11 Activities That Promote Critical Thinking In The Class

52 Critical Thinking Flashcards for Problem Solving

Critical thinking activities encourage individuals to analyze, evaluate, and synthesize information to develop informed opinions and make reasoned decisions. Engaging in such exercises cultivates intellectual agility, fostering a deeper understanding of complex issues and honing problem-solving skills for navigating an increasingly intricate world. Through critical thinking, individuals empower themselves to challenge assumptions, uncover biases, and constructively contribute to discourse, thereby enriching both personal growth and societal progress.

Critical thinking serves as the cornerstone of effective problem-solving, enabling individuals to dissect challenges, explore diverse perspectives, and devise innovative solutions grounded in logic and evidence. For engaging problem solving activities, read our article problem solving activities that enhance student’s interest.

What is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking is a 21st-century skill that enables a person to think rationally and logically in order to reach a plausible conclusion. A critical thinker assesses facts and figures and data objectively and determines what to believe and what not to believe. Critical thinking skills empower a person to decipher complex problems and make impartial and better decisions based on effective information.

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Critical thinking skills cultivate habits of mind such as strategic thinking, skepticism, discerning fallacy from the facts, asking good questions and probing deep into the issues to find the truth.

Importance of Acquiring Critical Thinking Skills

Acquiring critical thinking skills was never as valuable as it is today because of the prevalence of the modern knowledge economy. Today, information and technology are the driving forces behind the global economy. To keep pace with ever-changing technology and new inventions, one has to be flexible enough to embrace changes swiftly.

Read our article: How to Foster Critical Thinking Skills in Students? Creative Strategies and Real-World Examples

Today critical thinking skills are one of the most sought-after skills by the companies. In fact, critical thinking skills are paramount not only for active learning and academic achievement but also for the professional career of the students. The lack of critical thinking skills catalyzes memorization of the topics without a deeper insight, egocentrism, closed-mindedness, reduced student interest in the classroom and not being able to make timely and better decisions.

Benefits of Critical Thinking Skills in Education

Certain strategies are more eloquent than others in teaching students how to think critically. Encouraging critical thinking in the class is indispensable for the learning and growth of the students. In this way, we can raise a generation of innovators and thinkers rather than followers. Some of the benefits offered by thinking critically in the classroom are given below:

  • It allows a student to decipher problems and think through the situations in a disciplined and systematic manner
  • Through a critical thinking ability, a student can comprehend the logical correlation between distinct ideas
  • The student is able to rethink and re-justify his beliefs and ideas based on facts and figures
  • Critical thinking skills make the students curious about things around them
  • A student who is a critical thinker is creative and always strives to come up with out of the box solutions to intricate problems
  • Critical thinking skills assist in the enhanced student learning experience in the classroom and prepares the students for lifelong learning and success
  • The critical thinking process is the foundation of new discoveries and inventions in the world of science and technology
  • The ability to think critically allows the students to think intellectually and enhances their presentation skills, hence they can convey their ideas and thoughts in a logical and convincing manner
  • Critical thinking skills make students a terrific communicator because they have logical reasons behind their ideas

Critical Thinking Lessons and Activities

11 Activities that Promote Critical Thinking in the Class

We have compiled a list of 11 activities that will facilitate you to promote critical thinking abilities in the students. We have also covered problem solving activities that enhance student’s interest in our another article. Click here to read it.

1. Worst Case Scenario

Divide students into teams and introduce each team with a hypothetical challenging scenario. Allocate minimum resources and time to each team and ask them to reach a viable conclusion using those resources. The scenarios can include situations like stranded on an island or stuck in a forest. Students will come up with creative solutions to come out from the imaginary problematic situation they are encountering. Besides encouraging students to think critically, this activity will enhance teamwork, communication and problem-solving skills of the students.

Read our article: 10 Innovative Strategies for Promoting Critical Thinking in the Classroom

2. If You Build It

It is a very flexible game that allows students to think creatively. To start this activity, divide students into groups. Give each group a limited amount of resources such as pipe cleaners, blocks, and marshmallows etc. Every group is supposed to use these resources and construct a certain item such as building, tower or a bridge in a limited time. You can use a variety of materials in the classroom to challenge the students. This activity is helpful in promoting teamwork and creative skills among the students.

It is also one of the classics which can be used in the classroom to encourage critical thinking. Print pictures of objects, animals or concepts and start by telling a unique story about the printed picture. The next student is supposed to continue the story and pass the picture to the other student and so on.

4. Keeping it Real

In this activity, you can ask students to identify a real-world problem in their schools, community or city. After the problem is recognized, students should work in teams to come up with the best possible outcome of that problem.

5. Save the Egg

Make groups of three or four in the class. Ask them to drop an egg from a certain height and think of creative ideas to save the egg from breaking. Students can come up with diverse ideas to conserve the egg like a soft-landing material or any other device. Remember that this activity can get chaotic, so select the area in the school that can be cleaned easily afterward and where there are no chances of damaging the school property.

6. Start a Debate

In this activity, the teacher can act as a facilitator and spark an interesting conversation in the class on any given topic. Give a small introductory speech on an open-ended topic. The topic can be related to current affairs, technological development or a new discovery in the field of science. Encourage students to participate in the debate by expressing their views and ideas on the topic. Conclude the debate with a viable solution or fresh ideas generated during the activity through brainstorming.

7. Create and Invent

This project-based learning activity is best for teaching in the engineering class. Divide students into groups. Present a problem to the students and ask them to build a model or simulate a product using computer animations or graphics that will solve the problem. After students are done with building models, each group is supposed to explain their proposed product to the rest of the class. The primary objective of this activity is to promote creative thinking and problem-solving skills among the students.

8. Select from Alternatives

This activity can be used in computer science, engineering or any of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) classes. Introduce a variety of alternatives such as different formulas for solving the same problem, different computer codes, product designs or distinct explanations of the same topic.

Form groups in the class and ask them to select the best alternative. Each group will then explain its chosen alternative to the rest of the class with reasonable justification of its preference. During the process, the rest of the class can participate by asking questions from the group. This activity is very helpful in nurturing logical thinking and analytical skills among the students.

9. Reading and Critiquing

Present an article from a journal related to any topic that you are teaching. Ask the students to read the article critically and evaluate strengths and weaknesses in the article. Students can write about what they think about the article, any misleading statement or biases of the author and critique it by using their own judgments.

In this way, students can challenge the fallacies and rationality of judgments in the article. Hence, they can use their own thinking to come up with novel ideas pertaining to the topic.

10. Think Pair Share

In this activity, students will come up with their own questions. Make pairs or groups in the class and ask the students to discuss the questions together. The activity will be useful if the teacher gives students a topic on which the question should be based.

For example, if the teacher is teaching biology, the questions of the students can be based on reverse osmosis, human heart, respiratory system and so on. This activity drives student engagement and supports higher-order thinking skills among students.

11. Big Paper – Silent Conversation

Silence is a great way to slow down thinking and promote deep reflection on any subject. Present a driving question to the students and divide them into groups. The students will discuss the question with their teammates and brainstorm their ideas on a big paper. After reflection and discussion, students can write their findings in silence. This is a great learning activity for students who are introverts and love to ruminate silently rather than thinking aloud.

Finally, for students with critical thinking, you can go to m to customize exclusive rewards, which not only enlivens the classroom, but also promotes the development and training of students for critical thinking.

Read our next article: 10 Innovative Strategies for Promoting Critical Thinking in the Classroom

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Thanks for the great article! Especially with the post-pandemic learning gap, these critical thinking skills are essential! It’s also important to teach them a growth mindset. If you are interested in that, please check out The Teachers’ Blog!

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activities to develop critical thinking skills

50 Super-Fun Critical Thinking Strategies to Use in Your Classroom

by AuthorAmy

Teaching students to be critical thinkers is perhaps the most important goal in education. All teachers, regardless of subject area, contribute to the process of teaching students to think for themselves. However, it’s not always an easy skill to teach. Students need guidance and practice with critical thinking strategies at every level.

One problem with teaching critical thinking is that many different definitions of this skill exist. The Foundation for Critical Thinking offers four different definitions of the concept. Essentially, critical thinking is the ability to evaluate information and decide what we think about that information, a cumulative portfolio of skills our students need to be successful problem solvers in an ever-changing world.

Here is a list of 50 classroom strategies for teachers to use to foster critical thinking among students of all ages.

1. Don’t give them the answers  

Learning is supposed to be hard, and while it may be tempting to jump in and direct students to the right answer, it’s better to let them work through a problem on their own. A good teacher is a guide, not an answer key. The goal is to help students work at their “challenge” level, as opposed to their “frustration” level.

2. Controversial issue barometer

In this activity, a line is drawn down the center of the classroom. The middle represents the neutral ground, and the ends of the line represent extremes of an issue. The teacher selects an issue and students space themselves along the line according to their opinions. Being able to articulate opinions and participate in civil discourse are important aspects of critical thinking.

3. Play devil’s advocate

During a robust classroom discussion, an effective teacher challenges students by acting as devil’s advocate, no matter their personal opinion. “I don’t care WHAT you think, I just care THAT you think” is my classroom mantra. Critical thinking strategies that ask students to analyze both sides of an issue help create understanding and empathy.

4. Gallery walk

In a gallery walk, the teacher hangs images around the classroom related to the unit at hand (photographs, political cartoons, paintings). Students peruse the artwork much like they are in a museum, writing down their thoughts about each piece.

5. Review something

A movie, TV show , a book, a restaurant, a pep assembly, today’s lesson – anything can be reviewed. Writing a review involves the complex skill of summary without spoilers and asks students to share their opinion and back it up with evidence.

6. Draw analogies

Pick two unrelated things and ask students how those things are alike (for example, how is a museum like a snowstorm). The goal here is to encourage creativity and look for similarities.

7. Think of 25 uses for an everyday thing

Pick an everyday object (I use my camera tripod) and set a timer for five minutes. Challenge students to come up with 25 things they can use the object for within that time frame. The obvious answers will be exhausted quickly, so ridiculous answers such as “coatrack” and “stool” are encouraged.

8. Incorporate riddles

Students love riddles. You could pose a question at the beginning of the week and allow students to ask questions about it all week.

9. Crosswords and sudoku puzzles

The games section of the newspaper provides great brainteasers for students who finish their work early and need some extra brain stimulation.

10. Fine tune questioning techniques

A vibrant classroom discussion is made even better by a teacher who asks excellent, provocative questions. Questions should move beyond those with concrete answers to a place where students must examine why they think the way they do.

11. Socratic seminar

The Socratic seminar is perhaps the ultimate critical thinking activity. Students are given a universal question, such as “Do you believe it is acceptable to break the law if you believe the law is wrong?” They are given time to prepare and answer, and then, seated in a circle, students are directed to discuss the topic. Whereas the goal of a debate is to win, the goal of a Socratic discussion is for the group to reach greater understanding.

12. Inquiry based learning

In inquiry-based learning, students develop questions they want answers to, which drives the curriculum toward issues they care about. An engaged learner is an essential step in critical thinking.

13. Problem-based learning

In problem-based learning, students are given a problem and asked to develop research-based solutions. The problem can be a school problem (the lunchroom is overcrowded) or a global problem (sea levels are rising).

14. Challenge all assumptions

The teacher must model this before students learn to apply this skill on their own. In this strategy, a teacher helps a student understand where his or her ingrained beliefs come from. Perhaps a student tells you they believe that stereotypes exist because they are true. An effective teacher can ask “Why do you think that?” and keep exploring the issue as students delve into the root of their beliefs. Question everything.

15. Emphasize data over beliefs

Data does not always support our beliefs, so our first priority must be to seek out data before drawing conclusions.

16. Teach confirmation bias

Confirmation bias is the human tendency to seek out information that confirms what we already believe, rather than letting the data inform our conclusions. Understanding that this phenomenon exists can help students avoid it.

17. Visualization

Help students make a plan before tackling a task.

18. Mind mapping

Mind mapping is a visual way to organize information. Students start with a central concept and create a web with subtopics that radiate outward.

19. Develop empathy

Empathy is often cited as an aspect of critical thinking. To do so, encourage students to think from a different point of view. They might write a “con” essay when they believe the “pro,” or write a letter from someone else’s perspective.

20. Summarization

Summarizing means taking all the information given and presenting it in a shortened fashion.

21. Encapsulation

Encapsulation is a skill different from summarization. To encapsulate a topic, students must learn about it and then distill it down to its most relevant points, which means students are forming judgements about what is most and least important.

22. Weigh cause and effect

The process of examining cause and effect helps students develop critical thinking skills by thinking through the natural consequences of a given choice.

23. Problems in a jar

Perfect for a bell-ringer, a teacher can stuff a mason jar with dilemmas that their students might face, such as, “Your best friend is refusing to talk to you today. What do you do?” Then, discuss possible answers. This works well for ethical dilemmas, too.

24. Transform one thing into another

Give students an object, like a pencil or a mug. Define its everyday use (to write or to drink from). Then, tell the students to transform the object into something with an entirely separate use. Now what is it used for?

25. Which one doesn’t belong?

Group items together and ask students to find the one that doesn’t belong. In first grade, this might be a grouping of vowels and a consonant; in high school, it might be heavy metals and a noble gas.

26. Compare/contrast

Compare and contrast are important critical thinking strategies. Students can create a Venn diagram to show similarities or differences, or they could write a good old-fashioned compare/contrast essay about the characters of Romeo and Juliet .

27. Pick a word, find a related word

This is another fun bell-ringer activity. The teacher starts with any word, and students go around the room and say another word related to that one. The obvious words go quickly, meaning the longer the game goes on, the more out-of-the-box the thinking gets.

28. Ranking of sources

Give students a research topic and tell them to find three sources (books, YouTube videos, websites). Then ask them, what resource is best – and why.

29. Hypothesize

The very act of hypothesizing is critical thinking in action. Students are using what they know to find an answer to something they don’t know.

30. Guess what will happen next

This works for scientific reactions, novels, current events, and more. Simply spell out what we know so far and ask students “and then what?”

31. Practice inference

Inference is the art of making an educated guess based on evidence presented and is an important component of critical thinking.

32. Connect text to self

Ask students to draw connections between what they are reading about to something happening in their world. For example, if their class is studying global warming, researching how global warming might impact their hometown will help make their studies relevant.

33. Levels of questioning

There are several levels of questions (as few as three and as many as six, depending on who you ask). These include factual questions, which have a right or wrong answer (most math problems are factual questions). There are also inferential questions, which ask students to make inferences based on both opinion and textual evidence. Additionally, there are universal questions, which are “big picture” questions where there are no right or wrong answers.

Students should practice answering all levels of questions and writing their own questions, too.

34. Demand precise language

An expansive vocabulary allows a student to express themselves more exactly, and precision is a major tool in the critical thinking toolkit.

35. Identify bias and hidden agendas

Helping students to critically examine biases in sources will help them evaluate the trustworthiness of their sources.

36. Identify unanswered questions

After a unit of study is conducted, lead students through a discussion of what questions remain unanswered. In this way, students can work to develop a lifelong learner mentality.

37. Relate a topic in one subject area to other disciplines

Have students take something they are studying in your class and relate it to other disciplines. For example, if you are studying the Civil War in social studies, perhaps they could look up historical fiction novels set during the Civil War era or research medical advancements from the time period for science.

38. Have a question conversation

Start with a general question and students must answer your question with a question of their own. Keep the conversation going.

39. Display a picture for 30 seconds, then take it down

Have students list everything they can remember. This helps students train their memories and increases their ability to notice details.

40. Brainstorm, free-write

Brainstorming and freewriting are critical thinking strategies to get ideas on paper. In brainstorming, anything goes, no matter how off-the-wall. These are great tools to get ideas flowing that can then be used to inform research.

