Critical Thinking – Teaching Techniques for developing critical thinking skills

Critical thinking is an act of learning. Thinking can also be processed and developed. It is nurtured. Individual grows in each and every moment of his life.

Critical thinking as the “intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.  (The U.S. National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking)

Important Tools and techniques for developing critical thinking skills

Understanding of fact/formula is a good act of learning; however our goal of learning should be to know the ways/means/methods/techniques/reason (“why” and “how”). Everyone knows the formula for the area of a triangle – half into base into height. But why it is so? Millions of people might had seen the falling a fruit from a tree but minute observer Newton noticed and developed a desire to know “ why” and “how”.

Educator instigates spark of learning “why” and “how” and helps learner to taste himself/herself the “essence of learning”.  Let us learn to think “why” and “how”!

Questioning/Inquiry based learning:

Sensible student asks rational questions to self, surrounding and teacher. The moment a student inquires about something; it means s/he is interested in it. When we relate ourselves with situation, then we enable our self to explore the best possibilities. Sensible student considers all the factual and fictional possibilities.  It takes us to right place.

If s/he asks questions, then it is great sign for possibilities of better learning. S/he clears her doubts before considering the outcomes. S/he knows where to reach because her objective is clear. Student asks questions to reach the center. Student inquires to fix the problems and find out the solutions. A sensible student asks following questions to questions to self, surrounding and teacher. Sensible teachers only sensitizes learner to (Handwritten Picture)

  • What are the possible reasons for this events/accidents/result etc?
  • What were the important factors?
  • Why these factors became so crucial/game changing?
  • What can be other best possible options?
  • How did you come to know these factors? Would you like to mentions some of them?
  • What do you think? (Open ended questions)
  • Do you think so? Support your answer with illustration

How to Draw Best from Within

  • Asks Question
  • What is this —-
  • Why is it important—
  • How does it help ——-
  • Why does it happen –
  • Is it relevant —–
  • What are the difficulties ——
  • What are the ways to overcome difficulties—
  • Can we modify —–
  • What are the points which we can add or delete or modify —–

We should consider all questions before taking some initiatives and while performing a task.

Consider two situations:-

If you were the Indian NSA Ajit Doval, then, how would you solve the dispute of International Border Line “Doklam” between India and China, where third country (Bhutan) was also involved?

Mr. Ram Niranjan is newly appointed District Magistrate of ‘Mor’ district of Bihar. India Metrological department warned a heavy rain fall, which may bring a sudden flood. A large number of people stay in lower area. Mr. Ram has only 24 hours to make necessary arrangement. If you were Mr. Ram, what decision would you like to take for saving thousands of life?

Educator: – Facilitator of Learning

  • Educator should instill the habit of “learning to think” the process, ways and means for exploring the facts.
  • Give them opportunity, help them, and motivate them to become a wise critical thinker.
  • Encourage them and support them for shaping a fine human being, who can think wisely. Each individual has potential to think, analyze, evaluate and conclude concretely.

  • Help students to form right attitude for   minute observation and evaluation
  • Provide students a number of problem solving activities related to personal life, school life, and professional life
  • Brain game and puzzles
  • Lead learners to have intensive discussion and debate based learning

Give him Time

We should respect the dignity and integrity of individual. We should nurture his nature to come out from within. If we ask something, we should give him time to come out with several relevant points.

Listen to him

Human beings are habituated to talk much and listen less. We should listen individual’s ideas, view points, suggestions with patience. Give him the space to think and share.

Trust him

Better result comes when we trust individual’s ability.

Better result comes when we allow him to lead the show.

Each and every individual sees the world in his/her unique way. Parent, siblings, society, teachers, principal, boss, head of institution should trust the ability of an individual to see the things in a unique way. We should at least listen sometimes or other.

Elders/Seniors’ faiths make individual’s self esteem strong. I hope, we will not loss anything if we listen someone’s idea. It is in our hand to accept those points, use some of good points, modify them, and indeed, reject those points in a mild way.

A number of world’s great achievers achieved high however, at earlier phase of his life or career his views/ ideas were rejected or ignored by colleagues and seniors.

Facilitate him

 We grow in every moment of life. We are learners. Proper guidance, proper training and proper facilitation lead an individual to walk on right path.

Give respect to individual’s opinion

Share existing knowledge

Widen individual’s horizon to make out the things

Help individual to identify most relevant pros and cons

Help individual to find out various alternates

Review the Essence of Critical Thinking Skill

Critical thinking is at the core of most intellectual activity that involves students learning to recognize or develop an argument, use evidence in support of that argument, draw reasoned conclusions, and use information to solve problems. Examples of critical thinking skills are interpreting, analyzing, evaluating, explaining, sequencing, reasoning, comparing, questioning, inferring, hypothesizing, appraising, testing and generalizing.

Rajeev Ranjan

Indian Educationist