Teaching Critical Thinking Skills

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  • 0:03 Critical Thinking in Education
  • 1:15 Perspective Taking
  • 2:50 Question/Answer Parking Lots
  • 3:46 Learning Transfer Times
  • 4:27 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Critical thinking is one of the most important habits a student can learn. This lesson helps you figure out what critical thinking skills are and how you can help your students develop them.

Critical Thinking in Education

Perhaps more than anything else, we hope that our students become critical thinkers. Someone who can think critically can see the world from different points of view. A critical thinker isn't easily duped by false advertising, nor is she fooled by political machinations. A critical thinker is an active, engaged citizen who reads the world with an eye toward improving it. Someone with strong critical thinking skills sees how complicated the important questions can be. Critical thinkers are even able to have richer interpersonal relationships because of their ability to see the world from multiple perspectives.

Yet even though few would argue that it is important, critical thinking can be a challenge to teach. Critical thinking skills develop over time, and there is no one magical way to teach a student to think critically. In this lesson, we will look in depth at three effective strategies for helping students become critical thinkers. The strategies you will learn (perspective taking, question/answer parking lots, and learning transfer times) can be modified for any age group and can work in the context of any subject area. Experiment with these strategies as you plan lessons, and you might be surprised by how deeply and critically your students can think.

Perspective Taking

Have you ever tried looking at a question from a different person's point of view? Many of us do this all the time in our day-to-day life, not to mention in our work. In social situations, we ask ourselves, ''Why is my friend not calling me back? What might she be going through?'' At work, we might look at a problem or question from the point of view of a boss or an employee.

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