Teaching Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is useful to yield ‘flowers’ from our thoughts. Learning to think critically helps generate confidence within a person to evaluate, analyze and interpret any kind of information/event/circumstance more efficiently. Nowadays educational institutions are emphasizing the need of teaching critical thinking skills to their students. In modern times, critical thinkers can contribute significantly for the betterment of our society.
The Essential Quality of Critical Thinking
When one starts thinking from one’s higher mind or spiritual mind, it is termed as critical thinking. Our lower mind or the brain is basically limited and ego-centric in nature. It is driven by our own emotions, needs and personal likes and dislikes. It is also easily exposed to outward influences. As a result, it is only capable of carrying out the activities of our daily life in a superficial manner. However, critical thinking has a vital role when we take crucial decisions that need unbiased judgment. In short, normal thinking is conformist and even sometimes irrational; while critical thinking is rational and creative.
The Need for Critical Thinking
Nobody is born with the ability to think critically. As we grow, our life experiences teach us to think more analytically. But only relying on life experiences is not enough. There is great need today to educate children and youth to think deeply and critically about relevant issues, so that they grow into mature thinking adults with adequate problem-solving skills. Due to lack of guidance, the thinking process in today’s youth is somewhat inconsistent and does not follow any methodical order. They tend to focus on acquiring more and more new and isolated facts on any subject matter without understanding the basic concept of the subject. As a result, they fail to summarize what they have studied and assess the significance of the subject matter. If they are trained in critical thinking they would apply logical inquiry to each and every observation and would be capable of drawing a relevant conclusion.
Methods of Teaching Critical Thinking
Teaching critical thinking is an on going process. It cannot be limited to just a few classroom sessions. It should be strictly carried out by some well-trained instructors. Critical thinking can be mastered through self-discipline. The most important aspect of teaching critical thinking is to adopt those methods which allow students to think freely and which do not force them to think in a particular manner. Some of the basic methods are listed below:
One of the best methods is to involve them in a group discussion or debate on any issue. As a result, students can liberate their thoughts and ideas without restricting themselves to any given set of norms.
It is also good to persuade students to articulate their opinions through writing. Writing helps express oneself in a concise and coherent manner. It compels one to stay focused on the content and draw effectual inferences.
Solving numerical problems or puzzles can be considered as another method of teaching critical thinking as it sharpens their problem solving skills.
There are other innovative methods that help students to put forth their logical reasoning skills. For instance, during exams students should be examined on problems or situations that test their analytical abilities and their creativity, rather than what they have memorized. Higher grades should be given to the most innovative answers.
Such innovations make both the teaching and learning experience more interesting.
Benefits of Teaching Critical Thinking
Teaching critical thinking brings about a sea change in the entire thought process of the students. They can face the challenges of life confidently and achieve their goals. It is beneficial in building up a productive mind that thinks independently and acquires far-sightedness. Normally, critical thinkers never get carried away by impulses or behave irrationally. It has been realized that teaching critical thinking has a positive effect on the overall development of an individual’s personality.
Teaching critical thinking can be described as a course of action taken to re-educate the educated souls on the basic virtues of in-depth thinking.
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