41. Step outside your comfort zone

Direct students to learn about a topic they have no interest in or find particularly challenging. In this case, their perseverance is being developed as they do something that is difficult for them.

42. The answer is, the question might be

This is another bell-ringer game that’s great for engaging those brains. You give students the answer and they come up with what the question might be.

43. Cooperative learning

Group work is a critical thinking staple because it teaches students that there is no one right way to approach a problem and that other opinions are equally valid.

44. What? So what? Now what?

After concluding a unit of study, these three question frames can be used to help students contextualize their learning.

45. Reflection

Ask students to reflect on their work – specifically, how they can improve moving forward.

46. Classify and categorize

These are higher level Bloom’s tasks for a reason. Categorizing requires students to think about like traits and rank them in order of importance.

47. Role play

Roleplay allows students to practice creative thinking strategies. Here, students assume a role and act accordingly.

48. Set goals

Have students set concrete, measurable goals in your class so they understand why what they do matters.

No matter your subject area, encourage students to read voraciously. Through reading they will be exposed to new ideas, new perspectives, and their worlds will grow.

50. Cultivate curiosity

A curious mind is an engaged mind. Students should be encouraged to perform inquiry simply for the sake that it is a joy to learn about something we care about.

50 Critical Thinking Strategies - Cover Draft


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Become a better critical thinker with these 7 critical thinking exercises

Become a better critical thinker with these 7 critical thinking exercises

Critical thinking is a skill you can use in any situation. Whether you're a student, entrepreneur, or business executive, critical thinking can help you make better decisions and solve problems.

But learning critical thinking skills isn't always an easy task. Many tools, techniques, and strategies are available, and choosing the right one can be challenging. Vague suggestions on the internet like "read more" aren't very helpful, and elaborate business examples don’t apply to many of us.

As average problem-solvers, we need actionable thinking exercises to improve our critical thinking skills and enhance our thinking processes. Regularly performing exercises that specifically stretch our decision-making and reasoning skills is the most effective method of improving our thinking abilities.

This article will explore several exercises that will help you develop critical thinking skills. Whether you are preparing for an exam, making an influential decision for your business, or going about your daily life, these fun activities can build your reasoning skills and creative problem-solving abilities.

Boost your logical thinking skills and start practicing a critical mindset with these 10 critical thinking exercises.

A Quick Look at Critical Thinking

As a thoughtful learner, you likely already understand the basics of critical thinking, but here's a quick refresher.

Critical thinking involves analyzing problems or issues objectively and rationally. Critical thinkers are able to understand their own biases and assumptions, as well as those of others. They’re also able to see the world from a different point of view and understand how their experiences impact their thinking.

Developing critical thinking skills is essential because it allows us to see things from multiple perspectives, identify biases and errors in reasoning, and be open to possible solutions. Making informed decisions is easier when we have a better understanding of the world around us.

Why We Need to Practice Critical Thinking

Critical thinking exercises: brain and four puzzle pieces

We aren't born with critical thinking skills, and they don’t naturally develop beyond survival-level thinking. To master critical thinking, we must practice it and develop it over time.

However, learning to think critically isn't as easy as learning to ride a bicycle. There aren't any step-by-step procedures to follow or supportive guides to fall back on, and it is not taught in public schools consistently or reliably. To ensure students' success, teachers must know higher-order thinking skills (HOTS) and how to teach them, research says.

Unfortunately, although teachers understand the importance of HOTS and attempt to teach it, studies show that their capacity to measure students' HOTS is low. Educator and author Dr. Kulvarn Atwal says, "It seems that we are becoming successful at producing students who are able to jump through hoops and pass tests."

As critical thinking skills become more important in higher grades, some students find it challenging to understand the concept of critical thinking. To develop necessary thinking skills, we must set aside our assumptions and beliefs. This allows us to explore and question topics from a "blank page" point of view and distinguish fact from opinion.

activities to develop critical thinking skills

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7 Critical Thinking Exercises To Improve Your Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking exercises: steel model of the brain lifting dumbbells

The good news is that by assessing, analyzing, and evaluating our thought processes, we can improve our skills. Critical thinking exercises are key to this improvement. Our critical thinking builds and improves with regular practice, just like a muscle that gets stronger with use.

If you want to become a better critical thinker , here are some critical thinking exercises to try:

Exercise #1: The Ladder of Inference

You can exercise your critical thinking skills by using the Ladder of Inference model . This thinking model was developed by renowned organizational psychologist Chris Argyris. Each rung on the ladder of inference represents a step you take to arrive at your conclusions.

The decision-making process starts when we are faced with a problem or situation. As soon as we observe something problematic or important, we presume what is causing it, and then we use that assumption to draw conclusions. Based on those conclusions, we take action.

For example, say you're at a party and see a friend across the room. You catch their eye and wave, but they turn and walk away. Using the ladder, you might climb the rungs as follows:

  • Observe that your friend walked away.
  • Select a few details of the situation, including your wave and your assumption that they saw you.
  • Meaning is attached based on the environment, making you think your friend must have other people to talk to at the party.
  • Assumptions are made based on that meaning, assuming that means your friend doesn’t like you as much as them.
  • Conclusions are drawn from the assumption, and you determine that your friend must be mad at you or doesn't want you to be at the party.
  • Beliefs are formed, making you think you're not welcome.
  • Action is taken, and you leave the party.

In this example, you started with a situation (someone walking away at a crowded party) and made a series of inferences to arrive at a conclusion (that the person is mad at you and doesn't want you there).

The Ladder of Inference can be a helpful tool to frame your thinking because it encourages you to examine each step of your thought process and avoid jumping to conclusions. It's easy to make assumptions without realizing it, as in this scene. Perhaps your friend never even saw you wave from across the crowded room.

Exercise #2: The Five Whys

The "Five Whys" technique is an analytical skill that can help you uncover the source of a problem. The activity was created by Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota, and consists of repeatedly asking “why?” when a problem is encountered to determine its root cause.

This exercise can be difficult because knowing if you've discovered the source of your problem is challenging. The "five" in "Five Whys" is just a guideline — you may need to ask more. When you can't ask anything else, and your response is related to the original issue, you've probably arrived at the end.

Even if you need several rounds of questioning, just keep going. The important part that helps you practice critical thinking is the process of asking "why?" and uncovering the deeper issues affecting the situation.

For instance, say you're trying to figure out why your computer keeps crashing.

  • You ask " why ," and the answer is that there's a software problem.
  • Why? Because the computer keeps running out of memory.
  • Why? Because too many programs are running at the same time.
  • Why? Because too many browser tabs are open .
  • Why? Because multitasking is fragmenting your focus, you're doing too many things at once.

In this example, working through the "why's" revealed the underlying cause. As a result, you can find the best solution, which is concentrating on just one thing at a time.

Exercise #3: Inversion

Wooden blocks with seven black arrows and one red arrow

Inversion is another critical thinking exercise that you can use in any situation. Inversion is sort of like taking on the role of the devil's advocate. In this exercise, adopt the opposite view of whatever issue you're exploring and consider the potential arguments for that side. This will help broaden your critical thinking skills and enable you to see other perspectives on a situation or topic more clearly.

For example, let's say you're thinking about starting your own business. Using inversion, you would explore all of the potential arguments for why starting your own business is bad. This might include concerns like:

  • You could end up in debt.
  • The business might fail.
  • It's a lot of work.
  • You might not have time for anything else.

By exploring these potentially adverse outcomes, you can identify the potential risks involved in starting your own business and make a more sound decision. You might realize that now is not the right time for you to become an entrepreneur. And if you do start the company, you'll be better prepared to deal with the issues you identified when they occur.

Exercise #4: Argument Mapping

Argument mapping can be a beneficial exercise for enhancing critical thinking skills. Like mind mapping, argument mapping is a method of visually representing an argument's structure. It helps analyze and evaluate ideas as well as develop new ones.

In critical thinking textbooks, argument diagramming is often presented to introduce students to argument constructions. It can be an effective way to build mental templates or schema for argument structures, which researchers think may make critical evaluation easier .

Argument maps typically include the following:

  • Conclusion: What is being argued for or against
  • Premises: The reasons given to support the conclusion
  • Inferences: The connections made between the premises and conclusion

The argument map should be as clear and concise as possible, with a single word or phrase representing each element. This will help you make connections more easily. After the map is completed, you can use it to identify any weak points in the argument. If any areas aren't well-supported, additional premises can be added.

Argument mapping can be applied to any situation that requires critical thinking skills. The more time you take to map out an argument, the better you'll understand how the pieces fit together. Ultimately, this will help you think more creatively and critically, and make more informed decisions.

Exercise #5: Opinion vs. Fact

Critical thinking activities that focus on opinions and facts are particularly valuable and relevant new learning opportunities. Our constantly-connected world makes it easy to confuse opinions and facts , especially with sensationalist news articles and click-bait headlines.

How can you tell a fact from an opinion? Facts are generally objective and established, whereas opinions are subjective and unproven. For example, "the cloud is in the air" is a fact. "That dress looks good on you" is an opinion.

Practice your critical thinking skills by reading or listening to the news. See if you can identify when someone is stating an opinion rather than a fact. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who is saying what? What reasons might be behind their statements?
  • Does the claim make sense? Who would disagree with it and why?
  • How can you tell if the data is reliable? Can it be fact-checked? Has it been shared by other credible publishers?
  • How do you know whether or not the presenter is biased? What kind of language is being used?

This powerful exercise can train your mind to start asking questions whenever presented with a new claim. This will help you think critically about the information you're taking in and question what you're hearing before accepting it as truth.

Exercise #6: Autonomy of an Object

In her book " The Critical Thinking Tool Kit ," Dr. Marlene Caroselli describes a critical thinking exercise called "Living Problems, Lively Solutions." This exercise uses the autonomy of an object as a problem-solving tool to find a possible solution.

To do this, you'll personify your problem and place it in another context — a different time or place. This allows you to uncover unique solutions to the problem that might be tied to your mental associations with that setting.

For example, if your problem is poor time management , you might personify the issue as a thief of your time. The idea of a thief could make you think of jail, which might prompt thoughts of locking up specific distractions in your life. The idea of jail could also make you think of guards and lead you to the possible solution of checking in with an accountability buddy who can make sure you're sticking to your schedule.

The autonomy-of-object technique works because it stimulates thoughts you wouldn’t have considered without the particular context in which you place the problem.

Exercise #7: The Six Thinking Hats

Wooden blocks with different colored hats drawn on it

Designed by Edward de Bono, the Six Thinking Hats is a critical thinking exercise that was created as a tool for groups to use when exploring different perspectives on an issue. When people use other thinking processes, meetings can become challenging rather than beneficial.

To help teams work more productively and mindfully, de Bono suggests dividing up different styles of thinking into six categories, represented as hats:

  • The white hat is objective and focuses on facts and logic
  • The red hat is intuitive, focusing on emotion and instinct
  • The black hat is cautious and predicts negative outcomes
  • The yellow hat is optimistic and encourages positive outcomes
  • The green hat is creative, with numerous ideas and little criticism
  • The blue hat is the control hat used for management and organization

With each team member wearing a different hat, a group can examine an issue or problem from many different angles, preventing one viewpoint (or individual) from dominating the meeting or discussion. This means that decisions and solutions reached using the Six Thinking Hats approach will likely be more robust and effective, and everyone’s creative thinking skills will benefit.

Train Your Brain With Critical Thinking Exercises

Using critical thinking regularly in various situations can improve our ability to evaluate and analyze information. These seven critical thinking exercises train your brain for better critical thinking skills . With daily practice, they can become habits that will help you think more critically each day.

Improve your critical thinking with ABLE

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How to develop critical thinking skills


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What are critical thinking skills?

How to develop critical thinking skills: 12 tips, how to practice critical thinking skills at work, become your own best critic.

A client requests a tight deadline on an intense project. Your childcare provider calls in sick on a day full of meetings. Payment from a contract gig is a month behind. 

Your day-to-day will always have challenges, big and small. And no matter the size and urgency, they all ask you to use critical thinking to analyze the situation and arrive at the right solution. 

Critical thinking includes a wide set of soft skills that encourage continuous learning, resilience , and self-reflection. The more you add to your professional toolbelt, the more equipped you’ll be to tackle whatever challenge presents itself. Here’s how to develop critical thinking, with examples explaining how to use it.

Critical thinking skills are the skills you use to analyze information, imagine scenarios holistically, and create rational solutions. It’s a type of emotional intelligence that stimulates effective problem-solving and decision-making . 

When you fine-tune your critical thinking skills, you seek beyond face-value observations and knee-jerk reactions. Instead, you harvest deeper insights and string together ideas and concepts in logical, sometimes out-of-the-box , ways. 

Imagine a team working on a marketing strategy for a new set of services. That team might use critical thinking to balance goals and key performance indicators , like new customer acquisition costs, average monthly sales, and net profit margins. They understand the connections between overlapping factors to build a strategy that stays within budget and attracts new sales. 

Looking for ways to improve critical thinking skills? Start by brushing up on the following soft skills that fall under this umbrella: 

  • Analytical thinking: Approaching problems with an analytical eye includes breaking down complex issues into small chunks and examining their significance. An example could be organizing customer feedback to identify trends and improve your product offerings. 
  • Open-mindedness: Push past cognitive biases and be receptive to different points of view and constructive feedback . Managers and team members who keep an open mind position themselves to hear new ideas that foster innovation . 
  • Creative thinking: With creative thinking , you can develop several ideas to address a single problem, like brainstorming more efficient workflow best practices to boost productivity and employee morale . 
  • Self-reflection: Self-reflection lets you examine your thinking and assumptions to stimulate healthier collaboration and thought processes. Maybe a bad first impression created a negative anchoring bias with a new coworker. Reflecting on your own behavior stirs up empathy and improves the relationship. 
  • Evaluation: With evaluation skills, you tackle the pros and cons of a situation based on logic rather than emotion. When prioritizing tasks , you might be tempted to do the fun or easy ones first, but evaluating their urgency and importance can help you make better decisions. 

There’s no magic method to change your thinking processes. Improvement happens with small, intentional changes to your everyday habits until a more critical approach to thinking is automatic. 

Here are 12 tips for building stronger self-awareness and learning how to improve critical thinking: 

1. Be cautious

There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of skepticism. One of the core principles of critical thinking is asking questions and dissecting the available information. You might surprise yourself at what you find when you stop to think before taking action. 

Before making a decision, use evidence, logic, and deductive reasoning to support your own opinions or challenge ideas. It helps you and your team avoid falling prey to bad information or resistance to change .

2. Ask open-ended questions

“Yes” or “no” questions invite agreement rather than reflection. Instead, ask open-ended questions that force you to engage in analysis and rumination. Digging deeper can help you identify potential biases, uncover assumptions, and arrive at new hypotheses and possible solutions. 

3. Do your research

No matter your proficiency, you can always learn more. Turning to different points of view and information is a great way to develop a comprehensive understanding of a topic and make informed decisions. You’ll prioritize reliable information rather than fall into emotional or automatic decision-making. 


4. Consider several opinions

You might spend so much time on your work that it’s easy to get stuck in your own perspective, especially if you work independently on a remote team . Make an effort to reach out to colleagues to hear different ideas and thought patterns. Their input might surprise you.

If or when you disagree, remember that you and your team share a common goal. Divergent opinions are constructive, so shift the focus to finding solutions rather than defending disagreements. 

5. Learn to be quiet

Active listening is the intentional practice of concentrating on a conversation partner instead of your own thoughts. It’s about paying attention to detail and letting people know you value their opinions, which can open your mind to new perspectives and thought processes.

If you’re brainstorming with your team or having a 1:1 with a coworker , listen, ask clarifying questions, and work to understand other peoples’ viewpoints. Listening to your team will help you find fallacies in arguments to improve possible solutions.

