What is critical thinking in primary education

Rather than read about the effects of nutrients in soil, why not grow a garden and see those effects in action?

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Check out these resources for getting started with project-based learning. Explore the world in a subject-area scavenger hunt. Ask students to find examples of your content in the world outside of school.


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Ask them to bring in those examples and teach others how they apply to the current topic of study. Utilize habits of mind. Asking students to think critically is not enough; we have to teach them how. Guide your students in visualizations, help them make connections, and teach them about persistence and taking risks in order to solve difficult challenges. Ask students how they learned something. Present them with metacognitive questions so they can routinely explore what they think about their thinking and how they got there.

Teach students to question.

Scientific research on how to teach critical thinking contradicts education trends

You may opt out at any time. Please view our privacy policy or contact us for more details. I understand that I may withdraw my consent at any time and that my consent is not a condition of any purchase. Skip to main content. Teaching critical thinking skills is important for students of all ages. Learn More Today. It also allows them to problem-solve and think on their feet, and boosts self-esteem by providing an opportunity for students to express themselves in front of their peers.

How to use critical thinking in the classroom

Encourage decision-making Since a large part of teaching critical thinking skills revolves around applying knowledge and evaluating solutions, elementary school teachers should encourage decision-making as much as possible. Work in groups Group projects and discussions are another excellent way for elementary school teachers to encourage critical thinking skills. Incorporate different points of view Some of the very best critical thinking exercises for elementary school students involve exploring a concept from multiple perspectives.


  1. mla referencing a research paper.
  2. How to Develop A Critical Thinking Mindset in Elementary Students.
  3. Critical Thinking Definition - The Glossary of Education Reform;
  4. This tactic not only establishes that an idea should be assessed from different points of view before an opinion is formed, it gives students a chance to share their own viewpoints while listening to and learning from others. Connect different ideas Connecting different ideas is key to teaching critical thinking. For example, elementary school teachers can ask students if they know anyone who has to take a bus to work, and if so, why it would be important for that person to also have a train schedule. Questions like these help children consider different situations delayed buses, for example and potential solutions taking the train instead , helping them apply prior knowledge to new contexts.

    Inspire creativity Imagination is key to teaching critical thinking in elementary school. While not synonymous with good thinking, CT is a pervasive and self-rectifying human phenomenon.

    Critical Thinking

    The ideal critical thinker is habitually inquisitive, well-informed, trustful of reason, open-minded, flexible, fair-minded in evaluation, honest in facing personal biases, prudent in making judgments, willing to reconsider, clear about issues, orderly in complex matters, diligent in seeking relevant information, reasonable in the selection of criteria, focused in inquiry, and persistent in seeking results which are as precise as the subject and the circumstances of inquiry permit.

    Thus, educating good critical thinkers means working toward this ideal. It combines developing CT skills with nurturing those dispositions which consistently yield useful insights and which are the basis of a rational and democratic society.

    Education in critical thinking offers an alternative to a drift toward postmodern relativism, by emphasizing that we can "distinguish between facts and opinions or personal feelings, judgments and inferences, inductive and deductive arguments, and the objective and subjective. Three Categories of Questions explains why, because students don't recognize questions involving "reasoned judgment" which are neither fact nor opinion , they "fail to see the difference between offering legitimate reasons and evidence in support of a view and simply asserting the view as true.

    The essence of critical thinking is logic, and logical evaluation — by using reality checks and quality checks — is the essence of Design-Thinking Process and Scientific Method. On the other end of the logic spectum, we see a variety of logical fallacies that include circular reasoning and strawman arguments. Teachers can find a wide variety of goal-directed activities for thinking-and-learning.

    Thinking is encouraged by a creative use of Thinking Activities, such as Aesop's Activities or Socratic Teaching Six Types of Socratic Questions and other teaching tactics that encourage active learning.

    see Dany Adams explains how, "because the scientific method is a formalization of critical thinking, it can be used as a simple model that removes critical thinking from the realm of the intuitive and puts it at the center of a straightforward, easily implemented, teaching strategy," in Critical Thinking and Scientific Method. Accurate evaluation of a thinking skill — or even defining precisely what the "skill" is, and how we can observe and measure it — is much more difficult than evaluating ideas-knowledge.

    Critical Thinking on the Web offers links to many interesting, useful resources about critical thinking in a WIDE variety of areas, for teaching more. Its value is simple: if we can take charge of our own minds, we can take charge of our lives. Richard Paul describes two beneficial dispositions that are encouraged but not guaranteed by critical thinking education:. Yes, reason is useful, it is noble and desirable, it should be highly valued and carefully developed.

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    But we should keep things in perspective, regarding what reason can accomplish. Probably most of us will agree with Paul about the value of critical thinking but also with the majority of experts, who conclude that becoming skilled at critical thinking does not guarantee that this powerful tool will always be used for the benefit of others.

    Why teach Critical Thinking? What is Critical Thinking? Why should we teach Critical Thinking?