critically about the topic.

3. Active Listening

Encouraging active listening is another way to promote critical thinking skills in your classroom. When students actively listen to each other, they consider different perspectives and analyze information more deeply.

Think Like a Detective – A Kid’s Guide to Critical Thinking

For example, you could ask your students to work in pairs and have each student share their opinion on a topic. The other student must actively listen and ask follow-up questions to better understand their partner’s perspective. This activity promotes critical thinking skills such as analysis, evaluation, and interpretation.

4. Case Studies

Using case studies is another effective way to promote critical thinking skills in your classroom. Case studies allow your students to apply critical thinking skills to real-world situations.

For example, if you’re teaching a lesson on business ethics, you could present a case study on a company that faced an ethical dilemma. Your students can then analyze the case study and identify potential solutions. This activity promotes critical thinking skills such as analysis, evaluation, and interpretation.

Organizing debates is another effective way to promote critical thinking skills in your classroom. Debates encourage your students to analyze and evaluate different viewpoints on a topic.

For example, if you’re teaching a lesson on gun control, you could organize a debate where half of the class argues for gun control and the other half argues against it. This activity promotes critical thinking skills such as analysis, evaluation, and interpretation.

Read our article: Engaging STEM Activities for Elementary, Middle and High School Students

6. Mind Mapping

Using mind mapping is another effective way to promote critical thinking skills in your classroom. Mind mapping allows your students to organize and analyze complex information.

For example, if you’re teaching a lesson on the solar system, you could have your students create a mind map of the different planets and their characteristics. This activity promotes critical thinking skills such as analysis, evaluation, and interpretation.

7. Gamification

Using game-based learning is another effective way to promote critical thinking skills in your classroom. Game-based learning engages your students and promotes critical thinking skills such as problem-solving, analysis, and evaluation.

For example, you could use an online game that requires your students to solve math problems. This activity promotes critical thinking skills such as problem-solving, analysis, and evaluation.

8. Problem-Based Learning

Using problem-based learning is another effective way to promote critical thinking skills in your classroom. Problem-based learning requires your students to solve real-world problems using critical thinking skills such as analysis, evaluation, and interpretation.

For example, you could present your students with a real-world problem, such as designing a sustainable community. Your students can then work in groups to research and propose solutions to the problem. This activity promotes critical thinking skills such as problem-solving, analysis, evaluation, and interpretation.

9. Reflection

Encouraging reflection is another way to promote critical thinking skills in your classroom. When students reflect on their learning experiences, they can identify areas where they need to improve and develop critical thinking skills.

For example, you could have your students keep a learning journal where they reflect on their learning experiences and identify areas where they need to improve. This activity promotes critical thinking skills such as analysis, evaluation, and interpretation.

10. Real-World Applications

Using real-world applications is another effective way to promote critical thinking skills in your classroom. When students can see how the skills they are learning can be applied in the real world, they are more motivated to learn and develop critical thinking skills.

For example, if you’re teaching a lesson on fractions, you could show your students how fractions are used in cooking recipes. This activity promotes critical thinking skills such as analysis, evaluation, and interpretation.

In conclusion, critical thinking skills are essential for success in today’s complex and ever-changing world. As an educator, you can promote critical thinking skills in your classroom by using these 10 surprising ways. Collaborative learning, questioning, active listening, case studies, debates, mind mapping, gamification, problem-based learning, reflection, and real-world applications are all effective ways to promote critical thinking skills. By incorporating these strategies into your teaching, you can help your students develop the critical thinking skills they need to succeed in the 21st century.

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Teaching Strategies that Enhance Higher-Order Thinking

Janelle cox.

  • October 16, 2019

Words ‘Higher Order Thinking’ spelled out in blocks with a pink background

One of the main 21st century components that teachers want their students to use is higher-order thinking. This is when students use complex ways to think about what they are learning.

Higher-order thinking takes thinking to a whole new level. Students using it are understanding higher levels rather than just memorizing facts. They would have to understand the facts, infer them, and connect them to other concepts.

Here are 10 teaching strategies to enhance higher-order thinking skills in your students.

1. Help Determine What Higher-Order Thinking Is

Help students understand what higher-order thinking is. Explain to them what it is and why they need it. Help them understand their own strengths and challenges. You can do this by showing them how they can ask themselves good questions. That leads us to the next strategy.

2. Connect Concepts

Lead students through the process of how to connect one concept to another. By doing this you are teaching them to connect what they already know with what they are learning. This level of thinking will help students learn to make connections whenever it is possible, which will help them gain even more understanding. For example, let’s say that the concept they are learning is “Chinese New Year.” An even broader concept would be “Holidays.”

