May 11, 2014
One of our priorities as teachers and educators is to cultivate a culture of critical thinking within our classrooms. Such an endeavour ,while possible and doable, does take so much planning and efforts. I am talking here about efforts from both teachers and students, and on a larger scale curriculum designers as well.
Critical thinking is a cognitive skill that can be developed through a well-planned instructional process. This process, according to Duran et al. (2006) requires five fundamental steps:
This is the initial phase where you need to identify the behaviours you want your students to exhibit and work on encapsulating these behaviours in an overarching higher order thinking schema.
2-Teach through questioning
The importance of integrating questions into instruction is uncontested. Thought-provoking questions help students explore learning from different perspectives. The art of posing well-formulated questions is regaled by a set of techniques, some of which are included in this wonderful poster: Questions A Critical Thinker Asks.
3-Practice before you assess
This is where hands-on learning activities are called for. To consolidate their understandings and therefore increase the retention rate of information taught, students need to utilize all components of active learning such as simulation, experimentations,rehearsing...etc
Students' feedback that you can garner either formally or informally constitute the backbone of your teaching procedure. It provides you with insights into areas that students need help with and also informs your teaching objectives and methodology. There are a variety of tools you can use to collect feedback from your students, check out the 8 Practical tools to easily gather students feedback.
5- Provide feedback and assessment of learning
As you need students feedback to help you inform your teaching methodology, students too need your feedback. They need to learn how they are learning and assess their overall achievement. One way to do this is to provide them with grading rubrics for self-assessment. Here are some other resources to help you provide better feedback to your students:
- 7 Important Tips for providing effective feedback to students.
- 20 Ways to provide feedback to your students.