Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Saturday, February 25, 2017 10:33:22 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

The importance of teaching critical thinking

photo by

By
09th-Nov-2014       Readers ( 775 )   0 Comments
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all (0) »

Ron Damb :
Critical thinking is a term that is given much discussion without much action.  K-12 educators and administrators are pushed to teach the necessities as dictated by the standardized assessments in order to catch up the students to students of other countries.  In this push for better test scores, many students are leaving the K-12 education system lacking the critical thinking skills that are necessary to succeed in higher education or in the workplace (Smith & Szymanski, 2013).  There are several reasons that critical thinking is not being focused on, and the need to have better scores on assessments is just one of them.  Issues such as how to define critical thinking, how to teach critical thinking, and whether critical thinking should be taught or learned through social interaction plague educators who think about enhancing the critical thinking skills of their students (Choy & Cheah, 2009).
Perceptions
The Association of American Colleges and Universities, Standards for Accreditation of Medical Education Program, Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Standards and Guidelines for the Professional Program in Pharmacy, American Dental Education Association, and many more organizations list critical thinking as a major intellectual and practical skill, particularly in the area of health science education (Rowles, Morgan, Burns, & Merchant, 2013). This major intellectual and practical skill seems to be a skill that the majority of students coming into higher education and the workforce are not only lacking in function, but also in understanding what the concept is (Rowles et al., 2013; Choy & Cheah, 2009; Henderson Hurley & Hurley, 2013).  Oftentimes, critical thinking is something that has been overlooked at the elementary, middle, and high school levels where students are taught how to learn, as well as how to analyze information.
 When these students make it to the level of higher education or the workforce, the educators and trainers are forced to begin by teaching critical thinking skills as opposed to beginning with the information that needs to be conveyed.  Halx and Reybold (2005) determined, after much review and research, that learning requires effort, but critical thinking requires maximum exertion of intellectual capability and that students and teachers alike find critical thinking discomforting because it requires personal reflection.  For this reason and the lack of time available to K-12 educators, much critical thinking has been left for higher education to teach and utilize.
Utilization of Techniques and Pedagogy to Enhance Critical Thinking in K-12
Research suggests that a more in-depth focus on enhancing critical thinking skills in K-12 can add academic rigor and increase the scores on the standardized assessments (VanTassel-Baska, Bracken, Feng, & Brown, 2009; McCollister & Sayler, 2010; Snodgrass, 2011; Tsai, Chen, Chang, & Chang, 2013).  By utilizing activities to enhance critical thinking, students are better able to understand why something has occurred as opposed to just understanding what has occurred.  This deeper understanding allows the students to better analyze the circumstances surrounding the occurrence and differing viewpoints about the occurrence (Tsai et al., 2013).
Critical thinking can be infused in lessons throughout all disciplines by utilizing in depth questioning and evaluation of both data and sources (McCollister & Sayler, 2010).  Having students track patterns in information forces them to look at the information as a process instead of simply information to be memorized and helps them develop skills of recognition and prediction. 
Evaluation of information and sources helps students to learn appropriate procedures for finding and utilizing credible information, as well as helping students learn acceptable and appropriate ways to use discretion (McCollister & Sayler, 2010).  These are skills that will help with reading comprehension and problem-solving skills, both of which play an important role in standardized assessments (VanTassel-Baska, Bracken, Feng, & Brown, 2009; McCollister & Sayler, 2010; Tsai et al., 2013). 
These types of activities could be worked into the normal instructional time, with little additional time needed, simply by utilizing things such as online discussion boards, in-class discussions, or alternative modes of assessment in classroom settings (Snodgrass, 2011).  It is also important that any changes to the curriculum be met with training about the new activities and how to utilize them to their full effect. 
