Commonly used definition: the mental process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion.
Critical thinking requires interpretation, application, and evaluation of information. Incorporating ideas and fully understanding a concept can be a difficult task for students, often students do not know how to engage in critical thinking.
Bridging the gap between study habits from high school to ones that will work in college can be extremely difficult for young students. However, there are ways to promote reflective thinking to help students succeed.
Promoting critical thinking in students will not only help them in academic settings but in their day to day life. In addition, material can become valuable to students throughout their academic career.
How to foster critical thinking in the classroom:
Create safe environment that promotes questions from students
Leave time for questions during lectures and presentations
Ask questions that promote discussion and test understanding during lecture
Emphasize growth mindset when students seek help
Relate specific topics to the overall idea of class
Well written multiple-choice exams that test high-order thinking skills
Provide assignments that test content understanding
Ask for reflections on previous lecture/work
Introduce the Study Cycle:
Preview material covered in reading or previous lecture
Review material covered after class 24 hours after class
Study and answer why, how, what questions
Access learning done
Teach students to use SQ3R or SQ5R on topics covered in class