6. Schedule reflection

Whether waking up at 5 am or using a procrastination hack, scheduling time to think puts you in a growth mindset . Your mind has natural cognitive biases to help you simplify decision-making, but squashing them is key to thinking critically and finding new solutions besides the ones you might gravitate toward. Creating time and calm space in your day gives you the chance to step back and visualize the biases that impact your decision-making. 

7. Cultivate curiosity

With so many demands and job responsibilities, it’s easy to seek solace in routine. But getting out of your comfort zone helps spark critical thinking and find more solutions than you usually might.

If curiosity doesn’t come naturally to you, cultivate a thirst for knowledge by reskilling and upskilling . Not only will you add a new skill to your resume , but expanding the limits of your professional knowledge might motivate you to ask more questions. 

You don’t have to develop critical thinking skills exclusively in the office. Whether on your break or finding a hobby to do after work, playing strategic games or filling out crosswords can prime your brain for problem-solving. 


9. Write it down

Recording your thoughts with pen and paper can lead to stronger brain activity than typing them out on a keyboard. If you’re stuck and want to think more critically about a problem, writing your ideas can help you process information more deeply.

The act of recording ideas on paper can also improve your memory . Ideas are more likely to linger in the background of your mind, leading to deeper thinking that informs your decision-making process. 

10. Speak up

Take opportunities to share your opinion, even if it intimidates you. Whether at a networking event with new people or a meeting with close colleagues, try to engage with people who challenge or help you develop your ideas. Having conversations that force you to support your position encourages you to refine your argument and think critically. 

11. Stay humble

Ideas and concepts aren’t the same as real-life actions. There may be such a thing as negative outcomes, but there’s no such thing as a bad idea. At the brainstorming stage , don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Sometimes the best solutions come from off-the-wall, unorthodox decisions. Sit in your creativity , let ideas flow, and don’t be afraid to share them with your colleagues. Putting yourself in a creative mindset helps you see situations from new perspectives and arrive at innovative conclusions. 

12. Embrace discomfort

Get comfortable feeling uncomfortable . It isn’t easy when others challenge your ideas, but sometimes, it’s the only way to see new perspectives and think critically.

By willingly stepping into unfamiliar territory, you foster the resilience and flexibility you need to become a better thinker. You’ll learn how to pick yourself up from failure and approach problems from fresh angles. 


Thinking critically is easier said than done. To help you understand its impact (and how to use it), here are two scenarios that require critical thinking skills and provide teachable moments. 

Scenario #1: Unexpected delays and budget

Imagine your team is working on producing an event. Unexpectedly, a vendor explains they’ll be a week behind on delivering materials. Then another vendor sends a quote that’s more than you can afford. Unless you develop a creative solution, the team will have to push back deadlines and go over budget, potentially costing the client’s trust. 

Here’s how you could approach the situation with creative thinking:

  • Analyze the situation holistically: Determine how the delayed materials and over-budget quote will impact the rest of your timeline and financial resources . That way, you can identify whether you need to build an entirely new plan with new vendors, or if it’s worth it to readjust time and resources. 
  • Identify your alternative options: With careful assessment, your team decides that another vendor can’t provide the same materials in a quicker time frame. You’ll need to rearrange assignment schedules to complete everything on time. 
  • Collaborate and adapt: Your team has an emergency meeting to rearrange your project schedule. You write down each deliverable and determine which ones you can and can’t complete by the deadline. To compensate for lost time, you rearrange your task schedule to complete everything that doesn’t need the delayed materials first, then advance as far as you can on the tasks that do. 
  • Check different resources: In the meantime, you scour through your contact sheet to find alternative vendors that fit your budget. Accounting helps by providing old invoices to determine which vendors have quoted less for previous jobs. After pulling all your sources, you find a vendor that fits your budget. 
  • Maintain open communication: You create a special Slack channel to keep everyone up to date on changes, challenges, and additional delays. Keeping an open line encourages transparency on the team’s progress and boosts everyone’s confidence. 


Scenario #2: Differing opinions 

A conflict arises between two team members on the best approach for a new strategy for a gaming app. One believes that small tweaks to the current content are necessary to maintain user engagement and stay within budget. The other believes a bold revamp is needed to encourage new followers and stronger sales revenue. 

Here’s how critical thinking could help this conflict:

  • Listen actively: Give both team members the opportunity to present their ideas free of interruption. Encourage the entire team to ask open-ended questions to more fully understand and develop each argument. 
  • Flex your analytical skills: After learning more about both ideas, everyone should objectively assess the benefits and drawbacks of each approach. Analyze each idea's risk, merits, and feasibility based on available data and the app’s goals and objectives. 
  • Identify common ground: The team discusses similarities between each approach and brainstorms ways to integrate both idea s, like making small but eye-catching modifications to existing content or using the same visual design in new media formats. 
  • Test new strategy: To test out the potential of a bolder strategy, the team decides to A/B test both approaches. You create a set of criteria to evenly distribute users by different demographics to analyze engagement, revenue, and customer turnover. 
  • Monitor and adapt: After implementing the A/B test, the team closely monitors the results of each strategy. You regroup and optimize the changes that provide stronger results after the testing. That way, all team members understand why you’re making the changes you decide to make.

You can’t think your problems away. But you can equip yourself with skills that help you move through your biggest challenges and find innovative solutions. Learning how to develop critical thinking is the start of honing an adaptable growth mindset. 

Now that you have resources to increase critical thinking skills in your professional development, you can identify whether you embrace change or routine, are open or resistant to feedback, or turn to research or emotion will build self-awareness. From there, tweak and incorporate techniques to be a critical thinker when life presents you with a problem.

Cultivate your creativity

Foster creativity and continuous learning with guidance from our certified Coaches.

Elizabeth Perry, ACC

Elizabeth Perry is a Coach Community Manager at BetterUp. She uses strategic engagement strategies to cultivate a learning community across a global network of Coaches through in-person and virtual experiences, technology-enabled platforms, and strategic coaching industry partnerships. With over 3 years of coaching experience and a certification in transformative leadership and life coaching from Sofia University, Elizabeth leverages transpersonal psychology expertise to help coaches and clients gain awareness of their behavioral and thought patterns, discover their purpose and passions, and elevate their potential. She is a lifelong student of psychology, personal growth, and human potential as well as an ICF-certified ACC transpersonal life and leadership Coach.

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10 fun classroom activities to promote critical thinking.

As a teacher, it's important to promote critical thinking skills in your students. Critical thinking is a valuable skill that helps students analyze information, solve problems, and make decisions. In this blog post, we'll explore 10 fun classroom activities that promote critical thinking.

Here are 10 fun classroom activities that promote critical thinking:

1. Problem-Solving Scenarios: Provide students with real-life scenarios and ask them to come up with solutions. This activity encourages students to think critically and creatively to solve problems. 2. Group Discussions: Encourage students to discuss and debate topics in groups. This activity helps students develop their communication and critical thinking skills. 3. Brainstorming: Ask students to brainstorm ideas for a project or assignment. This activity helps students develop their creativity and critical thinking skills. 4. Role-Playing: Assign students roles and ask them to act out a scenario. This activity helps students develop their empathy and critical thinking skills. 5. Analyzing Texts: Provide students with texts and ask them to analyze and interpret them. This activity helps students develop their analytical and critical thinking skills. 6. Debate: Assign students a topic and ask them to debate it. This activity helps students develop their communication and critical thinking skills. 7. Mind Mapping: Ask students to create a mind map of a topic. This activity helps students develop their organizational and critical thinking skills. 8. Creative Writing: Ask students to write a story or poem. This activity helps students develop their creativity and critical thinking skills. 9. Problem-Solving Games: Provide students with problem-solving games and ask them to solve them. This activity helps students develop their problem-solving and critical thinking skills. 10. Reflection: Ask students to reflect on their learning and identify areas for improvement. This activity helps students develop their self-awareness and critical thinking skills.

These activities are just a few examples of how you can promote critical thinking in your classroom. By incorporating these activities into your lessons, you can help your students develop their cognitive abilities and become better problem-solvers and decision-makers.

It's important to remember that critical thinking is a skill that takes time and practice to develop. By providing your students with opportunities to think critically, you can help them build this valuable skill.

In conclusion, promoting critical thinking in your classroom is essential for your students' success. By using these 10 fun classroom activities, you can engage your students and help them develop their critical thinking skills.

So, what are you waiting for? Try these activities in your classroom today and watch your students' critical thinking skills soar!

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Promoting Critical Thinking in the Classroom: Strategies and Activities

ritical thinking is a valuable skill that empowers students to analyze information, think deeply, and make reasoned judgments. By promoting critical thinking in the classroom, educators can foster intellectual curiosity, enhance problem-solving abilities, and prepare students for success in an ever-evolving world. This article explores effective strategies and engaging activities to promote critical thinking among students.

1. Ask Thought-Provoking Questions

Encourage critical thinking by asking open-ended and thought-provoking questions that stimulate students' analytical thinking. For example, in a history class, instead of asking "When did World War II start?" you could ask "What were the underlying causes of World War II and how did they contribute to its outbreak?" This prompts students to go beyond simple factual recall and encourages them to analyze historical events, evaluate multiple factors, and develop a deeper understanding of the topic. Instead of seeking one correct answer, focus on guiding students to explore different perspectives, evaluate evidence, and justify their reasoning. Engage students in discussions that require them to analyze, compare, and synthesize information.

2. Provide Real-World Examples

Connect classroom learning to real-world applications by providing relevant examples and case studies. By presenting authentic scenarios, students can apply critical thinking skills to analyze and solve complex problems. Encourage students to think critically about the implications of their decisions and consider the broader impact of their choices.

3. Foster Collaboration and Debate

Promote collaborative learning environments where students can engage in respectful debates and discussions. Encourage students to express diverse opinions, support their arguments with evidence, and listen actively to others' viewpoints. Through collaborative activities, students can learn to evaluate different perspectives, challenge assumptions, and develop their critical thinking skills.

4. Encourage Reflection and Metacognition

Provide opportunities for students to reflect on their thinking processes and metacognition. Ask students to evaluate their own problem-solving strategies, analyze their decision-making processes, and assess the effectiveness of their critical thinking skills. By promoting self-awareness and reflection, students can enhance their critical thinking abilities and become more independent learners.

5. Incorporate Problem-Based Learning

Integrate problem-based learning activities that require students to apply critical thinking skills to solve complex problems. For example, in a science class, present a real-world scenario where students need to design an experiment to test the effectiveness of different fertilizers on plant growth. This activity prompts students to analyze information about fertilizers, evaluate different options, and develop a well-reasoned experimental design. By engaging in hands-on problem-solving experiences like this, students can develop their critical thinking abilities while also building their content knowledge.

Promoting critical thinking in the classroom is essential for developing students' analytical skills, problem-solving abilities, and intellectual curiosity. By incorporating strategies such as asking thought-provoking questions, providing real-world examples, fostering collaboration and debate, encouraging reflection and metacognition, and incorporating problem-based learning, educators can create an environment that nurtures critical thinking skills. By equipping students with this valuable skill set, we empower them to navigate complex challenges and become lifelong learners.

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Critical Thinking

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activities to develop critical thinking skills

In today’s dynamic and fast-paced world, critical thinking stands out as an essential competency, seamlessly bridging the gap between soft and hard skills . As we navigate complex challenges and make informed decisions, the ability to think critically enhances our overall skill set. Critical thinking stands at the core of effective decision-making and problem-solving in today’s complex world. It involves analyzing information, evaluating evidence, and considering multiple perspectives to make informed judgments. In a society flooded with information, the ability to think critically ensures that individuals can distinguish between credible sources and misinformation. It empowers people to approach challenges logically and creatively, fostering innovation and resilience. By honing critical thinking skills, individuals enhance their capacity to navigate personal and professional landscapes with clarity and confidence.

What is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking is the process of actively and skillfully analyzing, evaluating, and synthesizing information gathered from various sources, including observations , experiences, and communication. It involves using logic and reasoning to identify connections, draw conclusions, and make informed decisions, while remaining open-minded and aware of potential biases.

Critical Thinking Examples

Critical Thinking Examples

  • Analyzing News Reports : Evaluating the credibility of sources, checking for biases, and verifying facts before accepting news stories as true.
  • Problem-Solving in the Workplace : Identifying the root cause of a problem, considering multiple solutions, and weighing the pros and cons before deciding on the best course of action.
  • Scientific Research : Formulating hypotheses, designing experiments to test them, analyzing data objectively, and drawing conclusions based on evidence.
  • Budgeting : Assessing income and expenses, prioritizing spending, and making informed decisions to stay within budget while saving for future needs.
  • Reading Literature : Interpreting themes, symbols, and character motivations in a novel or poem, and considering how they relate to broader societal issues.
  • Debating : Constructing logical arguments, anticipating counterarguments, and using evidence to support one’s position while also listening to and understanding opposing views.
  • Medical Diagnosis : Doctors evaluating symptoms, considering possible conditions, ordering tests, and interpreting results to make accurate diagnoses and treatment plans.
  • Educational Assessment : Teachers designing fair and effective assessments that measure student understanding and skills, and using the results to improve teaching strategies.
  • Ethical Decision-Making : Weighing the moral implications of actions, considering the impact on stakeholders, and making choices that align with ethical principles.
  • Legal Analysis : Lawyers analyzing case law, statutes, and evidence to build strong legal arguments and anticipate the strategies of opposing counsel.
  • Marketing Strategy : Analyzing market trends, customer needs, and competitor actions to develop effective marketing campaigns that resonate with target audiences.
  • Programming : Writing efficient code by understanding the problem, breaking it into smaller parts, and testing and debugging to ensure it works correctly.
  • Urban Planning : Evaluating the needs of a community, considering environmental impact, and planning sustainable and functional urban spaces.
  • Historical Analysis : Examining historical events, considering the context, and understanding the causes and effects while avoiding presentism (judging the past by today’s standards).
  • Personal Decision-Making : Weighing the benefits and drawbacks of significant life choices, such as career changes or moving to a new city, and making decisions based on careful consideration and long-term goals.

For Students

  • Activity : Organize debates on current events or controversial topics.
  • Example : Have students debate the pros and cons of renewable energy sources versus fossil fuels.
  • Activity : Present students with complex problems to solve in groups.
  • Example : Task students with designing a plan to reduce plastic waste in their school.
  • Activity : Analyze case studies relevant to their subjects.
  • Example : In a business class, analyze a company’s decision-making process during a crisis.
  • Activity : Conduct Socratic seminars where students discuss philosophical or ethical questions.
  • Example : Discuss the ethical implications of artificial intelligence in society.
  • Activity : Facilitate brainstorming sessions to generate creative solutions to problems.
  • Example : Brainstorm ideas for a community service project to help local residents.
  • Activity : Assign research projects requiring critical analysis of sources.
  • Example : Research the impact of social media on teenage mental health and present findings.
  • Activity : Engage students in role-playing exercises to explore different perspectives.
  • Example : Role-play a historical event, with each student taking on the role of a key figure.
  • Activity : Use logic puzzles and games to develop reasoning skills.
  • Example : Solve Sudoku puzzles or play strategy games like chess.
  • Activity : Encourage students to write reflectively about their learning experiences.
  • Example : Write an essay on how their views on a topic have changed after a class discussion.
  • Activity : Analyze the techniques used in advertisements to influence consumers.
  • Example : Evaluate an advertisement’s claims and discuss the strategies used to persuade the audience.

