Education is more than just reading, writing, and arithmetic. In order for students to compete in the workforce of the future, they must be taught essential critical thinking skills. Technology continues to play an important role in the academic world, and it is imperative that students not only learn how to perform rote skills but to reach beyond the basics of information and learn how to propose, evaluate, research, and solve.
In order for students to become successful, they must learn critical thinking skills, and it is imperative that educators help them learn how to do so. Only then can these students' academic achievement be improved and enhanced. In order for educators to teach critical thinking skills to students, they must incorporate the following:
- Independent Thinking Educators and parents can help their children become independent thinkers by not always giving the answers immediately. Instead, let the students work on the problem and try to solve it themselves before they are given assistance.
- Organization In order for students to become critical thinkers, they must be organized. Educators and parents can help students become more organized by modeling these skills and providing organizational materials and space to students.
- Inference Students must learn how to infer meanings, instead of always looking for the obvious answer. Reading passages from various periodicals and print sources and analyzing the meanings of these passages are good practice skills for inference.
- Anticipating Consequences Students must learn to think beyond the expected. Open-ended questions that relate to various subjects can help students learn to anticipate consequences.
- Valid and Invalid Arguments Students need to understand the difference between valid and invalid arguments. They need to learn how to recognize facts that substantiate the argument, making it valid. They also need to recognize an invalid argument by its lack of evidence and supporting statements. Give students a variety of passages that exhibit both strong and weak arguments, and ask them to distinguish the differences between them.
- Problem-Solving Techniques Educators can teach students to work their way towards an answer by giving them various problems to solve. These practice problems should be given in all of the core academic areas. Allow the students enough time to work on the problems unassisted before stepping in to help.
- Reasoning Skills In order to teach critical thinking skills effectively, educators must encourage reasoning skills. Students must learn how to work out problems by reasoning out the answers. Practice can be given in a variety of forms, including historical assignments, mathematical problems, and literary selections.
- Relating Insights Students also need to learn how to take new material, analyze it, and apply their own insights as to the themes and motifs of each piece that is assigned.