Thursday, September 22, 2011

Teaching Students Critical Thinking

Teaching Students Critical Thinking!

Critical thinking/higher-order thinking or as I tell my students, "deep thinkers, think about finding the undiscovered questions, they think, question, learn, and thrive academically". Moving students from simple reasoning or concrete operational thinking to the abstract higher order thinking is not intuitive for students and some educators. Children as young as six can be instructed to think critically, at first using primitive logical reasoning with modeled examples and stories. Teacher using think-alouds or verbal metacognition help children gain insight into higher order thinking and hierarchical thinking. Students may not have the verbal language to express higher order thinking at first but with great teacher modeling and opportunity to practice students, will develop this critical skill for success. 

Teach students about amazing people like George Washington Carver, the self educated American scientist, botanist, educator, and inventor. Examine, analyze, discuss, and choose traits that made him a successful student and scholar. Model those traits through role play, modeled critical thinking to help students try new ways of thinking. Have your class revisits the traits of successful (critical) thinking, and behavior daily to help reinforce desired student outcomes. When students find their fire they will be amazing! When students make erudite traits part of daily life my job gets easy!

Critical thinking, in general, refers to higher-order thinking that questions assumptions. It is a way of deciding whether a claim is true, false, or sometimes true and sometimes false, or partly true and partly false. The concept is somewhat contested within the field of education due to the multiple possible meanings. The origins of critical thinking can be traced in Western thought to the Socratic method of Ancient Greece and in the East, to the Buddhist Abhidharma. Critical thinking is an important component of most professions. It is a part of the education process and is increasingly significant as students progress through university to graduate education. Wiki 

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