In the Workplace

  • Problem Solving : Analyzing the root cause of a recurring issue in production and developing a sustainable solution.
  • Decision Making : Evaluating the pros and cons of two potential suppliers based on cost, quality, and reliability.
  • Strategic Planning : Assessing market trends to develop a new product line that meets future consumer demands.
  • Conflict Resolution : Mediating a disagreement between team members by understanding both perspectives and finding common ground.
  • Process Improvement : Reviewing workflow inefficiencies and implementing new procedures to increase productivity.
  • Risk Management : Identifying potential risks in a project and devising strategies to mitigate them.
  • Customer Service : Addressing a customer complaint by understanding the underlying issue and providing a satisfactory resolution.
  • Innovation : Brainstorming and evaluating new ideas for improving a product or service.
  • Performance Evaluation : Analyzing employee performance data to provide constructive feedback and development plans.
  • Budgeting : Reviewing and adjusting the department budget to ensure financial efficiency without compromising quality.

In the Classroom

  • Critical Reading : Analyzing a text to understand the author’s argument, purpose, and use of evidence.
  • Scientific Inquiry : Designing and conducting experiments to test hypotheses and draw conclusions based on data.
  • Mathematical Problem Solving : Applying logical reasoning to solve complex math problems and explaining the solution process.
  • Historical Analysis : Evaluating historical events and their impact from multiple perspectives.
  • Debate : Constructing and defending arguments on various topics using evidence and reasoning.
  • Project-Based Learning : Developing a research project by identifying a problem, gathering information, and presenting findings.
  • Creative Writing : Critiquing peers’ work to provide constructive feedback and suggestions for improvement.
  • Ethical Dilemmas : Discussing moral questions and justifying decisions based on ethical principles.
  • Literary Analysis : Interpreting themes, symbols, and character development in literature.
  • Collaborative Learning : Working in groups to solve problems, share ideas, and reach consensus.

In Everyday Life

  • Financial Planning : Creating a budget to manage expenses, savings, and investments.
  • Nutrition and Health : Analyzing dietary choices to improve overall health and wellness.
  • Time Management : Prioritizing tasks and activities to make efficient use of time.
  • Consumer Decisions : Comparing product reviews and prices before making a purchase.
  • Home Maintenance : Troubleshooting and fixing household issues, such as plumbing or electrical problems.
  • Travel Planning : Researching destinations, comparing travel options, and creating itineraries.
  • Parenting : Making informed decisions about children’s education, health, and activities.
  • Conflict Resolution : Resolving disputes with family or friends by understanding different viewpoints and finding compromises.
  • Personal Development : Setting and pursuing personal goals, such as learning a new skill or improving fitness.
  • Community Involvement : Analyzing community issues and participating in local initiatives to address them.

In Healthcare

  • Diagnosis : Interpreting patient symptoms and medical history to diagnose conditions accurately.
  • Treatment Planning : Developing individualized treatment plans based on patient needs and evidence-based practices.
  • Ethical Decision-Making : Addressing ethical dilemmas in patient care, such as end-of-life decisions.
  • Patient Communication : Explaining complex medical information to patients and families clearly and compassionately.
  • Interdisciplinary Collaboration : Working with other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive care.
  • Medical Research : Designing and conducting research studies to advance medical knowledge and treatments.
  • Healthcare Policy Analysis : Evaluating healthcare policies and their impact on patient care and outcomes.
  • Clinical Judgment : Assessing and prioritizing patient care needs in emergency situations.
  • Quality Improvement : Implementing strategies to improve patient safety and care quality.
  • Continuing Education : Staying updated on medical advancements and integrating new knowledge into practice.

In Business

  • Market Analysis : Evaluating market trends and consumer behavior to make informed business decisions.
  • Strategic Planning : Developing long-term goals and strategies to achieve business objectives.
  • Financial Management : Analyzing financial statements to make sound investment and budgeting decisions.
  • Risk Assessment : Identifying and mitigating potential business risks.
  • Negotiation : Using persuasive arguments and data to negotiate contracts and deals.
  • Product Development : Assessing customer needs and market gaps to create new products.
  • Customer Feedback Analysis : Collecting and analyzing customer feedback to improve products and services.
  • Supply Chain Management : Optimizing supply chain processes to reduce costs and increase efficiency.
  • Leadership : Making decisions that motivate and guide employees toward achieving company goals.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility : Evaluating the social and environmental impact of business practices and implementing sustainable strategies.
  • Research Projects : Conducting independent research, analyzing data, and presenting findings.
  • Critical Essays : Writing essays that critically analyze texts, arguments, and ideas.
  • Group Projects : Collaborating with classmates to complete assignments and solve problems.
  • Class Discussions : Participating in discussions by presenting well-reasoned arguments and listening to others.
  • Case Studies : Analyzing real-world scenarios to understand complex issues and propose solutions.
  • Exam Preparation : Developing study plans and strategies to prepare for exams effectively.
  • Internships : Applying classroom knowledge to real-world situations during internships and reflecting on experiences.
  • Time Management : Balancing academic, social, and personal responsibilities.
  • Library Research : Using library resources to find credible sources for research papers.
  • Extracurricular Activities : Engaging in activities that develop leadership, teamwork, and problem-solving skills.

Critical Thinking scenarios

Here are some critical thinking scenarios along with questions and answers to help you practice and enhance your critical thinking skills:

Scenario 1: Workplace Conflict

Scenario: You are a manager at a company. Two of your team members, John and Lisa, have been having frequent disagreements. These conflicts are starting to affect the team’s productivity and morale.

  • What steps would you take to address the conflict between John and Lisa?
  • How would you ensure that the resolution is fair and satisfactory for both parties?
  • What strategies would you implement to prevent similar conflicts in the future?
  • Schedule a private meeting with John and Lisa to discuss the issue.
  • Listen to both sides without taking sides to understand the root cause of the conflict.
  • Facilitate a mediation session where both parties can express their concerns and work towards a resolution.
  • Agree on specific actions that both parties will take to avoid future conflicts.
  • Ensure that both John and Lisa feel heard and respected during the mediation process.
  • Identify common ground and mutual interests to build a foundation for resolution.
  • Set clear expectations and follow-up actions for both parties.
  • Monitor the situation and provide support to ensure the conflict does not resurface.
  • Foster an open and inclusive team culture where concerns can be raised early.
  • Provide regular team-building activities to strengthen relationships.
  • Implement conflict resolution training for all team members.
  • Establish clear communication channels and protocols for addressing grievances.

Scenario 2: Ethical Dilemma

Scenario: You are a journalist working on a high-profile story. You discover that one of your sources has provided you with information that could harm their reputation if published. However, this information is crucial to your story and serves the public interest.

  • What factors would you consider before deciding whether to publish the information?
  • How would you balance the public interest with the potential harm to your source?
  • What steps would you take to verify the accuracy of the information before publication?
  • The significance of the information to the public interest.
  • The potential consequences for the source if the information is published.
  • The ethical guidelines and professional standards of journalism.
  • Any possible legal implications of publishing the information.
  • Evaluate whether the public’s right to know outweighs the potential harm to the source.
  • Consider anonymizing the source or redacting sensitive details to protect their identity.
  • Seek advice from colleagues or an ethics committee to make an informed decision.
  • Cross-check the information with other reliable sources.
  • Review any documentation or evidence provided by the source.
  • Conduct interviews with other individuals who can corroborate the information.
  • Ensure that the information is presented in context to avoid misrepresentation.

Scenario 3: Environmental Impact

Scenario: Your company is planning to build a new factory in a rural area. This project promises economic growth and job creation but also raises concerns about environmental impact and the displacement of local wildlife.

  • What are the potential environmental impacts of the new factory?
  • How would you address the concerns of the local community and environmental groups?
  • What measures would you implement to minimize the environmental impact of the factory?
  • Air and water pollution from factory emissions and waste.
  • Habitat destruction and displacement of local wildlife.
  • Increased traffic and noise pollution in the area.
  • Strain on local resources such as water and energy.
  • Organize community meetings to discuss the project and listen to concerns.
  • Collaborate with environmental groups to assess the impact and find solutions.
  • Provide transparent information about the factory’s operations and mitigation plans.
  • Offer compensation or relocation assistance to affected residents if necessary.
  • Implement eco-friendly technologies and practices to reduce emissions and waste.
  • Develop a comprehensive environmental management plan.
  • Create buffer zones and wildlife corridors to protect local habitats.
  • Invest in renewable energy sources to power the factory.
  • Improved Problem Solving: Critical thinking helps in analyzing problems systematically and making better decisions.
  • Enhanced Communication: It allows for clear expression and understanding of ideas.
  • Better Decision Making: Critical thinking leads to more informed and logical choices.
  • Adaptability: It enables individuals to adapt to new situations and challenges effectively.
  • Informed Opinions: Critical thinkers can form well-grounded opinions and defend them logically.

What are the critical thinking skills?

  • Analysis: Breaking down complex information into smaller parts to understand it better.
  • Interpretation: Understanding and explaining the meaning of information or an event.
  • Inference: Drawing logical conclusions from available information.
  • Evaluation: Assessing the credibility and relevance of information and arguments.
  • Explanation: Clearly and concisely articulating your reasoning and evidence.
  • Self-Regulation: Reflecting on and adjusting one’s own thought processes and biases.

Concepts of critical thinking

  • Clarity: Ensuring that the information and arguments are clear and understandable.
  • Accuracy: Ensuring that information is true and free from errors.
  • Precision: Providing enough detail to understand the specific context.
  • Relevance: Ensuring that information and arguments are directly related to the issue at hand.
  • Depth: Addressing the complexities and underlying factors of an issue.
  • Breadth: Considering different perspectives and alternatives.
  • Logic: Ensuring that the reasoning is coherent and follows a logical sequence.
  • Fairness: Being open-minded and impartial in evaluating information and arguments.
  • Identify the Problem or Question: Clearly define what you are trying to solve or understand.
  • Gather Information: Collect relevant data, evidence, and viewpoints.
  • Analyze the Information: Break down the information to understand the relationships and implications.
  • Evaluate the Evidence: Assess the quality, credibility, and relevance of the evidence.
  • Formulate Conclusions: Draw reasoned conclusions based on the analysis and evaluation.
  • Communicate the Conclusion: Clearly express your findings and reasoning.
  • Reflect and Reassess: Continuously reflect on the process and outcomes to improve your critical thinking skills.

Basics of critical thinking

  • Open-Mindedness: Being willing to consider new ideas and perspectives.
  • Curiosity: Having a strong desire to learn and understand.
  • Skepticism: Questioning the validity of information and not taking things at face value.
  • Objectivity: Striving to remain unbiased and impartial.
  • Rationality: Basing decisions on logical reasoning rather than emotions.
  • Socratic Questioning: Asking a series of probing questions to explore complex ideas and uncover underlying assumptions.
  • Mind Mapping: Visually organizing information to see connections and relationships.
  • Brainstorming: Generating a wide range of ideas and solutions without immediate judgment.
  • Role Playing: Considering different perspectives by imagining oneself in another person’s position.
  • SWOT Analysis: Evaluating the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to a particular situation or decision.
  • Thought Experiments: Imagining hypothetical scenarios to explore potential outcomes and implications.

How to Practice and Use Critical Thinking

The critical thinking process incorporates various other logical soft skills that will help you analyze and interpret all the information to create an informed decision. These soft skills include observational skills, problem-solving, communication skills, and analytical thinking. If you sharpen all of these elements and characteristics you will inadvertently enhance your critical thinking.

Step 1: Practice One’s Observational and Perception Skills

We use our senses to perceive the world around us, whether it would be sight, smell, a, and sensations. One should practice utilizing these senses to create logical inferences and deductions that will help out brain unconsciously absorb and analyze these types of information. The more one practices their senses the better their thinking process will be.

Step 2: Enhance One’s Problem-Solving Skills

Logic and problem-solving allow the person to deduce and connect information that the environment or circumstance presents to the said person. You need to practice your problem-solving skills via puzzles, logical reasoning tests, and ethical dilemmas. Practicing one’s problem-solving skills will allow the person to efficiently establish cause-and-effect  reasoning or properly create logical decisions.

Step 3: Prepare and Practice One’s Communication Skills

Communication is a pivotal skill we often use when interacting with other people. This type of skill includes body language , assertive communication , concise language, and other communication skills. In critical thinking, a person must be able to properly communicate their thoughts and thinking process to other people, which will create a collaborative environment. Other times, the perfect solution might not be present without the need for communication.

Step 4: Practice Analysis of the Situation

One’s analytical thinking skills allow the person to take note of various elements and characteristics of the situation and analyze these elements’ contribution to the current situation or circumstance. You need to practice your analytical thinking to properly process the current situation or circumstance you find yourself in.

Why Do Employers Value Critical Thinking Skills?

Employers value critical thinking skills because they enable employees to analyze situations, make informed decisions, and solve problems effectively. Critical thinkers can evaluate information from various sources, identify logical connections, and foresee potential consequences, which leads to better strategic planning and innovation. These skills also enhance communication and collaboration, as critical thinkers can present their ideas clearly and consider different perspectives. Ultimately, critical thinking contributes to improved productivity, adaptability, and competitiveness in the workplace.

What is critical thinking?

Critical thinking involves analyzing and evaluating information to make reasoned, logical decisions, and judgments. It emphasizes evidence-based reasoning and problem-solving.

Why is critical thinking important?

Critical thinking enhances decision-making, problem-solving, and the ability to analyze complex situations. It is crucial for personal and professional growth.

How can I improve my critical thinking skills?

Improve critical thinking by questioning assumptions, seeking diverse perspectives, practicing problem-solving, and engaging in reflective thinking regularly.

What are the key components of critical thinking?

Key components include analysis, evaluation, inference, explanation, and self-regulation. These skills help in understanding and assessing arguments and evidence.

How does critical thinking benefit students?

Students benefit from critical thinking by improving academic performance, enhancing research skills, and fostering independent thinking and creativity.

What role does critical thinking play in the workplace?

In the workplace, critical thinking aids in decision-making, innovation, conflict resolution, and improving productivity and efficiency.

Can critical thinking be taught?

Yes, critical thinking can be taught through targeted educational programs, exercises, and practice that focus on developing analytical and evaluative skills.

What is an example of critical thinking in everyday life?

An example is evaluating news sources for credibility before accepting information as true. This involves analyzing evidence and assessing biases.

How does critical thinking relate to problem-solving?

Critical thinking is integral to problem-solving as it involves analyzing the problem, evaluating options, and making reasoned decisions based on evidence.

What are common barriers to critical thinking?

Common barriers include cognitive biases, emotional influences, lack of relevant information, and social pressures. Overcoming these requires awareness and deliberate practice.


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Critical Thinking

Developing the right mindset and skills.

By the Mind Tools Content Team

We make hundreds of decisions every day and, whether we realize it or not, we're all critical thinkers.

We use critical thinking each time we weigh up our options, prioritize our responsibilities, or think about the likely effects of our actions. It's a crucial skill that helps us to cut out misinformation and make wise decisions. The trouble is, we're not always very good at it!

In this article, we'll explore the key skills that you need to develop your critical thinking skills, and how to adopt a critical thinking mindset, so that you can make well-informed decisions.

What Is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking is the discipline of rigorously and skillfully using information, experience, observation, and reasoning to guide your decisions, actions, and beliefs. You'll need to actively question every step of your thinking process to do it well.

Collecting, analyzing and evaluating information is an important skill in life, and a highly valued asset in the workplace. People who score highly in critical thinking assessments are also rated by their managers as having good problem-solving skills, creativity, strong decision-making skills, and good overall performance. [1]

Key Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinkers possess a set of key characteristics which help them to question information and their own thinking. Focus on the following areas to develop your critical thinking skills:

Being willing and able to explore alternative approaches and experimental ideas is crucial. Can you think through "what if" scenarios, create plausible options, and test out your theories? If not, you'll tend to write off ideas and options too soon, so you may miss the best answer to your situation.

To nurture your curiosity, stay up to date with facts and trends. You'll overlook important information if you allow yourself to become "blinkered," so always be open to new information.