The establishment of professional learning communities allows educators to think critically about the methods they are using to teach, and is a good starting point for ideas about inclusion of critical thinking skills in the classroom (Smith & Szymanski, 2013).
The Educator's Role in Developing Critical Thinking Skills
It is important for educators to understand that the role they play in developing critical thinking is different than the role they are typically playing.
 In order to engage students in critical thinking, the educator needs to act as a facilitator to allow for discussion and encourage a freer thought process, as well as to encourage understanding that thinking critically does not always end with a right answer, but instead sometimes ends in more questions or differing evaluations of the topic (Halx & Reybold, 2005; Arend, 2009). 
The educator's role as facilitator also encourages a peer review process, even in the youngest of children, and helps students to learn appropriate responses to conflicting evaluations and opinions (Henderson-Hurley & Hurley, 2013; Tsai et al., 2013).  Activities such as writing essays and utilizing questions that adhere to Bloom's Taxonomy higher order thinking are examples of ways to engage students in critical thinking in the classroom(Smith & Szymanski, 2013). 
Another option for an activity that helps to enhance critical thinking is the use of wikis in education.  This activity can be utilized by having students create a wiki about the subject content they are studying or by having them analyze the information currently available in existing wikis (Snodgrass, 2011).  This utilization of wikis, a web 2.0 application, also appeals to education in that it enhances the student's skills in technology, another vital skill for both higher education and the workplace. 
It is suggested that this endeavor for more critical thinking is a holistic endeavor, which would require cooperation among different departments, divisions, and classes (Henderson-Hurley & Hurley 2013).  The development of critical thinking skills is not only applicable to core subjects such as reading, math, language arts, science, and social studies.  Kokkidou (2013) sets forth ways that critical thinking can be developed in music education by examining musical environment, comparing and contrasting different eras or pieces of music, and self-evaluation of performance.
Results of Increased Critical Thinking
Working to increase critical thinking by students has shown some promising results for both students and educators.  Kokkidou (2013) documented increases in creativity, performance, and literacy within the confines of music, as well as an increased awareness of the musical environment in which students and educators live.  Her findings were that by challenging students to think critically, educators were finding themselves thinking more critically about their subject of expertise. 
Arend's (2009) findings were very supportive of the use of online discussion boards to develop and enhance critical thinking, as well as to enable students to have a better understanding of the initial information and content presented to them in class. 
Tsai, Chen, Chang, & Chang (2013) found that enhancing the critical thinking among students in science classes helped the students better understand the scientific process as well as encouraging students to become more experimental and questioning of the different aspects of the sciences. 
VanTassel-Baska, Bracken, Feng, & Brown (2009) reported findings of an increase in reading comprehension and reading assessment scores that bodes well for the use of the program in Title I Schools. 
Choy and Cheah (2009) and Rowles, Morgan, Burns, and Merchant (2013) all found that while educators feel they are teaching critical thinking skills, their teaching can be enhanced by having a more standard definition of what critical thinking entails.  This definition would allow educators at all grade levels to enhance their current curriculum with activities and lessons that help to develop critical thinking among students and educators. 
Henderson-Hurley & Hurley (2013) found that developing critical thinking among authoritarian students in an institution perceived to be very traditional faced challenges that were unseen in other institutions, but critical thinking could still be accomplished.
Research Questions
There has been quite a bit of research done on critical thinking skills and their importance in education.  When looking at the research using critical thinking skills, the importance of critical thinking skills has been established, but there are still questions that need to be researched further. These questions include:
What practices would enhance the ability of students to think critically about subject material?
In what ways can critical thinking be developed across curriculum barriers?

