Teaching & Developing Critical Thinking

Teaching & Developing Critical Thinking

Thinking allows connections, leads to development of new ideas.

Thinking in the right frame is valid in learning. Developing the right frame of thinking is essential in teaching.

Spread of false news, image editing and blending, audio editing, and video clipping are some common fallacy we come upon. Belief in such mistaken identities can be dangerous to individuals and societies. To bring upon awareness on such misinterpreted or misrepresented information, thinking skills need to be developed among students

The priority questions immediately to develop such skills will be as

  1. Can we develop thinking?
  2. How to develop thinking?
  3. What are the ways to develop the right thinking?

Thinking is a process which is initiated by our sense organs. We think when we sense a different pattern, interesting news or tasty food. The starting point of this thought process is sometimes as simple as a word, smell or a scene. Thought process fly rapidly when we observe interesting situations. Learning is a process which happens only when it relatively builds thinking process. The concept of ‘surface’ and ‘deep’ learning are metaphors to the thought process developed while learning. To develop the process of thinking we need to anchor our delivery process on lines of evoking the sense organs.


The development of thinking varies with age. In the formative years, thought process can be developed to the surface level, exposing the students only to the visual, verbal and emotional cues in the given scenario. Hints like

  • What is the colour of the object?
  • Why do you think the person was sound surprised?
  • What word did the character use to describe?
  • How many objects did you find in green colour?

Most of the above questions are ‘closed’ type and this is to develop careful observation among learners. As they grow and as they have started observing the question pattern can now change to ‘semi-open’ ended questions which can later become ‘open ended’ questions.

Higher level thinking can be developed by allowing students to discuss in groups the incident, the visual, verbal and emotional cues that has happened in the given scenario. Analysing the incident, looking beyond what their sense organs can give them an insight into deeper critical thinking. Some websites provide details of such hoax images which can be incorporated into the class to develop critical thinking.

It is necessary to develop the ability to think – correlate and question, among the students in the era of social media. Reality merges with virtual world with technological inputs. Separating virtual from reality needs to be taught in schools for the students to be safe and to live harmoniously. Developing this ability among individuals and isolated societies may be difficult but through open forums, discussions, cross cultural exchanges and exposure this ability can be developed among both teachers and their students. Teachers need to accept the fact that their students are far ahead in using technology, this does not make them superior or teachers inferior. The role of teacher has shifted to that of facilitator or better moderator who tunes into the right direction of thought also giving students’ opportunity to safely move into risky zones under guidance.

Thought process, when left free may turn wild, as teachers, engaging in positive scaffolding is important, while maintaining confidentiality of such issues, rather than victimizing the student for their innocent thoughts. Understanding student environment and circumstances can help to guide such students. It is the CORRECTED MISTAKE that is important rather than the TAUGHT because MISTAKES ARE RARELY FORGOTTEN.

About the Author
I work as Academic Coordinator at Nalanda Educational Institutions, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. Worked in implementing Technology supportive curriculum in our organisation. Trainer and Curriculum designer for technology based Curriculum.

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