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As you know, K-12 education is primarily about learning the basics, i.e., facts, concepts, principles, and skills.Although critical thinking and problem-solving skills are included to some extent, they are not the primary focus. We continue to teach the basics in introductory courses especially, but the primary goal is for students to use that knowledge to think critically about events, readings, speeches, ideas, and one's own perspectives across many disciplines.
How do you encourage your students to think critically?
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Teaching critical thinking, though, isn’t always easy.
The following are some ways to integrate critical thinking exercises into your ESL lessons while still meeting the language goals you set for your students.
For students to be engaged in critical thinking, the educator needs to act as a facilitator to allow for discussion and encourage a wider and open thought process, as well as to encourage understanding of the different perception of every individual that comes with thinking critically.
Also engaged in this skill, it is important to understand that students do not always end with a right answer, but instead sometimes ends in more questions or differing evaluations of the topic. You can recycle this activity throughout the year by adapting the challenge or materials to specific content areas.The success of such activities depends on the nature of the questions posed.This activity works ideally with questions to encourage deeper thinking, problem-solving, and/or critical analysis.If you feel that they are a primary focus of the course, you may find the literature on “essential questions” valuable in organizing your course.3.Select assignments and in-class activities that are designed to sequentially develop the skills you have selected in #1 above.Encourage them to vote everyone must agree to the final solution.This game is similar to the “If you build it” game: Teams have a common objective, but instead of each one having the same materials, they have access to a whole cache of materials.This skill is developed among students by engaging them in activities that require them to process questions and come out with solutions for the same helping them to develop this skill.In order to help students develop this skill and come out with uncommon thoughts, it is important for educators to understand the role they play in developing critical thinking is different than the role they are typically playing.Most faculty will agree that critical thinking is important, but we lack consensus on what we're talking about when we refer to it.What does critical thinking look like in your discipline? What set of critical thinking skills are you attempting to help students develop? Determine whether the bulk of the course will focus on critical thinking outcomes or whether they are just one part of the course’s focus.