Ways To Promote Critical Thinking In Students

Classroom assignments should be designed with the end in mind.

“In other words, if we want students to be able to apply their learning via autonomous performance, we need to design our curriculum backward from that goal” (Mc Tighe and Wiggins, 2012, p. Once teachers identify the learning target, they should design assignments and assessments that allow students to think critically and apply their understanding.

Standards are not designed to be a checklist and students need time for reflection. classrooms provide a safe zone where failure is not an option.

Students develop deeper understanding when they have time to struggle. It is not an option, because students are spoon fed the correct answer, rather than asking students to create, collaborate, think critically, analyze, write, and explore. “In a productive struggle, students grapple with the issues and are able to come up with a solution themselves, developing persistence and resilience in pursuing and attaining the learning goal or understanding” (Allen, 2012, A Conversation with Author and Educator Robyn Jackson).

Critical thinking is a skill that can be developed through intentional planning.

Does your pacing guide provide students with time to pause and reflect?

For more resources on Accountable Talk, visit The Institute For Learning.

Grant Wiggins and Jay Mc Tighe highlighted the importance of essential questions in their books on curriculum design.

Accountable Talk provides a structured format for students, so all students know how to engage in the conversation and how to ask their partner thought-provoking questions.

Accountable Talk is a method of inquiry that sharpens students’ thinking by reinforcing their ability to reflect and think critically.


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