0 Comments. Share your thoughts also.
Write a comment
Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

VIPs should concern with public safety, not their own special safety


IN a bid to boost the existing security facilities to our VIPs - Ministers, Members of Parliament, state Ministers, Deputy ministers and judges for that matter - the government is about to form a special police unit. The police headquarters have submitted a proposal to the Home Ministry in this ...

City »

Secretary of Rural Development and Cooperatives Division Dr Proshanto Kumar Roy, among others, at an orientation on 'Role of One House, One Farm in Achieving SDGs' in CIRDAP Auditorium in the city on Friday.


.

Entertainment »

Is Deepika doing the remake of Mr & Mrs Smith?


Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone on Thursday negated the reports that she was doing the official remake of Hollywood movie Mr & Mrs Smith. “Well, let’s set the record straight because there have been a lot of rumours regarding a lot of films I am supposedly doing. I think usually there ...

Cricket »

O`Keefe, Smith flatten India on day 2 in 1st Test


AFP, Pune :Left-arm spinner Steve Keefe grabbed a career-best haul of 6-35 to put Australia on top before skipper Steve Smith compounded India's misery with an unbeaten fifty in the first Test in Pune Friday.The visitors reached 143-4 at stumps on day two, which saw a total of 15 wickets ...

International »

White House adviser asks FBI to refute Russia story


AP, Washington :White House chief of staff Reince Priebus asked a top FBI official to dispute media reports that President Donald Trump's campaign advisers were frequently in touch with Russian intelligence agents during the election, a White House official said late Thursday.The official said Priebus' request came after the FBI ...

International »

Putin wants to stabilise Syria's 'legitimate' power


AFP, Moscow :Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Moscow's goal in Syria was to "stabilise the legitimate authority" and strike a "decisive blow" against terrorism."We have no plans to interfere in Syria's internal affairs," he told a group of naval officers returning from Syria, where six years of war ...

Editorial »

Mr Trump`s `demonising` policies threatening world peace


THE mass deportation that President Donald Trump has pressed in the past several days is only spreading fear and dividing the American nation. The Amnesty International's annual report, presented last Wednesday in Paris has objectively pointed out how the US President Donald Trump and some others like Philippine President Rodrigo ...

Football »

A moment of the Dhaka Metropolis Saif Power Tec Second Division Football League between City Club and Shantinagar Club at the Bir Shreshtha Shaheed Sepoy Mohammad Mostafa Kamal Stadium in Kamalapur on Thursday. City Club won the match by 6-1 goals.


Weekend Plus »

Horoscope of the week


Aries (Mar 21-Apr 20):  You may encourage those who are sincere and devoted by using unconventional methods and tactics, or by agreeing to discuss your real intentions. Such tendencies are supported by the fact that your romantic charms and social skills will be at their most effective.Taurus (Apr 21-May 21): ...

Weekend Plus »

Prof Hassan Shaheed Suhrawardy: Forgotten pride


Sunil Bandopadhaya :The Art Advisory Committee for the decoration of the first three buildings of the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, which were officially inaugurated in 1958, held its first session from May 16 to 18, 1955. It included Herbert Read, Professor Hassan Shaheed Suhrawardy, then Pakistan’s Ambassador to Spain. Suhrawardy ...

Entertainment »

Mental health as important as physical health: Demi Lovato


Singer-actress Demi Lovato, who has been vocal about her battle with bipolar depression, believes that mental health is "just as important as physical health".Inspired by her own travails with mental health, Lovato recently served as an executive producer of a documentary called "Beyond Silence", which follows three individuals - Jeff ...

Weekend Plus »

Strawberry Chocolate Brownies


Ingredients250g - Dark chocolate250g - Unsalted butter360g - Caster sugar5 - Eggs5ml - Vanilla extracts100g - Strawberry chocolate (chopped)50g - Chopped nuts65g - All-purpose flour1 tsp - Baking powderFor GarnishFresh strawberriesVanilla ice creamChocolate garnishMethodPreheat the oven to 170 degree celsius.* Line a 24cm square baking tin with greaseproof paper.* Melt ...

SKETCH »

Amar Ekushey Book Fair


Sheikh Arif Bulbon :The month-long Amar Ekushey Boi Mela is going on in the capital amid foolproof security which began on February 1. Some days have already gone since its beginning. This time the Boi Mela takes a different look. This year the extent and range of the Boi Mela ...

International »

Syria`s warring sides trade fire as peace talks convene


Reuters, Beirut :Syrian warplanes carried out air strikes on rebel-held areas in Deraa, Hama and Aleppo provinces and insurgents fired rockets at government targets on Thursday, just as peace talks were set to resume in Geneva after a 10-month hiatus, a war monitoring group said.However, the overall level of violence ...

Sports »

India men`s and women`s Rollball teams, the champions of the men`s division and women`s division of the 4th Rollball World Cup pose for a photograph at the Shaheed Suhrawardy Indoor Stadium in Mirpur on Wednesday.


 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news