How to Develop Critical Thinking in Students?


1. Do not help or solve the problem quickly

Most of the time, students find it hard to solve questions asked in books or assigned by teacher.  This could be due to many reasons including lack of interest and students’ general attitude towards problem-solving skills i.e. losing their heart and mind and confusion. Many students tend to quit so quickly without even trying and ask the teacher for help. Teachers then also try to save time and solve those problems from A to Z.  This indeed results in a sigh of relief for students at that time but perishes problem-solving skills in students. The best way in that situation is to hold back a little bit. When a student comes for help, do not solve the problem right away. Ask the students to try to understand the problem once more by dividing it into parts. Tell them the different ways to solve it. The teacher can also help them to identify the focus point of the problem and guide them to the solution step by step. This attitude develops problem-solving skills and gives them self-confidence. Students also learn what to do and what not to for a specific problem.

2. Encouraging Group Discussions/ Activities

Learning is a peer activity. There are many topics in every subject where students struggle to understand and solve alone. So the teacher should figure out the topics where he/she needs to make students work in groups. Either a group of two or five, students are more comfortable with each other than with the teacher. Students can reject easily each other’s answers or justifications with their logic. Whether right or wrong in their logic, this will boost their thinking process. They learn to develop a plan and logical reasoning process easily.

3. Leaving some gaps in the lesson

During lessons or learning activities, the teacher should not always cover the lesson completely. He should skip some logical reasoning information so the students could be intrigued mentally. This will challenge their comprehension and they will raise questions and objections. Raising questions definitely means that they are surely involved and thinking critically.

4. Do not ask straightforward and simple questions

The simple questions like “Define something”, “What is the meaning of that”, “Tell five points about that” might be good for memorization but it does not help students to think critically. Asking challenging questions like “What if this happens or does not”, “What is the most important thing to remember here”, “When and where this would be helpful in our daily lives” etc. would make students active and think logically and critically.

5. Drawing Conclusions

Many times students do not even know why they have to learn something. If this situation prevails, students tend to think that they are being forced to study or learn something useless. To avoid this, it is important for teachers that they should ask students to draw conclusions from the lesson/activity they just learned. Drawing conclusions would make students understand what is important and what is not and also why they needed to learn that. This will help teachers to assess students on the basis of critical thinking ability.


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