The Best Ways to Develop Critical Thinking Skills
It may seem that education is something too stereotypical, and there are hardly any serious changes in terms of curriculum and general strategy. Well, it might look like this at first, but there are so much more behind the usual tasks and training. Teachers try to develop all the aspects that will help a kid to be successful both in life and career. So, don’t neglect such important skills as critical thinking. This article will give a vivid understanding of this term and some helpful methods for its development.
What does the term “critical thinking” mean?
Prior to discussing the major ways to develop critical thinking skills, let’s start with the basic explanation. This term is a complex one that has so many explanations online. The thing which unites all of the definitions is that it’s a skill of gathering, analyzing, and evaluating the collected data.
It is not an easy skill that can be obtained just by following a couple of steps. It is more about the repetition of this process when you can cope with it automatically and combine this method with others.
When talking, the first step – gathering the information. It doesn’t mean that you can go online and get a couple of sources there, it is a broader term which can include observation, communication, and even processing of your personal experience.
Why is critical thinking so important?
To begin with, critical thinking is not something that you can apply only in the academic sphere. It can be used in the most routine and standard parts of everyone’s life. Just because of simple analysis, it is possible to avoid lots of usual problems and mistakes. Moreover, such a skill helps to look at the same issue under different angles.
Here are some explanations of why these skills are important for students as well as for real-life situations:
- Nowadays, every company wants to manipulate the customers to get a higher profit. People with developed critical thinking will quickly notice such manipulations.
- Education is a life-learning process, and even after graduation, we continue to find out something new. That’s why this skill can help us to develop better and quicker in this constantly changing world.
- Even the simplest question might have a controversial answer. So, what to talk about difficult questions, they definitely need critical skills to find the best way out from any trouble in life.
Ways to develop critical thinking skills!
If you think that it is the most appropriate time for skill development, then here are some practical recommendations.
- The validity of the gathered information should be properly checked. There is so much data online, and a huge percent of it is just faked news, imaginarily stories, and gossips. That’s why it is crucial to check the source of information at first. For instance, if you are reading a fact on the social networking page and the same thing is in the scientific journal with a good reputation, it is evident that the 2 source is more reliable and you can trust this data. Well, it doesn’t mean that the shocking news is always gossiping, but you’d better check this information via more relevant resources.
- Don’t afraid to concentrate on the easiest issue longer. Of course, we tend to choose the quickest way out from any problematic situation, because we don’t want to stay in a stressful state of mind. However, it is better to stay calm and take some time even if all the other people around you recommend the contrary scenario. Spend some time and solve your problem in the most effective way you can imagine, impulsive decisions are not the best once.
- If you are facing a difficult task or problem, it is recommended to divide it into the simplest possible questions and find the answer to each part separately. While using this method, you will definitely find the way out quicker and won’t concentrate on unimportant ideas.
- Try to orient to your personal perception of the situation. All of us have a specific understanding and point of view, and we shouldn’t forget this even when other people aren’t agreeing with us. Just imagine that you are writing a site review. Yes, you have gathered lots of information and other users’ feedback, but it would be uninteresting to read it unless there is something exclusive.
- Each of us has a specific set of believes that greatly influence our perception of the world. Such things as our political, religious, and cultural understandings may stop us from acceptance of other points of view. For instance, a religious person might not accept atheistic proofs and explanations just by skipping these facts and vice versa. That’s why the development of critical thinking will make us people who are objectively analyzing any issue.
- One proven scientific fact doesn’t mean that it is a strict rule that everyone should believe in. To be honest, only those people who have questioned some assumptions and general believes created something new, whether it is a new approach, method, theory, equipment, or anything else.
- One more great recommendation is to apply critical thinking skills only when they are really necessary for a particular situation. Your brain needs to rest, and with the help of automated decisions, it is accumulating energy for more serious tasks and issues. It will be useless to apply the above-discussed methods while you are choosing something in the supermarket.
Several pieces of advice for teachers
Teachers are those professionals that can develop skills without even pointing out a specific term. These experts create the best possible atmosphere for learning and still don’t highlight: “Now students, we are going to learn some ways to develop critical thinking skills.” So, here are a couple of practical recommendations for teachers:
- Teamwork is the best method that can practically show – one problem can have various ways to solve it. Via cooperating with others, students practically understand that any issue has at least a couple of variants to cope with it.
- Use the brainstorming method in order to develop critical thinking skills. Explain the rules of these tasks, and students will gladly participate. While doing it, except for critical thinking, there are other skills that are trained and become almost intuitive.
- A specific task with a list of requirements is not the best choice for the development of these particular skills. It is better to specify some rules, but within the set of instructions, students should be allowed to create whatever they want. In such a way, creativity will also be developing together with critical thinking. For instance, ask your students to rewrite a part of the novel by adding another character.
- Project work has always been a perfect variant for the development of this particular skill. It is a great way to prepare your students for real life with all the existing challenges. Any projects create a cool atmosphere of involvement where students feel comfortable and ready to implement lots of creativity.
- Try to use those tasks that will develop students’ curiosity. It is almost impossible to force the person to do something he/she doesn’t like, and that’s when the personal motivation towards learning should appear.
It is not the easiest thing to develop critical thinking because this process definitely requires brain work and repetition. So, why not to start challenging your personality by using at least a couple of the above-discussed ways to develop critical thinking skills right now. An organized and structured process of improvement will definitely make you another and better version of yourself.