But don't stop there! Look for opposing views or evidence to challenge your information, and seek clarification when things are unclear. This will help you to reassess your beliefs and make a well-informed decision later. Read our article, Opening Closed Minds , for more ways to stay receptive.

Logical Thinking

You must be skilled at reasoning and extending logic to come up with plausible options or outcomes.

It's also important to emphasize logic over emotion. Emotion can be motivating but it can also lead you to take hasty and unwise action, so control your emotions and be cautious in your judgments. Know when a conclusion is "fact" and when it is not. "Could-be-true" conclusions are based on assumptions and must be tested further. Read our article, Logical Fallacies , for help with this.

Use creative problem solving to balance cold logic. By thinking outside of the box you can identify new possible outcomes by using pieces of information that you already have.


Many of the decisions we make in life are subtly informed by our values and beliefs. These influences are called cognitive biases and it can be difficult to identify them in ourselves because they're often subconscious.

Practicing self-awareness will allow you to reflect on the beliefs you have and the choices you make. You'll then be better equipped to challenge your own thinking and make improved, unbiased decisions.

One particularly useful tool for critical thinking is the Ladder of Inference . It allows you to test and validate your thinking process, rather than jumping to poorly supported conclusions.

Developing a Critical Thinking Mindset

Combine the above skills with the right mindset so that you can make better decisions and adopt more effective courses of action. You can develop your critical thinking mindset by following this process:

Gather Information

First, collect data, opinions and facts on the issue that you need to solve. Draw on what you already know, and turn to new sources of information to help inform your understanding. Consider what gaps there are in your knowledge and seek to fill them. And look for information that challenges your assumptions and beliefs.

Be sure to verify the authority and authenticity of your sources. Not everything you read is true! Use this checklist to ensure that your information is valid:

  • Are your information sources trustworthy ? (For example, well-respected authors, trusted colleagues or peers, recognized industry publications, websites, blogs, etc.)
  • Is the information you have gathered up to date ?
  • Has the information received any direct criticism ?
  • Does the information have any errors or inaccuracies ?
  • Is there any evidence to support or corroborate the information you have gathered?
  • Is the information you have gathered subjective or biased in any way? (For example, is it based on opinion, rather than fact? Is any of the information you have gathered designed to promote a particular service or organization?)

If any information appears to be irrelevant or invalid, don't include it in your decision making. But don't omit information just because you disagree with it, or your final decision will be flawed and bias.

Now observe the information you have gathered, and interpret it. What are the key findings and main takeaways? What does the evidence point to? Start to build one or two possible arguments based on what you have found.

You'll need to look for the details within the mass of information, so use your powers of observation to identify any patterns or similarities. You can then analyze and extend these trends to make sensible predictions about the future.

To help you to sift through the multiple ideas and theories, it can be useful to group and order items according to their characteristics. From here, you can compare and contrast the different items. And once you've determined how similar or different things are from one another, Paired Comparison Analysis can help you to analyze them.

The final step involves challenging the information and rationalizing its arguments.

Apply the laws of reason (induction, deduction, analogy) to judge an argument and determine its merits. To do this, it's essential that you can determine the significance and validity of an argument to put it in the correct perspective. Take a look at our article, Rational Thinking , for more information about how to do this.

Once you have considered all of the arguments and options rationally, you can finally make an informed decision.

Afterward, take time to reflect on what you have learned and what you found challenging. Step back from the detail of your decision or problem, and look at the bigger picture. Record what you've learned from your observations and experience.

Critical thinking involves rigorously and skilfully using information, experience, observation, and reasoning to guide your decisions, actions and beliefs. It's a useful skill in the workplace and in life.

You'll need to be curious and creative to explore alternative possibilities, but rational to apply logic, and self-aware to identify when your beliefs could affect your decisions or actions.

You can demonstrate a high level of critical thinking by validating your information, analyzing its meaning, and finally evaluating the argument.

Critical Thinking Infographic

See Critical Thinking represented in our infographic: An Elementary Guide to Critical Thinking .

activities to develop critical thinking skills

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Eight Instructional Strategies for Promoting Critical Thinking

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(This is the first post in a three-part series.)

The new question-of-the-week is:

What is critical thinking and how can we integrate it into the classroom?

This three-part series will explore what critical thinking is, if it can be specifically taught and, if so, how can teachers do so in their classrooms.

Today’s guests are Dara Laws Savage, Patrick Brown, Meg Riordan, Ph.D., and Dr. PJ Caposey. Dara, Patrick, and Meg were also guests on my 10-minute BAM! Radio Show . You can also find a list of, and links to, previous shows here.

You might also be interested in The Best Resources On Teaching & Learning Critical Thinking In The Classroom .

Current Events

Dara Laws Savage is an English teacher at the Early College High School at Delaware State University, where she serves as a teacher and instructional coach and lead mentor. Dara has been teaching for 25 years (career preparation, English, photography, yearbook, newspaper, and graphic design) and has presented nationally on project-based learning and technology integration:

There is so much going on right now and there is an overload of information for us to process. Did you ever stop to think how our students are processing current events? They see news feeds, hear news reports, and scan photos and posts, but are they truly thinking about what they are hearing and seeing?

I tell my students that my job is not to give them answers but to teach them how to think about what they read and hear. So what is critical thinking and how can we integrate it into the classroom? There are just as many definitions of critical thinking as there are people trying to define it. However, the Critical Think Consortium focuses on the tools to create a thinking-based classroom rather than a definition: “Shape the climate to support thinking, create opportunities for thinking, build capacity to think, provide guidance to inform thinking.” Using these four criteria and pairing them with current events, teachers easily create learning spaces that thrive on thinking and keep students engaged.

One successful technique I use is the FIRE Write. Students are given a quote, a paragraph, an excerpt, or a photo from the headlines. Students are asked to F ocus and respond to the selection for three minutes. Next, students are asked to I dentify a phrase or section of the photo and write for two minutes. Third, students are asked to R eframe their response around a specific word, phrase, or section within their previous selection. Finally, students E xchange their thoughts with a classmate. Within the exchange, students also talk about how the selection connects to what we are covering in class.

There was a controversial Pepsi ad in 2017 involving Kylie Jenner and a protest with a police presence. The imagery in the photo was strikingly similar to a photo that went viral with a young lady standing opposite a police line. Using that image from a current event engaged my students and gave them the opportunity to critically think about events of the time.

Here are the two photos and a student response:

F - Focus on both photos and respond for three minutes

In the first picture, you see a strong and courageous black female, bravely standing in front of two officers in protest. She is risking her life to do so. Iesha Evans is simply proving to the world she does NOT mean less because she is black … and yet officers are there to stop her. She did not step down. In the picture below, you see Kendall Jenner handing a police officer a Pepsi. Maybe this wouldn’t be a big deal, except this was Pepsi’s weak, pathetic, and outrageous excuse of a commercial that belittles the whole movement of people fighting for their lives.

I - Identify a word or phrase, underline it, then write about it for two minutes

A white, privileged female in place of a fighting black woman was asking for trouble. A struggle we are continuously fighting every day, and they make a mockery of it. “I know what will work! Here Mr. Police Officer! Drink some Pepsi!” As if. Pepsi made a fool of themselves, and now their already dwindling fan base continues to ever shrink smaller.

R - Reframe your thoughts by choosing a different word, then write about that for one minute

You don’t know privilege until it’s gone. You don’t know privilege while it’s there—but you can and will be made accountable and aware. Don’t use it for evil. You are not stupid. Use it to do something. Kendall could’ve NOT done the commercial. Kendall could’ve released another commercial standing behind a black woman. Anything!

Exchange - Remember to discuss how this connects to our school song project and our previous discussions?

This connects two ways - 1) We want to convey a strong message. Be powerful. Show who we are. And Pepsi definitely tried. … Which leads to the second connection. 2) Not mess up and offend anyone, as had the one alma mater had been linked to black minstrels. We want to be amazing, but we have to be smart and careful and make sure we include everyone who goes to our school and everyone who may go to our school.

As a final step, students read and annotate the full article and compare it to their initial response.

Using current events and critical-thinking strategies like FIRE writing helps create a learning space where thinking is the goal rather than a score on a multiple-choice assessment. Critical-thinking skills can cross over to any of students’ other courses and into life outside the classroom. After all, we as teachers want to help the whole student be successful, and critical thinking is an important part of navigating life after they leave our classrooms.



Patrick Brown is the executive director of STEM and CTE for the Fort Zumwalt school district in Missouri and an experienced educator and author :

Planning for critical thinking focuses on teaching the most crucial science concepts, practices, and logical-thinking skills as well as the best use of instructional time. One way to ensure that lessons maintain a focus on critical thinking is to focus on the instructional sequence used to teach.

Explore-before-explain teaching is all about promoting critical thinking for learners to better prepare students for the reality of their world. What having an explore-before-explain mindset means is that in our planning, we prioritize giving students firsthand experiences with data, allow students to construct evidence-based claims that focus on conceptual understanding, and challenge students to discuss and think about the why behind phenomena.

Just think of the critical thinking that has to occur for students to construct a scientific claim. 1) They need the opportunity to collect data, analyze it, and determine how to make sense of what the data may mean. 2) With data in hand, students can begin thinking about the validity and reliability of their experience and information collected. 3) They can consider what differences, if any, they might have if they completed the investigation again. 4) They can scrutinize outlying data points for they may be an artifact of a true difference that merits further exploration of a misstep in the procedure, measuring device, or measurement. All of these intellectual activities help them form more robust understanding and are evidence of their critical thinking.

In explore-before-explain teaching, all of these hard critical-thinking tasks come before teacher explanations of content. Whether we use discovery experiences, problem-based learning, and or inquiry-based activities, strategies that are geared toward helping students construct understanding promote critical thinking because students learn content by doing the practices valued in the field to generate knowledge.


An Issue of Equity

Meg Riordan, Ph.D., is the chief learning officer at The Possible Project, an out-of-school program that collaborates with youth to build entrepreneurial skills and mindsets and provides pathways to careers and long-term economic prosperity. She has been in the field of education for over 25 years as a middle and high school teacher, school coach, college professor, regional director of N.Y.C. Outward Bound Schools, and director of external research with EL Education:

Although critical thinking often defies straightforward definition, most in the education field agree it consists of several components: reasoning, problem-solving, and decisionmaking, plus analysis and evaluation of information, such that multiple sides of an issue can be explored. It also includes dispositions and “the willingness to apply critical-thinking principles, rather than fall back on existing unexamined beliefs, or simply believe what you’re told by authority figures.”

Despite variation in definitions, critical thinking is nonetheless promoted as an essential outcome of students’ learning—we want to see students and adults demonstrate it across all fields, professions, and in their personal lives. Yet there is simultaneously a rationing of opportunities in schools for students of color, students from under-resourced communities, and other historically marginalized groups to deeply learn and practice critical thinking.

For example, many of our most underserved students often spend class time filling out worksheets, promoting high compliance but low engagement, inquiry, critical thinking, or creation of new ideas. At a time in our world when college and careers are critical for participation in society and the global, knowledge-based economy, far too many students struggle within classrooms and schools that reinforce low-expectations and inequity.

If educators aim to prepare all students for an ever-evolving marketplace and develop skills that will be valued no matter what tomorrow’s jobs are, then we must move critical thinking to the forefront of classroom experiences. And educators must design learning to cultivate it.

So, what does that really look like?

Unpack and define critical thinking

To understand critical thinking, educators need to first unpack and define its components. What exactly are we looking for when we speak about reasoning or exploring multiple perspectives on an issue? How does problem-solving show up in English, math, science, art, or other disciplines—and how is it assessed? At Two Rivers, an EL Education school, the faculty identified five constructs of critical thinking, defined each, and created rubrics to generate a shared picture of quality for teachers and students. The rubrics were then adapted across grade levels to indicate students’ learning progressions.

At Avenues World School, critical thinking is one of the Avenues World Elements and is an enduring outcome embedded in students’ early experiences through 12th grade. For instance, a kindergarten student may be expected to “identify cause and effect in familiar contexts,” while an 8th grader should demonstrate the ability to “seek out sufficient evidence before accepting a claim as true,” “identify bias in claims and evidence,” and “reconsider strongly held points of view in light of new evidence.”

When faculty and students embrace a common vision of what critical thinking looks and sounds like and how it is assessed, educators can then explicitly design learning experiences that call for students to employ critical-thinking skills. This kind of work must occur across all schools and programs, especially those serving large numbers of students of color. As Linda Darling-Hammond asserts , “Schools that serve large numbers of students of color are least likely to offer the kind of curriculum needed to ... help students attain the [critical-thinking] skills needed in a knowledge work economy. ”

So, what can it look like to create those kinds of learning experiences?

Designing experiences for critical thinking

After defining a shared understanding of “what” critical thinking is and “how” it shows up across multiple disciplines and grade levels, it is essential to create learning experiences that impel students to cultivate, practice, and apply these skills. There are several levers that offer pathways for teachers to promote critical thinking in lessons:

1.Choose Compelling Topics: Keep it relevant

A key Common Core State Standard asks for students to “write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.” That might not sound exciting or culturally relevant. But a learning experience designed for a 12th grade humanities class engaged learners in a compelling topic— policing in America —to analyze and evaluate multiple texts (including primary sources) and share the reasoning for their perspectives through discussion and writing. Students grappled with ideas and their beliefs and employed deep critical-thinking skills to develop arguments for their claims. Embedding critical-thinking skills in curriculum that students care about and connect with can ignite powerful learning experiences.

2. Make Local Connections: Keep it real

At The Possible Project , an out-of-school-time program designed to promote entrepreneurial skills and mindsets, students in a recent summer online program (modified from in-person due to COVID-19) explored the impact of COVID-19 on their communities and local BIPOC-owned businesses. They learned interviewing skills through a partnership with Everyday Boston , conducted virtual interviews with entrepreneurs, evaluated information from their interviews and local data, and examined their previously held beliefs. They created blog posts and videos to reflect on their learning and consider how their mindsets had changed as a result of the experience. In this way, we can design powerful community-based learning and invite students into productive struggle with multiple perspectives.

3. Create Authentic Projects: Keep it rigorous

At Big Picture Learning schools, students engage in internship-based learning experiences as a central part of their schooling. Their school-based adviser and internship-based mentor support them in developing real-world projects that promote deeper learning and critical-thinking skills. Such authentic experiences teach “young people to be thinkers, to be curious, to get from curiosity to creation … and it helps students design a learning experience that answers their questions, [providing an] opportunity to communicate it to a larger audience—a major indicator of postsecondary success.” Even in a remote environment, we can design projects that ask more of students than rote memorization and that spark critical thinking.

Our call to action is this: As educators, we need to make opportunities for critical thinking available not only to the affluent or those fortunate enough to be placed in advanced courses. The tools are available, let’s use them. Let’s interrogate our current curriculum and design learning experiences that engage all students in real, relevant, and rigorous experiences that require critical thinking and prepare them for promising postsecondary pathways.


Critical Thinking & Student Engagement

Dr. PJ Caposey is an award-winning educator, keynote speaker, consultant, and author of seven books who currently serves as the superintendent of schools for the award-winning Meridian CUSD 223 in northwest Illinois. You can find PJ on most social-media platforms as MCUSDSupe:

When I start my keynote on student engagement, I invite two people up on stage and give them each five paper balls to shoot at a garbage can also conveniently placed on stage. Contestant One shoots their shot, and the audience gives approval. Four out of 5 is a heckuva score. Then just before Contestant Two shoots, I blindfold them and start moving the garbage can back and forth. I usually try to ensure that they can at least make one of their shots. Nobody is successful in this unfair environment.

