September 6, 2014
We all want our students to be critical thinkers but when it comes to defining what it is that critical thinking is all about and what strategies to use to cultivate it in classroom things get a little bit muddier.Scholars across various disciplines define it differently. For Daniel Willingham critical thinking is "seeing both sides of an issue", Robert Wessberg views it as " an ability to use reason to move beyond the acquisition of facts to uncover deep meaning" and linda Elder sees it as a "self-guided, self-disciplined thinking which attempts to reason at the highest level of quality in a fair-minded way". At its essence, critical thinking does require an elevated form of reasoning that is not usually found in other forms of thinking and for teachers to raise critical thinkers they definitely need to be well versed with the inner workings of this type of thinking. To this end, Edtech and Mlearning has this resourceful section full of materials and resources to help teachers integrate the ethos of critical thinking in their instructional pedagogy.
In today's post I am adding another important resource which I have recently uncovered .Critical Thinking.Net is a website that provides some useful materials on critical thinking. Using this website you will be able to find answers to the following questions:
- What is critical thinking ?
- Why teach it?
- How can critical thinking be taught?
- How can critical thinking be assessed?
The site also features another page which includes some interesting articles about critical thinking. Going through these resources I came across this definition of what a critical thinker is in the eyes of Robert H. Enis. For Robert a critical thiner:
1. Is open-minded and mindful of alternatives
2. Desires to be, and is, well-informed
3. Judges well the credibility of sources
4. Identifies reasons, assumptions, and conclusions
5. Asks appropriate clarifying questions
6. Judges well the quality of an argument, including its reasons, assumptions, evidence, and their degree of support for the conclusion
7. Can well develop and defend a reasonable position regarding a belief or an action, doing justice to challenges
8. Formulates plausible hypotheses
9. Plans and conducts experiments well
10. Defines terms in a way appropriate for the context
11. Draws conclusions when warranted – but with caution
12. Integrates all of the above aspects of critical thinking