Critical thinking has become a buzzword in education. In the past, the emphasis in classrooms has been on imparting information and content — the times tables or the capitals of the United States, for example. In recent years, however, there's been a shift toward teaching critical thinking , a skill that elevates thinking beyond memorization into the realm of analysis and logic. Put another way, critical thinking is about knowing how to think, not what to think.
The Importance of Teaching Critical Thinking
Think About It: Critical Thinking | Scholastic | Parents
Students can be taught to think critically using a mix of explicit instruction and providing ample opportunities to practice skills within the context of content learning, according to Pearson Learning. Despite this knowledge, researchers Lisa Marin and Diane Halpern note that very little specific curriculum for explicit critical thinking instruction is available for secondary students, and teacher preparation programs rarely mention how to teach critical thinking. In fact, although most teachers identify it as necessary, few can articulate a good definition of it, and far fewer can identify strategies to teach it. Partnership for 21st Century Skills defines critical thinking as having the ability to reason effectively, to view people and things as parts of complex systems, to make effective and logical judgments and decisions based on a thorough analysis of information obtained from individuals with varying points of view and to solve problems using both conventional and innovative methods. This definition clearly reflects the global nature of critical thinking, but Katie Kirkpatrick, dean of instruction at KIPP King Collegiate High School, describes it more simply in terms of learning content.
Why Public Schools Don't Teach Critical Thinking -- Part 1
In middle school education, 21st Century skills represent a wide swathe of modern experience intended to prepare the next generation for the tech-centric world of tomorrow. But generally, 21st Century skills break down to 12 main capabilities :. By following these four steps, you can effectively teach your middle school students everything they need to know about 21st Century skills. Before you start teaching, you have to plan your class.
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