The importance of critical thinking in education

Intelligence and memory can make your students pass exams, but you will only be able to give them a true education if you foster critical thinking skills within them. Critical thinking is crucial. To understand why, read on

The importance of critical thinking in education

Share via Email Critical thinking and teaching through the Socratic method have been around for donkey's years. Why then are they not used and recognised? The comments on the article perhaps predictably focused on the lack of any form of assessment for rational thought, or the ability to assess critical thinking as a skill within the framework of most subjects.

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But the truth is, critical thinking and teaching through the Socratic method have been around for donkey's years. One of the most overused quotes in any liberal teacher's hymn book is that the majority of jobs our students will work in their adult lives, have yet to be invented. This is often used as a lynchpin for the teacher to justify their avant-garde teaching techniques the same ones that come up every five years that are politely indulged by line managers as a harmless exercise in career development, before their results come in under target, and they get on with the serious business of getting the students to pass the exams.

And herein lies the problem. The same problem that education has been ignoring like the increasingly large elephant in the room for the past 20 years.

Schools are businesses now so more than ever, as they balance their books one playing field at a time and the bottom line is league tables. If not nationally, then locally.

By contrast, critical thinking as a subject has been around in schools for many years. It was brought in as a replacement to the brilliantly terrible general studies in the hope that students might get something specific and useful, rather than well, general.

And with the speed at which the world is developing, the need for the ability to rationalise argument, and synthesising new information into a cogent, reflective and logical action is surely at a paramount, not to mention the core of a teacher's purpose?

Well — yes and no. Yes, in theory, but here's the thing.

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Universities hate critical thinking. The overwhelming majority do not offer UCAS points for grades in critical thinking. Durham Law School give the wonderfully vague claim that "it is hoped that evidence of a student's critical abilities will be found in their past and predicted examination performances", and while Oxbridge say they like to see it on an application, they offer no accreditation to the exam either.

This dunderheaded decision has lead to a domino effect in secondary education. If a school's primary purpose is to generate pass rates and percentages into higher education and it currently is, like it or notthen why devote staff to critical thinking? Let it fill up part-time staff's timetables, or pad out that under scheduled music teacher's day.

Motivated students question what the point is to the subject, and while I would love to explain to them its long term importance, at 17, with a stack of English essays and biology research to write up, all of which has a concrete pay-off in a year's time, even they struggle to see the benefits. Unmotivated students shrug and carry on regardless.

After all, it's not like it matters if you fail, right?{research about critical thinking} Of course, education also occurs outside schools, and most thinking occurs outside the classroom in everyday life and business and other areas of life: "Critical thinking is the art of taking charge of your own mind.

Its value is simple: if we can take charge of our own minds, we can take charge of our lives.". Four specific skills are most important for preparing students to succeed in the 21st Century: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.

NEA developed this guide to help K educators incorporate these ideas into their instruction. critical thinking, there is consensus in the literature that critical thinking is exhibited through the students’ abilities to “identify issues and assumptions, recognise important relationships, make correct inferences, evaluate evidence or.

Critical Thinking is more than just a concept, it is a real-life model upon which you can build successful and efficient problem solving skills, skills that prove highly valuable in the workplace and beyond.

The importance of critical thinking in education

Critical thinking is a fundamental skills for both language and literacy success. Language − Language and critical thinking grow together and nurture each other’s development. As children engage in critical thinking, their language skills expand because they’re encouraged to develop and use more complex language with words like “because.

Nov 22,  · P21 highlights the importance of asking questions in their work on critical thinking and they believe that to solve problems students should be able to .

The importance of critical thinking | University of Essex Online