3. Teach Students to Infer

Teach students to make inferences by giving them “real-world” examples. You can start by giving students a picture of a people standing in line at a soup kitchen. Ask them to look at the picture and focus on the details. Then, ask them to make inferences based on what they see in the picture. Another way to teach young students about how to infer is to teach an easy concept like weather. Ask students to put on their raincoat and boots, then ask them to infer what they think the weather looks like outside.

4. Encourage Questioning

A classroom where students feel free to ask questions without any negative reactions from their peers or their teachers is a classroom where students feel free to be creative. Encourage students to ask questions, and if for some reason you can’t get to their question during class time, show them how they can answer it themselves or have them save the question until the following day.

5. Use Graphic Organizers

Graphic organizers provide students with a nice way to frame their thoughts in an organized manner. By drawing diagrams or mind maps, students are able to better connect concepts and see their relationships. This will help students develop a habit of connecting concepts.

6. Teach Problem-Solving Strategies

Teach students to use a step-by-step method for solving problems. This way of higher-order thinking will help them solve problems faster and more easily. Encourage students to use alternative methods to solve problems as well as offer them different problem-solving methods.

7. Encourage Creative Thinking

Creative thinking is when students invent, imagine, and design what they are thinking. Using creative senses helps students process and understand information better. Research shows that when students utilize creative higher-order thinking skills , it indeed increases their understanding. Encourage students to think “outside of the box.”

8. Use Mind Movies

When concepts that are being learned are difficult, encourage students to create a movie in their mind. Teach them to close their eyes and picture it like a movie playing. This way of higher-order thinking will truly help them understand in a powerful, unique way.

9. Teach Students to Elaborate Their Answers

Higher-order thinking requires students to really understand a concept, not repeat it or memorize it. Encourage students to elaborate their answers by asking the right questions that make students explain their thoughts in more detail.

10. Teach QARs

Question-Answer-Relationships, or QARs, teach students to label the type of question that is being asked and then use that information to help them formulate an answer. Students must decipher if the answer can be found in a text or online or if they must rely on their own prior knowledge to answer it. This strategy has been found to be effective for higher-order thinking because students become more aware of the relationship between the information in a text and their prior knowledge, which helps them decipher which strategy to use when they need to seek an answer.

  • #CreativeThinking , #HigherOrderThinking , #TeachingStrategies

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Critical thinking definition

teaching strategies that develop critical thinking skills

Critical thinking, as described by Oxford Languages, is the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement.

Active and skillful approach, evaluation, assessment, synthesis, and/or evaluation of information obtained from, or made by, observation, knowledge, reflection, acumen or conversation, as a guide to belief and action, requires the critical thinking process, which is why it's often used in education and academics.

Some even may view it as a backbone of modern thought.

However, it's a skill, and skills must be trained and encouraged to be used at its full potential.

People turn up to various approaches in improving their critical thinking, like:

  • Developing technical and problem-solving skills
  • Engaging in more active listening
  • Actively questioning their assumptions and beliefs
  • Seeking out more diversity of thought
  • Opening up their curiosity in an intellectual way etc.

Is critical thinking useful in writing?

Critical thinking can help in planning your paper and making it more concise, but it's not obvious at first. We carefully pinpointed some the questions you should ask yourself when boosting critical thinking in writing:

  • What information should be included?
  • Which information resources should the author look to?
  • What degree of technical knowledge should the report assume its audience has?
  • What is the most effective way to show information?
  • How should the report be organized?
  • How should it be designed?
  • What tone and level of language difficulty should the document have?

Usage of critical thinking comes down not only to the outline of your paper, it also begs the question: How can we use critical thinking solving problems in our writing's topic?

Let's say, you have a Powerpoint on how critical thinking can reduce poverty in the United States. You'll primarily have to define critical thinking for the viewers, as well as use a lot of critical thinking questions and synonyms to get them to be familiar with your methods and start the thinking process behind it.

Are there any services that can help me use more critical thinking?

We understand that it's difficult to learn how to use critical thinking more effectively in just one article, but our service is here to help.

We are a team specializing in writing essays and other assignments for college students and all other types of customers who need a helping hand in its making. We cover a great range of topics, offer perfect quality work, always deliver on time and aim to leave our customers completely satisfied with what they ordered.

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    Through peer interaction, students will develop the ability to think critically. Critical thinking requires consistency and commitment. This means that to make the above teaching strategies effective, they must be used consistently throughout the year. Encourage students to question everything and verify all information and resources.

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    Students must learn to amass the proper expertise to inform their thinking. Teaching critical thinking skills can be supported by an understanding of how to analyze, organize, and clarify information. 6. Utilize Peer Groups. There is comfort in numbers, as the saying goes.

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    Teach Reasoning Skills. Reasoning skills are another key component of critical thinking, involving the abilities to think logically, evaluate evidence, identify assumptions, and analyze arguments. Students who learn how to use reasoning skills will be better equipped to make informed decisions, form and defend opinions, and solve problems.

