The school is one of the most important social institutions. If there weren’t schools, there would be no surgeons, doctors, architects, etc… The whole society is based on this institution that allows the transfer of knowledge from one generation (teacher) to another (students).
Today’s society is changing very fast, so some of the jobs that students are learning to become skilled at probably won’t even exist in a near future. Having this in mind, one may ask: “Well, why do we educate our children then?” A lot of people are asking this question because they just don’t see the purpose of education if particular jobs soon won’t be around. The problem is that the majority of people think that education is a process during which students learn new information and skills; however, this is not completely true. The main aim of education is not just to teach students what to think but more importantly, how to think. Ones this is done, students will be capable of applying their knowledge in different situations, so their adaptation will be more successful and won’t take much time.
In the text below, a few methods that can be used for facilitating critical thinking will be listed. These techniques can be used by teacher and professors in order to motivate their students and help them to develop their thinking skills. Besides that, students can also use some of these methods on their own.
Conduct a Research/Experiment
The majority of professors organize their class in the following way – there are lectures on a particular topic and then there is a period of examinations. This is a very common and widespread process, so a lot of professors just don’t look for alternatives. However, there is another, more efficient, way to organize lectures and thus, the transfer the knowledge. The best way to realize something and to really understand it is to come up with a solution for a particular problem. This is obvious from the early ages – one can repeat numerous times to a child that 3 plus 3 equals 6, but he won’t really understand this until he takes 3 apples and then adds 3 more and count them. Only now he will realize that 3 + 3 actually makes 6. Of course, this is an extremely simplified example, but the same logic can be applied to all educational levels.
For example, Pendulum experiment. The professor can simply play a video and explain to students which elements are important and which are not in the case of pendulum motion – the length of a thread, the weight of the ball at the end, and the angle of its displacement. Just by listening to it, students will probably forget this information in a short period of time. However, if a professor gives students the material, explain them the task and ask them to find out what elements are important, the situation will be totally different. Students will try out different solutions until they come up with an answer and (because they were engaged in this activity and analyze its elements) they will remember the lesson and understand the whole process.
Another problem that students are facing is the fact that their tasks, homework, and obligations simply are not very interesting to them. They fulfill their obligations just in order to receive a good grade, as there is not any enjoyment in resolving a particular school problem. This is exactly why a lot of students choose to simply order their homework online, as this is a very simple solution to ensure a good homework that will help them to receive a high grade.
However, it doesn’t have to be this way. In order to develop critical thinking, professors should create questions or interesting stories that will motivate students to apply their knowledge in a practical situation. In order to think about something students have to be motivated, and that is why these stories should be original, interesting and practical. Here is one very simple example that can be used at lower ages: “A truck driver comes to a tunnel, but he can’t go through it because the truck is to just one centimeter too high. Is there something that he could do in order to resolve this problem and go through a tunnel? Even grown-ups often can’t solve this problem, although it is very simple. A truck driver should just release the pressure from his tires, and the truck will lose on its height.
The logic is simple – everybody knows that the truck will lose its height ones there is no pressure in tires, but the point is to remember that when a situation requires. Needless to say, this logic and similar questions can be applied to any kind of content at any age.
Inoculation theory is a concept from social psychology, developed by William J. McGuire. Basically, its main point is that, in order to strengthen his attitude over a particular question, one should consider and understand the opposite attitudes as well. Having in mind all of the counter arguments, one can find answers to those arguments and thus understand the whole topic much better. Of course, the main point is not to keep a particular attitude at any cost, but rather to explore the subject from different perspectives.
This is also a very efficient way to develop critical thinking, as by finding arguments and counter arguments, students will understand the basic postulates of any theory. This can also be applied to various social questions, such as abortion, death penalty, euthanasia, etc… These are all very interesting topic for students, so they will invest their time in it and train their critical thinking.
Development of critical thinking is the most important task for every school system. Learning how to think will allow students to adapt to different circumstances, even the ones that are totally new to them. In this text, a few very effective methods were listed, so that teacher, professors, and also students would have a “tool” that they can use in order to facilitate the process of developing critical thinking.
Kira Carr is wedded to her job as a writer at homeworkhelpdesk. She creates lots of amazing posts regarding helpful techniques & strategies for college students. This girl is a sociologist by education. She goes mad of reading American modern literature.