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Smart Hacks to Help Students Improve Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking skills are crucial to deep learning. That is exactly why they should be developed early in life. But what is critical thinking? It is the ability to actively conceptualise, analyse, apply and evaluate information that is gathered through experience, observation, communication, reasoning or reflection. Simply put, critical thinking is the ability to connect different ideas and think rationally and logically.

The most important critical thinking skills include open-mindedness, asking thoughtful questions, problem-solving, analysis, self-evaluation, self-regulation, interpretation and good communication. Teachers can help develop students critical thinking skills in a number of ways.

Ways to Improve Critical Thinking Skills

Often, teachers are concerned about how to improve critical thinking to enhance the learning outcomes of students. One of the best ways of doing this is by integrating critical thinking into your instruction. Here are some ways in which teachers can help students improve critical thinking skills:

  • Stimulate Creativity:

    Think of creative ways in which a lesson can be taught. When giving students creative projects, avoid spoon-feeding them. Instead, let them decide how they want to carry out the project. For instance, if you want students to create a model of the solar system, leave it to them on how they want to execute the project. Do not give micro-level instructions on which material to use, how to align the planets, how to colour the objects, and so on.

  • Start Sessions with Interesting Questions:

    Questions play a key role in students critical thinking skills. When you start a lesson, think of questions from daily life that are relevant to that topic. Instead of asking closed-ended questions that have ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ as answers, ask open-ended questions. Inspire students to be curious and guide them towards discovering answers to your questions.

  • Help Students Link Concepts and Applications:

    If you are wondering how to improve critical thinking effectively, you can encourage your students to link concepts taught in class to real-life applications.

  • Allow Students to Lead:

    During classroom discussions, allow students to discuss among themselves to come up with answers. You can come up with ideas such as contests or games where the students interact with each other and make decisions. This is an effective approach to enhance critical thinking skills, where students depend on themselves rather than on teachers for answers to questions.

  • Plan Role Play Activities:

    Teachers can plan role playing activities for students where they act like another person, be it a celebrity, a professional or even their friends. Role playing activities improve critical thinking skills by enabling children to make decisions while being in the character they choose to play. Another way in which it helps build students these skills is by making them understand that different people can have different points of view, and that you can think from their perspective by being in their shoes.

These were the different ways for teachers seeking information on how to improve critical thinking in their students. Teachers can also explore other teaching methodologies like project-based learning, inquiry-based learning and expeditionary learning to build critical thinking skills in students. Visit SuperTeacher online platform for teaching for more informative resources on teaching.

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