Our framework emphasizes deeper principles of learning over prescriptive programs that do not allow for flexible application.
So, what exactly is the principle behind teaching critical thinking?
Maybe something like this:
Deep intellectual growth happens when teachers have a frequent and systematic method for students to reflect on the quality of their thinking using criteria to evaluate it and specific methods to improve it.
It doesn’t matter to us exactly how you choose to improve students’ critical thinking. But you should have some positive answers to the following questions:
- Do you have specific, measurable goals for improving the quality of their thinking?
- Do you have a systematic method or is it disjointed and sporadic? Does it vary from teacher to teacher or is it consistent to give students a clear idea of what it is and how to get better?
- How often do students reflect on the quality of their thinking?
- What criteria do they use to evaluate it?
- What criteria do you use to give them feedback on their thinking and how often do you do it?
- What specific methods do they use to improve it?
Teaching critical thinking is quite trendy and there are lots of ideas on defining it. But we haven’t found a better system than the one developed by the Foundation for Critical Thinking. So we advocate its use in classrooms.
Please let us know how you do it!