The primary job of a teacher is to help student expand, enhance, confront, explain, adjust, discover, analyze, describe and adopt a multitude of critical thinking skills. Questions teachers need to ask and understand before they expect their students to develop critical thinking skills. How do you teach students critical thinking skills? What are the types or classifications of critical thinking? Is the curriculum I am using providing students opportunities to develop critical thinking and inspire deeper curiosity? What is the most important type of critical thinking? What kinds of critical thinking test questions are my students most likely to encounter?
1. Comprehension (Understanding): to convert information into a form that is personally
meaningful, i.e., that makes sense to the individual who is learning it.
2. Application: to apply abstract or theoretical principles to concrete, practical situations.
3. Analysis: to break down or dissect information into its component parts in order to detect the
relationship among the parts or the relationship between the parts and the whole. (For example,
identify the underlying causes or sources of disagreement during a class discussion.)
4. Synthesis: to build up or connect separate pieces of information to form a larger, more
coherent pattern. (For example, connect related ideas discussed in separate sections or units of a
course into a single, unified product, such as a concept map; integrate ethical concepts learned in
a course and philosophy with marketing concepts learned in a business course to produce a set of
ethical guidelines for business marketing and advertising practices.)
5. Evaluation: to critically judge the validity (truth), morality (ethics), or aesthetic (artistic)
value of ideas, data, or products by using relevant assessment criteria (standards for judging
6. Deduction: to draw conclusions about particular instances that are logically consistent with
or derive from general principles and premises.
7. Induction: to infer (derive or draw out) well-reasoned generalizations or principles from
individual instances or specific examples. (For example, identify recurrent themes or categories
that emerge during a class discussion.) One form is the ability to abstract and extrapolate a
concept learned in one context and transfer that learning to another context, a cognitive process
often referred to as “decontextualization.” This capacity to transfer knowledge, i.e., to apply a
concept learned in one context to different contexts than the one in which the concept was
originally learned, is often presumed to be the litmus test of whether a student has really (deeply)
learned the concept or has simply memorized it in its original form, for example, the ability to
solve different versions of math problems that require comprehension of the same underlying
8. Adduction: to make a case for an argument or position by accumulating supporting evidence
in the form of logical arguments (rational thinking) or research evidence (empirical reasoning).
9. Refutation: to make a case against an argument or position by accumulating contradictory
evidence in the form of logical arguments (rational thinking) or research findings (empirical
10. Balanced Thinking: to carefully consider arguments/evidence for and against a particular
position or viewpoint.
Questions That Promote Deeper Thinking
Questions to Engage Students' Thinking Skills