Role of Critical Thinking in Education

Critical thinking as a process of assessing and judging, has become a central focus of education. A learner merely by practising a content-based curriculum can never become a better thinker. With critical thinking, one adopts the ability to evaluate and analyze a situation, which is a crucial skill in everyday life as well as in education. Thus, it enhances your academic performance. A well-reasoned judgment in thought and action helps in formulating your judgment-evaluation and problem solving abilities, which are important in decision-making. It helps to recognize arguments and to identify errors in reasoning and enables one to approach problems in a systematic way. By thinking ahead one can get a more insightful understanding of oneself, and thus take a well-informed stand on controversial issues. That is why these days we find critical thinking in educational policy documents.

Critical Thinking is a seminal process which, done well, facilitates a child to understand a situation from multiple aspects. It is best conceived, therefore, as the hub around which all other educational ends cluster. For example, as students learn to think more critically, they become more proficient at comprehending nuances of history, science and mathematics; they question and develop deeper insights. They develop skills, abilities, and values critical to success in everyday life. All of this is based on the assumption, of course, that those who teach have a solid grounding in critical thinking and in the teaching strategies essential to it. In short, over time instructors come to recognize that teaching in a critical manner is essential for:

  • skilled reading, writing, speaking, and listening
  • skilled reasoning within all subject areas
  • skilled decision-making and problem-solving
  • skilled analysis and evaluation of one’s emotions and values
  • intelligent choices in human relationships
  • skilled civic and personal choices

Critical thinking enables students to:

  • Think about and evaluate their own thinking and behaviour on issues related to health, education, physical education, and home economics
  • Make reasonable and defensible decisions about issues related to individual and community well-being
  • Challenge and take action (individually and collectively) to address social, cultural, economic, and political inequalities
  • Understand the role and significance of the culture and its influence on our daily lives and the lives of people in our community

When it comes to the role of an educator in critical thinking, it is important for educators to understand that the role they play in developing critical thinking is different from the role they are usually are entrusted with.  In order to engage students in critical thinking, the educator needs to act as a facilitator and encourage discussion, a more liberal thought process, and an understanding that thinking critically does not always end with a right answer, but sometimes ends in more questions or differing evaluations of a topic. The educator’s role as facilitator also encourages a peer review process, even in the youngest of children, and helps students to learn appropriate ways to respond to conflicting evaluations and opinions.

12 STRONG STRATEGIES FOR EFFECTIVELY TEACHING CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS

Imparting critical thinking skills is a necessity with our students because they’re crucial skills for living life. As such, every teacher is looking for interesting ways to integrate it into classrooms. But what exactly are critical thinking skills, and what are some of the best strategies for imparting them to learners?

Critically thinking about something means formulating your own opinions and drawing your own conclusions. This happens regardless of outside influence. It’s about the discipline of analysis, and seeing the connections between ideas. However, it’s also about being open to other viewpoints and opinions.

STRATEGIES FOR TEACHING CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS

We usually incorporate the following techniques in our critical thinking training, however, there is a lot of scope to improvise these methods and use them the way it suits our students the most.

  1. Start with a Question:

This is the simplest foray into critical thinking. What do you want to explore and discuss? It shouldn’t be a question you can answer with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no.’ You want to develop essential questions here, ones that inspire a quest for knowledge and problem-solving. They’ll support the development of critical thinking skills beautifully.

When you pose your question to students, encourage brainstorming. Write down possible answers on a chalkboard or oversized pad as a student reference. Having open discussions with students is a big part of defining the problem in Solution Fluency.

  1. Develop a Foundation

Students cannot think critically if they do not have the information they need. Begin any critical thinking exercise with a review of related information. This ensures they can recall facts pertinent to the topic. These may stem from things like:

  • Reading assignments and other homework
  • Previous lessons or critical thinking exercises
  • A video or text
  1. Refer to the Classics

Great literary works are a perfect launch pad for critical thinking, with challenging narratives and deep characterization. Use them for specific lessons on character motivation, plot predictions, and theme. Here are some links to explore for resources:

  • Sceptic North
  • Shakespeare and Critical Thinking
  • The Critical Thinking Community
  1. Use Informational insights

Part of critical thinking is to know when to pursue and when to discard information. Students must learn to amass the appropriate knowledge to inform that thinking. An understanding of Information Fluency can support teaching critical thinking skills.

Mastering the proper use of information is crucial to our students’ success in school and life. It’s about learning how to dig through knowledge in order to find the most useful and appropriate facts for solving a problem. Critical thinking is deeply embedded in the process of Information Fluency.

  1. Utilise Peer Groups

There is comfort in numbers, as the saying goes. Digital kids thrive on environments where critical thinking skills develop through teamwork and collaboration. Show kids their peers are an excellent source of information, questions, and problem-solving techniques.

BLOW YOUR LEARNERS’ MINDS. FREQUENTLY.

Real-time reporting against standards, rich media-driven portfolios, a vibrant collaborative learning experience, and top-notch unit plans from teachers around the world, and much more. Prepare to get excited about the learning journey every day.

  1. Problem Solving

Assigning a specific problem is one of the best avenues for teaching critical thinking skills. Leave the goal or “answer” open-ended for the widest possible approach. This is the essence of asking essential questions requiring discovery and synthesis of knowledge through critical thinking.

  1. Change their misconceptions

Critical thinking involves intensive work and concentration, but students should be left to themselves for much of the process. That said, it could be helpful to step in partway through their process. You can do this to correct misconceptions or assumptions. Students will benefit from practicing critical thinking. You’ll offer richer lessons, deeper exploration, and better lifelong learning.

So, NeevShiksha strives to impart critical thinking in their students through its teachers and mentors. Our goal at Neev Shiksha is the inclusion of critical thinking skills in the academic curriculum. It will help a child become more objective & open-minded & will strengthen his thinking, which will be an asset for the child’s career.

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