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When parents ask their children, “What did you do in school today?” the child’s answer is often uninformative: “Nothing.”
One reason for this automatic response is that the question isn’t framed in a way that engages children in critical thinking. If the parent instead asked, “What was the most useless/useful thing you learned in school today?” imagine how much more they would learn about their child’s school day!
Consider all the learning opportunities that are lost every day when teachers don’t fully engage their students in critical thinking. Many students believe critical thinking means criticizing. But one of the most important components of critical thinking is the use of criteria (useful/useless, what I need vs. what I want) to evaluate information, a situation, a choice, etc.
It is not enough for teachers to engage students in critical thinking some of the time or much of the time. The 3 C’s should be embedded in the learning that takes place in the classroom throughout the day.
- Make critical and creative thinking the foundation and driver of learning rather than its desired outcome
- Create a learning environment that nurtures innovation and risk taking
- Strategies for building content knowledge through invitations to think
- 6 ways to frame activities so that they invite critical inquiry
- The central role of a set of criteria when engaging in critical thinking
- How to nurture the 5 intellectual tools and competencies needed for quality thinking and success in the 21st century