I thank them and send them back to their seats and then explain that this little activity was akin to student engagement. While we all know we want student engagement, we are shooting at different targets. More importantly, for teachers, it is near impossible for them to hit a target that is moving and that they cannot see.

Within the world of education and particularly as educational leaders, we have failed to simplify what student engagement looks like, and it is impossible to define or articulate what student engagement looks like if we cannot clearly articulate what critical thinking is and looks like in a classroom. Because, simply, without critical thought, there is no engagement.

The good news here is that critical thought has been defined and placed into taxonomies for decades already. This is not something new and not something that needs to be redefined. I am a Bloom’s person, but there is nothing wrong with DOK or some of the other taxonomies, either. To be precise, I am a huge fan of Daggett’s Rigor and Relevance Framework. I have used that as a core element of my practice for years, and it has shaped who I am as an instructional leader.

So, in order to explain critical thought, a teacher or a leader must familiarize themselves with these tried and true taxonomies. Easy, right? Yes, sort of. The issue is not understanding what critical thought is; it is the ability to integrate it into the classrooms. In order to do so, there are a four key steps every educator must take.

  • Integrating critical thought/rigor into a lesson does not happen by chance, it happens by design. Planning for critical thought and engagement is much different from planning for a traditional lesson. In order to plan for kids to think critically, you have to provide a base of knowledge and excellent prompts to allow them to explore their own thinking in order to analyze, evaluate, or synthesize information.
  • SIDE NOTE – Bloom’s verbs are a great way to start when writing objectives, but true planning will take you deeper than this.


  • If the questions and prompts given in a classroom have correct answers or if the teacher ends up answering their own questions, the lesson will lack critical thought and rigor.
  • Script five questions forcing higher-order thought prior to every lesson. Experienced teachers may not feel they need this, but it helps to create an effective habit.
  • If lessons are rigorous and assessments are not, students will do well on their assessments, and that may not be an accurate representation of the knowledge and skills they have mastered. If lessons are easy and assessments are rigorous, the exact opposite will happen. When deciding to increase critical thought, it must happen in all three phases of the game: planning, instruction, and assessment.


  • To increase rigor, the teacher must DO LESS. This feels counterintuitive but is accurate. Rigorous lessons involving tons of critical thought must allow for students to work on their own, collaborate with peers, and connect their ideas. This cannot happen in a silent room except for the teacher talking. In order to increase rigor, decrease talk time and become comfortable with less control. Asking questions and giving prompts that lead to no true correct answer also means less control. This is a tough ask for some teachers. Explained differently, if you assign one assignment and get 30 very similar products, you have most likely assigned a low-rigor recipe. If you assign one assignment and get multiple varied products, then the students have had a chance to think deeply, and you have successfully integrated critical thought into your classroom.


Thanks to Dara, Patrick, Meg, and PJ for their contributions!

Please feel free to leave a comment with your reactions to the topic or directly to anything that has been said in this post.

Consider contributing a question to be answered in a future post. You can send one to me at [email protected] . When you send it in, let me know if I can use your real name if it’s selected or if you’d prefer remaining anonymous and have a pseudonym in mind.

You can also contact me on Twitter at @Larryferlazzo .

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Helping Students Hone Their Critical Thinking Skills

Used consistently, these strategies can help middle and high school teachers guide students to improve much-needed skills.

Middle school students involved in a classroom discussion

Critical thinking skills are important in every discipline, at and beyond school. From managing money to choosing which candidates to vote for in elections to making difficult career choices, students need to be prepared to take in, synthesize, and act on new information in a world that is constantly changing.

While critical thinking might seem like an abstract idea that is tough to directly instruct, there are many engaging ways to help students strengthen these skills through active learning.

Make Time for Metacognitive Reflection

Create space for students to both reflect on their ideas and discuss the power of doing so. Show students how they can push back on their own thinking to analyze and question their assumptions. Students might ask themselves, “Why is this the best answer? What information supports my answer? What might someone with a counterargument say?”

Through this reflection, students and teachers (who can model reflecting on their own thinking) gain deeper understandings of their ideas and do a better job articulating their beliefs. In a world that is go-go-go, it is important to help students understand that it is OK to take a breath and think about their ideas before putting them out into the world. And taking time for reflection helps us more thoughtfully consider others’ ideas, too.

Teach Reasoning Skills 

Reasoning skills are another key component of critical thinking, involving the abilities to think logically, evaluate evidence, identify assumptions, and analyze arguments. Students who learn how to use reasoning skills will be better equipped to make informed decisions, form and defend opinions, and solve problems. 

One way to teach reasoning is to use problem-solving activities that require students to apply their skills to practical contexts. For example, give students a real problem to solve, and ask them to use reasoning skills to develop a solution. They can then present their solution and defend their reasoning to the class and engage in discussion about whether and how their thinking changed when listening to peers’ perspectives. 

A great example I have seen involved students identifying an underutilized part of their school and creating a presentation about one way to redesign it. This project allowed students to feel a sense of connection to the problem and come up with creative solutions that could help others at school. For more examples, you might visit PBS’s Design Squad , a resource that brings to life real-world problem-solving.

Ask Open-Ended Questions 

Moving beyond the repetition of facts, critical thinking requires students to take positions and explain their beliefs through research, evidence, and explanations of credibility. 

When we pose open-ended questions, we create space for classroom discourse inclusive of diverse, perhaps opposing, ideas—grounds for rich exchanges that support deep thinking and analysis. 

For example, “How would you approach the problem?” and “Where might you look to find resources to address this issue?” are two open-ended questions that position students to think less about the “right” answer and more about the variety of solutions that might already exist. 

Journaling, whether digitally or physically in a notebook, is another great way to have students answer these open-ended prompts—giving them time to think and organize their thoughts before contributing to a conversation, which can ensure that more voices are heard. 

Once students process in their journal, small group or whole class conversations help bring their ideas to life. Discovering similarities between answers helps reveal to students that they are not alone, which can encourage future participation in constructive civil discourse.

Teach Information Literacy 

Education has moved far past the idea of “Be careful of what is on Wikipedia, because it might not be true.” With AI innovations making their way into classrooms, teachers know that informed readers must question everything. 

Understanding what is and is not a reliable source and knowing how to vet information are important skills for students to build and utilize when making informed decisions. You might start by introducing the idea of bias: Articles, ads, memes, videos, and every other form of media can push an agenda that students may not see on the surface. Discuss credibility, subjectivity, and objectivity, and look at examples and nonexamples of trusted information to prepare students to be well-informed members of a democracy.

One of my favorite lessons is about the Pacific Northwest tree octopus . This project asks students to explore what appears to be a very real website that provides information on this supposedly endangered animal. It is a wonderful, albeit over-the-top, example of how something might look official even when untrue, revealing that we need critical thinking to break down “facts” and determine the validity of the information we consume. 

A fun extension is to have students come up with their own website or newsletter about something going on in school that is untrue. Perhaps a change in dress code that requires everyone to wear their clothes inside out or a change to the lunch menu that will require students to eat brussels sprouts every day. 

Giving students the ability to create their own falsified information can help them better identify it in other contexts. Understanding that information can be “too good to be true” can help them identify future falsehoods. 

Provide Diverse Perspectives 

Consider how to keep the classroom from becoming an echo chamber. If students come from the same community, they may have similar perspectives. And those who have differing perspectives may not feel comfortable sharing them in the face of an opposing majority. 

To support varying viewpoints, bring diverse voices into the classroom as much as possible, especially when discussing current events. Use primary sources: videos from YouTube, essays and articles written by people who experienced current events firsthand, documentaries that dive deeply into topics that require some nuance, and any other resources that provide a varied look at topics. 

I like to use the Smithsonian “OurStory” page , which shares a wide variety of stories from people in the United States. The page on Japanese American internment camps is very powerful because of its first-person perspectives. 

Practice Makes Perfect 

To make the above strategies and thinking routines a consistent part of your classroom, spread them out—and build upon them—over the course of the school year. You might challenge students with information and/or examples that require them to use their critical thinking skills; work these skills explicitly into lessons, projects, rubrics, and self-assessments; or have students practice identifying misinformation or unsupported arguments.

Critical thinking is not learned in isolation. It needs to be explored in English language arts, social studies, science, physical education, math. Every discipline requires students to take a careful look at something and find the best solution. Often, these skills are taken for granted, viewed as a by-product of a good education, but true critical thinking doesn’t just happen. It requires consistency and commitment.

In a moment when information and misinformation abound, and students must parse reams of information, it is imperative that we support and model critical thinking in the classroom to support the development of well-informed citizens.

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Fun Critical Thinking Activities

Fun Critical Thinking Activities

Learning to evaluate information, find credible sources, and prepare for counterarguments is an important skill for people to learn, especially in the modern age of information. Here are 10 great critical thinking activities designed to develop your critical thinking skills.

Worst Case Scenario

Creative construction, story telling, pragmatic problem solving, critical analysis, controversy conundrum, alien vacation, prison promises, competitor compromises.

  With so much information on the internet, parsing through what’s true and what isn’t can be a difficult challenge that relies heavily on your ability to think critically . The rest of this article will discuss 10 fun activities to improve your critical thinking skills.

In this first scenario, you’ll want a group of friends to bounce ideas around. The premise works by assuming that you and a group of friends are in a worst-case scenario. This might be the classic stranded on a desert island trope, but you can also change it up with something like being trapped in a spaceship with hostile aliens aboard.

In this exercise, you’ll be required to think both creatively and critically to evaluate what your best course of action is, how to allocate resources, and who should take on what roles and responsibilities.

Another great hands-on approach to critical thinking is to take all of the bits and pieces around your house—shredded paper, used containers, empty cans—and turn them into something creative. This exercise is a great one to do with friends, too. You can even turn it into a competition by giving everyone the same bits of junk and seeing who can make the best creation out of it.

This exercise works your critical thinking muscles by forcing you to evaluate the resources you have on hand, what you can build out of them, and how you’re going to go about constructing it with the tools you have.

A very popular game that’s still worth its salt for adults, this activity starts with a series of random images. You can pull these straight from pictures on a browser and put them into a slideshow. Get a group together for your favorite storytime.

The first person looks at the first image and starts a story from scratch. After a period of time you designate, the next person goes up and continues the story where it left off, incorporating the second image in your series of random pictures.

Not only does this create some hilarious stories, but it allows you to develop your critical thinking skills by evaluating how the image you’re given and the story might pair up.

Another great exercise to work on your critical thinking skills either alone or with friends is to make your very own think tank. Consider and list some of the major issues facing your local area, county, or state. Think critically about these issues, the resources available to you, and how you would go about solving them.

Doing this in a group is a great idea because different people will generate different angles of approach that will help you put together a potential solution for these problems.

Where applicable, you can convert this idea into action by sharing your plan with public officials or starting a petition to inspire the change you want to see. Considering how different perspectives and resources play into this quandary is a powerful thought exercise that can help you develop your critical thinking skills.

Another hands-on critical thinking exercise, the egg rescue is a resurrected science class favorite in which your team has to develop a method of protecting an egg that’s falling from a certain height.

Considering the resources available, the time constraints, and the physical forces affecting the egg are all necessary to succeed in this challenge of critical thinking.

Another great and dead simple exercise to develop your critical thinking skills is analyzing a popular piece of literature. Read it carefully and evaluate the author’s opinion, the biases behind them, and how you would either agree or contradict their viewpoints.

You can even take this concept online to discuss with other literature enthusiasts about their opinions. Just stay civil, of course!

One of the most important aspects of critical thinking is assessing opposing viewpoints or alternative opinions, which is why a classic debate is one of the best exercises for flexing your critical thinking muscles.

Not only do you have to present and uphold your viewpoint, but you’ll be obligated to address and respond to opposing viewpoints. To make this a twist, consider which side you’d take in the question and force yourself (and all participants) to defend their opponents’ points of view.

An entertaining premise puts you in the role of a tour guide for an alien on vacation. Evaluate something you take for granted, like a baseball game, and try to explain every aspect about it in a way that an alien would be able to comprehend. To add some humor, take turns on this exercise and have a friend play the alien to ask those probing questions.

Another premise that requires a lot of critical thinking skills is imagining you’re a city planner trying to put a maximum-security prison in an upscale neighborhood. How are you going to convince the locals to agree to your plan and what incentives can you offer them?

Not only is this exercise good for developing critical thinking , but it’s a good way to think about your business. Consider your greatest business rival and assess how you could help them succeed further in their business without detrimentally affecting your own.

This complex critical thinking experience will help you evaluate your business growth in light of your competitor and identify the factors that help you and them succeed.

Final Thoughts on Fun Critical Thinking Activities

There are lots of great critical thinking exercises you can partake in, whether you want to get a group of friends together or just sit down with a pen and a pencil. Developing these skills is a dynamic and valuable way of improving your ability to solve problems.

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5 Critical Thinking Skills Every Kid Needs To Learn (And How To Teach Them)

Teach them to thoughtfully question the world around them.

Examples of critical thinking skills like correlation tick-tac-Toe, which teaches analysis skills and debates which teach evaluation skills.

Little kids love to ask questions. “Why is the sky blue?” “Where does the sun go at night?” Their innate curiosity helps them learn more about the world, and it’s key to their development. As they grow older, it’s important to encourage them to keep asking questions and to teach them the right kinds of questions to ask. We call these “critical thinking skills,” and they help kids become thoughtful adults who are able to make informed decisions as they grow older.

What is critical thinking?

Critical thinking allows us to examine a subject and develop an informed opinion about it. First, we need to be able to simply understand the information, then we build on that by analyzing, comparing, evaluating, reflecting, and more. Critical thinking is about asking questions, then looking closely at the answers to form conclusions that are backed by provable facts, not just “gut feelings” and opinion.

Critical thinkers tend to question everything, and that can drive teachers and parents a little crazy. The temptation to reply, “Because I said so!” is strong, but when you can, try to provide the reasons behind your answers. We want to raise children who take an active role in the world around them and who nurture curiosity throughout their entire lives.

Key Critical Thinking Skills

So, what are critical thinking skills? There’s no official list, but many people use Bloom’s Taxonomy to help lay out the skills kids should develop as they grow up.

A diagram showing Bloom's Taxonomy (Critical Thinking Skills)

Source: Vanderbilt University

Bloom’s Taxonomy is laid out as a pyramid, with foundational skills at the bottom providing a base for more advanced skills higher up. The lowest phase, “Remember,” doesn’t require much critical thinking. These are the skills kids use when they memorize math facts or world capitals or practice their spelling words. Critical thinking doesn’t begin to creep in until the next steps.

Understanding requires more than memorization. It’s the difference between a child reciting by rote “one times four is four, two times four is eight, three times four is twelve,” versus recognizing that multiplication is the same as adding a number to itself a certain number of times. Schools focus more these days on understanding concepts than they used to; pure memorization has its place, but when a student understands the concept behind something, they can then move on to the next phase.

Application opens up whole worlds to students. Once you realize you can use a concept you’ve already mastered and apply it to other examples, you’ve expanded your learning exponentially. It’s easy to see this in math or science, but it works in all subjects. Kids may memorize sight words to speed up their reading mastery, but it’s learning to apply phonics and other reading skills that allows them to tackle any new word that comes their way.

Analysis is the real leap into advanced critical thinking for most kids. When we analyze something, we don’t take it at face value. Analysis requires us to find facts that stand up to inquiry, even if we don’t like what those facts might mean. We put aside personal feelings or beliefs and explore, examine, research, compare and contrast, draw correlations, organize, experiment, and so much more. We learn to identify primary sources for information, and check into the validity of those sources. Analysis is a skill successful adults must use every day, so it’s something we must help kids learn as early as possible.

