Teaching Critical Thinking Skills

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Teaching Digital Literacy in the Classroom

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 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
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed Speed
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.

Turns out, learning to take different people's perspectives is at the heart of critical thinking, and exercises in perspective taking can be surprisingly easy to incorporate into your teaching. Here are some tricks for getting your students to take on other perspectives:

  • When social conflicts come up, as they do in so many classes, ask your students to take a break and write a journal entry from a different individual's point of view. Describe the situation from that person's point of view, and then reflect on how that perspective is different from their own.
  • Literacy and social studies are perfect places for perspective taking. Ask students to spend ten minutes imagining they are in the mind of a character from literature or history. This can be particularly meaningful if the character is very different from the student (a different ethnic background, race, gender, or physical ability, for instance). Give your students lots of opportunities to talk about what this is like.
  • Perspective taking can happen in math, science, and any other class as well. When you pose questions for your students, ask them to think about how they might answer differently if they were a different person. Give them a chance to discuss how who they are impacts how they see the world. This is a key aspect of critical thinking and engaged learning.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support