7 steps of critical thinking

After all, we want our learners to think critically and create great solutions. However, busy teachers and administrators also want to make their own jobs more effective in a shorter time span. Obtaining solid critical thinking strategies will get you all to that higher-order thinking destination.

It's clear, rational, logical, and independent thinking. It means thinking in a self-regulated and self-corrective manner. How can we make this happen quickly with our students?

6 Steps for Effective Critical Thinking

Our Critical Thinking Companion will always get you on the right track. In the meantime, here are some other things you must have in your critical thinking repertoire. Using technology with students is always a great and engaging idea. That said, it can also be a learning curve. We sometimes assume our digital kids know everything about every app or tool. Not so, unfortunately.


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  • Step 2: Comprehension.
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Some tools require more skill and experience than others. The added time spent learning to use them could be better spent on a different task. You can spend a lesson or two on how to use the tech tools properly early in the year. That way they can get working on their own quickly. You can also poll the class or have an open discussion. Which tools are they already most familiar with? Which ones are they most excited about learning with? Choose the right tool and have a plan instead.

6 Steps for Effective Critical Thinking

When students approach learning proactively, they have a real stake in the outcome. Linda Elder with Richard Paul. Though most teachers aspire to make critical thinking a primary objective of their instruction, most also do not realize that, to develop as thinkers, students must pass through stages of development in critical thinking. That is, most teachers are unaware of the levels of intellectual development that people go through as they improve as thinkers. We believe that significant gains in the intellectual quality of student work will not be achieved except to the degree that teachers recognize that skilled critical thinking develops, only when properly cultivated, and only through predictable stages.

We shall be brief, concise, and to the point in our explanation with minimal theoretical elaboration. Each stage of intellectual development will be explained in terms of the following variables:. At a minimum, you will ask why the commission came to that conclusion.

What was their evidence? Even beyond asking for the reasons behind a conclusion, however, critical thinking requires the ability to evaluate those reasons. The reasons for the commission's conclusions regarding pornography can be faulted on several grounds; they are evaluated in Chapter 14 of the text. Is the argument logical? What is the source of the evidence that backs up the argument? If it's an experiment, were the experimental methods sound? Learning how to ask and answer questions like these is a first step in becoming skillful at critical thinking.

Throughout the text, the authors' discussions provide examples of critical thinking, illustrating how to examine the assumptions underlying an assertion, to evaluate evidence for an assertion, and to draw reasonable conclusions.

MNM Lokaal – Giving teachers and students the tools to succeed

In addition, each chapter of the textbook includes a section, labeled "Thinking Critically," that is devoted to critical thinking about one specific topic or assertion. In each case, the section examines the issue by considering five questions:. These questions represent steps that you can apply in thinking about most assertions, as the textbook explains. You can think critically without using these specific steps, but they constitute one useful model for critical thinking. Take time to consider the "Thinking Critically" sections, not only for their content, but also as a model of a way of thinking.

For further practice at critical thinking, do the Critical Thinking exercises in each chapter of the Study Guide.

Step 2: Comprehension

These will help you understand the importance of the five critical thinking questions and how to apply them. When you come across an issue of particular interest in your reading of the text, try applying these five steps to the discussion.

How to avoid knowing what isn't so.

No textbook can examine every issue in depth; if some of the steps are not fully explored in the text, try doing further research to follow these steps yourself. Or take a very specific assertion implicit in the discussion and explore it further by applying the five steps to that assertion. Most of all, as you read, remember to think critically.

Throughout the text, the authors have tried to stimulate your own thinking. Just as they examine the flaws in existing research and acknowledge the many psychological questions that remain unanswered, so too should you probe what the authors have written and ask your own questions about it.

Applying the authors' model of critical thinking during the course should bring you at least four benefits. First, it should reinforce the habit of thinking critically. Will you take melatonin because others claim it is good for you?