Teaching Critical Thinking

Decluttered Way of Teaching Critical Thinking Along With Benefits

Critical thinking is the ability to think logically and clearly. This article talks about how it is different from normal thinking, and is helpful for one's overall development.
"My mind is a garden, my thoughts are the seeds, my harvest is either flower or weeds." - Mel Weldon

Critical thinking is useful to yield 'flowers' from our thoughts. Such a thought process helps generate confidence within a person to evaluate, analyze, and interpret any kind of information/event/circumstance more efficiently. Nowadays, educational institutions are emphasizing the need of teaching these skills to their students. Critical thinkers can contribute significantly for the betterment of our society.

The Essential Quality

When one starts thinking from one's higher mind or spiritual mind, it is termed as critical thinking. Our lower mind is basically limited and ego-centric in nature. It is driven by our own emotions, needs, personal likes and dislikes. It is also easily exposed to outward influences. As a result, it is only capable of carrying out the daily activities in a superficial manner. However, it plays a vital role when we take crucial decisions that need unbiased judgment. In short, normal thinking is conformist and sometimes, even irrational; while critical thinking is rational and creative.

The Need for Critical Thinking

Nobody is born with the ability to think critically. As we grow, our life experiences teach us to think more analytically. However, relying only on the life experiences is not enough. Today's generation needs to be educated, to think deeply about relevant issues, so that they grow into mature adults with adequate problem-solving skills.

Due to lack of guidance, the thinking process in today's youth is somewhat inconsistent, and does not follow any methodical order. They tend to focus on acquiring more and more, new and isolated facts on any subject matter without understanding the basic concept of the subject. As a result, they fail to summarize what they have studied, and assess the significance of the subject matter. If they are trained in rational thinking, they would apply logical inquiry to each and every observation, and would be capable of drawing a relevant conclusion.

Teaching Methods

Teaching critical thinking can be described as a course of action taken to re-educate the educated souls on the basic virtues of in-depth thinking. It is an ongoing process. It cannot be limited to just a few classroom sessions. It should be carried out by some well-trained instructors. Such a thought process can be mastered through self-discipline. The most important aspect of this is to adopt those methods which allow students to think freely, and which do not force them to think in a particular manner. Some of the basic methods are listed below:
  • Involve them in a group discussion or debate on any issue. As a result, students can liberate their thoughts and ideas without restricting themselves to any given set of norms.
  • It is also good to persuade students to articulate their opinions through writing. Writing helps express oneself in a concise and coherent manner. It compels one to stay focused on the content, and draw effectual inferences.
  • Solving numerical problems or puzzles can be considered as another method as it sharpens their problem-solving skills.
  • There are other innovative methods that help students to put forth their logical reasoning skills. For instance, during exams, students should be examined on problems or situations that test their analytical abilities and creativity, rather than what they have memorized. Such methods make both, teaching and learning experience more interesting.

Teaching critical thinking brings about a sea of change in the entire thought process of the students. They can face the challenges of life confidently, and achieve their goals. It is beneficial in building a productive mind that thinks independently, and acquires far-sightedness. Normally, critical thinkers never get carried away by impulses, or behave irrationally. It has been realized that logical thinking has a positive effect on the overall development of an individual's personality.