Thursday, 22 November 2012

How to Teach Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking is a basic life skill. You must learn how to think critically and model an excellent example of critical thinking skills to those who look up to you. Having established that, you must learn how to teach critical thinking skills. Teaching critical thinking skills goes hand in hand with helping your students understand the art of building critical thinking skills. The following steps are helpful to you, who desire to learn how to teach critical thinking skills:
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Give your students a prompt- a prompt is a statement to which students should respond. Help your students understand what exactly you need from the prompt by breaking it into portions they can easily digest.

Ask questions- ask students questions often in the course of the lesson. You may choose to ask different questions or ask the same question differently. The idea is to develop intellectual curiosity among your students.
Encourage constructive debate- constructive debates arise from discussing controversial yet relevant issues in society. You may choose not to assign a topic taught in class, but have a topic that affects the age bracket of your class or children.
Provide effective tools for critical thinking- before asking a question or assigning a prompt, help students understand what critical thinking is, why they should cultivate critical thinking and writing skills and the language they should use to critique.
Use different methods of assessment –capacities and abilities vary from student to student. The same applies to their preferences. Use different avenues not only to teach critical thinking skills, but also to help them master the art of building critical thinking skills. You may choose to use an essay in one instance, a case study, speech or engage them in Socratic discussions. Each child will display his/her strength in different categories.
 Encourage evaluation among your students- through sampling the works written by their colleagues, students are challenged to master developing and building critical thinking skills; sometimes a challenge from within works better than a challenge from external sources. 
Let students be the teacher- sometimes it is paramount to step back, let the students approach the subject from the angle they desire. Your work is to control the debate. You will be surprised at what they can deliver given an opportunity.
Building critical thinking skills and learning how to teach critical thinking skills is an art; you become proficient through repeating the same thing severally. In case of challenges, you can request for assistance from experts. 

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