Almost at the top of Bloom’s pyramid, evaluation skills let us synthesize all the information we’ve learned, understood, applied, and analyzed, and to use it to support our opinions and decisions. Now we can reflect on the data we’ve gathered and use it to make choices, cast votes, or offer informed opinions. We can evaluate the statements of others too, using these same skills. True evaluation requires us to put aside our own biases and accept that there may be other valid points of view, even if we don’t necessarily agree with them.

In the final phase, we use every one of those previous skills to create something new. This could be a proposal, an essay, a theory, a plan—anything a person assembles that’s unique.

Note: Bloom’s original taxonomy included “synthesis” as opposed to “create,” and it was located between “apply” and “evaluate.” When you synthesize, you put various parts of different ideas together to form a new whole. In 2001, a group of cognitive psychologists removed that term from the taxonomy , replacing it with “create,” but it’s part of the same concept.

How To Teach Critical Thinking

Using critical thinking in your own life is vital, but passing it along to the next generation is just as important. Be sure to focus on analyzing and evaluating, two multifaceted sets of skills that take lots and lots of practice. Start with these 10 Tips for Teaching Kids To Be Awesome Critical Thinkers . Then try these critical thinking activities and games. Finally, try to incorporate some of these 100+ Critical Thinking Questions for Students into your lessons. They’ll help your students develop the skills they need to navigate a world full of conflicting facts and provocative opinions.

One of These Things Is Not Like the Other

This classic Sesame Street activity is terrific for introducing the ideas of classifying, sorting, and finding relationships. All you need are several different objects (or pictures of objects). Lay them out in front of students, and ask them to decide which one doesn’t belong to the group. Let them be creative: The answer they come up with might not be the one you envisioned, and that’s OK!

The Answer Is …

Post an “answer” and ask kids to come up with the question. For instance, if you’re reading the book Charlotte’s Web , the answer might be “Templeton.” Students could say, “Who helped save Wilbur even though he didn’t really like him?” or “What’s the name of the rat that lived in the barn?” Backwards thinking encourages creativity and requires a good understanding of the subject matter.

Forced Analogies

Forced Analogies: A Critical thinking Activity

Practice making connections and seeing relationships with this fun game. Kids write four random words in the corners of a Frayer Model and one more in the middle. The challenge? To link the center word to one of the others by making an analogy. The more far out the analogies, the better!

Learn more: Forced Analogies at The Owl Teacher

Primary Sources

Tired of hearing “I found it on Wikipedia!” when you ask kids where they got their answer? It’s time to take a closer look at primary sources. Show students how to follow a fact back to its original source, whether online or in print. We’ve got 10 terrific American history–based primary source activities to try here.

Science Experiments

Collage of students performing science experiments using critical thinking skills

Hands-on science experiments and STEM challenges are a surefire way to engage students, and they involve all sorts of critical thinking skills. We’ve got hundreds of experiment ideas for all ages on our STEM pages , starting with 50 Stem Activities To Help Kids Think Outside the Box .

Not the Answer

Multiple-choice questions can be a great way to work on critical thinking. Turn the questions into discussions, asking kids to eliminate wrong answers one by one. This gives them practice analyzing and evaluating, allowing them to make considered choices.

Learn more: Teaching in the Fast Lane

Correlation Tic-Tac-Toe

Two 3 by 3 grids of pictures showing mountains, islands, and other landforms, with Xs drawn in each grid to form tic-tac-toe lines.

Here’s a fun way to work on correlation, which is a part of analysis. Show kids a 3 x 3 grid with nine pictures, and ask them to find a way to link three in a row together to get tic-tac-toe. For instance, in the pictures above, you might link together the cracked ground, the landslide, and the tsunami as things that might happen after an earthquake. Take things a step further and discuss the fact that there are other ways those things might have happened (a landslide can be caused by heavy rain, for instance), so correlation doesn’t necessarily prove causation.

Learn more: Critical Thinking Tic-Tac-Toe at The Owl Teacher

Inventions That Changed the World

Explore the chain of cause and effect with this fun thought exercise. Start it off by asking one student to name an invention they believe changed the world. Each student then follows by explaining an effect that invention had on the world and their own lives. Challenge each student to come up with something different.

Learn more: Teaching With a Mountain View

Critical Thinking Games

Pile of board games that encourage critical thinking skills

There are so many board games that help kids learn to question, analyze, examine, make judgments, and more. In fact, pretty much any game that doesn’t leave things entirely up to chance (Sorry, Candy Land) requires players to use critical thinking skills. See one teacher’s favorites at the link below.

Learn more: Miss DeCarbo

This is one of those classic critical thinking activities that really prepares kids for the real world. Assign a topic (or let them choose one). Then give kids time to do some research to find good sources that support their point of view. Finally, let the debate begin! Check out 100 Middle School Debate Topics , 100 High School Debate Topics , and 60 Funny Debate Topics for Kids of All Ages .

How do you teach critical thinking skills in your classroom? Come share your ideas and ask for advice in the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook .

Plus, check out 38 simple ways to integrate social-emotional learning throughout the day ..

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activities to develop critical thinking skills

How to build critical thinking skills for better decision-making

It’s simple in theory, but tougher in practice – here are five tips to get you started.

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Have you heard the riddle about two coins that equal thirty cents, but one of them is not a nickel? What about the one where a surgeon says they can’t operate on their own son?

Those brain teasers tap into your critical thinking skills. But your ability to think critically isn’t just helpful for solving those random puzzles – it plays a big role in your career. 

An impressive 81% of employers say critical thinking carries a lot of weight when they’re evaluating job candidates. It ranks as the top competency companies consider when hiring recent graduates (even ahead of communication ). Plus, once you’re hired, several studies show that critical thinking skills are highly correlated with better job performance.

So what exactly are critical thinking skills? And even more importantly, how do you build and improve them? 

What is critical thinking?

Critical thinking is the ability to evaluate facts and information, remain objective, and make a sound decision about how to move forward.

Does that sound like how you approach every decision or problem? Not so fast. Critical thinking seems simple in theory but is much tougher in practice, which helps explain why 65% of employers say their organization has a need for more critical thinking. 

In reality, critical thinking doesn’t come naturally to a lot of us. In order to do it well, you need to:

  • Remain open-minded and inquisitive, rather than relying on assumptions or jumping to conclusions
  • Ask questions and dig deep, rather than accepting information at face value
  • Keep your own biases and perceptions in check to stay as objective as possible
  • Rely on your emotional intelligence to fill in the blanks and gain a more well-rounded understanding of a situation

So, critical thinking isn’t just being intelligent or analytical. In many ways, it requires you to step outside of yourself, let go of your own preconceived notions, and approach a problem or situation with curiosity and fairness.

It’s a challenge, but it’s well worth it. Critical thinking skills will help you connect ideas, make reasonable decisions, and solve complex problems.

7 critical thinking skills to help you dig deeper

Critical thinking is often labeled as a skill itself (you’ll see it bulleted as a desired trait in a variety of job descriptions). But it’s better to think of critical thinking less as a distinct skill and more as a collection or category of skills. 

To think critically, you’ll need to tap into a bunch of your other soft skills. Here are seven of the most important. 


It’s important to kick off the critical thinking process with the idea that anything is possible. The more you’re able to set aside your own suspicions, beliefs, and agenda, the better prepared you are to approach the situation with the level of inquisitiveness you need. 

That means not closing yourself off to any possibilities and allowing yourself the space to pull on every thread – yes, even the ones that seem totally implausible.

As Christopher Dwyer, Ph.D. writes in a piece for Psychology Today , “Even if an idea appears foolish, sometimes its consideration can lead to an intelligent, critically considered conclusion.” He goes on to compare the critical thinking process to brainstorming . Sometimes the “bad” ideas are what lay the foundation for the good ones. 

Open-mindedness is challenging because it requires more effort and mental bandwidth than sticking with your own perceptions. Approaching problems or situations with true impartiality often means:

  • Practicing self-regulation : Giving yourself a pause between when you feel something and when you actually react or take action.
  • Challenging your own biases: Acknowledging your biases and seeking feedback are two powerful ways to get a broader understanding. 

Critical thinking example

In a team meeting, your boss mentioned that your company newsletter signups have been decreasing and she wants to figure out why.

At first, you feel offended and defensive – it feels like she’s blaming you for the dip in subscribers. You recognize and rationalize that emotion before thinking about potential causes. You have a hunch about what’s happening, but you will explore all possibilities and contributions from your team members.


Observation is, of course, your ability to notice and process the details all around you (even the subtle or seemingly inconsequential ones). Critical thinking demands that you’re flexible and willing to go beyond surface-level information, and solid observation skills help you do that.

Your observations help you pick up on clues from a variety of sources and experiences, all of which help you draw a final conclusion. After all, sometimes it’s the most minuscule realization that leads you to the strongest conclusion.

Over the next week or so, you keep a close eye on your company’s website and newsletter analytics to see if numbers are in fact declining or if your boss’s concerns were just a fluke. 

Critical thinking hinges on objectivity. And, to be objective, you need to base your judgments on the facts – which you collect through research. You’ll lean on your research skills to gather as much information as possible that’s relevant to your problem or situation. 

Keep in mind that this isn’t just about the quantity of information – quality matters too. You want to find data and details from a variety of trusted sources to drill past the surface and build a deeper understanding of what’s happening. 

You dig into your email and website analytics to identify trends in bounce rates, time on page, conversions, and more. You also review recent newsletters and email promotions to understand what customers have received, look through current customer feedback, and connect with your customer support team to learn what they’re hearing in their conversations with customers.

The critical thinking process is sort of like a treasure hunt – you’ll find some nuggets that are fundamental for your final conclusion and some that might be interesting but aren’t pertinent to the problem at hand.

That’s why you need analytical skills. They’re what help you separate the wheat from the chaff, prioritize information, identify trends or themes, and draw conclusions based on the most relevant and influential facts. 

It’s easy to confuse analytical thinking with critical thinking itself, and it’s true there is a lot of overlap between the two. But analytical thinking is just a piece of critical thinking. It focuses strictly on the facts and data, while critical thinking incorporates other factors like emotions, opinions, and experiences. 

As you analyze your research, you notice that one specific webpage has contributed to a significant decline in newsletter signups. While all of the other sources have stayed fairly steady with regard to conversions, that one has sharply decreased.

You decide to move on from your other hypotheses about newsletter quality and dig deeper into the analytics. 

One of the traps of critical thinking is that it’s easy to feel like you’re never done. There’s always more information you could collect and more rabbit holes you could fall down.

But at some point, you need to accept that you’ve done your due diligence and make a decision about how to move forward. That’s where inference comes in. It’s your ability to look at the evidence and facts available to you and draw an informed conclusion based on those. 

When you’re so focused on staying objective and pursuing all possibilities, inference can feel like the antithesis of critical thinking. But ultimately, it’s your inference skills that allow you to move out of the thinking process and onto the action steps. 

You dig deeper into the analytics for the page that hasn’t been converting and notice that the sharp drop-off happened around the same time you switched email providers.

After looking more into the backend, you realize that the signup form on that page isn’t correctly connected to your newsletter platform. It seems like anybody who has signed up on that page hasn’t been fed to your email list. 


3 ways to improve your communication skills at work

3 ways to improve your communication skills at work

If and when you identify a solution or answer, you can’t keep it close to the vest. You’ll need to use your communication skills to share your findings with the relevant stakeholders – like your boss, team members, or anybody who needs to be involved in the next steps.

Your analysis skills will come in handy here too, as they’ll help you determine what information other people need to know so you can avoid bogging them down with unnecessary details. 

In your next team meeting, you pull up the analytics and show your team the sharp drop-off as well as the missing connection between that page and your email platform. You ask the web team to reinstall and double-check that connection and you also ask a member of the marketing team to draft an apology email to the subscribers who were missed. 


Critical thinking and problem-solving are two more terms that are frequently confused. After all, when you think critically, you’re often doing so with the objective of solving a problem.

The best way to understand how problem-solving and critical thinking differ is to think of problem-solving as much more narrow. You’re focused on finding a solution.

In contrast, you can use critical thinking for a variety of use cases beyond solving a problem – like answering questions or identifying opportunities for improvement. Even so, within the critical thinking process, you’ll flex your problem-solving skills when it comes time to take action. 

Once the fix is implemented, you monitor the analytics to see if subscribers continue to increase. If not (or if they increase at a slower rate than you anticipated), you’ll roll out some other tests like changing the CTA language or the placement of the subscribe form on the page.

5 ways to improve your critical thinking skills

Beyond the buzzwords: Why interpersonal skills matter at work

Beyond the buzzwords: Why interpersonal skills matter at work

Think critically about critical thinking and you’ll quickly realize that it’s not as instinctive as you’d like it to be. Fortunately, your critical thinking skills are learned competencies and not inherent gifts – and that means you can improve them. Here’s how:

  • Practice active listening: Active listening helps you process and understand what other people share. That’s crucial as you aim to be open-minded and inquisitive.
  • Ask open-ended questions: If your critical thinking process involves collecting feedback and opinions from others, ask open-ended questions (meaning, questions that can’t be answered with “yes” or “no”). Doing so will give you more valuable information and also prevent your own biases from influencing people’s input.
  • Scrutinize your sources: Figuring out what to trust and prioritize is crucial for critical thinking. Boosting your media literacy and asking more questions will help you be more discerning about what to factor in. It’s hard to strike a balance between skepticism and open-mindedness, but approaching information with questions (rather than unquestioning trust) will help you draw better conclusions. 
  • Play a game: Remember those riddles we mentioned at the beginning? As trivial as they might seem, games and exercises like those can help you boost your critical thinking skills. There are plenty of critical thinking exercises you can do individually or as a team . 
  • Give yourself time: Research shows that rushed decisions are often regrettable ones. That’s likely because critical thinking takes time – you can’t do it under the wire. So, for big decisions or hairy problems, give yourself enough time and breathing room to work through the process. It’s hard enough to think critically without a countdown ticking in your brain. 

Critical thinking really is critical

The ability to think critically is important, but it doesn’t come naturally to most of us. It’s just easier to stick with biases, assumptions, and surface-level information. 

But that route often leads you to rash judgments, shaky conclusions, and disappointing decisions. So here’s a conclusion we can draw without any more noodling: Even if it is more demanding on your mental resources, critical thinking is well worth the effort.

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13 Easy Steps To Improve Your Critical Thinking Skills

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With the sheer volume of information that we’re bombarded with on a daily basis – and with the pervasiveness of fake news and social media bubbles – the ability to look at evidence, evaluate the trustworthiness of a source, and think critically is becoming more important than ever. This is why, for me, critical thinking is one of the most vital skills to cultivate for future success.

Critical thinking isn’t about being constantly negative or critical of everything. It’s about objectivity and having an open, inquisitive mind. To think critically is to analyze issues based on hard evidence (as opposed to personal opinions, biases, etc.) in order to build a thorough understanding of what’s really going on. And from this place of thorough understanding, you can make better decisions and solve problems more effectively.

To put it another way, critical thinking means arriving at your own carefully considered conclusions instead of taking information at face value. Here are 13 ways you can cultivate this precious skill:

1. Always vet new information with a cautious eye. Whether it’s an article someone has shared online or data that’s related to your job, always vet the information you're presented with. Good questions to ask here include, "Is this information complete and up to date?” “What evidence is being presented to support the argument?” and “Whose voice is missing here?”

2. Look at where the information has come from. Is the source trustworthy? What is their motivation for presenting this information? For example, are they trying to sell you something or get you to take a certain action (like vote for them)?

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3. Consider more than one point of view. Everyone has their own opinions and motivations – even highly intelligent people making reasonable-sounding arguments have personal opinions and biases that shape their thinking. So, when someone presents you with information, consider whether there are other sides to the story.

4. Practice active listening. Listen carefully to what others are telling you, and try to build a clear picture of their perspective. Empathy is a really useful skill here since putting yourself in another person's shoes can help you understand where they're coming from and what they might want. Try to listen without judgment – remember, critical thinking is about keeping an open mind.

