As part of higher education, critical thinking skills will prove to be invaluable. Not only do critical thinking skills help students complete their assignments effectively but they help one out in making informed decisions in the future. Assignments that require critical thinking can be difficult for students. It is not in the natural ability of each student to think critically. However, with a few tips in mind, teachers can help their students instil an element of critical thinking in all their tasks. It’s quite simple actually. Just by using certain questions, teachers can trigger critical thoughts in students and help them in getting their creative juices flowing.
Here are some simple, yet very effective questions to promote critical thinking in students:
For memorization and Interpretation:
- How can we relate… to …?
- What did we learn about …?
- What were the key aspects of …?
- What is the definition of…?
- Summarize the key points
- Explain the purpose of…
For applying knowledge:
- What will happen if…?
- How can you explain this differently?
- How could you solve … using …?
For analysing information:
- How are … and … similar to each other?
- How are… and … different?
- What is the significance of …?
- Explain why…
- Explain how…
For evaluation purposes:
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of …?
- Why do you agree or disagree on…?
- What is your evidence to back your answer?
- Why does… cause… to happen?
- What is the best way to… and why?
- What is another solution for the problem at hand?
- What do you think causes… and why do you think it is so?
- How can we look at … differently?
Using these questions, teachers can easily get students to think critically without them even realizing. Answers to these questions will also help students hand in better assignments because of the quality thinking process involved. Students in higher education cannot get away by simply researching and presenting information. They are at the level where they are expected to explain their findings and why they think they exist. They must also be able to predict what they feel would happen in different scenarios.
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Class activities that promote interactivity are a good way to start the critical thinking journey. A simple brainstorming session will allow all students to participate and give their two cents on the topic of discussion. It will also allow students to see how others think differently, thereby promoting creativity and critical thinking amongst them.