Strategies to Develop Critical Thinking
The issue of developing critical thinking skills in students was primarily derived from the work of Benjamin Bloom who identified six levels of cognitive functioning, with each subsequent level indicating higher cognitive ability. Knowledge focuses on remembering and reciting information. Comprehension focuses on interpreting and comparison of previously learned information. Application focuses on applying acquired knowledge, techniques, and rules in such a way as to foster solutions to a problem. Analysis involves the use of critical thinking skills to break down information into parts and understanding how each part relates to the whole. An example would be categorization. Synthesis involves the use of critical thinking skills to form a new and original integration of the whole. This is evidenced by students finding alternative solutions to a given problem. Evaluation is focused on using critical thinking skills to present and defend conclusions by making judgments, testing the legitimacy of the conclusion, and supporting with fact-based evidence. Critical thinking is said to take place during the Analysis to Evaluation range of Bloom’s taxonomy. To provide the greatest benefit to students, teachers should provide many opportunities for students to engage in the upper levels of Blooms taxonomy, in the range where critical thinking takes place. While most teachers agree that the development of critical thinking skills is an important part of the learning process, few have a clear conception of what exactly it is, or how it should be taught, or methods of its assessment. The various definitions of critical thinking (CT) illustrate an individual who is actively engaged in the thought process. Not only is this person evaluating, analyzing, and interpreting the information, he or she is also analyzing inferences and assumptions made regarding that information. The use of CT skills such as analysis of inferences and assumptions shows involvement in the CT process. These cognitive skills are employed to form a judgment. Unfortunately, not everyone uses CT when solving problems. Therefore, in order to think critically, there must be a certain amount of self-awareness and other characteristics present to enable a person to explain the analysis and interpretation and to evaluate any inferences made. The development of CT has been a focus of educators at every level of education for years. 2.
Recently researchers have begun to investigate the relationship between the disposition to think critically and CT skills. Many believe that in order to develop CT skills, the disposition to think critically must be nurtured as well. Although research related to the disposition to think critically has recently increased. Dewey argued that possession of knowledge is no guarantee for the ability to think well but that an individual must desire to think. In his view three attitudes ie; open mindedness, wholeheartedness, and responsibility were important traits of character to develop the habit of thinking. Strategies to Develop Critical Thinking
There are various platforms which can be used to develop CT in humans. Two of these will be discussed in the succeeding paragraphs:- 4.
Educational Institutes. Educators can use various instructional methods to promote CT and problem solving. Although educators value a student who thinks critically about concepts, yet the spirit or disposition to think critically is, unfortunately, not always present in all students. This is due to traditional method of lectures as instructional methodology in most educational institutes. When lecturing, the instructor organizes and presents essential information without student input. This practice eliminates the opportunity for students to decide for themselves what information is important to know. Students need to be exposed to diverse teaching methods that promote CT in order to nurture the CT process. As...
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