5. Gather additional information where needed. Whenever you identify gaps in the information or data, do your own research to fill those gaps. The next few steps will help you do this objectively…

6. Ask lots of open-ended questions. Curiosity is a key trait of critical thinkers, so channel your inner child and ask lots of "who," "what," and "why" questions.

7. Find your own reputable sources of information, such as established news sites, nonprofit organizations, and education institutes. Try to avoid anonymous sources or sources with an ax to grind or a product to sell. Also, be sure to check when the information was published. An older source may be unintentionally offering up wrong information just because events have moved on since it was published; corroborate the info with a more recent source.

8. Try not to get your news from social media. And if you do see something on social media that grabs your interest, check the accuracy of the story (via reputable sources of information, as above) before you share it.

9. Learn to spot fake news. It's not always easy to spot false or misleading content, but a good rule of thumb is to look at the language, emotion, and tone of the piece. Is it using emotionally charged language, for instance, and trying to get you to feel a certain way? Also, look at the sources of facts, figures, images, and quotes. A legit news story will clearly state its sources.

10. Learn to spot biased information. Like fake news, biased information may seek to appeal more to your emotions than logic and/or present a limited view of the topic. So ask yourself, “Is there more to this topic than what’s being presented here?” Do your own reading around the topic to establish the full picture.

11. Question your own biases, too. Everyone has biases, and there’s no point pretending otherwise. The trick is to think objectively about your likes and dislikes, preferences, and beliefs, and consider how these might affect your thinking.

12. Form your own opinions. Remember, critical thinking is about thinking independently. So once you’ve assessed all the information, form your own conclusions about it.

13. Continue to work on your critical thinking skills. I recommend looking at online learning platforms such as Udemy and Coursera for courses on general critical thinking skills, as well as courses on specific subjects like cognitive biases.

Read more about critical thinking and other essential skills in my new book, Future Skills: The 20 Skills & Competencies Everyone Needs To Succeed In A Digital World . Written for anyone who wants to surf the wave of digital transformation – rather than be drowned by it – the book explores why these vital future skills matter and how to develop them.

Bernard Marr

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activities to develop critical thinking skills

40 Activities For Developing Critical Thinking in EFL Classes

activities to develop critical thinking skills

In this article, I’m going to tackle critical thinking; what it is, what it involves, and some practical activities to develop it in EFL classes.

Critical thinking is one of the main purposes of education. Teachers should prepare their students to think critically from the first day of school. Critical thinking helps students to lead successful, fulfilling lives and become engaged citizens.

What Is Meant By Critical Thinking?

In today’s world, critical thinking is:

  • The ability to think about one’s thinking to recognize and improve it.
  • The process of applying, analyzing, constructing and evaluating information.
  • Making reasoned judgments using certain criteria to judge the quality of something.

What Critical Thinking Involves?

  • Asking questions,
  • Defining a problem,
  • Examining evidence,
  • Analyzing assumptions and biases,
  • Avoiding emotional reasoning,
  • Avoiding oversimplification,
  • Considering all interpretations,
  • Using higher level thinking skills; analyzing, evaluating and
  • Reaching creative solutions for problems.

Why Teach Critical Thinking?

Teachers should focus mainly to develop their students’ critical thinking to help them:  

  • Be active receptors of the massive information that they receive nowadays.
  • Solve the complex problems that they face every day.
  • Make sound decisions about personal and civic affairs.

The Main Teaching Strategies To Develop Critical Thinking

  • Using ongoing classroom assessment.
  • Putting students in group learning situations to get continuous support and feedback from other students.
  • Presenting case studies to the class without a conclusion and using discussion and debate methods.
  • Using critical questions.
  • Using dialogues written or oral and encouraging students to analyze them.
  • Using comparisons to show the pros and cons of two things.

Example #1 of a Critical Thinking Activity

Using debates

Letter x Email

Broom x Vacuum cleaner

Telephone (landline) x Cell phone

Oven x Microwave

Sponge and soap x Dishwasher

Candle x Bulb

Book x Kindle

1. Ask the class who, in their own opinion, wins and why?

2. Ask students to pretend to be the item that they choose, try to list its advantages, and debate them with the other student.

3. Ask students to act out what they prepared in front of the class.

4.  Ask the class to listen and take notes.

Example #2 of a Critical Thinking Activity

Using short stories

Ask students to read the following short story and answer the questions below:

Just before Christmas my father took me skiing at Mount Baker. He’d had to fight for the privilege of my company, because my mother was still angry with him for sneaking me into a nightclub during his last visit, to see Thelonious Monk.

  • Write an introduction to this short story.
  • Write the second paragraph.
  • Do you think they stayed up all night in the nightclub? What did they do?
  • What do you think about the father?
  • Do you think the family enjoyed Christmas?
  • If you were the mother, would you be angry?
  • What did you learn from the story?
  • Can you guess the best/worst case scenario of how the story will end?
  • Why did the father take the kid to the nightclub?
  • Do you think the mother wanted to go to the nightclub?
  • Do you like such a father?
  • Do you think the dad lives with the family?
  • What are the feelings of the kid?
  • Do you think the kid has siblings?
  • Did the kid solve the problem with his mother?
  • What would you do if you were in his/her shoes?
  • How old is he or she?
  • Where do they live? Country or town?
  • Do you think the kid is good at school?
  • Why did the father sneak the kid into the nightclub?
  • Do you think the mother was right when she got angry?
  • What do you think of the dad?
  • Should the kid apologize to the mother and how?
  • Does the father accompany his kid often or rarely?
  • What do you think happened before Christmas?
  • Why did the father not take the mother along? …. etc.

When asking students such critical thinking questions, the teacher should:

  • Keep the discussion focused.
  • Keep the discussion reasonable.
  • Stimulate the discussion with more probing questions.
  • Summarize periodically what has and what has not been dealt with or resolved.
  • Engage as many students as possible in the discussion.

More Examples of Activities For Developing Critical Thinking in EFL Classes

3. Write a title on the board, divide the students into groups, and they sit together and make a story (each group will have a different story and then share it with the whole class).

4. Use a short story, ask students about their opinions of the characters, then discuss with the whole class whether they agree or disagree asking why?

5. Draw objects and ask them about them (compare and contrast).

6. Write an essay on a certain topic or respond to an email.

7. Suggest a suitable title for a story.

8. Transfer information to others

9. Brainstorm ideas using a mind map.

10. Summarize a text and give opinions.

11. Ask what-if questions (what if you were Oliver twist/Cinderella).

12. Ask students to complete a sentence.

13. Ask about the moral of a story.

14. Give students a problem related to their environment and ask them to do research about it and give some creative solutions for it.

15. Ask open-ended questions; questions that have many possible answers (e.g. should we spend more money developing earth or exploring space?). Divide the class into groups, each thinks of answers and then shares them.

16. Give a situation and encourage students (in groups) to analyze, evaluate, and make judgments.

17. Ask students to make an end to a story.

18. Ask students to criticize a certain situation.

19. List the advantages and disadvantages of a topic.

20. Introduce some situations using (what would you do in the following situation? what if we do not have …., what would happen if …?

21. Ask students: which is different: milk, water, soda, or juice? Why? Which one is better (in pairs and students pick different sides)

22. Imagine you are the president, the mayor, a leader, a doctor etc… What decisions would you take first?

Reading Activities

Let’s brainstorm some ideas of how to promote critical thinking after reading a story, e.g. “Cinderella”.

23. Analyze characters: Do you like “Character”? Why?

24. Use what-if questions: What if Cinderella was ugly?

25. Introduce or remove a character then ask for the impact on the storyline.

26. Ask for another ending for the story.

27. Ask for their thoughts about what’s after the ending.

28. Change the setting and ask for the results.

29. Ask students to watch the movie after reading the story and then compare the characters and the storyline!

Speaking activities

30. Ask students to look at a certain picture and describe their feelings about it.

31. Ask students to compare things.

32. Introduce a problem and ask students to give as many solutions as possible for it.

33. Ask students to gather information from conflicting resources.

34. Ask controversial questions.

35. Encourage Role Plays.

36. Ask students about their priority: education/health/entertainment and why?

Listening activities

37. Prediction.

38. Making inferences.

39. Drawing conclusions.

40. Differentiating between facts and opinions.

Writing Activities

41. Writing blurbs to pictures or ads … etc.

42. Writing Commentaries.

43. Responding to emails, letters or SMS.

For setting students up for success in critical thinking activities teachers need to:

  • Brainstorm enough information before asking students to carry out a certain task.
  • Encourage them to participate.
  • Provide them with help and guidance (when needed).
  • Assure them that there are no “wrong answers”.
  • Accept all answers and points of view.
  • Appreciate their efforts.
  • Praise their trials.
  • Teach them critical thinking skills!

Here are some critical thinking skills that students need to learn:

  • Thinking outside the box.
  • Asking questions and then questioning answers.
  • Analyzing the reading or the listening text.
  • Logically addressing an issue.
  • Supporting their stance with evidence.
  • Respectfully refuting others’ opinions.
  • Evaluating the truth of a claim or argument.

Adapted from U.S. Department of State English Language Programs – Samar Aal

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activities to develop critical thinking skills

Critical thinking definition

activities to develop critical thinking skills

Critical thinking, as described by Oxford Languages, is the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement.

Active and skillful approach, evaluation, assessment, synthesis, and/or evaluation of information obtained from, or made by, observation, knowledge, reflection, acumen or conversation, as a guide to belief and action, requires the critical thinking process, which is why it's often used in education and academics.

Some even may view it as a backbone of modern thought.

However, it's a skill, and skills must be trained and encouraged to be used at its full potential.

People turn up to various approaches in improving their critical thinking, like:

  • Developing technical and problem-solving skills
  • Engaging in more active listening
  • Actively questioning their assumptions and beliefs
  • Seeking out more diversity of thought
  • Opening up their curiosity in an intellectual way etc.

Is critical thinking useful in writing?

Critical thinking can help in planning your paper and making it more concise, but it's not obvious at first. We carefully pinpointed some the questions you should ask yourself when boosting critical thinking in writing:

  • What information should be included?
  • Which information resources should the author look to?
  • What degree of technical knowledge should the report assume its audience has?
  • What is the most effective way to show information?
  • How should the report be organized?
  • How should it be designed?
  • What tone and level of language difficulty should the document have?

Usage of critical thinking comes down not only to the outline of your paper, it also begs the question: How can we use critical thinking solving problems in our writing's topic?

Let's say, you have a Powerpoint on how critical thinking can reduce poverty in the United States. You'll primarily have to define critical thinking for the viewers, as well as use a lot of critical thinking questions and synonyms to get them to be familiar with your methods and start the thinking process behind it.

Are there any services that can help me use more critical thinking?

We understand that it's difficult to learn how to use critical thinking more effectively in just one article, but our service is here to help.

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A Short Guide to Building Your Team’s Critical Thinking Skills

  • Matt Plummer

activities to develop critical thinking skills

Critical thinking isn’t an innate skill. It can be learned.

Most employers lack an effective way to objectively assess critical thinking skills and most managers don’t know how to provide specific instruction to team members in need of becoming better thinkers. Instead, most managers employ a sink-or-swim approach, ultimately creating work-arounds to keep those who can’t figure out how to “swim” from making important decisions. But it doesn’t have to be this way. To demystify what critical thinking is and how it is developed, the author’s team turned to three research-backed models: The Halpern Critical Thinking Assessment, Pearson’s RED Critical Thinking Model, and Bloom’s Taxonomy. Using these models, they developed the Critical Thinking Roadmap, a framework that breaks critical thinking down into four measurable phases: the ability to execute, synthesize, recommend, and generate.

With critical thinking ranking among the most in-demand skills for job candidates , you would think that educational institutions would prepare candidates well to be exceptional thinkers, and employers would be adept at developing such skills in existing employees. Unfortunately, both are largely untrue.

activities to develop critical thinking skills

  • Matt Plummer (@mtplummer) is the founder of Zarvana, which offers online programs and coaching services to help working professionals become more productive by developing time-saving habits. Before starting Zarvana, Matt spent six years at Bain & Company spin-out, The Bridgespan Group, a strategy and management consulting firm for nonprofits, foundations, and philanthropists.  

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activities to develop critical thinking skills

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5 extra-curricular activities that help students become academically strong

activities to develop critical thinking skills

It equips students with the skills needed for success in diverse industries, emphasizing effective communication, critical thinking, and leadership. As educators and parents, our investment in promoting extracurricular engagement reflects our commitment to nurturing competent, well-rounded individuals ready to face the challenges of the future

Extracurricular activities play a pivotal role in shaping the holistic development of students, offering them opportunities to explore their interests, learn new skills, and thrive outside the traditional academic setting. In this article, we delve into the profound impact of extracurricular engagement, exploring five key ways in which these activities contribute to academic prowess and foster leadership qualities.

Building a foundation for academic excellence

Participation in extracurricular activities extends beyond mere hobbies or sports, consistently proving to be associated with enhanced academic performance. Studies reveal that students involved in such activities develop crucial time management, self-discipline, and focus skills. These skills not only lead to improved grades but also instill an ability to effectively balance academic obligations with extracurricular commitments. Moreover, the heightened focus acquired through extracurricular activities contributes to more effective learning, enhancing students' problem-solving and critical thinking abilities.

Cultivating resilience through challenges

Extracurricular activities serve as a crucible for developing resilience, a quality indispensable for navigating life's challenges.

Whether facing complex assignments, intense competition, or occasional setbacks, students glean invaluable lessons in resilience from these experiences. Overcoming obstacles, such as a failed experiment or a sports defeat, fosters problem-solving, perseverance, and adaptability. This resilience, coupled with a growth-oriented mindset, becomes a cornerstone for students to approach difficulties with optimism and view setbacks as opportunities for intellectual and personal growth.

Fostering comprehensive skill development

Engaging in extracurricular activities contributes significantly to a student's overall skill set, extending well beyond conventional classroom learning. Activities such as playing a musical instrument, participating in debates, or volunteering provide unique opportunities for critical thinking and creative expression.

The ability to navigate complex situations, think analytically, and solve problems is honed through tasks like mastering challenging musical pieces or planning community projects. Additionally, self-expression in creative activities fosters unique thinking that can be applied to diverse aspects of life. Effective communication and teamwork skills developed through extracurricular engagement become invaluable assets in academic, professional, and personal contexts.

Enhancing social and emotional competence

Participating in extracurricular activities offers students a dynamic environment beyond the classroom, providing opportunities to interact with mentors, peers, and diverse groups. Mentors in various fields, be it music, sports, or community service, play a crucial role in guiding students toward their goals, offering insights into real-world experiences and career paths.

Collaborative activities, such as sports or group projects, nurture social and emotional intelligence, emphasizing teamwork, cooperation, and shared responsibility. These experiences not only contribute to academic proficiency but also lay the groundwork for meaningful relationships, providing students with a sense of belonging and unity.

Preparing for leadership roles

Extracurricular activities offer students a unique platform to develop and refine critical leadership abilities. Whether leading a volunteer initiative, taking on a leadership role in a group, or captaining a sports team, these experiences allow students to hone skills that extend far beyond the classroom.

Leadership roles in extracurricular activities, such as mentoring peers or organizing events, equip students with decision-making abilities, resilience, and accountability.

Team captaincy in sports, in particular, provides a hands-on experience in inspiring and motivatingpeers, handling diverse personalities, and developing winning strategies. These leadership experiences, coupled with participation in community service projects, prepare students for the challenges of future careers, emphasizing problem-solving, coordination, and communication skills.

(The author is Director Pastoral Care and Sports Infrastructure,Vijaybhoomi University)

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activities to develop critical thinking skills

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activities to develop critical thinking skills


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