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    1. What is critical thinking? Critical thinking is the ability to analyze information objectively and make a reasoned judgment. 2. Why is critical thinking important for students? Critical thinking helps students make informed decisions, develop analytical skills, and promotes independence. 3.

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    Some essential skills that are the basis for critical thinking are: Communication and Information skills. Thinking and Problem-Solving skills. Interpersonal and Self- Directional skills. Collaboration skills. These four bullets are skills students are going to need in any field and in all levels of education.

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    Consequently, a learner proficient in these skills is considered an expert in critical thinking. It is crucial to foster critical thinking in teaching and learning processes through activities that include real situations (social, cultural, political, and educational) from the immersion context and its specific realities.

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    How to teach students to think critically — strategies. 1. Build a classroom climate that encourages open-mindedness. 2. Teach students to make clear and effective arguments. 3. Encourage metacognition — guide students to think about their own and others' thinking. 4. Assign open-ended and varied activities to practice different kinds of ...

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    These seven strategies can help students cultivate their critical thinking skills. (These strategies can be modified for all students with the aid of a qualified educator.) 1. Encourage Questioning. One of the fundamental pillars of critical thinking is curiosity. Encourage students to ask questions about the subject matter and challenge ...

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    4. Study with the help of examples. It is easy to remember information through examples and stories as they reflect the practical implications. They contribute to mindful learning. Real-life examples, anecdotes, analogies, and facts help develop critical thinking skills. 5. Go beyond academic learning.

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    Results demonstrate that there are effective strategies for teaching CT skills, both generic and content specific, and CT dispositions, at all educational levels and across all disciplinary areas. ... Critical thinking skills instruction for postsecondary students with and without learning disabilities: ... Developing critical thinking skills ...

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    Our critical thinking skills framework. The focus on critical thinking skills has its roots in two approaches: the cognitive psychological approach and the educational approach (see for reviews, e.g. Sternberg Citation 1986; Ten Dam and Volman Citation 2004).From a cognitive psychological approach, critical thinking is defined by the types of behaviours and skills that a critical thinker can show.

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    Teachers in the USA, on the other hand, highlight the need to develop content for teaching critical thinking skills (Reynolds, 2016). This wide range of definitions, classifications, and strategies for teaching critical thinking suggests that many of the debates in the literature are still ongoing.

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    The development of critical thinking has been the topic of many educational articles recently. Numerous instructional methods exist to promote thought and active learning in the classroom, including case studies, discussion methods, written exercises, questioning techniques, and debates. Three methods—questioning, written exercises, and ...

  16. 10 Innovative Strategies for Promoting Critical Thinking in the

    Collaborative learning, questioning, active listening, case studies, debates, mind mapping, gamification, problem-based learning, reflection, and real-world applications are all effective ways to promote critical thinking skills. By incorporating these strategies into your teaching, you can help your students develop the critical thinking ...

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    A complete guide to teaching Critical Thinking. This 180 page e-book is an excellent resource for teachers looking to implement critical thinking in the classroom. It is packed full of great content whether you are just starting out, or looking to go further. It makes relevant connections to technology, STEM, and critical and creative thinking.

  18. PDF Teaching Critical Thinking Skills: Literature Review

    Critical Thinking (CT) has been recognized as one of the most important thinking skills and one of the most important indicators of student learning quality. In order to develop successful critical thinkers, CT must be incorporated into the curriculum content and teaching approaches and sequenced at all grade levels. This

  19. PDF Mathematical Teaching Strategies: Pathways to Critical Thinking and

    critical thinking skills by indicating optional methods and perhaps simplifying the process. Below is an example of how critical thinking can be used with simple mathematics. Students can develop and enhance their critical thinking skills as a result of instructors providing optional methods for simplifying the mathematical process.

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    Critical Thinking (CT) has been recognized as one of the most important thinking skills and one of the most important indicators of student learning quality. In order to develop successful ...

  21. Teaching Strategies that Enhance Higher-Order Thinking

    Higher-order thinking takes thinking to a whole new level. Students using it are understanding higher levels rather than just memorizing facts. They would have to understand the facts, infer them, and connect them to other concepts. Here are 10 teaching strategies to enhance higher-order thinking skills in your students. 1.

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    Critical thinking is an important skill for graduates in 21st century teaching and learning. One of the modern educational pedagogies which can be utilized by educators to inculcate students ...

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    Abstract : "Critical thinking skills as the mental processes required in processing information, solving problems, making a. decision, and thinking critically. The teachers need to incorporate ...

  24. Using Critical Thinking in Essays and other Assignments

    Critical thinking, as described by Oxford Languages, is the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement. Active and skillful approach, evaluation, assessment, synthesis, and/or evaluation of information obtained from, or made by, observation, knowledge, reflection, acumen or conversation, as a guide to belief and ...