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Critical thinking scholars also agree that questions are central to students acquiring critical thinking skills.We must ask students challenging, open-ended questions that demand genuine inquiry, analysis, or assessment—questions like these: These are just a few examples of the kinds of questions that require your students to engage in critical thinking.We have to start by formulating assessable critical thinking learning outcomes and building our courses around them.
The literature around it is abstract and fragmented among several different scholars or scholarly teams who work in their own silos and don’t build on or even cite each other. While each has a different definition of critical thinking, they all agree that it involves the cognitive operations of interpretation and/or analysis, often followed by evaluation.
They also concur that students have to critically think about , which means students have to learn how to do it in a discipline-based course.
We cannot wait until they are in high school to build these skills. We need to start early, maybe in Pre-K to prepare our kids for their future now.
They need these skills while they go through school and for what they will need in their lives. With disruption driving workforce changes, human, business and digital skills were now considered foundational for the new economy, with an ‘ability to learn’ seen as a graduate’s most valuable asset.
Class discussion may be the strongest, and it includes the debriefings of complex cases, simulations, and role plays.
However, debates, structured controversy, targeted journaling, inquiry-guided labs, and POGIL-type worksheets are also effective.
All of these learning experiences can arouse students’ curiosity, stimulate their questions, and induce them to explain and justify their arguments.
Finally, we need to remember that instructors are role models. Two professors, one valuable lesson: How to respectfully disagree.
If students don’t see the thoughtful, respectful alternative, how will they be able to peacefully co-exist with one another in this diverse world?
You may not see how the skills employers are looking for have changed from 2015 to 2020, but have we taught those skills listed under 2015.