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Teach critical thinking in the digital age

Updated: Oct 24, 2021

In an age of information overload, it's more important than ever that students learn to think critically.

Critical thinking is the ability to question and evaluate

Critical thinking is the ability to question and evaluate information and beliefs about yourself, others, and the world at large. These skills will play a major role in your life and career. Critical thinking is a set of skills that can be learned, and the earlier you start developing it, the better. All children need to master this critical thinking skill set to help them excel in school.

Trying to impart critical thinking on a student is like trying to teach high school economics without including contracts or the term “cost”. You might teach a concept in school, but it’s hard to impart critical thinking with that kind of limited information; but we push on anyway.

Critical thinking is an important skill that everyone should be able to develop. It is the ability to analyze and check information and arguments. Critical thinking involves:

  • making judgments about the validity of information and arguments

  • identifying strengths and weaknesses in reasoning

Ways to Teach Critical Thinking

How can we put pedagogy into practice? Critical thinking is an important skill for all students to develop, and it's essential that teachers make it a priority in their classrooms.

These three suggestions are short and to the point:

  1. Identify a problem or challenge for your students in an area where they haven’t before encountered it. These might be things like foreign languages, math, science, literature, web development, etc.

  2. Have students come up with a 'solution' and share it with the class. Then make a list of reasons why they are right and why their solution works. Discuss this at the end of class; the critical thinking skills the student has developed should lead them throughout the exercise.

  3. Have students write an essay answering one of the following:

    1. Why is thinking like a scientist so important?

    2. Why does a lack of evidence mean we can’t assume anything?

    3. Why is it better to have a big budget and take risks than a small budget but a great deal of caution?

    4. How can you cope with criticism?

    5. Give examples of the logical fallacies that are often found with popular content on the web.

Critical thinking ​can be taught in any content area, including math, science, language arts and reading, social studies, and even in the elective courses.

Teachers need to show their students how to think critically. They need to model that behavior for their students. Critical thinking is a skill that is needed in all areas of life and is essential for solving problems and making good decisions. But it is especially important in the world of technology, because the productivity and success of our students depends on their ability to solve problems and make smart decisions online.

Critical thinking is an important skill set for all students to develop. The ability to take information about the world around you and analyze it to come to your own conclusions is essential. Students who can think critically about the world around them are better positioned to be successful in whatever field they choose to pursue.

The most important thing for teachers is to make it a priority in their classroom. The most important thing for parents is to make it a priority in their children’s lives.


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